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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Dear God Alive.

I was merely stating this very morning how wonderful life really is and I meant it. I still do. I still believe that deep breaths and love can almost conquer all. I was, however, not quite saying it in the same way an hour later when, for no apparent reason whatsoever, Nell fell to the floor suddenly. It was the most frightening thing I have ever experienced. Maybe equal to when I held her and they put her under anaesthetic for an operation but all the same, I was unexpectedly catching and holding my 9 year olds dead weight with her eyes in the back of her skull. I yelled for help. Loudly. Luckily for me, help was at hand and although I speak very little Spanish, I am able to say "Gracias SeƱor" a million times to the policemen and the ambulance crew who came to our rescue. Poor Nell. Poor Mary more. Mary still aged 6 (I forget) was simply terrified and burst into tears as I caught Nell and shouted the words, "HELP ME PLEASE!". So I am now holding my daughter, who I am hoping hasn't died and trying to placate my baby girl who is scared shitless for the same reasons as me as well as talk very bad Spanish to a charming policeman offering me water and telling me has called an ambulance. I cover her face in water thanks to a passing woman who hands me a cold bottle and shows me in sign language what to do. I do it. Nell starts to come round. She is as white as a sheet and floppy. I am repeating myself saying, "Darling? Darling? Breathe please" but of course she was breathing, she just was out like a light.

The long and the short of it is that as I was saying this morning Life is precious, breathing, deep breathing is essential and touch is simply a bonus. I caught Nell. I would always catch my girls if they are falling and I am close enough. I worry that I won't be there for them some day when they take a tumble but I hope today we all learnt that Love is the most crucial of all. Mary showed such love for her sister from her fear that I will never doubt it again. My love is unmeasurable. I have been longing for time off, days away and their fathers to step in for so long but after today, I cannot ever imagine letting go of them unless necessary ever again. I have booked her into the doctor back in the UK on Monday. She often feels unwell. I will ask for reassurance and make sure she isn't sick. It happens. You hear and read about it all the time. I am hoping that it was as simple as a dizzy spell from the early morning heat and maybe dehydration but secretly, I am worried sick.

I was shown Love today by complete strangers. Two policeman in a foreign country loved my daughters. The ambulance loved us too. People who I will never see again stopped to ask if we were okay. An old friend called me in a panic and made me feel better by calling my home doctor on my behalf, another calmed me but was worried to death and someone I never thought I'd ever see again showed such simple compassion that I wish he was here right now.

I hate to be corny and flowery and gay but quite simply, Love is all around. Thank God indeed. Amen.

Interval.

I am taking a pause in between my silly story just to say a few things. A few Rose things that I feel need to be said.

The first is obvious, easy and what we all know but forget too often: Life is wonderful. When you believe that it is good, it normally is. To start the day with a positive, grateful and loving thought normally allows a lovely day to continue.

Stretch before you start. Arms right up. Fill your lungs and enjoy the silence, the peace. It's the slowest time of the day and it should be treasured.

Deep breaths are essential. When the day takes a dip in loveliness and lifes' irritations appear in the forefront- close your eyes for a second, breathe. 

Touch someone. With your hand, with kindness, with words. Touch is love. Touch is crucial to live. Connection is what makes us tick, beat, move.

And once you've remembered those tiny efforts, easy things to do, Walk forwards. Drop your shoulders and lift your head.

Sometimes these little things are what get me through the dark days of Winter. It is the height of Summer and everything looks beautiful but it's important that we remember that not everything is as it seems. Not for any of us. It doesn't take a moment to remember that.

Someone once said to me in response to me announcing that I felt blessed, touched.

"You've been touched by something for sure!"

The door.

"But she won't wear it. She doesn't like it. It fits you. It looks like it was made for you" I heard him saying as I quietly walked out of the room. The front door was still ajar and there was the last of the sunlight coming in through the window to the right as I turned back once last time.
"Just because it fits doesn't make it mine" I replied quietly as he came to me before I left.
"But what if she threw it away, told you herself she doesn't want it, gave it to you?" he tried
With my hand on the handle of the door I opened it wide. I looked out at the countryside that I remembered so well and smiled.
"It isn't that she doesn't want it. It's that you will always see it as hers even when it isn't"

Just as I was about to step away and leave, he touched me and said,
"Please. This is not how it should be"..

I turned to him and with a sad smile replied, "I know. So why is it?"

As I walked down the stone steps into the long, overgrown grass and towards my car I sensed him standing there watching me leave. I was sad but hopeful. He lifted his hand and I saw the tears in his eyes as I looked back.

The door was still open.


Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Dress.

"Just try it on" he urged happily.

"What colour is it?" I asked him and he replied with absolute decisiveness and a satisfied smile, "Red". So I opened the box.

I looked at him after all these years and tears instantly came into my eyes. I tried so hard not to show my confusion.

"Oh God," he continued, "What colour do you think it is?" So I lowered my head slightly to one side, allowing the weight to leave my shoulders momentarily and I sighed.

"It's beautiful. It's pink. But it would depend on the light I'm guessing. In the morning, it might look pink. When the sun comes up high into the sky, it could certainly be pink with sparkles on it maybe some flecks of crimson and then as the sun goes down, it will turn a deeper shade, an almost red. Never quite red but almost".

"Try it on" he offered. So as I stood there before him barefoot, I turned away and pulled the dress over my head. It was perfect. It slipped down my body and fell to the floor. Tiny, delicate straps with such hand crafted detail. Years of work and concentration. I turned to him and saw my reflection in the window behind him. The dress, in fact, looked red. He was right. The dress I saw had been pink. This wasn't the same dress that I had seen. I had seen something quite different.

All the hope having left my heart and all the memories of younger years more intense now than before. I wished the lid had stayed on the box. The dress should have remained in the cupboard. Too much had been released. He had found it, opened it but I had stepped forwards and allowed the possibility. The air in my lungs felt clean and my heart swelled. My head was clear. My mouth wouldn't turn upwards. My eyes wouldn't stop crying. I was silent.

"I'm really sorry" he tried reasonably and logically, "I thought you knew.."

I nodded and turned my back from him as I removed the dress.

"It's a beautiful dress" I told him quietly as I carefully stepped out of it and put it back into the tissue where it belonged. I reached for the lid and together we put it back on, tight.

The dress belonged to someone else. It belonged to his wife.

Keep quiet.

You see? I can't do it. 

Many people have such excitement in naming and shaming, telling others bits of over-heard information, being the first to know, the quietest to tell, muttering a little too loudly in the pub, gossiping, that knowing look.. Occasionally, I will pick up the telephone to one maybe three good girlfriends but never to enjoy someone else's misfortune. I have never been a grass or a gossip. Not ever.

I have, however, it turns out been a teenager in love. My blast from the past has reappeared in a lovely way when I had silently presumed (never presume) that our lives had gone off on tangents. They had. They have. We are miles and years apart except this modern communication of social media has allowed us to poke, prod or whatever it is that we do now. We type. We tap away at a keypad and simply start by saying Hi. I loved him I am told. Not just by him but I checked with my best friend from
school and she has confirmed it in the worst way..

"OH MY GOD!!! YOU SO LOVED HIM!"

Brilliant. That was so uncool of her. That's blown my cover. I've obviously always been incredibly emotional. I do remember him being tall. Maybe I had to go on tip toes to kiss him? I also remember scrawling our names all over my self-covered text books.





Something like that.. I remember sitting on his rickety single bed underneath the velux winnow in his bedroom listening to music. Not sure what but I've got a feeling it might have been this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv-QiiRkEfU

Not quite but almost. Story of my life it seems. Not quite but almost. My advice? Skip the ads. Turn the volume up and remember. I tell my girls too often that we are creating memories every day so to make the day a good one.

Happy Sunday. In the words of the man himself singing the cover by the melancholic band we all loved, "God Bless you. I love you. Thank you".

Amen to that.


Saturday, 26 July 2014

Refreshing?

haven't been called that before. I haven't, however, been asked to write publicly either. I am dancing for joy, half naked so count your lucky stars that this isn't Skype, as I hold my half full glass of pink cava in my teeny (a size too small) bikini bottoms and I literally, dance for joy. I was mocked my entire life by my family for trying, attempting, writing, expressing myself..

Today, I dance and I write because I have just been asked to do so. A little cautiously worried about the description 'refreshing'.. I am true, honest, so look out you locals, bite your tongue before mocking me and my family of three so freely again.. You might just find yourself publicly humiliated as you have laughed so often at me.. 'Judge not' as I have written so often yet you all judge. You all presume that I am here as a single mother because I am intolerable rather than I am intolerant. Bite your tongues before you ask such personal questions. My sex life? It is none of your goddamn business whether it exists or not. At last, your outrageous interference in my life can stop.

Me and Garfunkel are dancing, a little embarrassed and perhaps drunk because I am dancing but hey, practise what you preach Rose and judge not, anyway so if you'll excuse us, step aside, pour me more cava because fuck me, I deserve a break and I believe I just got one.

"Since a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. Lie le lie.."

This is me, just me, not me and me entire family with or without the husband, it's just ME saying "

Oh my word. Are you going to be sorry for making me feel like a complete dick. BOOM! Your only consolation is that it isn't my style to be quite so rude. Luckily for you.


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Neighbours.

"Where have you been?" wrote Male, 29 Hot headed and Horny.
I am not telling you this for any other reason than to prove that (even if unintentionally) when you disappear, go quiet, live as normal.. the odd one notices. It's a shame he's so young. Not his actual age but young, juvenile, emotionally not developed. You know what I'm saying.. Male, 29 seems a decent enough lad with potential to be fun and fruity but he doesn't have the staying power. He wouldn't last more than 2 minutes and I don't mean horizontally.

I replied, "With neighbours drinking pink Cava. Lovely." and he came back with, "Do you know people out there?"

I didn't. We do now. I seem to make good friends for a very short time. We go on holiday. My girls remember each holiday as though we live somewhere. They will often say, "Mummy, do you remember when we lived in .. France?" which we never have but the point I am making is wherever we go, we go fully. So they are right. We do live there if only for a short time. I guess what is the point if not to embrace it completely and utterly. We do live here, for now.

Our neighbours made the most delicious tapas and were fantastically friendly. Of course they were. Why wouldn't they be? Not one of them teased me or made a snide remark about the size of our new kitchen extension, the lack of fun in my life or most importantly, the void of a husband. Before you think I am praising them because they are not English- they are. They are more British that the locals in my small minded village at home. I question yet again why I live in such a claustrophobic area. So judgemental. So damning. So fucking unfriendly.

I am having to make some pretty big decisions. Not simply about the colour of bath or tap size, variation on worktops, plinths and floor tiles, number of spot lights and whether I want a dimmer
switch- obviously I do. I mean big decisions for when I return home and write my Wil. It needs to be
done. I have no intention of going anywhere (other than a hot country) for a while but if I do depart this earth unexpectedly, I have my girls to think about and make things straight before I go. In doing so, I need to ensure that the right people have the right information. I need to have a clear head and not be distracted by trivia. I need to be, exactly what I always insist upon, completely honest but it is hard with a doubt in my head. I know the answers already. I am uncertain of a few things but mainly that my role will be stepped into and embraced as a lifestyle and a privilege.

Maybe I do need a husband after all? God, I never thought I'd say that. Maybe the one thing I believe I can live happily without, is the one thing that would enable me to live happier? Hang on a minute, slight set back. Who, obviously, is going to take me on? And if he does (which he won't) do I need to do what every woman in the world does and turn a blind eye to the irritations of sharing a life? More washing, more chores, discussions when now there is only ever my decision, extra toothbrush (okay a minor detail) but more spittage in the bathroom basin, more loo roll, another adults bottom on my
floral scented loo seat.. Ugh. Nope, forget it. I'm not ready. I might be (almost) 43 but I am not ready
for that. So you see? Male, 29, Happy and Handsome isn't the only one who cannot commit. The difference is though that I am the mother who makes the beds for my babies to lie in rather than being the baby lying in the bed made for me.

I have recently got back in touch with an old neighbour from my early teens. I can see his smiling, freckly face as it used to look. The 80's side flick and the shiny, grey trousers that narrowed on the lower leg. God knows how he remembers me. I was an uncomfortable, awkward teenager. Not in myself so much but around others more. I was never relaxed just in case I got a thump. I remember him being kind and funny. He's still funny. More so but then again I find life funnier now. I allow myself to laugh. Old neighbours and new neighbours are equally as entertaining. I can choose who to laugh with and who to have as my friends. I may live in a small minded village but having a small mind isn't essential. It is unattractive. Open up, look forwards and don't judge.

Life is today and hopefully tomorrow. Yesterday is what makes today so special but be careful frowning upon what others do if you aren't so certain of yourself. It is far too easy to think you know what others think when not one of us has any idea. Just be kind. My old friend, my neighbour, my first boyfriend (I think) was kind. He still is. There is no measure for kindness and I am so grateful that he has shown up again. Full circle maybe? Who knows? All I do know is that I'm really happy that I have a chance to sit, drink coffee and remember. Mum would laugh. Mum was well back in those days. It is thanks to her that I ever had this freckly, flicked haired boyfriend to start with so, with or without approval, I am happy. Funny old thing, Life.