A torch in the dark.

Same airport, same system… Different person.

I wait here for things to start, for my flight to leave. I have done this excited waiting before… Only there was always a sense of mild insecurity. Don’t hold your breath. You only have three weeks then there’s another four months or so of holding on and wishing and hoping time would move a bit faster.

This is totally different.

My heart is pounding but instead of a nine hour flight, I have a brief hour in the air to contend with. Instead of endless security and unfounded suspicion, I was in and out of security so fast I had no time to panic. I’m sitting with a drink of hot green tea, having just eaten a panini, and I’m calm and relaxed but at the same time my blood is on fire. I am keen to wrap myself in am embrace that I know will be back my way faster than I can miss it, an embrace I had no idea that I had been missing until I tumbled into it.

I will never forget anything J did for me. He is a good person. He will always be so… But I think he needs an American girl, a nearby lover who can be relaxed as he is. As I have healed, what I’ve needed has reared its head again and demanded to know why I’m not acknowledging it.

I know that I kept wondering what the future held for me, and worrying that I would be left almost alone in a huge continent with a greatly reduced social circle. I wanted to believe that I would do the same as my cousin, who has done it and forged friendships and relationships out there which are flourishing. In time, I might have… But I would never have really known.

Love has had other, more dramatic plans. A kiss in the dark, sealed by the words, “Are you sure?” A long-held spark kindled into a roaring blaze, a fire tornado razing everything to the ground and bringing creation instead of destruction when it had passed. Shoots of life curled into being, tangled into my unresisting, lonely, cold heart. Lonely after a week of heartbreak and a year of separation.

Shadows are security now, and I’ve never thought life so full of promise. The weather may be horrendous, storms blowing, but my heart and soul are blazing warm still.

I’m a burning torch in the dark.

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The right thing.

The universe keeps dropping hints in my lap.

After saying what had happened, there has been an outpouring of love. I could so easily have been judged for what happened. I felt tortured by guilt at the start of it all. I called myself all the names the voices once called me…

Until I realised something.

R has been instrumental in helping me make my choice. She let me know that I wasn’t a bad person, that this was not my fault. You can’t choose who and when you fall in love. She told me that sometimes, love crashes into your life and you can’t stop it.

Sometimes, she said, your love morphs into friendship and you don’t see it happening. She said the distance could affect how I felt only a little, and that maybe taking a risk would be a good thing to do if it felt right.

What she said about friendship rang a bell. I’d always been a good friend to J, but it felt different with the Dutchman. There was that spark I’d been craving, the feeling of vlinders and stardust. I didn’t know why it was there. I wanted to deny it. I wanted to stop it from happening. I didn’t want to be “that girl”, the one who ran away to someone else on a whim…

Only, it just didn’t feel like a whim. It felt like something much more solid than a whim. Especially when the whim in question talked non-stop to me and sent pictures of lights and dogs, and looked forward to seeing me again…

A whole year of waiting had pulled my heartstrings to breaking. The time really had come to accept that what was in front of me was the right thing.

There was a crackle of static and I knew, with a pair of lips inches from mine, that I had fallen hard and fast and there was no denying this any longer.

Best about this?

The younger ones have actually talked to him. They love him too.

 

Schism.

I have been debating whether or not to write about the change in my life. I am worried about hurting anyone, but I really, really want to shout out what is happening and how much I am grateful to the universe for arranging this for me.

It starts in 2012. A fractured girl, both mind and back, stumbles down a Manchester street dressed as a zombie. She doesn’t know it at the time, how brokenness lies under the surface, but she is thrilled and excited. She exchanges photographs and words, and notices a tall zombie, beard caked in blood, surrounded by amazingly costumed friends. She wants to say hi but is too scared.

Talking on the internet with the other zombie walk members, the tall guy interacts with her words. She likes him. He’s nice.

Fast forward, it’s 2013. She’s so sick. She really wants to do the walk again, but the times are scrambled. She misses it- but through the internet, she had actually managed to find a group of people to walk with. Tall guy is in this group. He’s the Dutchman.

2014- much recovered, in a relationship, and finally the friends meet! In all her zombie glory, she comes face to face with the devil, and Bonnie- metalheads, awesome and lucky are words that pop into her head. The walk goes amazingly. The Dutchman is so kind and so lovely that she feels incredibly safe. They also spend time making a film, and just before the Dutchman has to go home, she manages to get past her fear of new people and men to invite him to spend an evening watching films and chatting. There’s something there. A good friendship starting. She classes him as one of her close friends right there.

2015. Radio silence for a week from J. A year apart with little face to face contact. The metalheads getting married, and an invitation for her to go.

She wasn’t prepared for what followed.

The Dutchman has changed. There’s a beard, there’s a trim figure and there’s a frisson in the air between them. The wedding runs on, and she just wants to spend time with him and the Metalheads. A child notices the connection, and tells her mother.

The next day, there’s a zombie themed event which results in the two of them becoming zombie royalty. Photos are snapped, and a throne offered for a dead girl and her bodyguard.

Six more says spent together. The gap in between is torture because of the tear in her heart- America, or Europe…?

The choice becomes clear suddenly with static in the air and a question.

The choice made. The hardest phone call ever dealt with…

There is a happy ending, there is. Past the guilt, past the pain- there’s a clear future starting to unfold.

Being Death’s Maiden sounds frightening, but nobody can see the heart under the robes but her.

The universe and its plans…

I always thought the universe had a sense of humour, but this is crazy…

I have been in reaching distance of happiness, of having a life that should move, and been terrified to embrace it. I will be happy- I’m trying to grab it now. There’s been such pain with ending thing with J. I have hated myself and been shackled by guilt and agony, but I am trying not to be like that.

The clear path? I’m not sure I’m brave enough to talk about it yet. Things are still stormy and I don’t want to provoke the hornets’ nest again.

All I can say is that for two years, it’s been just out of sight, at arm’s length, beside me or with me when I didn’t have a clue it was there myself. It’s holding me tighter than ever.

I’ll explain in better detail soon, I promise. For now, just know I’m safe, I’m happier, and I keep seeing rainbows everywhere.

The forked path.

The way was not clear.

Two weeks I’ve languished in agony. I’ve been debating something that I know would change myself and my life.

Painful choices lay ahead. Two roads, two futures. Differences looming, pain, closure.

I’ve been crawling on my belly. I’ve been not sleeping and being unable to eat.

Eventually I knew what I had to do.

I’ll never forget what you did for me, J. I will always be grateful to you… But I can’t wait any more. I’m alone here, waiting for you. After Florida, everything ground to a halt. Like it always does, but this time there was a week’s radio silence.

 

Some gaps cannot be bridged.

 

The way ahead has been made clear now, but I’m still treading on glass for now. There’s so much hurt, and I’m so sorry, but this is not working.

 

I’ve been inactive on here because I’ve been thinking about all of this. I was so hurt by my own thoughts. I was so blinded to the truth.

The blur is fading though, and the clear patch came through. There’s going to be dark days, but I will make it.

Loneliness revealed.

I’ve had the best couple of weekends since leaving J in Florida. It’s made me acutely aware that I’m lonely.

I crave company now, whereas I didn’t before. I wish J were here. I wish my friends lived a little closer to me. Most of all, I wish those closest to me lived closer to me, or I to them.

I have been trapped in my head, lonely and frightened for so long, that human contact is so alien to me. When someone gets close to me now, I don’t want to let them go. I know that the more time I spend away from J, the stronger my feelings run for him. I miss affection from friends, too. I love R’s hugs, H’s hand holding, and Mr Robot’s quiet understanding. I spent a lot of time over the past two weeks with three horror-loving friends of mine who I care about a lot- the Metalheads, my friends who got married on Halloween, and our mutual friend the Dutchman. I have a new group of friends there, which is growing steadily. There’s so much I’ve been restricting myself from, believing that I wasn’t worthy of friendship or love or affection. One of my friends is currently staying in Italy on a teaching course, and she has said I can visit her there.

The time has come to re-learn travelling. I used to be a traveller, she of 1000 auditions. I’d deal in foreign currency and languages, I’d laugh with new people and get smart about new ways of doing things. I had fun. I was really independent, I could do almost anything, and above all… The people I met and embraced used to get rid of the crippling loneliness I was feeling (as you all know, down to my ex).

I am having a hard time without my friends, and that’s partly because I’ve got into a bad habit of isolating behaviour. I have spent the past three years hiding, terrified of the world and men and my own head. I think I need to step out of the box I’ve put myself in and learn to be free to visit friends again.

My current little ray of hope is that J may well have enough money to come and see me in either February or March next year. I am so thrilled about that, I am trying not to wish the months away- always a dangerous thing.

I’m determined not to continue being this cripplingly lonely.