Sunday, 5 June 2016

James.

Walking through Victoria Park at 20:17 on 12/05/2016 I stopped to take a photograph of the amazing sunset that was filling the sky with the most beautiful reds and oranges. I didn't realise at this point how significant this photo would be and how much it would mean to me in the coming weeks. I was happy, I'd spent the entire day in the park sunbathing and picnic-ing and being entirely British and now, at this moment, I was in one of the best moods possible. I had the excited feeling in my stomach as I usually do before any Tinder date and I stopped, just for a second, to raise my phone and take the picture of the amazing light shining at me. I became consciously aware that I had 13 minutes to get to the date on time and I was, most probably, going to be late.

I quickened my pace as I rushed along Regent's Canal and I didn't have time to contemplate what my date would actually be like in person. For the first time in my 11 months of dating I wasn't worrying about it. I didn't have the expectation of meeting Mr Creative or Mr Model or Mr Quirky. I was just going for the experience, to have a nice drink in the sun and to meet another human being who was also in a similar mindset. I didn't know what I wanted to get out of the date. I was just going.

I reached the pub on Broadway Market and as I had expected I was 5 minutes late. I stood at the bar thinking that maybe my date had decided to not turn up when I noticed the familiar face of a stranger walking up the spiral staircase. That's when I saw James for the first time. I'm not going to lie and say it was love at first sight because I definitely don't believe in that sort of thing but what I do know is that I can tell within about 5 seconds of seeing someone whether I fancy them or not. This can change dependent on personality but it is usually pretty accurate. I definitely fancied him. He looked like he was heading for the door when at the last minute he looked up, smiled as he saw me and headed over. And that was it. He was officially a part of my life.

6 days and 3 dates later he was no longer the floppy, dark hair, blue eyes and chiseled cheekbones that had offered to buy me a drink and said he was a bit nervous about meeting. He was James, the man who had shared with me his secrets and told me I was beautiful and who was fast becoming one of the most important parts of my life.

We'd spent the most perfect 22 hours together and I walked home from his house blissfully happy even though I couldn't listen to any music because I'd somehow left my headphones hidden among his things. He'd cooked for me the previous evening. We'd watched documentaries. We'd had a bath. We'd eaten nothing but sour skittles. As I lay in bed that night a message from him flashed up on my phone. I chose not to read it until the following morning. I knew it was a reply to the message I had sent to him thanking him for the lovely time we'd had together and asking him to keep my headphones safe until next week when I saw him. Everything was finally coming together. I'd met someone who was my equal in temperament and humour. We wanted the same things from life. We were ready to be spontaneous and go on adventures and just have fun together.

Two days later I found out that James had died. Our perfect day had been his last day.

For the first time in my life I feel like things are completely out of my control. How is it possible to go from complete happiness to utter grief? What was the excitement of meeting someone I really connected with and beginning to learn about every part of them has become an endless longing. Wishing I could see him one more time and knowing all the questions I never got to ask will forever remain unanswered. I'll never feel his skin on mine again or hear his manic laugh or see the way his eyes wrinkled when he smiled. And it hurts. Unlike any feeling I've ever felt before in my life.

The week we spent with each other was totally intimate. It felt special, as does the beginning of any relationship, but it feels even more so now knowing it was his last. People take that feeling for granted. I'm trapped in a bubble of being the only person who will ever truly know what happened. And I'm terrified I will forget it. I feel isolated. All my friends have been amazing but they never knew him. All they can do is lend an ear and say "He sounds lovely. I wish I got the chance to meet him". He never had the chance to introduce me to all of his friends. 

The one comfort I seem to get is from writing. It began the day after I found out and I began writing down piece by piece the conversations we had and the things we did and the way he looked at me and the way I felt about him. The memories and thoughts are all I have and writing them down seems to stop them from circulating around my head and destroying me from the inside out. So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to write about him and remember him and try to work out how to cope.

It's funny how the meaning behind a photograph can change. What once was a pretty sunset is now a reminder of the moment before meeting such a wonderful human being. It reminds me of the excitement and happiness I felt when I was with him. But most importantly, it shows me the moment my life changed. I don't regret meeting him, even for the sake of my own happiness. He really was amazing.

The past two weeks have been the hardest of my life. I've never felt so sad. I miss him, I've been thinking about him for pretty much every waking moment of every day. I want him to know what a lasting influence he has had on my life. I know nothing can bring him back but I feel writing helps to keep his memory alive. The numbness and longing will probably never go away but it's learning how to live with it and trying to let him live through what I do and what future adventures I go on.


6 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear of your loss

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  2. James was such a sweetheart, I loved your blog and know that James would have loved it, I'm so sorry he has gone, his funeral was heart breaking x

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    1. He really was. Thank you for your kind words. His funeral was one of the hardest days but it was a beautiful day for a beautiful man. I hope you're doing ok too x

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  3. So sad for you Grace. What an awful thing to happen. Keep writing. Beverley x

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. I will definitely keep writing! You too. Stay strong x

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