Thursday, 25 February 2016

Mr Big

Mr Big

Mr Big (proper noun) - a man who dips in and out of a girl’s life, usually wealthy. He has no intentions to marry her or develop any sort of relationships. Often already attached, he creates havoc and quickly retrieves.

‘Dinner tonight, no excuses! Need to talk! Disaster!' - read the message from Emily.

My heart sunk. Emily doesn't do dramas, but the message indicated there was one. This definitely called for an emergency dinner.

We met after work in our favourite restaurant in the heart of the city, and as soon as the wine was poured she started her story. 

Bored, battling January blues, and following a major argument with her boyfriend, Emily was in desperate need of a romantic fix. So she arranged to meet Mr Big for dinner.

They have known each other for years, flirted, played the ‘shall we, shan’t we’ game so many times that in the end they decided not to and remained friends and each others’ guilty pleasure. 

Both Mr Big and Emily are attached. He has a girlfriend, whom his oh-so-wealthy family adores, but she is cold and unaffectionate. Emily has a live-in boyfriend of six years, who loves her but doesn't know the first thing about romance and lets her down on a regular basis.

Mr Big didn't let her down. He was early and had her favourite Dirty Martini waiting for her on arrival. He also made dinner reservations. In Le Gavroche.

Emily was impressed. Starved of romance and chivalry, she went along with the night and let herself to be carried away.

They ate exquisite food, drank exorbitant cocktails; they talked and laughed, the inhibitions were lowered and Emma let Mr Big take her back to the Four Seasons where he just happened to have booked a suite.

In the morning over a lavish breakfast, he promised he would keep in touch. One last kiss and Emma hurried to the tube to get to work. Nobody knew, no harm done. Or so it seemed.

I knew exactly what Emily wasn't saying and what was eating her away. She needed to convince herself that the mind boggling one night stand won’t ruin her relationship, that it didn't matter and she didn't tell her boyfriend.

And now Emily was sitting in front of me draining glasses of wine one after another, as if the solution to her moral dilemma could be found at the bottom of the bottle.

Emily’s story astounded me. My brain was struggling to process and file away all the information it received. For the first time in our friendship I didn't know what to say. 

As I sat there, opening and closing my mouth like a goldfish, I couldn't help but wonder, when it comes to relationships, if the grass is always greener on the other side, then how… I mean who can possibly afford a suite in Four Seasons? How did Mr Big get a reservation in Le Gavroche within 24 hours? Who is he?

The waitress brought another bottle of wine, I didn't even notice when Emily ordered it. I looked at my gal, there were so many emotions in her eyes - confusion, remorse, excitement. Yes, it was a one night stand but Emily needed to decide whether or not to tell her boyfriend, what it meant for their relationship, what it meant for her. What if she was in love with Mr Big…

As I finally snapped out of my trance and found my voice, I looked Emily in the eye and asked that important question that any good girlfriend would ask: “How was the food in Le Gavroche?”

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Dream a little dream of me

Dream a little dream of me

Daddy is hugging me. He is big and warm, and I feel like a little girl again. ‘Daddy you are better again. And they told me you were ill,’ - I say, inhaling his familiar smell and enjoying the sense of safety I always feel when with him. ‘No darling, I’m not better, I have cancer and I will die’ - he says and his eyes are sad now. 

‘No, you can’t die, daddy, it will break my heart.’ - I cling to him and my body shatters with sobs…

‘Are you ok honey?’ - I hear as I am jolted out of my dream and into Mr Chateauneuf’s arms. He is gently stroking me as I try to get my breathing under control.

‘You were dreaming again.’ - it wasn't a question. I nodded, not trusting my voice yet.

I have been dreaming every night since I found out that daddy had passed away. Most nights, I  had been able to get back to sleep but not that night. My mind was racing but the grief was  suffocating me, causing physical pain. 

Ever since I came back from the funeral, I felt I couldn't grieve properly. From the moment I arrived home and heard the television with another football something-or-other feature on, I realised nothing had changed for anybody other than me. Nobody knew him, I couldn't talk to anybody, there was no connection to home, no link to daddy. 

So that night, as soon as I heard Mr Chateauneuf’s steady breathing, I quietly slipped out of  the bed. I needed some air and some space, so I headed to my favourite place ever - to my writing cabin at the bottom of the garden.

It was freezing cold there and I flicked the little heater on. As it started blowing out the hot air, I climbed into my Papasan chair and wrapped a blanket around me. The tears on my cheeks dried and I was able to breathe again.

I looked around me. It was the haven Mr Chateauneaf built with so much love for me. I chose the colour on the walls, the furniture came from my Whyteleafe flat and the chair I was snuggled in was a present from Mr Chateauneuf. My cabin felt cosy, it was home.

Minutes were ticking by and I finally managed to relax. My eyes kept scanning the walls, stopping on the pieces I loved - the miniature daisy mirrors above my desk, the candle holder reading ‘Love’ I got for Valentines day from my man, lever arch folder I deco patched, until I stopped on the photos of mum that were arranged on the shelf. It made me think  - memories.

Within minutes, I dug out my treasure box. It was full of old photographs, mum’s notebooks and other memorabilia. Carefully I picked up a stack of albums that looked all too familiar. At the bottom of the box, there was a brown envelope, it was bulging with photos. As I pulled on a protruding photo, it caused a chain reaction and all the others spilt onto the floor. 

They were all old pictures, in black and white, ones I ripped out of family albums. And although the photos were monochrome, the kaleidoscope of memories they brought up was full of colour. 

My parents young and healthy, laughing; my brothers and I sledging; our family house; me age two in my first fur coat wrapped in so many layers I was barely able to move; photos of mum and dad in their early 20s - young and carefree; my school years and very questionable fashion sense…

As I was looking through them I couldn't help but smile and somehow feel warmer. I could see an unmistakable resemblance on my childhood photos - I had mum’s hair and dad’s eyes. As I grew older I realised I inherited my mum’s temper and dad’s glass half full attitude. Both of my parents were in my DNA, a part of them lived on. 

And as much as I was hurting and grieving, I found some comfort in knowing that their legacy lived on, in me. They both taught and passed on to me everything they were meant to.

I knew there would be many more dreams in the months to come, a lot more grieving to do. But that night, in my cabin at the bottom of the garden, I put something to rest.