Auf Wiedersehen

In a year and a day, I’ll be jumping on a plane to Germany.

I’ll have been in NZ for seven years. I don’t know why it’s important. But it is important that I leave exactly seven years after I arrive. There’s currently only one stamp in my passport.

I’ll happily admit: I’m running away.

I don’t know what from. I don’t know why. But fuck being here any longer. I love this stupid little country and I’m coming back to see even more of it, but I’m tired of it, tired of the way people live here, tired of the restrictions I feel I’m constantly living under. I’m tired of watching life pass me serenely by.

The thing is, I always tell people that changing your situation doesn’t change you. You can’t run from your problems, you can’t run from who you are. So part of me thinks that heading to Germany goes completely against what I believe – except, it doesn’t: I’ll happily carry my baggage with me.

Of course, I have and will have expectations of Germany – hot guys, cute girls, Porsches and Beemers fucking everywhere, all the things that matter in life – and there’s a strong possibility that too much dreaming leads to huge disappointments.

But that’s true for life. I blame it on movies and books and stories: you never see a scene that doesn’t matter. At no point during a movie will a boy walk past the house of a girl he likes and nothing happens. He will certainly not simply walk, lost in thoughts of said girl, and notice a few minutes later where he is.

And so we live with this stupid expectation that Everything Matters and that Something Will Happen.

And it fucking won’t.

Sitting around waiting for life to happen is only worthwhile in a movie or book.

So I can’t sit around waiting. ‘Cause nothing will happen. I’ll get stuck somewhere, content in the belief that things will magically get better or return to where they were, which is seldom better than right here.

No, I have to happen to life. I have to go and happen, I have to make my own stories. I have to make the changes I want to see.

Of course I could do that here. I could completely happen here. But I don’t want to. Nothing in me wants to stay, nothing holds me here; everything pulls me away. So I’m going to happen somewhere else.

Most people my age have settled. In a few years they’ll be married and kidded and bored and longing. But they’ll be safe. They’ll be comfortable. They’ll be happy and secure and content and dreamy. They’ll have things to work on, they’ll have work to do and a family to grow. They’ll have things to be proud of and people to love them always, unconditionally.

Not one aspect of that appeals to me. And I’m perfectly ok with that.

Because I could totally settle. I could find a lovely woman and settle into an analysis position and make my home here, make my mark right here so that when I die my memorial stone will say “BRB, gone to fetch my girl. See you kids soon.”

But so could anyone. And nothing makes me better than them for that role. There is nothing in me that makes me the sort of guy you’d marry and live forever with. Mostly, because I’ve never really wanted that.

Yes, I said I did. Yes, I love kids. But I feel that there has to be more to life. There has to be more to my life. I can’t simply raise some perfectly imperfect cultural mongrels and consider my life well lived. I just see no point in that.

What draws me is stories. What draws me is people. What draws me is love and sex and laughter and cars and drivers. Because I’d rather be broke in the passenger seat of a Porsche on the Nurburgring than wealthy in the driver seat of a Porsche on Tamaki Drive.

So I’m dawdling to Germany. And we’ll see what I do from there.

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Fuck You

My brother is one of the bravest people I know.
I got angry today. I got so angry, I completely lost control and attacked the people that care for me the most.
This involved calling my mother an “arrogant bitch”, telling my brother to keep out of it or “I’ll hit you in the face”, and following this threat by grabbing him by the throat and smashing the back of his head into the stairs.
I told him if he followed me, I’d hit him again. Mom tried to calm us down. He leapt between me and mom, determined to not let me hurt mom. He shut himself in my room with me and told me to “put me into hospital, see how you feel then!” to which I responded “Fuck off, I don’t feel.”
And then I grabbed him once more, opened the door, and threw him across the hall and into mom, who crashed backwards into the wall, winding herself and falling to the floor. My dazed, supportive and loving brother then tried to help her up. A pang of shame filled me and I went to help. He tried to push me away.
I responded by swinging one arm into his chest and throwing him into a pillar, from which he then fell and lay crumpled on the floor.
Fortunately, seeing my brother crying on the floor gave mom the strength she needed to get up, pushing me aside. They disappeared upstairs, leaving behind the memory of their scared and bewildered eyes.
I packed a bag and left.
My granddad used to beat my grandmother. To stop him, my dad would provoke him, get in the way, and take the beating himself. Sounds familiar. My granddad at least had the excuse of being a drunk. I just have no control.
And now my brother is as upset with me as I am with my dad. Probably more so. It’s not like my dad ever attacked me. He just stole from me, insulted me, ignored me, criticised me, belittled me. He no longer even knows who I am. He told me today that I am “shy”. It’s like he’s been in prison for the last five years, not the last five months.
Fuck him.
And if I can hold that attitude towards my father, then I can perfectly and utterly understand how my brother feels towards me. I’ll get round to forgiving my father at some point. I hope my brother can someday forgive me.
But, I left. When my mom was freaking out about moving, when I was supposed to be organising all the moving and the packing and getting all those heavy damned things from one household to another, I left with a fucking heavy bag rolling along behind me, and sat down at a bus stop.
I watched the cars drive by, hoping against hope that the bus would arrive soon and that no one I knew would drive by. I ignored my mother when she pulled up. She eventually left.
I’d started to calm down. I’d gone from that angry place to that “what the fuck just happened, lock it behind a door and make jokes” place. Do you know how many weird looks you get when you’re walking through St Heliers in a nice jacket and cool boots, lugging a heavy suitcase behind you? Now add in talking and muttering to yourself and you end up with a bunch of fucking confused rich people.
It was a little while later that I realised I’d forgotten a sleeping bag. And my passport.
I’m such a shallow arsehole, I’d packed my bag full of clothes and forgotten what I’d be sleeping in and how I’d get anywhere. I’ve lived such a pampered, sheltered life, I don’t even know how to run away properly.
In the process of rectifying these discrepancies however, I realised something.
I’d only reached out to one person for help. She was the sort of person who’d spot an attention-seeking text immediately and just ignore it until she had time.
I’d asked her for help via text because I knew she wouldn’t respond. That allowed me to carry on doing whatever I wanted under the belief that no one cared about me and that she was a bad friend.
So I came home and phoned another friend. I told her what had happened and I opened that door I’d locked and I cried until my nose clogged with snot and then I just hiccoughed.
No, I’m not okay, but yes, I will be okay. Right now, I feel stuck in a place where anger is delicious and the thrill of a fight is beaten only by the thrill of driving sideways.
I’m lost, I’m uncertain, I’m lonely and I’m scared and fuck you if you don’t think that’s ok.
‘Cause I’m still here. And that’s all that really matters.

Happy Foots

I went for a walk this morning. It took me and a hot coffee over wet grass to a small bench and – when I looked back – I realised my feet can’t even walk straight.

I like feet. I especially like small feet in high heels with painted nails and the right amount of sensitive spots.
So when I shared a bed with Dutchy and we slept back to back on opposite sides of the bed and she kicked her feet back and tucked them between my legs because “they’re cold” I discovered I was very much awake.
And I really wanted to sleep. I’d had four hours the night before and had to walk two dogs in five hours. So I told her about me “liking” feet. Normally, if I say anything that slightly resembles a move on her, she increases the distance between us tenfold.
This time, she simply responded “Oh. I like that being done to my feet. Now I’m turned on.”
She then insisted on swapping sides of the bed. Which involved climbing over me. Which reminded me that, though she’s not my ideal (her bum’s too small, for one), she’s still incredibly hot.
She curled herself up against the wall, pushed her feet back between my legs and fell asleep in 13 seconds flat.
It took me quite a bit longer.
 I’d already accepted that I’ve fallen in love with her. Not as in “OMG I want to bang you really bad, you’re so hot” but more as in “Let’s go sit on a beach under the stars and cuddle and talk and kiss…and then let’s find a bed and fuck  – hard.”
All of which proves to me that yes, you can fall in love with someone platonically; that yes, love is definitely and inescapably a choice; that yes, it doesn’t need to be acted on; that yes, you can love more than one (or even two) people at the same time.
It also reminded me of all the reasons I don’t like relationships.
There’s a sense of entitlement to a relationship – a sense of ownership. Your actions are no longer your own, decisions are shared. You become “someone-and-Gareth” and refer to yourself as “me-and-someone” and somewhere in that hyphenated world you can lose all sense of who you are.
And that would be ok, if life were simpler. If life was all about getting married and having kids and creating a family and identifying as said family and that was all I-and-whoever wanted and had ever wanted, then losing myself in those hyphens would be perfect.
But if that were me, then I’d probably not be interested in the people I am and I certainly wouldn’t be writing.
It doesn’t matter to me if she loves me back or not.
Because when I woke up in the morning (feet still entwined) the attraction had faded with the alcohol. It’s still there, but it’s not a motivator. I was kind of happy when she left: my space was back.
And though my space is lonely, it’s mine. It’s been damaged and bruised and hurt by the expectations and conditioning of a generalised populace, but it’s still there.
It’s hard to stay in that space though. I keep having thoughts along the lines of “I should totally ask her out.” I can never work out why, though. Why should I ask her out?
And there isn’t a single reason that comes from in me. I don’t even know what answer I’d want from her. It just feels like the norm. “oh look, pretty girl, you like her, ask her out.”
I don’t get the need to add a label. And what I’m slowly realising is that what I have with Dutchy is what I’d like with many people (although, I’d prefer it if sex and lips and tongues and feet slipped into those relations).
She does not make me happy, but I can create happiness with her. Just like I can with Porsches and writing and whisky and math and drifting and books, though to a more complicated degree. And that’s what I want: people with whom I can create happiness – who preferably have sexy feet.

Indescribable

The car trip felt inescapably long.

I sat in the back, tensely watching traffic. We couldn’t be late. I wondered if we had enough time – I didn’t want us to get there too early, waiting was not an option. I surreptitiously withdrew my phone, patiently feeding it information, agonising over its delays as I waited for it to tell me how long the trip would take. I tried to keep it quiet in the deathly silent car.

“Head East.” said my phone, the strong, feminine voice making all four of us jump.

The silence broken, people rushed to fill it. And they aimed their questions at me.

I couldn’t cope with it. I was unravelling, these questions were inane, irrelevant, I couldn’t handle them. My answers were snapped off, my tolerance extended by the situation we sat in. Eventually, the silence returned.

We arrived early.

We filtered out of the two cars, one member at a time. We stood for a fragile moment in the dirt-packed car park, and then strode off.

Dad lead – fitting given the scenario. He held mom’s hand. He wore his darkly handsome suit.

My sister, her boyfriend supporting at a brief distance followed.

Me and my brother dragged out the rear.

Shame simply flooded me. Given our location, our dress, the way we walked, every person who passed us by knew where we were going. I dared not look for the condemnation in their eyes – I was too scared of finding compassion.

We marched down the road, stopping only to wait for the traffic light. As we waited for the little red man to change his mind, as other marchers ignored him and simply walked by, as police officers broke stride only to check for cars, I realised how ironically legal our waiting was.

He changed. We walked. We turned right and marched quickly into Manukau District Court.

We found a computer screen with the fifth page of today’s court displayed. We surveyed the waiting data, finding it wanting, and waited patiently for it to change. Page one flickered into being, A brief perusal revealing yet more wasteful data.

An indefinable amount of time passed. The screen flickered again. Eagerly, our eyes rasped across the names, disappointment and frustration dulling our senses. We waited. Finally, screen three, and there, a third of the way down, our surname, dad’s name. Court Room 8.

The simple signs dictated our direction. As one, the six of us turned and headed for the stairs.

My steps rang through the vacant foyer, every second step muffled. Petrified of setting off the metal detector, I’d removed a safety-pin that had hiked the hem of my jeans off the ground. Now, the hem frayed beneath my left leg, stifling the loud clap of shoe on tile.

With each step, a small realisation whispered through me.

Whatever happened, whatever came today, I couldn’t – wouldn’t – face it with my head aimed at the ground. Doubtless, I’d cry. Doubtless, emotions would fail to be described. I couldn’t change that. But what I could change was how I stood. Was how I looked. Was how I strode.

I raised my head and rolled my shoulders, a familiar strut sliding into my steps. I straightened my lips and unclenched my fists and looked at the five people around me.

We’re all so beautifully weak.

Cracked lines of support run from member to member; a little glance here, a touch there, a sniff here, a smile there. Little ways of letting each other know “I feel it too.”

We settled onto benches beside the court room doors. And began to wait.

The sentencing was supposed to start at 9. For reasons known best as “technicalities”, it was delayed till ten. For just short of an hour, we sat on those seats and watched as the court-house filled up around us.

People passed in varying states of dress, decorum and drunkenness, the first and last seemingly synonymous. We watched in complete befuddlement as a squat little lawyer of a man stumbled by, following an ellipse only he could see as he muttered loudly about how no one ever bothered to tell him where he was meant to be. He stumbled haphazardly into a court room, then burst back out, cavorting toward some other, distant room, his mutterings profane.

Police officers bedecked in smartly useless suits appeared and huddled, forcing laughter as nervousness showed. I don’t know what they were doing, but some were young, barely new recruits. They seemed more scared than me. Lawyers dazzled by, proclaiming loudly for their customers or targets, disappearing in a swirl of black tails. An official stumped up and down the path, demanding tetchily that people remove caps and glasses.

We talked. I don’t know how, but we talked and we laughed and we turned that time from treacle to honey as it oozed by. And finally, he was summoned.

We wouldn’t have stood faster if lightning the chairs. We convened by the doors, and he turned with reddened eyes and grabbed us one by one for a hug “Just in case.”

With each hug, he left words and imprints. Mom. Sister. Me.

“Stay strong. Look after them for me.”

And I let go. A rush of anger, of hatred, of selfishness, of remembered words, of broken spirits, of defiance, of loss, of pain, of acceptance blazed through me and I turned away, knowing my mouth contorted out of sight. Why must I pay for the crimes you commit? What about me?

We walk in to a scene vaguely reminiscent of tv.

We take our seats. On the other side sit the victim and his lawyer.

My dad is angry with him. Blames him for what happened. But I’ve read his victim impact statement. I’ve stolen glances at documents secreted away. I know where blame solely lies. And I feel so sorry for him.

I’ve imagined over the past few nights what would happen when I see him. Loyalty might seem to demand aggression, a belief that his actions caused us to be here. Whilst true, his actions are a reaction. He hasn’t done this against us. He’s done this for him. And given what dad has put him through, I cannot blame him.

And as I watch his reflection in the corner of my eye, I know that I want to tell him I’m sorry. Whatever happens, I want to talk to him and tell him I am so, so, so sorry for what dad has done.

And here begins the sentencing.

God it’s tedious. TV series imply that lawyers are eloquent, smart, dazzling and loud. But this one ums more than stutterers in the rain, engages in silences that I swear are meditations and unambiguously details the fraud my father committed. He lays out, in no uncertain terms, the states legal response: for a crime of this nature: 4 to 5 years. Finally he sits down.

And now, our rebuff. A rebuff that is more hesitant, a rebuff that screws up one vital and meaningless fact, a rebuff that pleads “look not at the crime, but the bigger picture.” And he too sits down.

Behind him, before us, in his smart black suits, my father stands. He does not shake. His left hand clenches and relaxes, I see a twitch race down his right arm. Beside me, my mother sniffs, tears breaking free. I’m crying too.

The judge is a kind looking man. Headmaster, perhaps, of an old English Christian boarding house. He shuffles papers and with a posh lilt I can’t place, begins to summarise.

I don’t want to listen, I want it to be over – please let it be over, I’m so tired of waiting, I’m so tired of delays, I’m so tired of not knowing, I’m so tired of this purgatory, I’m so tired of feeling guilty for something I didn’t do – but once it’s over it can’t be changed, until it’s said anything is possible, please don’t end, keep talking, so long as you talk my father is free.

“…and, in accordance with what the Appeal Court has decided in similar cases, I must sentence you to prison. As [first lawyer] says, this should be a term of four to five years…”

Before him, the judges aid scrambles for her phone. I can’t watch. Her low voice murmurs across the room. She hangs up. A few seconds pass as the judge details what reductions he can make. There’s the sound of running footsteps, a key scraping a lock, and a door is flung open.

A policewoman bursts through. I can’t bear to look, but my soaking eyes are drawn. She is pretty. She glances rapidly around, surmises the situation and realises she disturbed the peace. Mortification reddens her face and she sinks into a seat, the handcuffs clinking merrily.

“…and so I sentence you to three years and eight months imprisonment.”

The rest is just noise.

I rise as requested. My father turns and looks my mother in the eyes and mouths “I’m sorry.” And all I can think is “I love you.”

Somehow, we’re downstairs. We’re waiting for the lawyer. We’re all crying, we’re all shocked, we’re all broken. I look up the stairs and I see the victim, laughing with his lawyer. Hot, unfair rage floods me and i blink it away. I need to talk to him. I need to say sorry.

But I need to phone Someone first. Sick and fevered, she couldn’t be with us in more than thought. I walk out to the atrium, gulping fresh air. I tap on my phone, Her blurred name appearing. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a handshake and a body move toward the stairs. I press her name and my phone freezes. Angrily, I tap it again. He’s coming down the stairs quickly, and my phone won’t connect, it won’t let me select Her name, come on you stupid thing I need to tell Her but fuck I need to talk to him.

I take a step toward the doors he’s about to walk through, my focus still on my phone, but what do I say what if he’s angry with me what if he blames me No I can’t I can’t risk it I’ll talk to him another day I need to phone Someone I need her right now and this stupid fucking phone won’t fucking connect and his hand is on my shoulder.

“Gareth, I…”

I don’t know what he said. I honestly do not recall it. But compassion, pain, sorrow, support blazed out of his eyes and I was humbled by this man, by this man whose wife cooked us macaroni cheese and pretended to ignore me as I surreptitiously moved my least favourite meal out of my way, who gave my dad a job on just one interview, who would come and talk to me when I visited dad at work, who made dad go home when he worked too late, this man who has been completely ruined by my father is making sure that I’m ok.

I gather my wits. I take in a breath as I see my mom stand and head toward us. I hold out my hand and I apologise for what my dad has done. I tell him how sorry I am. And then mom is there, and she’s repeating me, and he’s hugging her, and telling her how the people who knew her are thinking of her and are there to support her.

And then he is gone.

I turn and look back at my phone. My favourite name is highlighted. Finally, it calls her. It rings. I walk to a pillar. It rings again. My eyes have a puncture. It rings again. My body is shaking. It rings again. I lean against the pillar. She answers.

And I can’t say a single thing.

$1000 flight

My car has an unsightly dent in its face.

It’s quite distinctive now. You can see people dismiss it the moment they see it – unless the lights are on. Pop up lights are fucking awesome.

I discovered recently that – for some unbeknownst reason – the value of a Mazda Astina has risen. Every other car I’ve been looking at has dropped over the last two months. The Astina has gone from an average $1400 to an average $1600.

I could fix my car and sell it for a resulting $1000. Which, as I discovered on Sunday night, is more than enough for a one way ticket to the UK, leaving next Wednesday.

I dislike stuff and clutter. Some of it is necessary. But, if I were to leave, I could sell it all fast. Easily. Not perhaps for an accurate value, but for something. Enough, totaled, for a base in the UK.

A fresh start. A new beginning. To no longer deal with all this crap. To simply say “This is no longer my problem, bye bye.”

To no longer have nights substituting crap games and bbw porn for intimacy and sleep. To no longer wake and long for sleep. To no longer spend evenings knowing one drink would calm me, but one drink won’t end. To no longer fall asleep, exhausted, with wet pillows and twisted blankets.

To spend days smiling, not hiding fears and worries and regrets and anger. To write without wrestling words away from their emotions. To work without calculating how much exactly I can actually use.

When told, Someone simply stated “Well go. You have nothing stopping you.”

But there is something stopping me: Me.

I can’t run away from problems.

Not simply because running away never works. Not simply because it’ll make bigger problems. Not simply because the easiest solution is seldom the best.

But because I couldn’t be me if I did.

To run away and “start afresh” would have one intention: finding myself. Losing myself in order to find me is rather circular and a waste of time. Ultimately, 5 years down the line, I’ll be in a similar situation facing similar problems with similar escapes. The only difference: It’ll be five years too late.

I’ve been told I’m “too soft”. I think I’ve been told that so many times it might make a good tattoo – strategically placed. I’m too soft, apparently, because I’ll keep taking shit from people and just deal with it. Or, try to. When there’s little but shit my way it becomes a bit difficult to deal with it all – one pile at a time please. It makes it hard to see sexy people too.

This is something I distinctly dislike about myself. And yet it’s been something that’s true of me for a little over 25 years. Every time I try to change it, it ends up rearing it’s head in another, sneaky way.

I realise now it’s because I can’t be me if I’m not…accepting? Perhaps that is a better phrase than “too soft”.

Happiness is often linked to selfishness – “You can’t be happy if you don’t look after yourself.” I completely agree with that – “me first” is an ideal required to be your best. I add to it though.

Instead of simply saying “Do what makes you happy”, I tell myself “Do what makes you happy without impairing others’ happiness.”

It switches the focus. Instead of an immediate, almost gratuitous, happiness, it looks at a long-term happiness – a happiness that supersedes the current time and plans for tomorrow.

A friend told me – and I’ve mentioned this before – that “you can’t find happiness. It doesn’t exist as a place or object. You need to make it. Create Happiness.”

Like any creative work, it doesn’t happen overnight. It isn’t easy. You don’t (or at least, I don’t) create a book by starting with a book.

I start with an idea. A story. The plan, the overview. A bit of research takes place, attempting to find places where I might encounter problems.

That’s the easy bit. There’s still no book.

Then the writing begins. At first it seems easy: x number of words? Simple. You just press 6x keys. At y keys an hour, that’ll only take 6x/y hours and then the book is done!

But no.

Because the words have to come from somewhere. They have to be carefully extracted from the contents of your thoughts, stripped of personal emotion and sewn into a volatile narrative.

And hell, that hurts. But finally, you’re done. There is a story, written down with your words. It’s wonderful. Masterful.

But just a draft.

Editing is worse. Editing is reading over your scars and deciding that they don’t add to the story, so they have to go. Editing is finding a scene that dripped down your face as you wrote and finding it lacking in emotion.

Editing is what finally makes a novel worth reading.

But you’re still not done.

There’s cover design, beta reading, publicising, re-editing, re-researching…it begins to feel like there is no such thing as an end. Bookshops, libraries and authors in Porsches prove otherwise.

But there is no ending to happiness. There is no point where you stop and say “Wow! I’m happy! I can’t stop now.”

You simply have to carry on.

The first step isn’t the easiest. The first step is looking at yourself and saying “Hey, I love you.With all your faults and idiosyncrasies. I think you’re awesome, just the way you are – and no one knows you better than me.”

And I can’t take that step with a $1000 ticket. I can’t take that step by running away. I take that step by stopping, turning, taking another blow on the cheek and knowing I’m going to be ok.

———

A post really worth reading: 30 things to  stop doing to yourself.

 

(Also: this has got to be the first post ever to mention bbws, cars, math and writing)

My Lesson

Blessings aren’t few and far in between.

I’m feeling – these days – that everything is coming to a head. Everything is simmering, it’s about to boil. A hugely complicated chapter in my life is – hopefully – coming to a close next week. It’s been the most trying and character-building period of my life, and I appreciate it. I’ll be so happy to see the back of it though.

I have only 10 000 words to edit of my first full novel. That’s super exciting. I’m nervous of it: I don’t know if the story is good or shit.They only way to find that out is to get people to read the book. So tomorrow or Wednesday…there’ll be a new book out for people to read.

My perspective of jobs has also changed. I’ve done some diverse things – sales, deliveries, software development, tutoring, retail – and I feel that whatever comes next is going to be iconic. In terms of my little life, that is. I don’t know what it will be, but I believe it’ll be Vital when I look back – regardless of what it is.

I realised recently my current friendships are almost all the best and longest I’ve ever had. It is humbling to realise how long I’ve been in people’s lives – people who care about and love me. It’s a foundation I can rely upon – and they’re friendships I can build upon. I’m truly blessed to have them.

My family, too, is fairly special. My brother and sister have bought tickets to travel in the middle of the year. I’m jealously excited for them. It’s super cool they get to go, it’s even cooler to realise how much they’ve worked for it. My mom is, of course, my mother: understandably arrogant. My dad is…incredible. Over the last few months I’ve seen such a powerful change come across him. He’s a different person and I love it. I’ve always been proud of him: never more than now.

I love reflecting on how many cars I’ve owned or driven. I’m driving a basic shitbox at the moment and I love it for it’s raw uselessness. It’s a car in it’s simplest disguise and you don’t simply sit and relax: you drive it or you crash. It makes me long for more cars – not better cars. Cars with the same characteristic, cars that make you drive them, cars that aren’t simply show pieces, cars that are proud to be cars.

There’s one aspect of my life that – alone – I could consider a blessing worth anything.

I could quite happily spill all of the little details that make Someone so truly special to me, but I think I’ll cheapen them all if I do that. To put it quite simply: I fought for us because I believed She’s worth it. I thought I’d have to make all the effort to make us work because She’s struggling with life. And She turned around and has made more effort than even I could expect of Her.

She is simply wonderful to me. Everything we’ve been through becomes worthwhile when I consider She’s with me.

And that’s it really: things have been crap for so very long. It’s made me stronger and more fragile, it’s made me a better me and it’s made me a worse me. But finally, I feel like things are getting better. And I don’t by that mean that good things are going to happen: I mean that whatever happens, I feel like I can make the very best out of it.

And that’s a lesson only I could teach me.