The memory box

Folding the letter she gently smoothed the sheet of paper under her fingers feeling beneath them dryness of age that had affected it. Eyes too poor to read it now, nevertheless she knew every word by heart having devoured it so often over the years, now carefully stored with so many others and only now seeing light of day.

HARRY!

Closing her eyes his face flashed into her mind, hazy now as she struggled after so long to keep his features sharp and clear, she was losing him to time she knew that and the thought made her smile sadly. So long ago yet brief moments of clarity would invade her thoughts, his smile cutting through the fog and making it seem like only yesterday and then he was gone again leaving her with only these tangible memories. 

Sighing softly she replaced the pages into the large carved wooden box, fingers brushing a small packet as she did so drawing it slowly towards her before cupping it gently in her wrinkled palms and clasping it to her chest.  ‘Not long my love’ she thought to herself ‘Soon, it shall be soon’

Leaving the packet unopened she returned it quickly to the box, thrusting it inside as guilt burned and she slightly afraid of being discovered although she knew she would not be, nobody came any more. A splash of bright colour caught her eye and she reached towards a garish painted picture of a child’s hand with crude scrawl underneath depicting the artist’s name.

Ella.

Another smile, eyes warming briefly before the light quickly faded, no Ella was long gone and this just yet another memory of things come and gone in her many years of being. Sadness less sharp as each year went by panged momentarily before she dismissed it and returned the picture to lie back along its fellow inhabitants of the cluttered old box. 

Her worn gaze swept over the small grizzled teddy bear and the beribboned letters, oh she had been so popular in her day with her many suitors all begging for a smile, a glance, some sign of recognition from her but almost from the first she had only had eyes for him. Sweeping an errant lock of hair from her forehead she leaned further over the box disturbing the contents in her hunt for the one thing she sought. She needed to find it, to bring him close again before her failing mind refused to remember what she was looking for and left her in that absent place where nothing mattered any more. 

There! There it was.  Her heart leapt as she found the one thing she wanted and fingers rapidly cleared the dust from the front of the small framed picture. Lovingly she gazed at the sun bleached photograph, yellow with age, showing a young couple smiling shyly at each other.He resplendent in some bygone uniform showing duty to his country and she delicately pretty in florals and lace, bonnet trailing from fingers gently clasped between his.

Harry.

Even as she gazed the fog came and eyes clouded over, picture already forgotten falling into her lap and memories of him vanishing like mist in the sun. In the shadows of the room a figure waited, brass buttons shining on a uniform of old, boyish face echoing the love reflected earlier on hers. He could wait, he’d waited such a long time that a little longer would not hurt. 

‘Soon my love’ he smiled ‘ i shall see you soon’ 

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Be my Valentine

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Valentines day.

Love it or loathe it, you can hardly avoid it in todays consumerist society. Dash off to the supermarket for a much needed pint of milk and you are assaulted by an array of nauseating pink and red hearts and overly priced greetings cards gushing about how much the intended other means to you. Totally at contrast to the other 364 days of the year when many are infact bickering and hurling abuse at each other, totally forgetting that the previous day they had been besottedly ‘in love’. I expect you think i sound very bitter and cynical dont you? Further still i bet you think im single right? 

Wrong..i am infact very much taken and i wasn’t always so scathing as perhaps i sound now. 

As a much younger girl and then a woman i was very much as you might expect. I believed firmly in love and romance and Valentines day was a crushing event indeed if some token of someones affection did not sail its cupid assisted way to me. With a head full of romance and the ideal that some smitten male adonis was going to sweep me off my feet and declare undying love for me i looked very much forward to the national day of love. Sometimes those tokens did come my way, often from those persons i in fact did NOT wish them to be from leaving both parties regretful and devastated. Many an unfortunate friendship spoiled as my blinkered eyes had failed to see that, at least on the males part, it had not infact been friendship at all. Still i waited, head firmly in the likes of a Pride and Prejudice novel for my Mr Darcy or his like counterpart to fall head over heels for me as the novels suggested were so. Because that, of course, is exactly how it happens.

I waited.

I read.

I dreamed.

I waited some more.

Like anything unused after a while the ideal was becoming a little tarnished. My own choices or non choices were turning out to be far from the princes of my dreams and the idea that perhaps romantic novels were infact just stories after all slowly began to creep in. Rather like when a child discovers that infact there is no such thing as Santa Claus i was at first reluctant to believe it at all and then inconsolably desolate in the way only one with crushed dreams can be. Life infact had not turned out as i had expected and poor choices on my own part left me with only a perfect life in books to escape to. Escape i did as i lived the many lives of the heroines within. Many times i experienced the sweeping love and the crashing lows of some turbulently passionate relationship that i know by now i could only dream of.  

Reality has a way of returning though and even as i try not to let it cloud my optimism, i have grown accustomed to the true existence or not of romance. My thinking has been adjusted from the consumerist and literary ideals of it and have settled into a more pragmatic approach. Perhaps sometimes it is possible to set your dreams too high and spend your life forever being disappointed. Is it then more sensible to lower those expectations and perhaps have some chance of actually meeting them. As i said i expect you imagine me single. Some bitter old maid, so often spurned in love and doomed to a life of nostalgic regret. I am infact far from it and am blessed with a wonderful partner who although totally unromantic does not love me any the less for it, nor i he. I do not expect flowers from him and we have often joked that should he ever give me them i should instantly be suspicious and demand to know what he had done wrong that he was trying to make reparation for. He however does not find it easy to express feelings so those little moments when he does are so very precious, much more so than if they were freely forthcoming. Again this affords the chance for the unexpected, when some little comment or unanticipated gesture has rendered me speechless or emotional. My small but precious hoard of these is jealously guarded and much valued for what they lack in number they make up for in feeling. 

Valentines day. Yes although i admit even in the recent past to having felt a twinge of jealousy as some lovestruck gentleman goes bounding towards his lady love clutching roses, i am a realist with the wiseness and fortitude to be grateful for that which i have rather than longing for that which i dont. As a rather surprised looking bear smiles in my direction from the corner of my room a happy memory obliterates any thought of roses and chocolates to be replaced with another more recent and of much more value. Yes i hate valentines day, i loathe it with a passion and never again will i subscribe to the enforced falsity of it. Think me cynical if you will for i shall not mind a bit. Instead i shall content myself with a memory of brown eyes smiling into mine in some rare unexpected tender moment or of a furry little face emerging from a box causing such a rush of emotion from me as to bring forth tears. 

So as on any other year there will be those who are disappointed. Some with desperately watch the letter boxes hoping for some sign that their partner ‘Loves’ them. Each knock at the door will be met with the anticiaption of flowers or some gift to demonstrate the love or affection of their significant other. Some will be rewarded and bask in the joy of feeling loved, whilst some will be left bereft as no gift is forthcoming leaving them feeling unloved and unwanted. I cannot ever promise myself that i shall never feel unloved again, the future is never certain. What i an be sure of however is that never will it be the result of an empty handed postman. I am sure my boyfriend will surprise me one day when i am least expecting it as he frequently does. Some word or deed guaranteed to make me smile as he has in the past. But not on February 14th when he is ‘supposed and expected’ to. Never then. 

Valentines day…………… no thank you!

Austen-tatious

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I know myself to be far from alone this weekend being totally immersed in the screening of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, sighing wistfully as the knee weakening Mr Darcy bestows on the most beautiful Elizabeth Bennet ‘THE look’  A tale much loved by me in both literary form and the visual adaptations which duly followed, i find myself drawn once again into the romance and propriety of Austen’s world with all the ease of donning a favourite cosy cardigan. I am a most old fashioned girl in all things pertaining to matters of the heart but also find great appeal in such decorum and wealth of manners and believe i should have felt most at home in this earlier period of time. Oh how very wonderful to be wooed by some dashingly handsome man emanating respect and to be duly afforded such correct behaviour as was my right. So very far removed from most gentlemen of my acquaintance today, and i hesitate to call them gentlemen, who are more likely with great ribaldry to request that i display some area of my anatomy for the entertainment of all present. So appealing too, those so articulate and eloquent, an art which these days i find is very much on the decline and the talent of conversation and wit is severely lacking in all but a few. Perhaps i move in the wrong circles having neither connection nor fortune to move in a society above my own but this does not prevent me from longing for the stimulation of intelligence and decorum that seems doomed to be lost in a bygone age. Little wonder women the world around sigh disconsolately and  take solace in a world so very far removed from our own. And forgive me if, just for a short while, i  join the ranks and submit to the smoulderingly charismatic charms of the irrepressible Mr Darcy.

True Romance

Anyone who knows me will know that i am really not one to take particular notice of events in the media but today one particular story really did catch my eye. A Canadian dentist named Sandy Crocker has travelled 8,000km to try and track down a young woman he  met for just two minutes ( yes you read that right) last summer. The lovestruck Mr Crocker was holidaying last year in the beautiful Irish town of Ennistymon when he spotted the Irish beauty at a cafe where he and his brother stopped for lunch.

Not wanting to interrupt her meal he waited until she had finished eating before approaching her and asking directions to the local cliffs but did not pursue the matter further since he was leaving town the next day. However it seems Cupid had other plans for our handsome dentist and after her departure the arrow struck home leaving him changing his mind and desperately needing to find her. In true romantic hero style he and his brother desperately searched the town and cliffs but could find no trace of the woman who had captured his heart. I defy any woman not to melt at the thought of making that much of an impression upon a man, for don’t we all wish we could?

Back home it seems Cupid really was not wiling to let this one go and our poor hero could not get his princess out of his thoughts, so much so that he decided upon a whim to remake that eventful journey and try once again to find her. Our gallant hero does not even know the name of his lady and has only the description of ‘mid to late 20’s, freckles and reddish brown hair’  but is determined to give himself every chance to find her. 

So as the world holds its breath and waits to see what fate has in store for the smitten Canadian you cannot help but wish for a happy ending and hope that he does indeed find the woman for whom he went to so much effort. It seems in this case at least there is such a thing as love at first sight and romance is definitely not dead. Definitely the stuff of romance novels and surely the utmost in compliments, i for one will definitely have my fingers crossed. I would not be so much of a woman if i were not so easily swept away by a little bit of true romance.

Sandy Crocker may you find your girl.

Sweep me off my feet

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Alas the dating love boat has been sailing on by without me lately. Mainly due to me for i confess i haven’t really had the enthusiasm to weed the odd potential out from amongst the ‘oh no’s’  and have pretty much avoided answering any messages sent my way. Yes i guess i do feel slightly guilty and a little bit bad mannered which really isn’t my way but any desire to chat with faceless romeos has drained away somewhat more rapidly than i expected.

I have replied to the odd one or two, more in a friendly fashion than anything else and on some whim responded to a wink from a very cute looking soldier which i wouldn’t usually do. Okay i’m strange, uniforms really don’t do that much for me. Sure they’re smart and can make a guy look good but thats it i’m afraid, you wont see me running alongside the nearest fire engine screaming help i need resuscitating!  

Some time later amid all the chat he says to me ”So do you want to be swept off your feet?”   I blinked in surprise at that, i’ve never been asked it before. Guys are usually inclined to be the sweep you off your feet kind or as in most cases they aren’t.  The question actually threw me and i sat and pondered for a while, did i want to be swept off my feet?? I’m not easily impressed i’m too practical and logical for that but it can be done and as i sat and thought about it realisation dawned. YES!! actually you know what, i do want to be swept off my feet. Just for a change i think it might be nice! Although best of luck to you if you’re bold enough to try!

This is in itself a big surprise for as much as i’m a girl (obviously) and really soppy deep down when it comes to the whole true love thing, i’m also quite a strong character and the idea of someone else being in control in a good way was novel but mildly appealing. Perhaps i am guilty of being so disillusioned with love itself that all notions of romance have long since been torn up and thrown onto the fire. Then of course as is my way i set to analysing, what exactly does being swept off your feet entail? Flowers? waste of money they only die, Chocolate? i’m on a diet….you see the problem? 

Perhaps the truth is i’m looking for someone to be a little more inventive than that, things don’t always have to cost money but something that says they know you and thought about you is far more appealing than off handedly bought chocolates that they felt obliged to buy because tradition dictated they should. Hmmmmm i guess it really intrigues me how those few truly romantic passionate natured men really view love and just what is their idea of sweeping a girl off her feet. Well as the years roll by i confess i am still yet to discover but perhaps there is potential yet. 

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                       We shall see!!

once upon a time

ImageAfter becoming embroiled in the intrigue and mystery of the dating game i wonder if perhaps this is all for me, frequently finding myself disappointed or left in an uncertain state of mind which suits me not at all. I wonder perhaps if my expectations are too high, from a child having loved the whimsy and unabashed romance of fairy tales and quite happily believed in ever after and true loves kiss. Now perhaps as i grew older i came to realise that princes did not after all come from foreign lands to scale the walls of my castle, take one look and beg me to be their princess forever, nor yet did they appear under my window singing love songs sure to draw the attention of neighbours for miles around but yes i still had a belief in happily ever afters and being swept off my feet. Later post fairytale years as a female i have to admit the milk tray man did little to dispel this unshakeable belief and like millions of other women waited with baited breath for some handsome man to vault through my window bearing chocolate. So as the years rolled by and potential princes were proved to be frogs i guess this lady began to wonder how much truth there is in fairy tales after all and am i perhaps too old and maybe a little naive for wanting that after all. And i guess things just arent working out just the way i thought it would, not even a prince in training on the horizon and as for being swept of my feet well i think my only chances of that lie in the path of a force 10 gale. I wonder if men know how to be romantic any more or is it some outdated notion long since left in the pages of a Jane Austen novel with the brooding but irresistible Mr Darcy and the beautiful captivating miss Elizabeth Bennet.  So i optimistically vow to try so very hard not to be disappointed if my date doesnt gaze lingeringly into my eyes and be so very reluctant to leave my company and stand in amongst a sea of frogs just waiting for the one thats just that little bit special 

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