All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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Ten positive memories…

After the darkness and depression of yesterday, I’m due some happiness. So brace yourselves for another installment of the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge. Today, we take a look back at some of the happy memories scattered throughout my life! :)

1. Licking the bowl

Some of my favourite memories in life revolve around licking the bowl. Is there anything better in life than being handed the dregs of a cake mix and being allowed to spoon the sugary, doughy mixture into your mouth? Whenever my mum or dad made a cake when I was younger, I was the first of us siblings in line to munch on the remnants of whatever recipe was being made. And nine times out of ten, it tasted better than the actual end product!

1981 licking the bowl

A young Addy, loving every second of his cake mixture munching! :p

2. This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time…

It had been a particular brutal and boring day at the North of Scotland Water Authority. I’d been working there for several weeks as a general office dogsbody. I hated the work. I hated the boring monotony of it. As the day drew to a close I decided I needed to end it with some excitement, with some happiness, before doing it all again the following day.

So after finishing work I walked the three miles to the nearest cinema where I chose to watch the film Fight Club. It felt strange watching such a film wearing a suit and tie, but as the movie progressed, I became spellbound. I didn’t care about what I was wearing or the banality of my pointless existence. I cared only about the story that was unfolding before me. When the movie finished I left the cinema dumbstruck. I walked back to the hostel that night in awe of what I had witnessed; the greatest piece of cinema that has ever been made.

3. Why does it always have to be snakes?

One of the happiest periods of my life were the three months I spent traveling the length and breadth of Canada. From May 2000 to August 2000, via VIA rail, I journeyed from Vancouver to Halifax to Vancouver to Montreal, having all manner of adventures and escapades along the way. Featuring heavily in these escapades was Annie, one of the brightest and most loveable human beings I’ve ever encountered. We met one balmy evening in the Rocky Mountain town of Jasper and became firm friends.

For a week we trekked, drove and swam our way around the various locations that made up this stunning part of the world. We boated on a crystalline lake, we bathed our troubles away in hot springs and, on one occasion, threw ourselves into a lake only to find some snakes enjoying their own dip in the water. They startled us, but fortunately, didn’t attack us. It was remarkable fun, hanging out with Annie, hours spent laughing, smiling and cajoling our way through waves of happiness. When the time came to part, it was painful, but inevitable, for nothing can last forever.

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Annie and I, moments before we discovered snakes in the water! :)

However, a month later, I decided to spend six days straight on a train in order to journey back to Vancouver to spend more time with her. It would be truthful to say that this was partly because I had fallen head over heals in love with her, but true to form, didn’t act on my desire because I found out she had a boyfriend. Such heartache, however, didn’t stop us from having fun. For seven days we tore up Vancouver. Relishing the Vancouver Folk Festival whilst sitting on a beach at sunset. Hurling seaweed at each other as we basked in the ocean. Hiking the stunning, breathtaking, Garibaldi Lake trail at Whistler and playfully threatening each other with spankings if our behaviour descended into mischievous territory.

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Annie and I; posing like the awesome pair we were at Garibaldi Lake! :)

I will never forget my time with Annie in Canada. She turned my vacation from spectacular to special and I will never forget the friendship we had.

4. Parental leave

I had been in Australia for two years. It was weird, being so far apart from my family, so when my mother and father decided to come for a visit, I was over the moon. I promptly organised for three weeks off work so I could spend as much time with them as possible.

We visited Melbourne Zoo, where my mum fell in love with the wombats and koalas. We visited the aquarium, where we all fell in love with the octopi and sea horses. With my girlfriend, Louise, behind the wheel of the car we traveled across Victoria; taking in the Great Ocean Road, Port Fairy, Halls Gap, the Grampians and Daylesford. We went for a two-day sojourn to the island of Port Fairy where we saw more koalas than you could shake a stick at and marveled at the gorgeous Fairy Penguins who come home to roost, night after night.

For three long weeks I relished the chance to be with my parents again and it showed. They informed me that they had never seen me so happy. And at that point they were right. Things were working in my life. My relationship was strong, my job enjoyable and I had been granted the opportunity to show my parents around my adoptive home. It was happiness personified, those three blissful weeks.

5. Babe, I’m on fire…

This list wouldn’t be complete without the delectable Samantha. She whom I spanked in Adelaide. She whom I spanked even harder in Glasgow. But don’t worry, she was a kinky wee thing and loved every second of her butt roasting sessions. However much I loved our time together in Adelaide, my mania riddled mind means I don’t remember it very clearly. But I remember every second of our time together in Glasgow. I remember the one liners and sarcasm that flowed freely from her mind. I remember the atrocious karaoke session to Common People. I remember her obscure way of eating Sausage and Egg McMuffins. I remember how utterly peaceful and serene it was curling up on a hotel bed to watch My Neighbor Totoro together. And I remember with crystal clarity, the fifteen minutes I spent fulfilling her lifelong fantasy to the score of Nick Cave’s seminal Babe, I’m on Fire. Which is, without question, one of the happiest fifteen minutes of my life! :D

6. The Stornoway Way

I had never been to the Western Isles before. During the months I had spent backpacking around the country this particular district of Scotland had evaded me. So when Deborah and Elle invited me to travel with them when we decided to leave the hostel that we’d been long-terming at, I jumped at the chance to visit this beautiful, rugged and inspirational part of Scotland.

We rose early one day to catch the bus from Inverness to Ullapool, where we hopped on a ferry that carried us across the Sound to the port of Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis. The hostel we checked ourselves into turned out to be a stinking dive, so a group decision resulted in us finding B&B accommodation for the second night of our stay.

We spent the second day of our adventure touring around the Isle of Lewis. Visiting the Butt of Lewis. Feeling awe-inspired by the Callanish Standing Stones and generally falling in love with this neck of the world. I loved Deborah and Elle. Not love as in sexual love. But love as in friendship love. They made me a better man. They made me like myself. And I don’t think they ever really knew of how deeply and firmly I cared for them. But they knew they made me happy. That was impossible to hide!

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Deborah, Elle and I; larking about in a Stornoway B&B! :)

7. A Link to the Past

I don’t have many happy memories of my teenage years. They were a particularly brutal, unforgiving and morose time. But I do remember with tremendous fondness the days I spent playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past with Meadhbh by my side. We both relished exploring the world of Hyrule, rescuing the princess and saving the land from the machinations of Ganondorf, so much so, that we replayed it almost instantly.

It was the first time I had played a Zelda game and it began a lifelong love and fascination with this stellar video game series. To this day, Meadhbh and I play at least one Zelda game a year. Reliving those heady days of old where we had nothing to worry about bar what minion was going to attack us next! :)

8. Elephant Love Medley…

People think I enjoyed managing the backpacker hostel I was once in charge of. To some degree, I did, but it was never what I wanted to spend my life doing, and as such, I spent a large portion of that period of my life seriously depressed and borderline suicidal. However, the leaving party that marked the end of my tenure in charge is one of the happier occasions that occurred during that period.

Myself, my trusty crew of employees and several special guests from head office, gathered in the hostel’s back gardens for an evening of sausage sizzles, music and merriment. I danced like a diva to Britney’s Oops, I Did It Again. I made a fool of myself during the (expected) leaving speech. I sung a killer duet of Elephant Love Medley with Grace. However much Kathy, and her subsequent abuse, has tainted my memories of that time, she will never take from me the awesomeness of that night. The smiles, for a change, were genuine.

leavingparty

Grace, Kathy and I; impressionism style! :)

9. I am come home!

After six long years baking in the unforgiving Australian sun, I returned home to the UK in January 2008. It was a return borne out of necessity. My time in Australia had descended into a pit of mental illness, loneliness, poverty, homelessness and chaos. I needed the warmth of the UK winter to soothe my soul and renew my vitality to keep fighting this crazy little thing called life. After weeks of living in my parents house I decided the time had come to return to Scotland; the country where my heart lies. I sold my possessions like a crazy Ebay obsessed person in order to afford the two weeks I wanted and, on 14 February 2008, boarded a plane at Bristol airport to fly me to Glasgow, where I would catch a train to Fort William.

This is the second blog video I made during my trip to Scotland in 2008. The first can be viewed here.

The two weeks I spent travelling my old haunts (Fort William, Glen Nevis, the Small Isles, Loch Ness, Drumnadrochit, Inverness and Stirling) were manna from heaven. They were exactly what my ravaged, lonely soul needed. For fourteen days I walked the glens, explored the festivals and threw myself back into Scottish culture. I let the music of the nation soothe my soul and the literature of the country warm my heart. Being back in Scotland, after so many years apart, felt perfect. It has, and will always be, my home. And even though we’re apart once again, I know deep down I will return there one day. It is a source of tremendous happiness, serenity and inspiration; and it will live on in my heart forever.

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and

10. Mummy and baby…

There weren’t many happy times during my homelessness years. It was a constant battle to survive each day, so there really wasn’t much time or opportunity to crack a smile and enjoy life. But amidst the pain and torment, there were moments, moments that thrilled me, moments that made me giggle, moments that reminded me that we must always seek out the joy in life.

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Mummy and baby possum

One such moment occurred late one night as I was bedding down in my park. Out the corner of my eye I spied something moving, and sat back to watch a mother possum with her baby nonchalantly roaming through the undergrowth, seeking out tasty grass to nibble on. I watched that possum for nearly twenty minutes, merrily going about its business with scant regard for the smelly, bearded man sitting a few metres away.

~ All photographs in this post are © Addy Lake ~

~ You can read thirteen more of my happy memories here ~


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Unsent Letter #8: You won’t remember me

In late 2012 I decided to write a series of unsent letters to people from my past. Rather than choose the person myself, I wrote 100 names onto 100 scraps of paper and placed them in a hat. Each day, I drew a name from the hat and then freewrote that person a letter. In order to break my current melancholic mood – and a particularly nasty bout of writer’s block – I’ve decided to revisit this idea and pluck a few more names from the hat, beginning today with a letter to someone who crossed my path only once, for a mere twenty seconds.

13 March 2014

Dear FLWTCB

If I know anything, I know one thing; you won’t remember me. But I will always remember you.

I will always remember your shoulder length brunette hair dancing in the wind. I will always remember your deep blue eyes piercing the darkness of an autumnal Scottish evening. I will always remember the smile that lit up your face as our eyes met that blustery, blissful evening. And I will always remember the wiggle of your cute bottom as you walked down the platform to vanish from my life forever.

Ours was the briefest of moments, no more than twenty seconds out of the millions of minutes of our lives, yet a moment that I will remember always; for you were the first woman – the first stranger – that I had ever had the courage to look in the eye and smile at.

It was September 1997 when our paths crossed. You wouldn’t have known that I was a runaway, that I had fled my familial home in search of myself. You wouldn’t have known that I’d spent the day roaming the wilds around Loch Shiel, soaking in the atmosphere of the most beautiful location I’d ever visited. You wouldn’t have known that social anxiety was wreaking havoc on my life, rendering me unable to look people in the eye. And you certainly wouldn’t have known the momentous nature of the smile I gave you.

All you would have known is that an overweight man, flushed with bliss, overflowing with ecstasy, caught your eye on a desolate train platform and smiled at you. And you graced him the gift of smiling back; a smile that has remained with him through all the passing years.

A smile that proved to him that he could make eye contact with strangers; that he could smile at people without suffering an anxiety attack; that he may not be quite as ugly and repulsive as he believed himself to be.

Whenever I have doubted myself in the intervening seventeen years, whenever I have questioned whether or not I could (or should) smile at strangers, I have thought of you. A woman who didn’t fling abuse because I deigned to look in her direction, a woman who didn’t recoil in horror at my presence, a woman who graced me the gift of happiness, even  though you knew not who or why I was.

So, my dear FLWTCB, even though I don’t know your name, even though it’s unlikely you’ll be able to decipher the cryptic moniker I have given you, should you ever read these words and recognise yourself, I just wish to thank you for making that mere boy feel a joy unlike anything he’d experienced before.

For giving me a moment that, however brief, will remain with me until the day I die.

With love and thanks,
Addy xxx

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Eleven memories of Christmastide throughout my life

Christmastide

The Christmas Festivities (from Christmastide by W. Sandys)

1. There was definitely a reindeer in the house! (Christmas Day, 1985)

My earliest Christmas memory occurred in 1985 when, after running downstairs to tear open our presents, my siblings and I discovered a reindeer hoof-print on the living-room carpet. We were adamant that this proved Santa was not only real, but had ridden his sleigh through our front room.

Of course, the reality was our parents had decided to draw this hoof-print on the carpet in order to keep the magic of Christmas alive in their little darlings for another year. Or did they?

2. The punishment cushion (Somewhere between Christmas and New Year, 1986[?])

I’ll admit that as memories go, this one is rather random. I’ll also admit that I’m not entirely sure of the date, but am adamant that it occurred sometime in the days between Christmas and New Year.

It was one during one of those post-Christmas Day lunches that was made up of a metric ton of cold meat, boiled potatoes, salad and (the ubiquitous) Brussel Sprouts. Feeling somewhat frustrated and annoyed I was acting up; flicking food over the table, stomping my feet and generally being an annoying little devil. Although I had been told to behave on several occasions, nothing had worked, so, after a potato had splatted against a wall my parents had had enough. Informing me that I’d get a smacked bottom if my behavior continued in this manner I did what any child would have done – pushed them even further!

This caused my mother to rise sternly and move around the table. I found my feet and made a bolt for the living room door, only to have her grab the back of my trackie-dacks and pull me face down onto the floor. Expecting her to soundly smack my rather vulnerable backside I panicked; only to become immensely relieved when she pulled a cushion over my butt before smacking that.

As punishments go, it could have been worse!

3. Starter for Ten (Boxing Day, 1992)

Back when I was but a cherub-faced teenager, various members of the Lake family used to gather in the one location on Boxing Day. At its peak, these annual days of celebration would draw nearly twenty people vying for attention, gastronomic delights and entertainment. In order to oblige the latter, we would often dip into the board game collection, cramming around the table for epic games of Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit or Sorry.

After a couple of these family based funfests, I decided to up-the-anti and began concocting elaborate quizzes (usually film and television based) in order to test the knowledge of my respective family members and prove how utterly awesome I was when it came to the field of film and television.

The questions generally ranged from quite difficult to utterly impossible and very few people ever scored more than half a dozen from the fifty odd questions posed to them. But it was always a joy to create and chair those quizzes.

In fact, in these days of lonely, isolated Christmases, it is those quizzes that I miss the most.

4. Sausage, Egg and Chips (2 January 1991[?])

This is one of those stories that will no doubt be passed down from generation to generation within the Lake family.

Various members of the Lake family had gathered at a five-star restaurant to celebrate the birthday of my Aunt. The food, as you would expect from such an esteemed establishment, was all top of the range ingredients and intricately prepared dishes. But I didn’t like the sound of any of them. I’ve never been one for veal, I’ve never been a big fan of lamb and the descriptions of the items – which came with more adjectives than any menu should have – did nothing to entice me into eating any of it.

Getting a bit grouchy, my father asked me what I wanted, so I answered with what was at the time my favourite dish; sausage, egg and chips. Hearing my request, the birthday woman summoned one of the service staff, who scooted off to the kitchen to inform the chef. Shortly after, as everyone else was being brought extravagant gastronomic creations, I was brought a plate of sausage, egg and chips; with the eggs being served fresh to my plate via silver-service.

This was the only time I ever made a personal request at a restaurant and, I fear, my anxiety will prevent me from making any further random requests in the future. But, believe me, did I feel special that night!

sausageeggchips

“I was brought a plate of sausage, egg and chips; with the eggs served fresh to my plate via silver-service.”

5. Meadhbh has her way (Christmas Day, 1995)

For as long as I can remember, Meadhbh has encouraged me to wear women’s clothing. In her opinion it’s more exciting, more colourful and more adventurous than the stale, boring and uninspiring options available for men. In fact, if Meadhbh had her way, women’s clothing would be the only thing I’d wear.

Generally, I’m strong enough to withstand her constant badgering, but there have been occasions through my life when, weakened by depression, I’m unable to. One such occasion occurred when I was a teenager, when Meadhbh decided that I should be wearing a purple polka-dot skirt, white blouse and make-up to celebrate Christmas with my family.

She thought I looked stunningly good, my family (and I) however, didn’t.

6. Silent Night (New Year’s Eve, 2000)

To say I’ve never really celebrated New Year would be an understatement. It’s one of those contemporary traditions that I’ve never quite understood. We don’t celebrate the end of a month, or the end of a day, so why do we feel the need to crack open the champagne and cheer on the change of a calendar’s digit at the end of a year? As such, my New Years are generally quiet and laid back affairs, often spent chilling in front of the television or conversing with (when I had them) friends and girlfriends.

Of all the New Years I’ve celebrated, the one that is most memorable is steeped in silence. When it came to mark the 1999/2000 New Year I was living in a backpacker hostel in Inverness. Although alcohol was a large component of that period, there was little of it drunk that night, instead four of us sat on a wall in the back garden of the hostel, silently watching the fireworks ignite the Scottish sky above.

One of the most peaceful (and memorable) moments of my life.

7. Losing my virginity (1 January 2001)

Some people I’ve spoken to would rather not remember the time they lost their virginity. But for me it’s one of the happiest moments of my life, for I lost my virginity at the beginning of the new millennium, on my favourite Scottish island, to someone I had genuine feelings for.

An unequivocally blissful moment of my life.

8. Happy Feet (Christmas Day, 2006)

This was, in retrospect, my last ‘happy’ Christmas. For the first time in eight years – courtesy of traveling and emigration – I was able to spend the day with my family. Although my parents wanted to spend Christmas on the beach – as many travellers from the UK want to do – the truly appalling weather that battered Melbourne that year meant we were forced to alter our plans. Instead of the beach, we spent the day meandering around Crown casino; opening presents, playing the pokies and eating dirt-cheap fish ‘n’ chips.

Once the limited appeal of poker machines had faded we decided to head upstairs to catch a movie and, after much deliberation, decided upon the newly released animated classic ‘Happy Feet’. Although I fell asleep half way through the film – courtesy of soon-to-be-diagnosed Glandular Fever – the positive memories of the movie, and the entire day, have never faded from my mind. For, unlike all other Christmases that I’ve spent in Australia, this one actually saw me happy for the majority of the day.

happyfeet

“For, unlike all other Christmases that I’ve spent in Australia, this one actually saw me happy for the majority of the day.”

9. Who wants a relaxing Christmas (Christmas Day, 2006)

Unfortunately, the happiness that overwhelmed me on Christmas Day 2006 (see item [8] above) could not last. Within an hour of leaving the cinema and bidding farewell to my parents, I had a conversation with my then girlfriend; the girlfriend who would soon become known as ‘the abusive one’.

Within twenty minutes of talking to her she had criticized what I had done throughout the day (which wasn’t as adventurous as she wanted me to be), pointed out how I wasn’t making enough effort to wish my friends happy Christmas (even though I’d wished as many as I was able a happy Christmas) and attacked me for how I’d worded a Christmas e-card greeting I’d sent her earlier that day (she took offense to my use of the word ‘relaxing’).

By the end of the conversation, all sense of happiness and Christmas joy had dissipated, replaced with an overwhelming frustration and deep sense of worthlessness.

10. The worst Christmas present I ever received (Christmas Day, 2008)

It is only in recent years that I have become a staunch anti-Christmas Grinch. Many moons ago, I was the first person to hang tinsel from the walls, throw a tree into the corner of the room and annoy everyone and their dog by loudly singing Christmas tunes at all hours of the day and night. But all that changed when my girlfriend gave me the worst Christmas present I’ve ever received; a present that, no matter what I do, haunts my Christmas Days from beginning to end.

In 2008 I was living in Alice Springs. I had a job, I had a girlfriend and I was – aside from the depressive episode I’d slipped into – coping relatively well. In the lead up to Christmas we’d decorated my unit with a tree, hung sparkly decorations and planned for the best Christmas we could possibly muster.

The only problem was I hadn’t realised that my girlfriend’s idea of ‘best Christmas’ entailed sleeping with one of our friends. Now, for those of you who’ve never had someone cheat on you, be very, very thankful – for it hurts like an absolute bitch! There I was, cooking the roast for the two of us to chow down on that night, and there she was, rollicking and rolling around in bed with our friend.

But to be honest, that wasn’t the worst of it. What hurt even more was that when she finally returned home she decided that it was my job to fix her broken heart because she felt like she’d been “used” by our friend. Given the practice I’d put in during my prior abusive relationship, I dutifully slipped into appeasement mode, doing everything I could to cheer her up and ensure her day ended on a high. All the while feeling like my very heart had been torn from my body, thrown into a gutter and carried off by a rabid pack of dingoes!

I’ve hated Christmas ever since.

11. A Homeless Christmas (Christmas Day, 2011)

There are few things in life as depressing and lonely as a homeless Christmas. Not only do you not have anyone to spend the day with, you don’t even have a home to hide away in. Instead, you roam the streets like an unloved hobo wishing upon whatever you believe in that the day would just disappear.

My last homeless Christmas was spent enjoying a Christmas dinner cooked by a local charitable organisation before relishing in the quiet desolation offered by the local cemetery.

However much I hate Christmas now, I am eternally grateful that I have a home in which to seek solace throughout the big day, for this, and the other Christmases I spent homeless, showed me what real loneliness feels like. And trust me; you don’t want to experience it. Ever!

~◊~

Previous installments of the Twelve Days of Christmas Blog Challenge:

| Day One | Day Two | Day Three |
| Day Four | Day Five | Day Six |
| Day Seven | Day Eight | Day Nine |
| Day Ten |

~◊~

Other wonderful bloggers participating in the Twelve Days of Christmas Blog Challenge:

| Marci, Mental Health and More | Many of Us |
| Looking for Lucy |

If I’ve missed you from the above list, please let me know in the comments field below and I’ll add you as soon as humanly possibly so everyone can read your magnificent responses! :)


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One Day in Glasgow

Glasgow

For Samantha,
the world is a lesser place without you.
xox

Introduction

Ever since writing the post One Night in Adelaide I’ve wanted to write its sequel: One Day in Glasgow, yet every time I sit down to chronicle the events of (what is possibly) the best day of my life, words fail me. It’s not that I don’t know what to write, I do, it’s just that I cannot assemble the words to form coherent, emotional sentences. And this post is an emotional one, at least for me, as it deals with the last time I ever saw my friend Samantha face-to-face.

Samantha was an incredible woman; intelligent, charming and ravishingly beautiful. She had a mature, almost philosophical outlook on this crazy thing called life, yet despite this maturity there was a delicious immature streak running throughout her soul; equally at ease playing with crayons as she was debating the age-old question of why we’re here.

It was almost impossible to meet Samantha without falling in love with her on some level. She never judged, never held grudges and had an almost super-human ability to draw the best out of people.

But none of this means she was perfect, far from it. Samantha worked too hard; filling almost every moment of her life with a project, scheme or double-shift at work, all of which leaving little time for play or relaxing. And when she did relax, she ventured far too easily into the world of illegal narcotics, with ecstasy and speed being her drugs of choice; a choice that would ultimately spell her untimely end.

But this post is not about her death, nor my reaction to it, that will follow in good time. This post is about my memories of her. It is about the day Samantha took time off from her life to hang out with a slightly overweight, mentally ill man who, according to her journal, made her feel happiness like no-one she’d ever met.

Because it has taken so much to get this post out of my system, I’ve decided on three things:

1) That instead of retelling the events of the day in intimate detail, I will instead focus on extrapolating the principal memories of that day; for in these memories lives the essence of who Samantha was; and it is she that I want you all to meet.

2) I have decided to write each memory in the style that Samantha preferred (and encouraged me) to write in, namely, freewriting. Rather than focus endlessly on each sentence, each punctuation mark and the meaning behind chosen words, I have just allowed each memory to flow from my mind before moving onto the next. Hopefully, by doing this, I will be creating a post that Samantha would be proud of.

3) With Samantha’s preferences still firmly in mind, I have also chosen to tell the tale of our twenty-four hours in Glasgow in a non-linear format. Each of the illustrations below depict one of the memories of my time in that great city. They have not been arranged in any particular order and you are encouraged to dip in and out of the memories in any way you see fit. For as Samantha used to say, rarely in life do things return to us in the exact order that they happened.

Hopefully by choosing to write this post to the above specifications, I will be creating a post that Samantha would not only have enjoyed reading, but one she would be proud to be the inspiration behind.

   
Please note, the items marked with a padlock are password protected.
Should you wish to read these memories, please contact me via email.


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Try Looking At It Through My Eyes – Day 10: The Time Machine

Day ten of the “Try Looking At It Through My Eyes” challenge asks:
If you could go back and watch one day of your life,
what day would it be, why and what do you expect to see?

Glasgow

Glasgow | Image from Wikipedia

I have been alive for 12,795 days; so how am I supposed to pick just one to re-live?

Do I pick one of the days that I was manic, so I can have a greater understanding of how much of an arsehat I was during that time, or do I choose one of the days lost to depression, so I can show my younger self some of the compassion he greatly deserved?

Do I select a long forgotten day of childhood innocence, a random date from my better-forgotten teenage years or a serious moment of adulthood? Do I go down the obvious route and choose a day of intense pleasure, or the not-so-obvious route of one of my hazy dissociated days?

Will the day I pick be chock-full of friends and familiar faces, or a day in which I was isolated and alone? Will it be an important date; a pivotal turning point in my life, or just ‘one of those days’ that come and go eventless?

With so many days to choose from I fear that there is only one way I can answer this question. And that is to close my eyes, take a deep breath, and see what my mind propels onto the page.

[Closes Eyes]

Oh, to spend the day with Samantha again!

[Opens Eyes]

[Smirks]

With the anniversary of her death steadily approaching, it’s not much of a surprise that that day was the first that came to mind. A twenty-four hour period I spent in the Scottish city of Glasgow with a woman who, in another life, could easily have been my soul-mate.

We had met briefly in the Australian city of Adelaide before rekindling our friendship online later that year. For months we communicated by email, chat-room and the occasional snail-mail before finally synching our calendars so we could meet up again in real-life.

I had arrived the day before, a Wednesday, and spent a nervy night wandering the city and having the occasional panic attack in preparation for seeing her again. Given her obvious beauty and outlook on life, I couldn’t understand why she’d be interested in hanging out with a person as unattractive – and broken – as me. Part of me believed it was all part of a grandiose practical joke; that she would arrive with a gaggle of her friends for a traumatizing moment of public humiliation. Whilst another part of me believed that, like my abusive ex-girlfriend, she was merely treating me as a project; someone to “fix”.

Sammi

An avatar version of Samantha, circa the day we spent in Glasgow

I needn’t have worried, for the moment we met up in a bar not far from Queen Street it became blissfully obvious she wanted to hang out with me because she liked me; not like liked me, but liked me in the sense that I made her laugh, I made her think and communicating with her was a delight, not a chore. For in the near twenty-four hours we spent together there was no uncomfortable silence, no what do we talk about now pauses and no moment where we questioned what we were doing.

Looking back on the five and half years since that blissful day, I realise that it was the last time I felt anything even remotely close to “true” happiness. Aside from the to-be-expected moments of anxiety caused by being in the company of someone so ravishingly beautiful, there was barely a single moment in those twenty-four hours where I felt anything other than relaxed, joyous, content and, dare I say it, ecstatic. In fact, when I retreat to my “happy memories”, many of them are moments that occurred in that singular day:

  • Seeing her for the first time since Adelaide; sauntering into the bar in delightfully bohemian attire; a forest green knee-length skirt, black and purple tights, a crumpled light-green sweater and a multi-coloured woolen scarf with matching handbag.
  • Being playfully slapped on the arm for ‘excessive ogling of her posterior’ before she knowingly exaggerated her wiggle to attract my eyes even further.
  • Having her calm me down during moments of anxiety with no judgment, annoyance or frustration from her.
  • Talking about some of the more memorable moments of our childhoods as we chain-smoked cigarettes during the hour-long walk to a second-hand bookstore from her childhood.
  • Laughing insanely every single time she said the word “tangerine”
  • Browsing the second-hand bookstore whilst discussing our favourite and memorable books.
  • Chilling in the park, with her head resting on my lap, as we read each other extracts from the books we’d brought in the bookstore; moments before I agreed to fulfill her lifelong dream.
  • Getting a wee bit tipsy and doing an impromptu karaoke of Pulp’s Common People to alleviate our nerves about the encroaching fulfillment of her lifelong dream.
  • Her ladybug covered underwear (some of the cutest I’ve ever seen!)
  • The ninety-odd minutes I spent meandering the streets before fulfilling her lifelong dream.
  • The actual event of fulfilling her lifelong dream.
  • Cuddling each other on the bed, eating ice-cream, whilst watching My Neighbour Totoro and the pilot episode of Chuck.
  • Waking up in each other’s arms.
  • The moment when she sat down in McDonalds without thinking about the ramifications.
  • Retreating to a park to eat our un-healthy breakfast; and realising that no-one else I’ve ever met could eat a McMuffin more entertainingly.
  • The kiss we shared – that tasted of the aforementioned breakfast – on the dew soaked grass.
  • The elongated hug we shared at the train station as we parted ways.

Even as I write these words there is a goofy, almost painful smile, stretching from ear-to-ear. In fact, given I have such crystal clear recollections of this day I’m starting to question whether this would be the best day to relive. Wouldn’t it be better to relive a day that I don’t remember as clearly, that is a little foggy and uncertain in my mind?

But that day was one of – if not the – best day of my life, and, given the chaos and pain in the last five years, I would give anything for the chance to see Samantha relishing every happy, laugh-filled, painful moment again.

To see all these memories again would not just be downright entertaining, occasionally saddening (but mostly heart-warming); they would also challenge everything I have come to think of myself.

To observe that, however improbable it may sound, people do enjoy being in my company.

To be reminded that, however improbable it may sound, it is possible for me to be blissfully happy.

To witness that, however improbable it may sound, dreams can come true in the least likely of places.

Yes, of the 12,795 days I’ve been alive I can’t think of a better day to relive than this one.

~◊~

If you’ve missed any of the previous posts in this challenge, you can read them here:

| Day 01 | Day 02 | Day 03 | Day 04 |
| Day 05 | Day 06 | Day 07 | Day 08 |
| Day 09 |


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{NSFW} 21. A revelatory reading experience

This is the twenty-first day of the 30 Days of Kink Challenge, as such it contains adult (and spankolicious) content.

~ Favourite BDSM related book (fiction or non-fiction) ~

Because it is taking me so long to complete this challenge (it began in November 2012!) and I’ve vowed to finish it before the end of 2013, I’ve decided to freewrite the remainder of the prompts. As such, please excuse any spelling and/or grammatical mistakes that may occur for they are all part and parcel of this form of writing.

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