Writing Workshop Week 26: My Holiday Romance

June 8, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Posted in writing workshops | 12 Comments
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I wrote this for a writing competition for a magazine.  I never heard anything after I sent it off….so I guess I didn’t win!  And therefore I judge it ok to use for a far better cause, the Sleep is for the Weak Writing Workshop.

It’s quite long, but stick with me.

Dear Tom

It’s been six years since I dropped you at the train station.  I know you thought it was for the best.

As I drove my heart was pounding.  We got closer and closer to Oxford.  And you leaving.  With every minute that went by I knew my time to change your mind was slipping away.  You seemed so adamant, and my head spun as I tried to comprehend how our soul mate type relationship was vanishing before my eyes.

‘Promise me you’ll go to your parents’ you said as we stood on the platform.  I nodded blankly, my eyes thick with tears.  I asked you to hold me and you did.  I hated you for that in the days afterwards.

I did go to my parents.  The shock on their faces almost knocked me to the floor.  I was in a daze as I told them that it was over.  It was my fault, I think.  Mum text you – you always were a golden boy in their eyes.  You told them to take care of me.

I spent the next few days on auto pilot.  I even took a day off work, my boss found a compassionate side that I hadn’t seen before.  I juggled the need to be alone with the bigger need for company and distraction.

I stayed at Mum and Dad’s, not wanting to go home to my dark and empty flat.  I crumbled into a ball in the spare bed, barely able to breathe, but unwilling to surface above the covers.

I went out and got drunk, facing joint friends for the first time; some unaware of our separation, asking after you, shocked and embarrassed by the news they hadn’t expected.  I drank shots, wine, anything.  I smoked.  A lot.

I called your sister to say sorry.  I wonder now what for.  She was in Morrison’s with your mum, they sobbed down the phone.  It gave me unexpected strength.  I replied that I was fine and it was for the best.  I was parked in a lay-by near Mum and Dad’s.  I stayed there for two cigarettes afterwards.  I felt hoarse.

We had met on holiday eighteen months earlier.  An unexpected romance.  A shared kiss in a nightclub, captured on camera.  It’s still my favourite picture of us.  Me in my white boots, army skirt and sweatbands.  You were cute, blonde and tanned.  The boy next door.  I thought I was an R&B queen that year; three trips to the same holiday island.  My parents suggested I might want to start saving for a house.  I ignored their advice, intent on living the dream.

That was the start of our long distance relationship.  A long distance relationship that couldn’t go the distance.  Up at 5am to drive the M6 journey home in time for work.  Depressing Sunday night separations as we went our own ways for the week ahead.  Long phone calls, mainly silence as we ran out of things to say but felt committed to ‘chat’ every day.  I did, making you feel guilty and frustrated.

While we were apart I wondered what you were doing every day.  You were working on a really important, high pressured job.  I imagined you just getting stuck in and getting on with it, while I was still unable to function.  I hated that thought.

I called you a few times in the early days, desperate to talk.  You told me it wasn’t a good idea.  You kept saying you would have to put the phone down.  My stomach lurched each time I realised there was no hope.

One day when I called I asked what you were doing.  You said your sister was coming over to watch a DVD.  I resented your close relationship.  I said I could come too, just to hang out.  I was out of my mind.  You said it was crazy.  It was a definite no.

Another day I drove the 100 miles to your house, just to see where you lived once more.  My grief was spiralling into irrational behaviour.  I still had a key.  I collected a few belongings from your room, making it obvious I had been.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  I sat in the car around the corner.  And smoked again.  A bad habit was developing, a crutch.  I saw your house mate come and go.  Eventually I drove back home.

I had your email password, I checked your email.  Obsessively.  I waited for emails from other women, wanting to put a concrete reason behind our break up.  Nothing.  Then you changed your password.

Then one day, out of the blue, you called.  You had text me during the day and asked if you could.  Since we split up my phone had been sitting next to my keyboard on my desk.  On the loudest setting.  I tried to wait at least a minute before I replied saying yes, call me.

It was hours before you text me back.  I had the afternoon off.  I was in Pilot when you text and said you’d call on your way home.  I don’t think Pilot exists any more.  I wondered how I would possibly pass the hours before I would speak to you.  My heart raced, and thoughts rushed through my head, what would you say to me – a change of mind?

We talked for about an hour.  I was in the car on my way home when you called.  I sat in traffic, mesmerised by the sound of your voice.  We laughed like nothing had happened.  I dreamt  that nothing had.

Then you said goodbye.  I was walking on air but more confused than ever.  You sad you missed me but gave no sign that it was anything more than that.  I was going out with a friend that night.  We drank a lot.  Everything blurred between reality and a drunken haze.

We danced in a small trashy market town bar.  We sent text messages to ourselves which displayed on a huge screen by the dance floor, pretending to be admiring men.  I did that, really, I did.  This was the bottom.

The next morning a vodka cloud hung over me.  I text you needing answers.  Is that it?!  Why did you call? Just to chat you said.  I miss you.  Nothing more.  I was devastated.

I wondered how I would start again with someone else.  I didn’t ever want to be with anyone else but you.  You were my Mr Right.  My life was planned with you at the centre.

I moved back into my flat a few days after we split up.  Moving away from the support and reassurance of my parents.  I wanted some space.  I tried to start picking myself back up.

I still wasn’t alright though.  I felt vacant.  I went to the pub with friends.  I drank cup after cup of comfort tea.  Wine wasn’t the answer.  I contributed to conversations, adding no opinion or personality.  I hung out with my all so settled and happy friends, jealous of their contented lives.  Bitterness was not an attractive trait.

Then one day you really did call.  I’d been to the cinema with a girlfriend.  When I checked my phone after the show I had a message from you.  You wanted to see me.  I couldn’t get home quick enough.  I didn’t call you.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

You called me.  You wanted to see me.  I drove the familiar two hour journey to your house and shook as I rang the door bell.  When you opened the door you smiled a nervous half smile and I struggled to hold it together.

We went for something to eat and I asked if it was ok if I smoked.  You could still smoke in pubs then.  We sat in a cloud as I nervously tried to waft the fumes away.  Crying in public wasn’t really what I was aiming for but it was going to happen.

You told me you had made a big mistake and you were sorry.  These were the words I thought I’d never hear.  I hung on every sound you made, trying to absorb what was happening.  I looked into your eyes and saw that you meant it.  I was unable to speak.

You said you felt that there were things you needed to do as a single man.  Travel the world.  Experience life.  But now you realised that you didn’t want to do anything alone, you wanted to experience life with me.  Relief swept over me.  Strong enough to shake me.

We were back together.  No hesitation.  No doubt.  This wasn’t the first of many break ups, it was the one and only time.  We could beat this.  We were strong enough I knew it.  We ate yuk sung.  It was nice.

We went to your parents house.  As the door opened your step dad greeted us.  I cried as he hugged me.  The warmth of your family surrounded me.  We went upstairs and opened the bedroom door to your mum.  She sobbed, we giggled and hugged.

We went out to eat, it must have been dinner time.  I hid behind the seat as your sister arrived, and almost fell trying to get up to hug her when she saw me.

All of this happened in just five weeks.  The longest, most testing, most exhausting five weeks of my life.  But it’s made us the couple we are today.

We travelled the world together and married three years after this all happened.  You proposed and we moved in together.  We set up home together.

Then 18 months ago we had a son.  We almost lost him in the early stages, but he had our fighting spirit, he hung on and now he is the centre of our life, and our future.  He is a little daddy’s boy, and it fills me with joy to see you together.  Even when he pushes me away for your attention.

Now, we face new challenges.  Conceiving a second child isn’t coming easy and it’s an emotional roller coaster.  But, another challenge that we will get through together.  Our beautiful son came to us so easily, it’s been a shock for it to be so hard second time around.  We’ll get there.

I sit writing this, eyes heavy with sleep.  You’re working a night shift tonight.  I used to like my evenings in to potter around but I need you more than ever, and wish we could be together 24 hours a day.

I almost lost you as I pushed and pushed you to commit when we’d only been together a matter of months.  I thank my lucky stars that we had a second chance.

You make me the person I am today.  I didn’t know who I was until I met you.  I am content with life.  Content with my obsession for hoovering, talent for making hand made cards, and enjoyment of cooking the family meals.  I am not boring as I once feared.  You showed me that.

I am no longer the fiery boisterous red head.  There is still red under these highlights I am sure, but you have calmed and matured me.  I like the Mrs me much more.

If I don’t tell you enough, know that I admire and believe in you.  I admire your values and drive.  Most importantly, I love you.

Catherine, your wife, your soul mate.  It was meant to be.  You were meant for me.



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  1. *grabs the tissues* that is so beautiful. You have expressed the emotions you went through so well, I’m so glad it was a happy ending for you both.

    • Aah thank you! I enjoyed writing it – although it was the worst few weeks of my life at the time!!

  2. Oh Catherine – I loved this – I was racing through the middle bit to see what happened, first fearing the worst then wondering if it was going to be a happy ending… I’m an emotional wreck now and it’s all your fault!!

    • Ha ha!!! Do you need tissues?! Glad you guys read through it, I know it’s long!

  3. I am in work reading this and had to go to the bathroom to hide the tears streaming down my face. This is beautiful, so warm and full of honesty. Beautiful xx

    • Thank you so much hun! I think I may lose a few friends though if I keep making people cry at their desks!!!

  4. Wonderful, made my cynical heart sing xx

  5. You made me cry! you are an amazing writer, I felt like I was living it, so moving – amazing xoxo

  6. Great writing. Sparked memories of the horrid, raw emotions a break up brings, I’m so glad this one had a happy ending in the end! And a beautiful tribute to your love.

  7. This is beautiful, I truly loved it

    • Thanks Alice, that’s really sweet x

  8. Beautiful writing. You had me captivated. What a story x

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