Wednesday, 10 November 2010
On a cool November night, 10 years ago, I wandered around aimlessly, looking for distraction. I wanted to stop hurting, and to stop thinking, and to just enjoy myself. Not in the mindless way, but to actually have fun. As I was close to flat broke and on a self imposed no alcohol period (due to the fact that I thought I'd like it too much and not stop) my options were pretty limited, and at 8pm at night on a weekday without a car, I couldn't go far.
I randomly decided that what I felt like doing was rollerblading, because it took a lot of effort and I wasn't particularly good at it. So to get up any speed and a sweat I would have to work hard, and that's exactly what I wanted. So I knocked on Bingley's open door, where he was sitting in some bizarre position in his chair playing computer games and asked if I could borrow his roller blades.
Being the type that never said no to anyone, let alone me, he bemusedly handed them over then went back to his game while I went out and sweated and rolled until my body was tired and I knew I'd be stiff in the morning, enjoying the cool breeze of the black night air on my face and through my untied hair that clung to my sweaty forehead. I unbuckled them at the bottom of the stairs and carried them up to Bingley's room to hand them over and go to bed exhausted.
Except, when I got there, instead of putting them down and walking away like both of us expected me to, I walked in and sat on his bed instead and started chatting. We talked for at least an hour, about stuff I didn't even remember, aside from teh fact that I enjoyed it. I did a lot of the talking, because Bingley is a listener, not a talker, but there was no artifice. There was no small talk. I had nothing to prove and it was fun. We talked about his trip to Colorado and I think I flicked through his photos. There were a few of him and the kids he was teaching to snowboard, and I loved them, and I loved how he enjoyed talking about working with children, of teaching.
And I was cold at one point, the sweat drying in the cool night air and he gave me his jumper, from the ski resort in Colorado where he'd worked so that I would stay instead of going back to my room. Once warm though the sleepiness crept in and I lay down on the bed as we talked, until there were comfortable pauses in the chatting and eventually I fell asleep.
This was notable in itself being as I had had so much difficulty sleeping of late with the grumbling anxiousness and grief in my belly hurting me more when I tried to sleep. But that night there was none of that. That night there was comfort. Warmth. It felt like finally coming home. There were no magic fireworks on my side, and it was not a moment of desperate teenage hormones. It was just home.
The proof of this came when Bingley gently pulled the blankets over me and kissed my forehead before curling back up in his chair, leaving me to sleep. I was vulnerable and easy that night. I had had another friend who had proved to me just how very vulnerable I'd been, but my loving husband never once took advantage. Not for the 3 months that it took for me to fall in love with him. Or in the 10 years since.
And today I feel so grateful for his quiet, determined and supportive love. And the long stemmed red roses that waited for me when I came home. And the patchouli incense that he's burning (because he knows I like it) even though it gives him hayfever. And new ankle bells.