I don’t recall the first time he kissed me but I’m sure it was soft, delicate and sweet, full of his growing love for me. Those early days were bathed in sunlight and warmth which melted his brown eyes into pools of smouldering chocolate, pools I could lose myself in for hours. The strength of his sturdy arms entwined around my fragile frame handing me the hope that he would always be there. My love wove music through our life, blasting through our days, the morning alarm, the late night companion and always dancing, shaking hips or in his arms. He taught me the art of revelry with friends and family, the pleasures of food and the fun of alcohol. There was firmness to his way, I would never wish to upset him or him think ill of me, I worked hard to ensure his love was mine. He rewarded me with his broad smiles and alluring laughter, drawing me into a world where no worries were possible as he had everything under control. I was proud to call him mine I would show him off at all opportunities.
When he left, I was numb; I felt nothing other than the desire to run, fast, in the opposite direction of the devastation. I filled my life with friends, club nights, late night and all nights. I lost myself in drink and drugs, drowning out the pain that pushed against my anesthetised skin. I did try to make him stay, weeping and begging but his love was for another, he had found someone new. So I partied on until the partying worked no more. The bubbling pot within had started to boil over and steaming hot wreckage would spill out. I too had a new love who patiently attempted to mop away the tears and clear the debris of my increasing breakdowns. The core of my being perished, what I knew to be me was lost. The pedestal I had placed my first love upon, on which I grimly hung to the edge of, fearing my existence if I wasn’t aligned with his every thought, had buckled and broken. Free falling, I tumbled and twisted in dead man’s space, aimlessly. In due course my heart gaped open raw and oozing. It became increasingly difficult to participate in everyday life.
Sat on my stairs one day facing my front door the realisation hit me, it was impossible for me to leave the house, I was locked inside myself, my limbs weighted and motionless. I went to bed for three weeks. The inevitable diagnosis delivered. Depression. Then inevitable prescription made. Medication. Concerned relatives with furrowed brows passed before my glazed eyes and the excruciating pain on the face of the man I now loved saddened me further. The unattended job went and excuses for all social gatherings were invented. As I cocooned myself deep in my duvet, behind the firmly drawn curtains, dust in our home thickened, the washing piles grew, cleanliness deteriorated and my inner contempt flourished.
A psychiatrist /psychologist/someone to talk to was found. She was nice, I liked her. She seemed to understand. Permission for my tears was granted and the salty stream flowed daily over the pink puffy pillows of my face. Together we peeled back the layers of my life to reveal the pain within, the sorrow on which my being now assembled herself. I began to see me for the first time, the small lost child within. A life time of idolisation lost, a belief system destroyed. Knowing I was not “good enough” to make him stay.
Six months later I danced with my first love at my wedding, just after I’d danced with my new husband to our first dance.
“Would the father of the bride please make his way to the dance floor?”
He took me in his arms as our song began and he swept me off my cream kitten heels. I imagined I was standing on his feet my head tilted upwards in awe, in praise of the shining god which is my dad. In that moment we were untouchable once again, my heart beat with pride, with each twirl I encouraged my wedding guests to gaze upon this remarkable man.
That was eleven years ago and much has occurred since. On occasions there’s been heart wrenching pain, delivering me into bouts of an illness which thrives on “not being good enough”. Other times have been clear moments of intense happiness. None of them exclusively related to our father daughter bond yet some intrinsically the reason for it all. Gradually I have encouraged the child within to blossom into an adult that can stand shoulder to shoulder with her father, creating her own world which she invites him to be a part of. No longer afraid to lose him but happy to have him here.
After a long absence we always meet with a deep embrace. As I inhale into him the little girl appears and drinks in those brief seconds of existence. As we loosen and part adulthood is restored and my first love stands before me a flawed human being, still remarkable but most definitely flawed.
I wrote this piece for the Elle Talent writing competition this year. I obviously didn’t win but I am still very proud of this piece and the emotional depth to which I dug in order to write it..
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