Monday, July 23, 2007

Reaching Out To The City Lights...Chapter Eighteen

Love has many faces. Love can be joyous, and then as quickly it can become very painful. Sometimes it’s heartless and controlling. Other times it makes one want to soar to the moon and stars beyond. Love can bring out sides in us we didn’t know we had. Love is many-faceted. A first love can be both beautiful and tortuous. It can break one’s heart momentarily in some cases or endlessly in others. In some cases, the hurt remains until the next candidate steps within one’s circle or aura, breaking down the flimsy, fragile barriers erected. Some will ask you to walk beside them throughout life, while others will only want you for a short stroll. I took quite a few short strolls. We all have the right to be wrong now and then. Sometimes I was more wrong than I was right, but no harm was ever done or caused and it was a lot of fun!

The most precious and lasting love is that of a child, I believe.

It was a week-night. I can’t remember the reason why, but I was sleeping over at John and Shirley’s home. Andrew, their younger son was around two and half years old at the time, I guess. He no longer slept in a cot, having progressed to a bed. The night of my stay-over he was to return to sleeping in his cot while I stole his bed for the night. Both the cot and his new bed were in the same room. Sitting on the sofa in the family room, enjoying a scotch, while chatting to Shirley, who was in the kitchen preparing dinner (both rooms flowed into one, without a separating wall), the two boys, Gavin and Andrew were playing on the floor in front of me. Shirley, in her usual, calm, modulated way told Andrew it was time for him to go to bed. Without any ado, Andrew heeded his mother’s gentle words. Next moment, I felt tugging on my left arm.

“ ‘ee…’ee! Come on, ‘ee!” A little voice pleaded to me. Andrew, in all solemnity, continued pulling at my sleeve. His still babyish face upturned, his eyes wide, innocently begging me. “Come on, ‘ee…’ee!”

Finally, I realized what he wanted. I raised my eyebrows at Shirley and smiled, “I guess I’ll see you later. An early night for me…it looks like I’m off to bed, too!”

Mop-topped Andrew decided if he had to go to bed, so did I, seeing I was sharing his room and sleeping in his bed!

Placing my glass on the coffee table in front of me, I followed Andrew into his bedroom. Eagerly, he climbed into his cot. After tucking him in, I climbed into his bed. It was 6.45pm. Not wanting to disturb the equilibrium, I feigned sleep until I was certain he’d fallen into slumber. Fearing if I stood up, I would wake him, I slithered off the bed like a snake, creeping along the floor on my stomach until I reached the hallway, where I stood up, shook myself off and re-entered the family room. Shirley handed me a refilled glass of scotch and we laughed. The innocence of a child is a wondrous thing.

After my mother passed away, I was heartbroken. I went through a difficult time, personally, but I kept my pain and sorrow to myself, only succumbing to my tears and grief when I was alone. No one else could understand my innermost feelings. My boss, John, understood what I was going through to a degree, probably more than anyone else did, but I didn’t want to burden him with my pain. He had his own life and family. My grief was my own. I had to work through it myself, my way. Without my asking, John had been there for me when my mother died and the days leading up to and after her death. It wouldn’t have been fair of me to expect more from him or his family, a family to whom I was very close. Once back to my daily life in Brisbane, I felt myself falling further and further into a bottomless black pit. I didn’t know how to stop my descent or how to climb back up out of the dark depths. On the outside I put on a brave face, hiding my pain from all. Inside I was being torn apart. That is until one Saturday afternoon a couple of months after Mum died.

I’d lain down on my bed around one in the afternoon to have a nap. In a very vivid dream, which I remember verbatim to this day, my mother came to me. She stood at the end of my bed as clear as if she was, in fact, standing there. Smiling at me, she said, “I’m okay. I’m fine.” Upon waking, I continued to lie on my bed, digesting what I had just “seen”. The vision of my mother, in my dream, had been crystal clear. I questioned whether it had been a dream or had she really “come” to me. It mattered not either way. The “dream” calmed me and I found inner peace. I began to look at life more clearly. Everything began to fall into place. I found my way back up out of the deep hollow into which I’d been falling with the help of that dream. The dream was not a subject of discussion and I told no one about it.

With the year rapidly drawing to a close, Christmas was only a couple of months away. Randall was due back in Brisbane from New York in a few weeks. My head was spinning. I knew I still loved him, even though my life, and his, had taken many different paths and crossed numerous bridges along the way. And I was not fooling myself that there were still more to come, good and bad.

Robert took me to dinner one night about a week before Randall’s return home. This time we didn’t go to our regular haunt, the “Matthew Flinders’ Restaurant”, but instead, we went to the Breakfast Creek Hotel, instead, for one of their legendary thick, juicy steaks. Over dinner Robert told me he was in line for a diplomatic posting if he was so inclined. He continued by saying, “You would make an excellent diplomat’s wife, Lee.”

Being caught off-guard, I didn’t know what to say in reply. I was taken aback. I smiled and gave a soft chuckle of embarrassment, tossing aside what he had said more or less as a joke. However, I realized at that very moment, as he looked directly into my eyes, Robert wasn’t being flippant. He wasn't joking, far from it. He was serious. His feelings for me were deeper than I had imagined. Continuing, he told me he was there for me if things didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to after Randall’s return. Dear Robert...he was such a gentle man. He had been a confirmed bachelor all his life other than his brief engagement to June Dally-Watkins many years before and there he was, in not so many words, offering his hand to me. We never did dine together again. I did see him later on, but not in the social manner that had become our regular dinner outings. He was a good person.

I didn’t meet Randall at the airport the day he flew into Brisbane, instead I remained at work. His mother invited me to dinner at their home that evening. The day dragged for me. My heart pounding in anticipation throughout the day, gathered in momentum as the afternoon progressed.

Randall telephoned me from the States a couple of weeks before his departure with instructions to book a holiday rental for us at Noosa or its surrounding area. John kindly drove me up to Noosa where I visited various real estate agents in search of suitable accommodation. I found a perfect little cottage high on densely-vegetated sand dune at Sunshine Beach. “Anna Capri” stole my heart at first glance. Perched high on the dune, stairs, fringed by shrubs and trees, led from the one-car, street-level garage up to the house. Painted white, “Anna Capri” had views from Sunshine Beach, south to Coolum and beyond. The point at Point Cartwright, south of Mooloolaba could be seen in the far distance. It wasn’t a fancy, flash new house, having been built probably back in the 1940s or thereabouts, but it was cosy, clean and bright. It was just perfect. I fell in love with “Anna Capri” the moment I set eyes upon “her”. I knew the cottage would be an ideal place for Randall and me to re-discover each other and to learn if, perhaps, we had a future together. Paying the agent a rental deposit, I booked “Anna Capri” for a week, to commence the Saturday after Randall’s planned return on a Thursday. The count-down to his arrival had begun in earnest.

Arriving at Randall’s parent’s home in Geebung that Thursday afternoon, I was filled with mixed emotions. So many “what-ifs” did battle with each other in my mind.

22 comments:

  1. All right. I ran head first into this cliff hanger. You better get going on the next segment pretty quick, Lee. I can't wait.

    I do think your Mom came to you in your dreams. I believe in that.

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  2. lol Sorry about that, Corn Dog! ;) I hope you can stay balanced on the cliff edge!

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  3. Grrrr, you sure know when to keep us hanging on, Lee. It is a cliff hanger all right.

    You saw your mother for sure...she wouldn't watch you slide into depression and not do anything about it.

    So...when's Chapter 19 , huh? huh?

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  4. Gidday Lee,
    I told you I'd have to keep an eye out for the next episode, instead of waiting to do my weekly read and gosh darn youse left us with yet another cliff hanger. This series would of made a great Saturday matinée serial. We all just had to come back next week to see what happened to the heroine.

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  5. Hi Lee ~~ Great story as usual and like the others await the next chapter with interest.
    Thanks for your comments, glad you enjoyed some of my bits and pieces.
    Take care my friend, Love, Merle.

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  6. I just love to read these. Better than watching TV. I mean that in a good way. Good on you.

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  7. Oh no, still waiting in anticipation. How many chapters are there in this story so I can know when the end is near?
    Is it strange for you to be looking back over this time?
    I hope it's not too sad.
    regards
    jmb

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  8. Hahaha...you're as bad as Corn Dog, Robyn! ;)

    Hiya Wazza...glad you got your season ticket! ;)

    Hey Merle...good to see you. You certainly do have a lot of "bits and pieces"! Even more than I have, I think...and that's saying something! ;)

    I'm glad you still enjoying my tale, Steve. :)

    I have no idea how many chapters are in this story, jmb...that is a complete unknown. No...not strange that I'm recapping that time...it just began as something to write about and has grown from there.

    "Sad"....what is "sad"? Life is filled with sadness and it's filled with happiness...the both go hand in hand, I believe. Good and bad...they're all part of living.

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  9. Arrrrrggggghhhhhh....this is far too short and now I am going to be driven insane with the waiting for more...

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  10. Sorry, Rebecca for it being so short...I was of two minds whether to continue on with it...or break it up...I guess I took the latter course.

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  11. Hi Lee, still a great read.

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  12. Hi Lee
    Another interesting chapter in your life, so we await the happenings at "Anna Capri”.

    Best wishes

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  13. Lee, I cut and pasted to my blog, the ticket offer from FauxNEWS. I hope you and Wino don't mind.

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  14. Such a vivid description of that cottage. That would be my dream some day, to rent a cottage with a view of the ocean, where you can hear the surf crashing ashore at night. It does sound so romantic. Wonder if you ever thought of being a travel agent, since you've visited so many intriguing hot spots.

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  15. Hi Peter, Lindsay and Dave...glad I've managed to still hold your interest. :) No, I haven't thought about being a travel agent, Dave...but it's not a bad idea! :)

    That's fine Steve. Thanks. :)

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  16. Oh, Lee. I know exactly what you mean about love. Strangely, I had a similar dream about my own mother and I am sure she was trying to tell me it was OK to move on, as I feel your mother was telling you. Waiting to know about you and Randall in later life now..

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  17. Hi Welsh...I think you and I might be kindred spirits on the subject of "love". I've given up on it...as far as it concerns me, I doubt it exists! I'll stick with my cats...they give love unconditionally and don't play games, other than those that are playful. Men...well, they're a completely different animal, in my opinion. Their minds work in strange ways...ways I will never understand and am prepared to admit to that.

    I do believe my mother came to me that afternoon...it was so clear.

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  18. Hi Lee Love this chapter, I'll be waiting for more. I really believe that was your mother also. She wanted you to know that she was okay and that you must go on. My sister just experienced something similar, she said she could almost feel Todd holding her hand.

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  19. Such experiences do happen, Shelly. I guess they are what keep us going and moving one. Good to see you. :)

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  20. Yoohoo! Lee, where aaaaaare you?

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  21. Children, I agree, they do put joy in so many lives. My granddaughter is one that puts joy into my life and I am so glad that you had a young one put joy into your memory banks for us to read such a wonderful chapter in your life. Great read keep up the wonderful writing.

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  22. I'm still here, Robyn...just been in hiding for a couple of days! ;)

    Hey there Sandra...your grand-daughter is a little cutie. I can easily understand how she melts your heart. :)

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