Into every life a total fuckwit will fall

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Out, out, vile jelly – where is thy lustre now?

Goneril, King Lear, William Shakespeare

I played Goneril years ago, complete with real bull’s eyes for the “putting out Gloucester’s eyes” scene. It was fun, particularly when chucking the eyes into the audience afterwards. I had a supply on special order from the butcher for the run.

Shakespeare’s naming of the sisters was interesting, Goneril with the allusion to gonorrhea, a deadly disease in those times, Reagan, which sounds harsh, but really should have been derived from syphilis, to continue the theme, and, of course, the vapid Cordelia – a name foisted upon many a middle class daughter.

I’d personally love it if the middle classes would name their offspring after villains instead – “Meet Goneril, Judas and little Satan, our children”. But I digress. This is supposed to be about poking someone’s eyes out.

The reason this grisly scene comes to mind is that I have just dispensed of a total fuckwit I have known for a while after one transgression too many. The reason why this is connected to poking eyes out is the old Irish saying that sums up this person beautifully:

They’d steal the eye out of your head then come back and spit in the hole.

Many of us have been unlucky enough to have had toxic fuckwittery in our lives. As we get older, we become better at spotting them coming over the proverbial hill and avoiding them. This time, I didn’t. Why? Because I’ve been too wrapped up in sorting out my own life and, of late, have been feeling very upbeat, positive and very tolerant of other’s peccadilloes. Until now, that is.

I’m particularly vulnerable to sociopathic narcissists. Having been raised by one, there is a subconscious familiarity in them that I often can’t see through. I get sucked into their orbit and before I know it, I’m making excuses for the first red flag of warning that appears, then the second and then puzzling about the third, feeling uneasy for a day or two – then BLAM – I realise I’ve got a fuckwit on my hands.

Why this doesn’t occur to me immediately, I don’t know, perhaps I’m being far too tolerant for my own good? But despite people like this, I don’t want to become a suspicious cynic, unable to let anyone near me. There are more good people than bad, after all.

I’ve known this particular fuckwit for a while. I’ve been very nice, particularly understanding. I’ve used all my powers of empathy to make rock solid excuses for their appalling behaviour. I’ve felt sympathetic, caring, compassionate and taken in a series of untruths, plus a big dollop of rudeness and selfishness – which I charitably put down to extenuating circumstances.

I’m not a vengeful person, but I’ve let myself get REALLY ANGRY once I realised the scale of manipulation that had been taking place. The inferno of rage has burned inside me and I let it get to white hot stage without taking any action, whatsoever. Rage is very cleansing and better out than in. I don’t fancy being someone’s bitch in Holloway, either.

There’s little worse than being taken for a fool. I am not, however, the vengeful kind. I know this person has treated many others in a similar fashion. All I have done is to send a dollop of ill intent out into the universe and if all the people they have wronged have done similar – they will find out, in time, that Karma is indeed a bitch.

The next step is to excise the toxin. This is a surgical procedure that removes the fuckwit and all their attendant paraphernalia out of your life. A quick and final cut, they are discarded and will never be engaged with again.

This is difficult when fuckwits work with you or are somehow entangled in your life, but in this case, it is someone I don’t see that often, so the kill is quick and clean.

Afterwards comes the relief. It’s as if a rucksack full of rocks has been dropped from your back. They are gone and can do no more harm.

Tempting as it is to warn others, I won’t, because that would be allowing the toxin to spread in me, which isn’t worth it.

Begone fuckwit, I am free of you! (Although I’d have enjoyed poking you in the eye)

Resilience

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At some point the fear and anxiety left. No dwindling or dramatic exit, just ebbed away like water after a flood. I didn’t notice it had gone. I keep looking back and thinking “A year ago, I couldn’t have handled this.” Now I can handle all sorts of things. Without even thinking about it.

There’s a cool, calmness that has appeared from somewhere. A new skill of dispassionate objectivity. I ask myself “Does this really matter?” and it rarely does. Not if I can survive it. And I can. I have survived so much worse.

There have been the usual difficulties and challenges recently. Some of them would have floored me for a while, when I was at my most fragile. I am not immune to anxiety or hurt or even the odd really bad day.  It happens, I shrug, then feel whatever I feel in proportion for a short while and then I move on, entirely free.

I don’t recognise this grown woman I have become, this wisdom, this experience, this way of feeling authentically, but proportionately, she is part of me and is here to stay. I had no idea she was there, all along.

Out of all that suffocating darkness, a lighter, wiser, self has emerged at last.

If you are going through challenging times, feeling that things are overwhelming and that nothing will change, please don’t give up hope. A year ago, I was in the same place and coming back happens frustratingly slowly.

Not so long ago, I had shut down my feelings, found that I didn’t have the resources to engage with people, just surviving each day was like climbing a mountain. I had to hide away from the world to recover and lick my wounds.

The first signs of recovery were:

Feeling the emotions I had locked away (not pleasant) and letting them go

Listening to a small voice within – maybe for the first time (it was my healthy instinct)

Realising I had a choice in HOW I thought – negatively or positively and I could change the bad habit I had of fast forwarding negatively into the future and making predictions that ‘it would all go wrong’ even though there was no real evidence. 

Achieving small goals day by day

Looking after myself – eating well, getting enough sleep, a little pampering

Realising that I was a reasonably likeable, nice person

Slowly socializing again – but only with good, kind, people – not overdoing it

Cutting off anyone (including family) that made me feel bad

Telling the truth about how I felt to those I could trust (I was always scared of doing this)

Resilience isn’t built overnight and after a trial by fire you will change. Once it starts, however, it’s a great feeling. You will emerge stronger than ever.

I’m getting there and the future is within my control. I can make wiser choices.

You can, too.

This test may be useful for you to track your own progress:

My current score is 175 (the 25 item test)

http://www.resiliencescale.com/en/rstest/rstest_25_en.html

I am from Mars and you have a Penis

Why do men and women seem to worry so much about communicating with each other? I was in a bookshop today and couldn’t believe the amount of books on this subject – starting with the ubiquitous “Men are from Mars” … Continue reading

Tantraaaaaaaah!

image I’m a “Tantrika”. In case you don’t know what that is, it means that I have trained in various esoteric practices that involve meditation and breath control to…um…reach various “blissful” states.

Tantra is confusing as it means different things in different cultures, to the Buddhists it is about death, to the Hindus about life and the body and to the West – sex.

In some respects, it helps to have a sense of humour about it. Especially when attending classes and workshops. It does attract a wide range of people (and a few weirdos) but it’s not an orgy and no-one actually has sex. It’s all in the mind and the theory.

There are some groups where more ‘open’ participation takes place, but I haven’t been courageous enough to attend those. “Juicy women” groups are an example, where one ‘celebrates’ one’s ‘yoni’ (i.e vagina) with a small group of other women and a coach. It works like one of the original 1970’s female consciousness raising groups, knickers off and hand mirrors to explore your own nether regions. I’d die of embarrassment and/or get a fit of the giggles – so perhaps not. I don’t think any of my female friends would want to cum with me.

Another movement is the Sex Positive group with “OM” meditation. This consists of building a nest of cushions with a partner, then using lube, indulging in a 15 minute (it’s timed) masturbation or oral sex session (with the man doing all the work) and once this is learned, you are supposed to do it every day. Chance would be a fine thing!

One of the most unusual groups is ecstatic BDSM, that combines bondage and S&M with tantric techniques to push your boundaries sexually and open yourself up to new experiences. There are private sessions available, but most of the activity takes place within groups, with various ‘specialists’ to tie you up with ropes, stick needles in you and give you various forms of corporal punishment.

The difference between this and standard BDSM is that it involves deep mental states and emotional connection, so it is aimed at couples.  Apparently, it’s very popular in parts of Europe and they hold private ‘festivals’ – a sort of Glastonbury of sex! Wonder if it’s muddy?

All of these unusual activities are happening in and around London, as we speak and it seems to be a growing movement during times of austerity. After all, staying in and having adventurous sex is very budget conscious entertainment!

As for amusing, I have to tell you about the first Tantric Workshop I attended, because it was funny and not erotic at all. I learned a few things, which I have saved in my brain for the future, but at the time it was one of the strangest days I’ve had for a long time.

It was a Sunday morning and we were in a photographic studio, sitting on yoga blocks on a padded floor; 12 men, 12 women, the ‘guru’ plus one male and female ‘helper’. There was a wide mix of ages and nationalities, from very young, painfully shy, guys, to women and men in their fifties and most ages in between.

Apart from two girls in their thirties that had that ‘smug yoga look’ the beatific smile, tie-dye hippy garb and a tendency to wear very little in all weathers; all the other participants looked petrified. I was in one of my “So what” moods and was approaching the scene with a mix of cynicism and curiosity.

We started by being paired off randomly, male to female. I got a doggy eyed Italian man, who looked twitchy and nervous. This didn’t improve as we began the exercise, which was to match our breathing rate and stare into each other’s eyes for 10 minutes.

I just took it like one of those staring competitions from school days and just smiled and looked right at him. It was weird, but not a big deal, all I felt was an ache in my jaw because I had a smile stuck on my face, which set rigid as I realised how bothered my ‘partner’ was getting. His eyes were darting everywhere but towards my own, his jaw was clenching and he was biting his lips.

After a while, he started to shift from foot to foot and beads of sweat broke out on his forehead. His breaths became shallow and fast and I was getting tense trying to keep up with him and doing my best to slow him down. I kept smiling, I hoped kindly, although I was staring, I was doing my best to soften my gaze.

By the way the poor man was squirming, I might as well be beaming death rays out of my eyes. 10 minutes lasted forever. Well, reader, the Tantric Goddess of Medusa (to mix myths) must be strong in me, because my ‘partner’ then left the building, never to return! I don’t usually have that effect on people. Honest!

I was then paired with the male ‘helper’, who looked like a young, blond version of Richard Branson, all beard, teeth and patchouli. We had to continue the breathing/staring thing, this time for five minutes then we had to move to the right and ensure we ‘met’ every opposite sex member in the group in 3 minute increments.

The reactions of my male counterparts ranged from hysterical high pitched laughter (the helper), to one of the young ones that gulped continually like a turkey, the elderly Jamaican man, with the gold teeth just stared back warmly and the really creepy Greek man (who looked just like a satyr) made my skin crawl. The others were sparkly and flirty or like small bunnies in headlights.

I learned that I seemed to scare the hell out of at least half of them.  Note to self, don’t stare at strangers. My mother was right.

The next exercise involved walking around to some music and getting into our ‘female energy’  which meant holding our bodies softly, concentrating in breathing into our heart chakra and greeting the others in the group as we passed. This was an easier exercise, as everyone relaxed, I felt the urge to greet people with a smile and a touch on the shoulder or arm; which is how I tend to behave naturally, if I like people, I’m automatically tactile, unless I sense it makes someone uncomfortable.

This was followed by ‘masculine’ energy, where we all swaggered about like lads and nodded curtly at eachother, while breathing from our root chakra (based in the perineum!) which had more than a few of us laughing.  Interestingly, no one touched. That’s male energy for you.

The morning was spent in various exercises like this and breathing along to drum beats and through various energy chakras. It was easy and fun and by lunchtime, everyone was energised and we were connected as a group.

Lunch was, of course, a vegan affair and we ate outside at tables in the courtyard. I got talking to the guru, a bald ex insurance salesman, who had been made redundant, took off to India to ‘find himself’ and ended up at a meditation retreat. He took to it, changed everything about his life, including his name and set up a school of spirituality that held various groups like this on a regular basis.

The problem was, he was very literal and somehow quite an innocent, when one of the girls was joking with me about what the male and female energy would be like in a threesome and I said I’d let her know as I had one every other Saturday; he took this very seriously and asked why every other Saturday? I had to gently inform him, we were joking. He looked very confused.

Of course, the afternoon got weirder. Two of the exercises particularly stand out. One was the “flower and the bee” that consisted of all the girls standing facing outward, with eyes closed in a circle and the boys had to be bees visiting each flower.

They could touch us in a non sexual way and we could say STOP to any wandering hands. We didn’t know which man was the bee. I got a lot of hair stroking and some inept shoulder massages and someone tickled my neck in an annoying way, but that was it. A most peculiar experience.

When the girls were the bees we were much more adventurous. I was having fun making men shudder by breathing on their necks or stroking their spines lightly and one poor chap had the confusing experience of me and another girl tickling him and giving him bear hugs from behind. It was all quite innocent, like being children, not erotic at all. Maybe it was because I wasn’t in the least bit attracted to anyone.

The breathing exercises got more complicated and we had to pair off to do them. Everyone eventually got paired with everyone else, the soundtracks got weirder, the drumming more intense and we were supposed to learn to breathe ourselves through an orgasm, without the orgasm. Yup. That was odd.

The two ‘yoga’ girls, that I mentioned earlier, seemed to go into full “Meg Ryan in the Deli” mode with much screaming and moaning. Definitely fake though and owed more to a dodgy porno soundtrack than Tantric bliss. It made everyone else laugh and we discovered later they had been specially invited to make up numbers.

So I learned a bit and continued with further discoveries. I’ll tell you about that another time. Suffice to say, I have a lot of theory, but lack practice, but you never know when I’ll be able to release my “juicy female Goddess forces” …..

DATING ADVICE FOR MEN – Top 20 tips!

Dress down, don't hide your musky man scent by washing.

Dress down, don’t hide your musky man scent by washing.

1. DO prevaricate about setting up the date. Take your time. Change your mind. Drag your heels. She’ll love it.
2. DO wait until 30 minutes before date then text to cancel. The fact that she is dressed up & on her way, will earn you extra points.
3. DO make another date and repeat (2) above, up to three times to test if she likes you.
4. DON’T buy her a drink. She’ll like to get her own and yours.
5. DO have a moment of silence while you look her up and down, if you can manage a sneer, even better. Keeps her on her toes.
6. DO talk about other women you are dating or intend to date. Compare their attributes to hers, ensure she knows they are better than she and you’re only doing her a favour by being there. Will make her extra keen to try harder.
7. DO outline all the faults of all the women you have ever known in great detail. She needs to learn from their mistakes.
8. DON’T appear interested in anything she says. It will make you look cool and mysterious.
9. DO show your appreciation for other women in your surroundings. Make appreciative comments. She needs to know you are a real alpha male.
10. DO find a few things to criticise her for and do so, loudly and clearly. She needs to know you are a man of discernment.
11. DO tell her she looks considerably older and fatter than you thought she would. Keeping her guessing is very sexy.
12. DO suggest sex as soon as possible. The loo is a good place or around the back of the establishment by the bins. She’ll be putty in your hands.
13. DON’T smile or laugh at any point in the conversation. Maintain a haughty look of indifference.
14. DO invite a few friends in, preferably one of them being a woman with a crush on you, introduce them then ask them what they think of her. Flirt with the other girl, a lot. Your date needs to know you are in demand.
15. DO go back to hers if she has lasted this long. She has low self-esteem, which means she’s ideal.
16. DO dress and leave immediately after sex. If she is sleeping, leave a fiver on the bedside table.
17. DON’T contact her for at least two weeks, then call and ask if you can see her after a night out for a ‘BOOTY CALL’
18. DO ask if she has any prettier friends, if she turns you down at any point. Introductions like these are great for your Casanova reputation.
19. DO give her marks out of ten online for any sex acts you have indulged in. Photos are an added bonus.
20. DO date as many women as possible and openly flirt at all times, online and off. You’ll get luckier and luckier. Women love competing for a man!

Sex, drugs, the mafia and me 9

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I woke and for a moment, I didn’t know where I was. The sun was streaming through my bedroom window and was bouncing off the white linen and the walls. I squinted and sat up; the events of the day before flooded in like a black tide.

I don’t know if you have ever experienced heart ache, but let me tell you, it’s a very physical thing. There was a stone pressing into me under my ribs, heavy and hot and it really hurt. It was as if I had swallowed a pebble and it stuck there, making it hard to breathe or feel anything else.

Then the tears came.

When you dam up your emotions, they are going to break through, sooner or later. And they came. The tears welled up from somewhere deep in my gut and I howled loudly, my whole body was in paroxysms from my sobs.

I flung myself on the bed and just let it happen. My whole body joined in. Every cell, every drop of blood, every nerve felt like it was screaming. I pushed my face into the pillow in case my loud keening would awake the neighbours.

It went on for a long time, then like a storm, it subsided. I was exhausted, empty and my face stung with the salt.

I went into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. Alice Cooper stared back.

I somehow showered and stood there, under the spray, water and tears mixing on my face.  Everything felt robotic , I was following some automated script. I got dressed and then my phone rang. It was my dearest friend.

She, in her usual practical, loving, fashion, persuaded me to get out of the house and come over to hers. We were going to spend the day and the night together to stop me sinking into a looming pit of tears and worry.

Still on auto-pilot, I got over to Brixton. We had a drink in a pub on the high street. I was a mess, conducting a normal conversation for a few minutes, but then breaking down in tears the next. The other patrons kept looking at us.

Back then, Brixton had a bad reputation; my friend had been mugged at knife-point and there was audacious drug dealing happening very openly in the street outside. But, in every community there is a heart and fewer London suburbs have a heart as big as Brixton. That day, I’d discover just how big that heart was.

There were a group of young men observing us a few tables away. They were a typical Brixton ‘tribe’, tattooed, pierced faces, matted dreadlocks, scruffy army fatigues, the type that you might cross the road to avoid.

One of those was scribbling furiously, his head down, scowling at the piece of paper in front of him.

He eventually came over, without a word, touched me gently on my shoulder and handed me a piece of folded paper. He went back to his friends as I opened it.

He had written me a beautiful poem.

It was sweet and gentle and made me smile through my tears. I can’t remember the words now, but it was one of those poems that pierce your heart like an arrow; full of love and hope, for me, a complete stranger.

I looked up and smiled my gratitude to him, he blushed and looked away. When he left, I touched his arm and gave him heartfelt thanks for his kindness. That experience taught me never to judge on appearances.

Later, back at my friend’s flat, other locals she knew dropped by, all they knew of my story was that I was feeling heart-broken and each of them, in their own way, tried their best to make me laugh, feel welcomed and, yes, loved.

We went to a tiny restaurant under the railway arches for dinner. The kitchen was open at the back of the room. I couldn’t eat and the chef noticed. He came out of the kitchen to ask me what was wrong.

My tear stained face told him all he needed to know.

“Comfort food for a broken heart, hey?” He said, gently.

I nodded.

He came back a while later with a bowl of creamy, buttery mashed potato, as light as a cloud and as comforting as a warm blanket. It was amazing and I gratefully ate it. So lovely for him to do that.

As night drew in and it was time to sleep, the worry that had been eating at me all day felt sharper than ever. I had heard nothing from Italy. He would have been there by now, he would have made contact with those people. I had been told to wait for a message, not to call. It was agony.

I took an offered diazepam to sleep.

As the drug filed my veins with what felt like hot tea, I fell into grateful oblivion.

Ladies Underwear

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I was talking with my best friend about underwear at the weekend. Specifically, when the man in your life buys it for you.

I’m always genuinely grateful when a boyfriend buys me a gift. I would never be one of those women that sneers, belittles the gift giver and then asks for the receipt in order to get a refund. That’s just unforgivable. I know how damn difficult it is buying anything for women.

In the case of an underwear gift, I will gamely wear it for you. Even if it’s several sizes too small, because, from my experience it always is.

What could be causing this global phenomenon? my friend and I pondered, over a cheeky Sancerre, as us women do; why is it that every boyfriend in the history of boyfriends always does this?

I’ve experienced bras that I have squished myself into and wore all evening, for Him.

Even though my boobs looked and felt like two drunken wood pigeons on a very precarious telegraph wire.

Even though I’ve been prone to sudden jerking movements as the wire from the undersized cups has jabbed me in the armpit.

Even though the elastic at the back has risen up in a boomerang shape, about to give way, flinging the contents of the bra into the face of anyone unfortunate enough to be opposite me. (That happened once in the face of the Mayor of Monaco – but I’ll save that true(!) story for another time).

Trust me, I’m still really grateful that he went to the trouble to buy me something, I really am.

The other problematic gift is “Teddies”.

Why they are called “Teddies”, is something lost in antiquity, I may write to QI, but I suspect that nice Mr.Fry wouldn’t be in the least bit interested in the origins of ladies undergarments…..but I digress….

The mechanically minded amongst you, will know that a “Teddy” is a garment, mainly composed of lace and silk (sometimes nylon, if you’re particularly unlucky) that covers the female body from breasts to nether regions and, for easy access, has some sort of fastening in the crotch region.

The fastenings are devised by a very wicked underwear elf that enjoys the thought of women having ‘challenges’ when going to the loo.

They are sometimes tiny little buttons, extra fiddly, as they are not visible; sadistic metal hooks and eyes and, perhaps worst of all, a form of Velcro. A teeny, tiny, spiv’s moustache sized, strip of Velcro.

When said Teddy is a little on the small side, a woman must stretch the garment to meet under her crotch, trying not to enmesh any delicate lady bits in the fastenings, then hold the fabric taught enough in order to get some purchase in doing it up.

Attempting that in a lavatory cubicle after a few drinks, is, shall we say, a unique experience.

At any point, during the wearing of this garment, the fastening may give way. Actually, WILL give way.

The effect of this can be explained as a hydraulic cable suddenly snapping from a crane or, in less extreme cases, a tightly wound roller blind being let go and flying up a window at some speed.

We’ll disguise the fact that this has happened, because we love you men dearly and we’ll sneak off to the Ladies, still smiling, while we try to rescue the situation and check if an emergency gynecologist appointment is needed, to repair collateral damage.

You will never know.

I am still hot with shame regarding such an instance, that happened to me when I was still young enough to be given ‘the bumps’ on my birthday. With advancing years, it’s just too much for people to bother, thankfully.

I was wearing a tight Lycra dress and a Teddy, which was a birthday gift from my current boyfriend and it gave way on bump number ten.

As you will no doubt know, there is little chance of escape, when several drunk people have you spread eagled in the air and are flinging you around with gusto.

If anyone at the ‘business end’ gripping my ankles would chance to look down, they would have seen that the Teddy was now half way up my back and ….. you can imagine the rest, but please don’t. Spare my blushes.

That’s how dangerous gifts of underwear can be.

We eventually worked out WHY undergarment gifts are always too small.

It’s not a case of flattering body dysmorphia on behalf of our men.

We know that you go into an underwear boutique, find the sales assistant you find most attractive and say:

“She’s about the same size as you.”

But your secret is safe with us. And we’re ever so grateful. Really we are. X

Sex, drugs, the mafia and me 8

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If you want to read the start of this story, please click the story link on the home page and follow the links. Let me know what you think, too! 

When you have been involved with huge obstacles for someone you love, you often surprise yourself with your strength and the will to see it through.

My life had gone from a fairly normal, sociable and enjoyable one to something that had exposed me to a nether world I knew nothing about. I loved him and I had the ability to save him, or so my thinking went. Love conquers all, doesn’t it?

Having got through one obstacle, the drug addiction was at least in abeyance, I was now facing the edges of an underworld that I associated with The Godfather and old gangster movies. I knew involvement in this world never ended well.

Nevertheless, I carried on. I didn’t break, I didn’t give up. One Friday morning I drove Sean jr to Waterloo to pick up the Eurostar to Paris, where he would take an overnight train down to Southern Italy.

I was very calm and controlled. I think times like this almost make you feel that you are an objective observer of the situation, everything feels at some distance, happening in another dimension.

Maybe it’s the way your heart tries to protect itself from completely breaking. I felt like a woman made of stone, an impassive wife about to send her consort into a war, from which he might never return.

This disassociated spell broke, of course, when it was actually time to say goodbye.

As I was kissing Sean jnr, he was far from composed, I could feel him trembling and struggling not to break down. Rather than join him, I felt a surge of the crazy, impulsive, passionate streak in me – and I said:

“I can’t say goodbye here, I’m coming with you as far as Paris!”

I had 20 minutes to go before departure. My passport was in the glove box in my car, parked under the station, quite a distance away. I ran like the wind, got the passport and a return ticket and we made the train with just a minute to spare.

I was giddy with all the suppressed emotion and couldn’t stop laughing. We both did. We released all the tension, giggling our way through the English countryside and ordering Champagne.

I’m afraid I joined the ‘mile down club’,too. There was an urgency that this might be the very last time we could be lovers….

We arrived at Gare Du Nord, with a reckless, adventurous atmosphere around us, that must have been visible. The normally miserable border staff smiled benignly upon as  if we were excited newly weds. The French always have a soft spot for romance.

We negotiated the Metro, still feeling deliriously happy and met a man, with the biggest bag I had ever seen on his back and feeling filled with goodwill and love for all things, we offered to help him.

His story was a sad one, he was a refugee from Bosnia. His wife and children had gone ahead to France and he picked up what he could in terms of possessions, leaving his life as a University professor.

We listened to his story in silence. As did everyone else in the carriage, who could understand his halting English. When it was his stop, I threw my arms around him, kissed his cheek and wished him luck with all my heart.

The cross continent platforms at the Gar Du Sud are bright and full of light. There were just minutes to go for Sean jnr to catch the train, so no time for an elaborate goodbye.

It was one last kiss, I was bright and positive, even managed a big smile.

i watched him walk away down the long platform and then turned away, I couldn’t draw things out any longer.

On the homeward bound Eurostar, I stared out of a dark, rainy window into nothingness. I was numb, now, I couldn’t allow myself to think of the possibilities.

I drove home, went to bed, fell immediately into a bleak, dreamless, sleep.

Somewhere out there, under the same moon, a train clattered through the French/Spanish border. Was the man I loved sleeping, too?