I’d found my soulmate several years earlier. As these things so often happen, I was taken by surprise but soon fell completely in love. Almost three years later it was over, and I had been to blame.
After months of brooding and flirting with dramatic acts of despair (none of which I ever followed through on, or else I wouldn’t be here today), as the seasons ticked over, I returned to my beach to acknowledge the pain. My old dog had gone two years before, but the beach remained. I had grown up within sight of it, had childishly regarded it as my own, and had grown to love the anonymity it afforded me. Within twenty minutes of walking (or five minutes of running), I was an indistinct dot, isolated from the land and the source of pain, free to yell at God and free to let the tears flow in privacy.
My beach was where I went, long ago, to grieve.
Sometimes I still have the dream; the dream where I sit on the sand, sobbing as the sand blows against me. The dream where she finds me, returns to me and tells me that she loves me. The dream where I hold her again, and then wake with my eyes wet and my heart pounding.
I had the dream last night. As usual, I woke and lay in bed, waiting to calm down. I was still breathing heavily when the bedroom light flicked on and movement in the bed told me that my wife was also awake. “Are you alright, my lovely man?” she said, in the voice from my dream. The very same voice. My tears flowed again as the truth arrived to wrap me in its delicious embrace. You see, she did find me, she did return to me (across an ocean and a continent), and yes, she loves me.
She took her time, though. Twenty two years after we parted, we re-discovered and re-ignited our love half a world away from where we first met. It felt – and feels – perfect.
My life is the stuff of dreams; my first and true love came back. Old, horribly deep wounds have been healed and no longer have power over me. I have a new, happy beach. I am very, very happy. I am very, very lucky. Life has taught me another lesson.
Never give up. Never stop loving (I know; that’s two lessons; sue me).