you, last night, although (weirdly) it wasn't until I had been at work for a couple of hours this morning, that I realised it was you. Is that wrong of me? To not know it was you!
I my defence, I didn't really get a good look at you; it was your being, your persona, your warmth, kindness, thought and love which emanated so deeply. I guess I didn't need to see your face, yet, I know at some point, I did - that's how I know it was you.
Not the 'you' I remember though, for whence last I saw you there wasn't anything other than dark hair on your head (how jealous was I for how thick and lush your hair was?). The You in my dream though had stripes of grey working their way through - which, I guess, if you had lived, would quite possibly be the case right now. It suited you, but then why wouldn't it? You had a face which would suit anything. I still pinch myself sometimes at how lucky I was to be with you. That was one of the things I loved about you. Most people have a "type"; not you. You never surrounded yourself with people because of how they looked (and let's be honest, you could have surrounded yourself with the most beautiful people in this world and you'd have still shone above them all), no, you surrounded yourself with people based on what was inside of them. I know your friends asked you often if you were crazy when you were with me, and I know how you used to answer them; that just made me love you even more.
It goes without saying there isn't a day which passes by when I don't think about you. I'm in my 17th year without you (in a physical sense) and yet still, you are always there. I'm not sure 'why' I chose to dream of you last night though (one of only a handful of times since you left your mortal body). My life is in a fairly good place right now, things are improving, it's picking up and I'm finally being the person you always allowed me to be, so there is no reason why you would come to me in my dream, especially as you were playing the role of 'protector'. Maybe you know something I don't?
Maybe it's because I parked my car outside your Mum's house last week - the place which turned out to be last time I spoke to you in the 'real world'. Maybe it's because while sitting in my Number 1's (just 3 doors up from your Mums) she pointed out to me that your eldest boy had just walked by (I had my back to the window, and am so glad I did, for I saw a photo of him a few weeks back and I literally felt my heart stop beating for a minute, and I gasped, out loud; if I didn't know better (and if he had darker hair) I would have said I'd been transported back 25 years and was starting at a photo of you - he is your 'almost' identical doppelganger). Maybe it's because you have a birthday coming up, another one I won't get to spend with you (in a physical sense, at least). Maybe it's because I know how much you would be loving this weather (oh my goodness, how did we ever come to be? We were so different, in so many ways). In fact it was on a day like today (and every day we've had for the last few months) that I first set eyes on you - it was also like this on the day we shared our first conversation.
I remember sitting on the arm of the sofa, staring out of the window, watching the world go by. It was a good spot to see the 'coming's and going's' of the neighbourhood (and there surely were a lot of 'coming's and going's' which went on in that road!! ;) Being positioned on the middle floor of the block of flats, in the middle of the road, I could see from one-end-to-the-other. Such a good place to "people watch". That's where I was when I first clocked you. Those sandy coloured workboots on your feet, white socks (which were still white; how did you manage that after being on a building site all day?) Legs, muscly and perfectly tanned, leading up to pale blue denin shorts. A torso which would make even the most hardened gym fanatical guy yearn for (again, perfectly tanned) and your hair (that lucious thick dark mane) hanging poker straight, almost to your waist (I remember being so disappointed when you had it cut, then realising it meant your features stood out even more than before; it was at that moment I saw just how truly handsome you were). I'd dreamed about men like you, yet never once did I imagine I would meet such a man - especially not on my doorstep (ok, my best friends doorstep but I spent so much time there it was like my own home, too :) ) I know this sounds weird to say about a man (I also know you would find nothing weird in it) but you were breathtaking. Oddly, you never saw it. There we'd be, walking down the street together and everyone (and I mean, everyone) would look at you. Women (and men too) would stare at you (the amount of double-takes I saw people do always made me smile) yet you were oblivious to it. I've never met anyone so modest. It used to make me laugh how they would look at (drool over) you, then clock sight of me; I would watch their expressions change, see them asking themselves "how?" you could be so brazen to wander along the street, hand-in-hand with someone like me (you are still the only man I have ever allowed to hold my hand in public too - I don't think that will ever change, either). Not once did you ever see this; you truly had no clue how you affected poeple - random strangers would walk away smiling because of you. It wasn't just your looks which made people smile, either; you just had this "something" about you, something which made people stop and take notice, and yet you were completely clueless to the affect you had on people. That is one of the things I loved so much about you.
You kept your circle of friends small, yet that church on the day of your funeral was packed (and it's a huge church). It was filled with people to whom you had made a difference. I only wish you could have seen/believed what we saw (and believed) in you; your life could have turned out so differently if you'd been able to, and those people hadn't seen/experienced the "real" you either. They'd just seen/experienced the persona you allowed them too. I feel truly blessed that you were willing to share who you really were with me (even the darker side of you which sometimes crept in - we all have one,a nd while yours scared me I wasn't scared of you, and feel blessed that you felt confident enough to allow me to see into your soul - I only wish I could have helped you deal with the demons you were battling; you might still be here, had I been able to).
How you must have laughed to yourself about me when we were finally introduced (as I write that I realise that's how it would have been in my head; you were not the kind of man to laugh about such a thing and would be genuinely mortified to tihnk someone might believe you would - sorry about that). I knew the split second you looked out of your living room window that you had made the decision to come down and meet me (that was, after all, the plan of your Mum and my best friend - ooh, look, we had an 'arranged' relationship!!). I bet you did laugh though at how 'cool' we both tried to play it? I know I did when I got back that evening. I still have the photograph I got Donna to sneakily take of you (thinking that was really only going to be my one chance - if only I'd known then what I know now :) ) and all she managed to get was your legs (from the hem of your shorts) to the soles of your feet - for someone always taking photo's she really ballsed up that day! Thankfully it wasn't my 'one-and-only' chance :) I remember thinking to begin with that maybe I was wrong, that you were playing some kind of cruel game, toying with me because you knew how big the crush I had on you was, then you did something I would not have expected from someone at a first meeting, without an alterior motive (whether that be good, bad or indifferent). You laid yourself backwards (resting yourself on your elbows so you were still able to view what was going on around you) and asked me to join you, which, of course, I did. There was no way I was going to refuse you. When you next spoke, was the moment I fell in love with you.
You'd not asked me to lay beside you to try and hit on me, you'd not done it to be cruel and play with my emotions; no, you did it because (and I quote) "it's easier to talk on this level when there are so many people around" and you were right. Sitting upright we were subjected to the noise and chatter of everyone else - the clangs of tools on the barbeque, the screeches of kids playing with water pistols, the friends and neighbours gossiping about people. Lowering ourselves those few inches meant we were able to engage in a conversation without interrupption. It also meant we still 'blended in'. Had we laid down properly people would have noticed, thought it odd (or assumed we were about to 'get-it-on' - you know how their minds work?). No, the stance we took was perfect for us to discover whether this was going to be just a 'one-off' meeting (with passing "hello's" to each other when we saw each other in the street or at other neihgbours houses) or if it was going to be the start of something which was only going to continue to grow. I'm a so grateful it was the latter of the 2.
I still see your face, your smile beaming at me from the back of your friends car, as me and my Number 1 walked down the street. Your smile was infectious; up until that point we'd been having a bad day. That all disappeared when we saw you. I wish I'd known then it would be the last time for I would have tried to get your friend to pull over so I could hug you one last time, kiss you one last time, say "goodbye" to you, properly. Maybe I wasn't meant to; maybe my last memory of you is meant to be one which put a smile on my face, made me feel like the most important woman in teh world, because that really is how I felt when I saw you (alive) for the last time.
Thankfully, that smile, that moment, has long since surpassed the one which filled my mind every time I closed my eyes to go to sleep at night; the one of you in your coffin. I'd not wanted to see you, had no intention of visiting you in a chapel, but you had other ideas. Yes, I am blaming you for that; I'm sure you played some hand in me ending up there, sitting in a room with your dead body. At the time I thought it a cruel twist-of-fate, but now? Well, I'd still rather not have been there, yet feel (oddly) grateful in a way that I was. Maybe I'd not have accepted your death so well (as if I've actually accepted it well) if I'd just taken it at 'face value' that you were gone.
For years I beat myself up, telling myself I should have sent my text message to you earlier that evening. Convincing myself if I had, you might still be here. I know, now, that's not how it works. You were meant to die that night, regardless of whether anyone wanted you to. I could have text you in the afternoon and it still wouldn't have made a difference; your phone could have been on silent, or run out of charge.
I do wonder sometimes how life would be if you'd not died that night? Would we have got married like we discussed the last time we were together? Would we have kids of our own (highly doubtful when I am barren) Where would we be living? So many questions which can never be answered, so they get locked away again for a few months, before something will trigger them off again. Obviously, I tell myself "Yes" to all of these questions because I do (truly) believe we would be. Maybe that's why I dreamed of you last night. You were just popping by to let me know you're still around, still with me, and always will be. I should have known that too, should always remember that. I know it was you who brought, Mr T, into my life to fill the void you left behind, although I notice you only brought him so far!! I can share with him all the things I would have shared with you (in the emotional sense) but you keep him far enough away that I am unable to share my physical space with him. Smooth move - not :)
I love you as much today as I loved you 'way-back-when'. I always will do. I am so grateful for the part you have played in my life. You may be gone, but I have memories to last me a lifetime.