Sunday, 1 January 2006

Happy new year!

As 2005 dragged its rickety body towards a timely grave, J told me that when I say I love him, he often wants to say it back. But he doesn't because he isn't sure he really does love me.

A love message from Sydney's greeting of 2006, courtesy of Channel 9The old year had quite a cathartic ending for us.

We went for an afternoon walk in the park; the weather end-of-year tired, not cold, but not warm, no rain, air quite fresh in London terms, in anticipation of a fresh start.

An elderly couple, wearing walking shoes rather than trainers, jogged past, followed by an overweight woman and her similarly sized partner pushing a pram with an incredulously small baby in it.

So I started talking about what the new year will bring for our relationship.

It's been about a year since I spent all night on the phone to J, trying to convince him that we were a good idea (in the end his therapist agreed with me, which apparently sealed the deal).

A year is a long time. I guess I felt at that moment yesterday when we were sitting on a bench in the park that unless it's going to last, one year is enough.

I don't need you to make up your mind now, I said, I just need something to hold on to. Something to give me a reason to hang on.

J didn't say anything for a long time, and then he started crying, sitting on a bench wathcing the kids play football on the other side of the fence.

We talked for ages. He cried some more. Strangely I didn't for once; I guess I just felt some kind of end-of-year resolve.

He ended up explaining better than he ever has what me means when he says he doesn't think he feels deeply enough for me.

"When you say you love someone," he asked, "you say they're with you all the time. But whenever you're not around, I just think of all the things I should get on with, all the stuff that needs done. I don't think of you. Doesn't that mean I don't love you properly?"

If that was the case, and we thought constantly about the person we loved for anything more than the three first months of mad crush, nothing would probably get done in the world apart from by people who have a completely loveless existence.

And those people are probably mostly institutionalised with depression and not working anyway.

It's just that when you do think about someone you love, there's always that extra weight on your chest.

There's an imprint they've made on you that means that even when you are really busy and thinking of everything else, you'd drop all of it in a second and rush to the side of your loved one should they call your name and ask for help.

I explained this to J. By this time we'd made it back to my flat.

Then I went to take a nap while he prepared a lovely dinner.

He woke me up and told me it hadn't come out the way he wanted it to, but I thought it was delicious anyway.

We watched London count down to the new year on BBC1 snuggled up on the sofa, both with a sore throat and a lump in it as well.

Happy new year, he said as Big Ben struck the first hour of 2006.

Although it was my first New Year's Eve spent in a sofa with my boyfriend, clad in sweatpants and an old sweather rather than at a party in my gladrags, I knew there was nowhere else I'd have been happier.

When I told him this, he said "ditto".

Will that still be the case one year from now, I asked.

I hope so, he said.

They say that whatever you hold in your hand as you see the new moon of the new year, you won't be missing for the rest of that year.

So one day at a time, until J finds the courage to believe what his heart is telling him.

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