There are so many times when I miss you.
I try to picture that rueful smile as it would look today, to again feel the sharp sweet pain in my heart as I picture you flicking that carefree lock of hair away, to reveal two steel blue Germanic eyes which smiled at me so many years ago.
You were rarely in my presence, but always in my thoughts. I fell asleep seeing your face, and when I awoke you were still there. Throughout the day I imagined you walking beside me. I felt your hand in mine, and I heard your voice in my mind.
When I was with you all of my senses turned towards you. You sharpened my brain and injected me with effervescence.
Footsure, I walked the narrow wall on the viaduct; a one hundred and fifty foot drop beneath me. I would not fall away from you to my death.
My body made a star on the grass in the park as you threw your razor sharp knife so carefully, to sink into the soil within an inch of my ear, next to my fingers, my knee, my wrist.
You were nineteen years old, and only now do I wonder how reliable was your throw and how likely you were to slip: to slice me with that blade, to cut me, to make me bleed; and whether I would have lost my faith in you, even for a moment.
Sometimes in the mornings before work we would meet by chance, and I would sit in your car while we talked about nothing. I loved to hear you speak. We wouldn’t touch. As you drove away I felt a physical pain in my chest, which returned over and over throughout the day: a sweet pain, worthy of only you.
We shared an innocent and beautiful love which nobody understood. All I desired was to be close to you, and although you must have wanted more, you didn’t mention it for years. Perhaps you knew that we could only continue meeting under those terms.
When we finally slipped up, in that one weak moment, it signalled the end.
Before that, what we had been doing had not been quite so wrong. It could be claimed that you were remaining faithful to your wife, although giving in to your desire to see me was disloyal and wrong. And I was wrong not to turn you away, but I didn’t have the willpower to give you up, until we carried out that intimate act which was so wrong that it signalled the end for ever.
Though thirty-five years have passed without you, and I only saw you intermittently over the previous nine years, I miss you still. I loved you always and I always will. I am happy and I hope that you are also.
Sometimes when my life is difficult you come to me in my dreams. You hold my hand and we talk.
I awake with a smile, knowing that you are out there, not far away, living your life, as I am living mine.
These dreams are frequent while they last. but then they stop for months on end or even longer, mirroring our erratic trysts so long ago.
© Jane Paterson Basil