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      Recalling Manchester


there used to be a television ad for yoghurt that spoke about something every woman should have in terms of love: a lover you could always go back to, a lover who shows you how far you've come since then, and the one that got away. At the time I saw that ad, I was with someone who turned out to be my most significant relationship, although not for the fairy tale reasons. As he watched that ad, he made a comment to the effect that he was all of those things to me. But guess what? He wasn't. He was never going to be the one that got away, the one that you know you'd go running to in an instant if ever the chance arose. Have you ever had a love that isn't scarred by any bad memory? One that just unfolded and happened and took forever to get over? Well, to be entirely honest, im not sure if Im comfortable with such fuzzy descriptions, but I do know that the man I have in mind, I have never truly forgotten. I remember the taste of salt on his skin, his way of talking and his scent. It was ten years ago. We met overseas but not in a cheesy way. He was older than me by perhaps 12 years, and sensitive about the age difference which I found out through a mutual friend much later; totally not secure in how I felt. Being young and being me, such worries never entered my mind. I knew I liked him or I wouldn't have said I did. Anyhow I digress. He had to leave but extended his stay for a few weeks-god I just remembered that detail right now-and we were both so happy...but eventually, the actual leaving time did come again. I remember him holding me on the side of the road, he had pulled the motorbike over randomly it was dusk. And the last thing he told me in person, was " Never forget what a beautiful person you are, inside and out". On my bad days, those words still pop in to my head. So he left and telephoned me a few days afterwards, we spoke, and made arrangements to speak again. Our last conversation we jokingly discussed marriage. So we were all set to speak again. Remember, he was insecure about my feelings for him: oh so concerned for my tenderness, my virgin Mary quality as he once put it (ours was anything but virginal in that department). So anyway, he is calling me at a certain time on a certain day and I am making plans to be at the house where he is calling me. I end up getting hospitalised and am stuck there for two weeks. I get released from hospital to find a letter he has sent me,telling me where he will be over the next few weeks, and that he may stay on if I want to join him. I call the house where he was staying and find he has left that country (my home country) for the next one. We never spoke again.. I am tormented to think he thought I wasn't interested, or avoiding him. Years later, Im told a man stopped by in the country we met looking for me, but no one knows his name. Yesterday, I tracked down his brother in a total long shot. I have no idea if its wise to pursue this or whether I should leave it as a beautiful story to treasure forever with no chance of getting ruined. But I never stopped thinking about him. I don't know how this will end up-ten years have passed, I am different and he probably is too....but I will write here since I dare not tell another soul, not yet.After all, perhaps it was not a big deal, or my recollections are based on something totally worlds away from any event I feel better having written it down. And, at least I know I have loved enough to write a wee story about it!


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