I moved to London in 2002. I knew that it was where I needed to be, but London did not welcome me with open arms, quite to contrary, I didn’t know who I was at that time in that space. I had traded village life in the West Country for the bright lights of theatreland, but it was clear that I wasn’t the person that I had been just a few hours before. Everything had unalterably changed and I was lost amongst it.
Had you told me then that the enduring love affair that I would be a part of, would still be going strong in 2015, I wouldn’t have believed you.
London has been responsible for teaching me how to love. My two great loves, the City itself and my darling wife (with whom my life began to make sense.)
I discover new reasons to roll head over heels, everyday. A street that I have never strolled along becomes an old friend. And old views that have fused into my memories, belong only to me and my darling girl.
I rarely walk in London alone. But when I do I seek out unknowingly, those memories that make life make sense. Often I am drawn to the glow of the embankment bridge, and find my mind transported back to 2004, when the lights of “our” bridge, caressed the skyline of our peripherals, a frame on the mantelpiece that upturns the corners of my mouth, and puts joy in my heart.
This skyline isn’t home, she is. But every moment that I share with her is part of my being, the code that makes me, me. This view will hold me still, even momentarily, and give me clarity.
London has made life possible. It has broken my heart and helped me to heal, it has made me experience a love that was only surpassed by THAT love. That love that is so strong that it makes you realise how insignificant everything else was until them.
I have two favourite lyrics from musical theatre, and they were both written by Jason Robert Brown. The first:
“Will you share your life with me, for the next ten minutes? For the next ten minutes, we can handle that.
We could watch the waves, we could watch the sky or just sit and wait til the time ticks by. And if we make it til then, can I ask you again, for another ten?”
This sums up love for me, I want to spend every ten minutes with my wife, and when that is over I want a do over, another ten to feel as great as the previous ones.
“Did you ever hear her laugh?
When she laughed you swore you’d never cry again.
Did you ever see her smile?
Her smile was like a glass of lemonade.”
And this is her. The girl who can fill a room with her huge heart and whose emotions are infectious. She feels, like I didn’t know it was possible to, and is open and honest, and drives me crazy in perfect equilibrium with how much I drive her crazy.
She is me, and I am her.
We use another of Jason’s lyrics to each other, our bit, our hearts.
To my darling Tracy and my pal Old London Town:
“Have I Mentioned today,
How lucky I am,
To be in love with you?”
Valentine’s Day is about love, not the cookie cutter, or the lines from a card, or a heart shaped box of chocolates.
It’s the electricity when you hold their hand. The fireworks in your heart.