Learning To Drive – Lesson 1

I made the desicion a few weeks ago to take the plunge and book driving lessons. I’ve always wanted to learn to drive, but I’ve had either not enough money or no time. I’m fortunate now to have both, so I decided ‘what the hell, I’ve got nothing else to do with my evenings.’

I had my first lesson last week. Mohammed, my instructor, thinks I’m hilarious. He spent most of the last 15 minutes of the lesson laughing at me every time I opened my mouth and words came out. I’ve mostly retained the information he gave me last week, the order in which to do things might be a little fuzzy, but it’s there, inside my brain, gently tumbling around. I’m sure Mohammed will set me straight later as we’ve got another lesson tonight!

Looking back, my first lesson was a bit of a blur. Lots of information to absorb and about 15 – 20 minutes of me driving around, in a circle, very slowly. I do remember I enjoyed it immensely and wanted to more driving immediately. I distinctly remember thinking, as the car moved forward, on purpose, because of something I was doing, ‘Oh S**t, I’m actually driving an actual car.’ But, as I joked to friends and family the next day, I survived, Mohammed survived, the good people of this town survived. I went round a very quiet residential street twice, parked and moved off a few times, stalled the car twice and learnt the brakes are very sensitive.

I am looking forward to tonight, I have a 2 hour lesson booked where I’m sure I’ll be more relaxed and able to take more in information and do some serious hardcore driving, who knows, I may even get to change gears while the car is moving.

Wish me luck, wish Mohammed luck and most importantly, wish the good people of this town luck.

JA

In Limbo

I saw the Bus Driver recently for the first time in 5 weeks. I had gone to watch Best Friend #2 play pool and I’d been feeling a certain amount of panic all day, would he say anything, would I say anything, would I do that thing I usually do?

In the end it was all over very quickly, after the initial shock of being in the same room as each other for the first time in a month had gone, and I was sat alone, he approached and said “you alright?” His voice was soft, I know from previous experience that he is cautious around me when we have stopped speaking for a time, and he was clearly unsure of what my reaction would be.

I did do that thing that I usually do, I didn’t quite make eye contact (odd as I’d spent a lot of time looking into his eyes in the past months), said two words (“Yes, thanks”) and dropped my gaze pretty quickly. This thing I usually do irritates me, but I always do it. I’d even sat there, silently willing myself not to do it, but still did it anyway. Small wonder then that he approached with caution.

To anyone not inside my head at that particuar moment I know how this interaction looks; he made a huge effort to speak to me, I barely looked at him, said two words and then pretty much ignored him for the rest of the night. Sometimes I wish I could show people what is inside me at times like this, because it is the complete opposite of how it appears.

His approach took me by surprise, I hadn’t expected that he might speak to me although I’d thought about nothing else all day. The soft tone of voice completely threw me, because I didn’t deserve it. I couldn’t bring myself to look directly into his eyes, because in doing so I wouldn’t be able to prevent myself from holding back all of the things I wanted to say, all of the things he isn’t ready to hear yet. I may not have spoken to him or met his gaze  for the rest of the night, but I was painfully aware of his prescence for the entire night. I tried not watching as he played his game of pool, I tried not stealing glances at him, I tried not looking at his hands which, I don’t really have an explanation as to why, I have always loved. I tried, I tried really hard.

I’ve never believed in ‘The One’, I don’t think that out of the 7 billion (and counting) people that inhabit this planet, there is just one person destined for me. I do believe that there are a few people out there, some of which I will never meet, some of which I have met. The Bus Driver is one of these people. I know this almost as well as I know the back of my own hand.

I’ve never liked opening up to people and telling them my deepest feelings, fears and hopes for the future. I might mention in passing that I would love to visit The Great Wall Of China, or that I would consider adopting a child, or that not getting married doesn’t matter to me. I have trouble holding people’s gaze for very long, fearing that somehow they will see something in my eyes that I’m not ready to share. I hold a lot of what I’m feeling or thinking inside myself, refusing to let it out. But things felt different with the Bus Driver, I knew that one day I would even be able to tell him the reason I cannot eat Weetabix.

But, this morning I find myself once again stuck in limbo. He doesn’t understand me, doesn’t understand that my defenses are up once again resulting in very little conversation, not making eye contact and almost pretending like he is not in the room. He doesn’t understand that it’s killing me not speaking to him.

Best Friend #2 says “tell him all of this”, I’m still not convinced.

JA

The funeral of The Pilot

Last month I was told that someone I knew briefly in the Summer of 2011 had died suddenly, aged just 20. This week I attended his funeral.

This charming young man took my cousin to their High School Prom and being particularly close to my cousin, I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with ‘The Pilot’ over the course of a few months, there were games of rounders on the green, trips to the unfinished play park, (we all felt particularly naughty sneaking through the fence put in place to keep us out) and laughter, lots of laughter. This is what I will remember the most about ‘The Pilot’, the way he could make you laugh even when you were sad, and I was sad during that summer. I remember hearing him talk about how he wanted to fly, how it was all he had ever wanted to do since he was little. I’ve always envied people who have a life plan, who know what they want to do and who have the courage to go for it. In the few short months that I knew ‘The Pilot’, I knew he would achieve his dream, I knew he would grow into the type of man who every woman wants to marry and I knew that he would touch the lives of everyone he would meet along the way.

This week I saw how true that was. The Church was packed with family, school friends, college friends, fellow pilots, football friends and people like myself. People that he had met along the way and whose lives he had made a difference to, even though they might not have realised it at the time. Lovely isn’t usually a word I would use to describe a funeral, but this was. I felt a lot of sadness in the Church, but I also felt a lot of happiness and a lot of love.

The service was conducted by the man who had joined ‘The Pilots’ parents in marriage, who had baptised ‘The Pilot’ and his twin sister and sadly, who had buried ‘The Pilots father’ in recent years. A Pilot friend spoke about the type of person ‘The Pilot’ was, a relative read a sonnet written by a Pilot for other Pilots, “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane was played and there were tears, smiles and laughter.

At the Burial two of the planes ‘The Pilot’ had flown in his short career, flew overhead shortly after his coffin had been lowered by his friends. One of them had the tail number G-RATE and that perfectly summed up what he was to all who were fortunate enough to have met him.

G-RATE

For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.

– Leonardo Da Vinci

– Written by ‘The Pilot’ on his whiteboard in his apartment

I’ve never been on an aeroplane before, but I hope to one day and on that day I will remember ‘The Pilot’.

Keep flying high, my friend and rest in peace x

JA

What Now…

I started writing this post a few weeks back, when everything was still so horrible and painful. I stopped because I just didn’t know “What now?”

Now, with some time and distance (literally, as I went away for a few days). I feel I am better equipped to decide.

1. Don’t talk to him for a while.

This is the hard part. If I was strong enough I would have had a few weeks of no contact and then, maybe, a meet up and a talk. Of course, that’s not what happened. Stupid girl feelings took over and the crazy started (still haven’t got the ability to control this part). I know I scared him and I’m not sure how to apologise for that – I’m sorry just doesn’t seem to be enough.

I hate not talking to him, I hate not getting a good morning text from him, I hate not knowing how his day is going. It is hard to stop all contact with someone when you are used to a lot of contact. For anyone that has ever had someone leave them, you’ll know how I’m feeling right now.

2. Be nice when you do bump into him.

The chances that I’ll run into him are slim as the local Pool season is pretty much over. But, should I find myself in the same place as him, I need to be nice. Say hello, you look well, it was nice speaking to you, and be on my way.

3. Remember that he needs to heal too.

Too often we forget that even though the other person broke up with us, they still have feelings about the situation. I know he feels bad for hurting me. But he didn’t cheat, didn’t physically abuse me, didn’t do any of the things that people in truly bad relationships experience. He will be feeling a different kind of bad about the situation.

4. The Friends thing.

I don’t think either of us is friendly with any of our exes. It’s just not a good idea, rarely works and is incredibly difficult. I’m not sure if I want to try, as we go round and round in this circle of friends, something more than not friends. I’m just not sure I can handle another round.

I think the best thing is more time, more distance and less thinking. I’m an instinctual person, my gut tells me when to trust, when not to trust, when something is wrong etc. I need to listen to that, it’s never led me astray so far.

JA

I woke up and you weren’t my first thought…

Yesterday was the first time in months I woke up and didn’t think immediately of the bus driver. Thoughts of him soon trickled into my consciousness, but for a few glorious minutes he wasn’t there.

It’s odd when you turn a corner in the post break up recovery process without realising it. I wouldn’t want him to think that I’ve stopped caring for him, because that’s not the case at all. I care for him very much and I always will, it’s just that my focus is switching back to myself again.

For months now, I’ve been thinking of him above all others, even myself. This surprises me because I am a selfish person, but I was always thinking of him. How his day was going, if he would have any funny bus driver stories for me, how his latest round of golf had gone (I don’t even like golf!!). When we were together I would think how lucky I was to have someone care about me as much as he obviously did. I’d snuggle up to him, holding his hands feeling more happy and content than I had done in years.

Now though, I don’t feel a stab of panic passing his home on the way to work, I don’t feel empty when I don’t get a good morning text, I don’t lay awake at night wondering if he is thinking of me. I don’t know why, I don’t know how, but I’ve managed to get over the worst of the situation. Probably because I’ve shifted my focus from him to other stuff (the gym, reading, writing, and one other huge change which I will keep a secret for now).

I don’t know where I go from here, but go I will.

JA

“Don’t have to be like it, but won’t be easy…”

“I’m sorry that we’re back to not being friends again”

“I knew that it would be slim that we’d be able to stay friends”

“I don’t like it”

“Don’t have to be like it, but won’t be easy”

“Nothing involving me and you has ever been easy”

This was our latest conversation. I tried so hard not to text him, but I am weak and needy and just a little pathetic. I would like to believe that friends is possible, but as I’ve already established, this has been going on for almost 5 years now.

Where do we go from here? I know that I can heal and forgive with the passing of time, having done it twice already. I know that eventually we will speak as friends again. I know that we will start to spend time with each other again. It’s what happens after this that worries me. I’m not sure I’m strong enough for what happens next. At this exact point in time, I’m not even sure I want what would happen next.

I’ll sleep on it for now.

JA

Best Friends…so called because they are there through the bad times.

I’ve never been very good at maintaining long relationships with anyone. I’m not the easiest person to get along with, I have opinions, have been known to throw a major tantrum over the smallest thing and I don’t like letting people get too close to me for fear I will get hurt or loose them.

These last couple of weeks I have relied, perhaps unfairly, on an unexpected but not unwelcome best friend. I’ve also got another best friend, who, though he says very little is there, lurking in the background ready with a lunch / cinema date and nuggets of wisdom.

Best Friend #1 – AKA Bitch

So called because we met while he was doing work experience and I gave him all the rubbish jobs to do while he followed me around like a lost puppy. I couldn’t be without this man!! He lives a train ride away and lurks in the depths of my Twitter, always watching, rarely commenting. Bitch is the type of best friend that you don’t need to see or speak with all of the time, because when we do meet up it’s like no time has passed and we can pick up where we left off. He became my best friend when I lost my job (because I was stupid), taking me out for lunch to cheer me up and we’ve never looked back, well I know I haven’t. The fact that he supports a rival football team doesn’t even bother me (maybe a little), and I will always be proud to have been chosen to witness his marriage to his lovely wife. This best friend says very little, trusting that I am old enough and mature enough to figure this stuff out on my own. But he is there, lurking, keeping an eye out and I know that should I ever truly need him, he would lurk no more.

Best Friend #2 – AKA Phebs

Phebs and I worked for the best boss ever, quite a few years ago now. And have been friends for maybe 6 /7 years. Most of that friendship has involved drinking, some football matches, Monday night pool, and lately family parties, trips to the pub with me and Dad and more recently, a shoulder to cry on (not literally, much to his approval). Phebs has found himself smack bang in the middle of the bus driver drama, mostly because he made me speak to bus driver again after the last time we fell out (kidding, Phebs. You didn’t twist my arm). Now, this lad has, on occasion, declared his undying love for me, which makes the current situation even more, well I wouldn’t know how to start describing it if I’m honest. This best friend has managed to come through a situation which had the potential to seriously damage our friendship, is now going through a similar situation for a second time, all the while maintaining such calm and grace as I could ever wish to muster. I do not know how he does it and I wish I could.

The fact is both have been with me for a long time now, sharing good times and bad. Both have been / are there for me now, while I’m at my lowest. For that I love them both very much. Friends like these two are rare, they can see past my numerous faults and annoying ways, they can say things I don’t want to hear without fear of really hurting me, they will be there when I come out on the other side, however damaged I may be.

I’m not sure what I did to deserve TWO such human beings, but I know that my life is infinitely better with them in it.

JA