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Love Story

Went to the Royal Albert Hall today to purchase tickets to the BBC Proms. When I arrived I hadn’t taken too much notice of the surrounding area but rather focused by attention on the exterior of the hall and the Royal Music Academy along side it. When I exited, proudly holding my tickets, I fully noticed and really saw the monument across Kensington Grove. Anyone who has spent a lot of time in London can vouch for the wealth of monuments and statuary, many of people, who unless you’re well versed in British History and I’m talking scary well versed, can’t be immediately identified. So it’s not hard to just kind of walk past and miss a couple, here and there. But this so honored man, him I know. And if he had not been obscured by a bus on my first passing I would have shown him some respect.

 

Gilded and enshrined rose the form of Prince Albert. His young, handsome, and warm form stands welcomingly across from the theater that bears his name. Prince Consort… Victoria’s Albert… the love of her so very long life. Is hard to imagine such a huge personality like Queen Victoria ruled with another. When thinking of famous Queens it never quite occurs to you, if they have another half. Mary Tudor essentially ruled alone, she had aged significantly by the time she got her chance. Catherine the Great had her husband murdered so she could have his throne. Elizabeth I denied all suitors. Catherine de Medici, her husband died, and she reigned as Regent… but you get the point.  And I guess in theory we don’t know much about Queens in general, usually over shadowed by their husbands.

This is very different it seems. I think because of the modern age, we’re able to see these monarchs as good people, humans rather than figure heads. Technology and our lives here in this age enable us a new sight. Like Princess Diana’s story, we were introduced to her; we saw her wed and we watched her life… and death. She became the sweetheart of the world because we could see it as it happened. If this had been any other age, no one would have known or acknowledged what happened to her. The current Monarchs are always under close scrutiny but mainly because we can see them. But Queen Elizabeth II’s family all seemed to be good individuals. Her Grandfather George V and his wife Queen Mary, who’s rose garden and designs for Regent’s park remain beautiful and sweet. Elizabeth’s father George VI and his wife Elizabeth, better known today as the Queen mother, were young and sweet to their family; the general population remembers them fondly, many pubs have shrine walls to George VI, possibly because he was the king who got them through the war. I can’t say I’m as fond of the current family, but I think that is mainly because I’m very aware of them, and have seen their pitfalls.

Victoria and Albert, well that my friends is an epic love story. I guess one could say it began as an arranged marriage… but to be fair, Victoria could have rejected the match, she was Queen after all. But Albert was so different from the rest, in marrying him she found mutual respect and admiration… and LOVE. Sadly the poor man was never fully welcomed by the English people, though he tried so hard, and did so much good through his wife for the nation, pressuring for their social welfare. Though he was never crowned king, he was eventually given the title Prince Consort and in that mutual respect for one another he was Victoria’s political advisor. Also seemed a very realistic love story, I think perhaps that is what makes it especially lovely, because it can happen and did. And oh how they loved each other. Victoria was beside herself when she lost him to typhoid suddenly. She spent the rest of her life in mourning, because she felt incomplete without him. (Those clothes we so associate her with in her later years were always black) and she traveled with two portraits of Albert. One large one that sat at the foot of her bed on an easel and the other was a small portrait of Albert sleeping which she placed on his pillow, so he would be there when she woke in the morning. I suppose once my thesis is done I would like to learn more about Albert and Victoria. I know I recommend the movies they’ve made, both of the recent ones are amazing.

And some how this story, always reminds me of my parents. The characters are quite different, but I think the love… the love is what reminds me. Being able to watch my mother’s reaction and loss first hand and its intensity sometimes is astounding. My parents, however, were so lucky, because they had almost 40 years together and Victoria and Albert only had 20 with the added stress of leadership. The respect and the endurance of the love, seems to be what is paramount here. And well, that’s what I want. I want to look at my love and think, this was worth it; it makes everything worth it.

Love as current topic. Being back with Graham has been wonderful. Is hard to imagine that we went a year without seeing each other. But it does pain me to think I have to return home in a month and I won't see him for another year. But through that I can't help but smile when I look at him. At least that is something that has always remained consistent, regardless of how my emotions fluctuate. And how much patience we seem to have with each other, I guess that's the test of us as a pair. We have a busy month left and I'm looking forward to doing it all with him.

Upon inspection

Upon inspection of my journal I didn't realize I hadn't posted a letter that I had written to my father this time of year in 2007 just after my father's death, and I thought I'd dredge it on up and post it. Simply because I think Dad would have liked it.

To my loss,

You gave me your world. You gave me your city; a city of heroes, villains and kings. I loved your city and was loved by it. Never a day came when I had regret, or a fear of not knowing. Every cloud in the sky was merely a brief pause in a soliloquy, not a complete stop. Every day I entered its great churches and lit a candle for you, in hopes for your health, but you were already gone weren’t you? I had lost you the minute I could no longer hear your voice. I should have known something was gone, but some how in that place I felt no loss. Sheltered completely in my love and my adoration for a city that had survived, braving every moment of darkness with a triumphant blaze. But you had no such luck did you, your triumphant blaze snuffed out. I walked its streets in its early hours and wondered had chaos ensued in the place where I had once belonged? And I suppose it had. But in my ignorance I continued to love that city that had seemed to engulf me and provided me sanctuary from the crushing reality of an eventual grief and guilt. It is a grief and a guilt that seems to be infused into all my days. Leaving me in a state of premature aging, having lost decades in only months. And with each day, thoughts and words of our city are what save me from the under tow. And though words are lost on you now, merely swallowed into the abyss, I will continue uttering words concerning the country side, street signs, and cardinal directions; as if nothing has truly changed. The way I am sure you would prefer it.

Love,
Rachel

A Kiss Good-Bye.


So I’ve grown to love my time here, as I always do. My home away from home. Meeting new people and being reacquainted with ones I’ve met before and every day, learning something new or re-teaching myself things that had escaped me. And every day, waking up beside Graham and realizing that I could be happy someplace other than home. His family enfolding me, “his” friends becoming ever more “our” friends.  It’s hard to imagine that I go home in less than a week. I’ll be honest; I’ve missed “home.” Not Savannah, and not school, but my mom and 3 of my friends. I miss the comfort of my own house, and I guess the idea of what it’s like to be there.  And that lingering bit of dad and memory of the years before I ever met Graham and before I ever met those 3 friends I miss so much. And I miss my ridiculously comfortable mattress. lol But every morning I woke up next to Graham, I knew that one of these days, I’d quickly give it up for the chance to be with him.   

My one regret for this trip was the fact that I didn’t spend nearly as much time with Ashley as I had on my last visit. But in return, I had so much time with Graham. And I guess because of that, I can’t complain. Lol I also got to know Ashley’s little brother Connor. And I’m so glad I did. He’s really quite something. We spent the day together taking photos and I taught him to use my 35mm manual Camera, and the whole experience was wonderful. He found that clicking noise of the actual shutter opening and closing oddly exhilarating. A noise I know well and gets me every time. lol I was thrilled also because I finally got to go to one of his gigs, after promising for the last year to be at one when I visited. After the first failed attempt to get to one in Weymouth and the one I missed while Graham and I were away in Gloucestershire photographing those William Jay Buildings, I finally made it to one. And I wasn’t disappointed, and took a ridiculous amount of photos. Lol

Over the course of this trip, I began truly weighing what I had grown to love. London, which had been my first English love and my most passionate love affair to date… frequently lost out to staying in bed with Graham.  Lol I never thought it would happen, but it did.  And well, he has the ability to make me extremely happy and he only loves me. And I find that astounding, still astonished by the mechanics and possibilities of “love.” And how it is that some one could love ME. And just me. Not like that love of the parents thing, where they can love you AND your siblings. Or your friends loving you. That someone could love me in a certain way, is just amazing.  

After I return home at the end of the week, it will be 5 months at least, if not more, before I see Graham again. And like it was before, it will probably be a difficult time for me. But I can proudly say I have 2 job interviews lined up for the week after I get home and two classes and a THESIS so I can graduate in May, so perhaps I will be far more occupied and he and I can both function normally. So I prepare to kiss England goodbye, and though I miss home, I'll be sad to go. To everyone I met and revisited on this trip:


Kev and Natalie: I hope their new home turns out wonderfully.

Dave and Di: I adore them both and they make me feel at home

Ashley, I adore you as much as I ever did.

Connor, We have to keep this up, because I look forward to next summer and you better be in the cards.

Diana, we’ll meet again, and that’s a promise.

And to my Graham, I love you more than London and you know that's a lot. lol

The Longest Day of the Year

Today is another day I've spent without my dad. What makes it different is, it is father's day (the second without him) and the overwhelming never changing fact that it would have been his birthday. He would have been 71, if he were here today. The Longest day of the year, dragged on without him. I spent the day with Graham's family and as good as it made me feel and as much as I love them, it wasn't the same. Because I knew I'd never have another with him.

I cried in the pub the other day. They played Mama Cass's "Dream a little dream." That song always brings me to tears now, because dad loved it. The last weeks of his life he was in a drug coma, and my brother and I used to sing every song we could think of in his hospital room, hoping it would wake him. And when I was alone, I'd sing that song, regularly reducing myself to tears and praying pathetically for some higher power to help me. No such luck. And now anywhere I hear that song, I cry. I'll be in the car with Don, and I'll cry. In a pub with Graham, I'll cry. Though I kept it to myself in the pub. I cried when Graham left the table and composed myself by his return. Even to an instrumental version in an elevator, I'll sob.

I still tell stories about him ad nausea. I'm sure everyone has had enough, but I can't help thinking about him, and I'm just so proud of everything he did. And I still feel cheated, after 2 years. Cheated of father, friend, and mentor. Cheated of a good bye. He gave me London, he gave me England and by extension he gave me Graham and Ash and the situation I'm in now. But I still wonder every now and then if I would give up everything I have now to have him back? I hate that I had to sacrifice dad to find Graham. Or perhaps Graham was given to me to make up for taking a chunk out of my life. I guess I'll never know.

I love Graham, but still my heart aches. I miss my father, especially on this... the longest day of the year.

Reminds me when....

Thanks Robert Burns, Guy Lombardo, NYC, Dick Clark, Champagne, and the past year. 2008 has passed, and 2009 is breaking. I can't say that I feel much different or that I was excited when the time passed.  A lot has happened over this year, and like I told Graham, I kind of expect to wake up and find that all that's happened, just didn't.  Graduation, Grad school, a fantastic summer in England with my friends (Mainly Ash, who I like to think I'm stronger friends with now because of all we've been through), and realizing and building a relationship with Graham that included a token that is sweetly woven around my finger. I can't imagine it not happening. But I miss my father, I do, and I know if I had a choice I'd want him back, but I realized in Graham that I could be happy again, when I thought it was impossible. And at the New Year, I remember Dad. Auld Lang Syne with Guy Lombardo, is one of the ways I'll always remember him, and I will continue to do so as 2009 passes. He missed 2008, just shy of my graduating and me finding someone that I think he would have really liked and approved of. But I realize that he would want me to keep going and finish, and that he'd want me to do what was practical as well as made me happy. Which I think is something Graham and I are being... practical. And will remain to be. I don't seem quite up to the challenge of a long year finish post, but this seemed fitting. Seems to be summed up in the form of an overall sentiment of satisfaction and in the case of my relationship with Graham, "practical" happiness. lol. Finding something I thought I had lost.
In the spirit of New Years I present you with a resolution. My primary goal for the new year is to keep my grad school work under control and in the fall get a job. I have other things I'd like to get done, but I'd prefer to not really discuss them in the fear that they might not get completed. But my studies... well those can't be avoided. Happy New Year everyone. And good luck to all of you. 

he he he

Yum, I'm hotness. LOL Borrowed from [info]scissorknot

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Victoria Station Scene

These two strangers began towards them. To her sister they were strangers, but to her these two forms held the love and personalities that had gotten her through one of the hardest times in her life. They were welcoming her back with open arms and a light in their eyes that she had longed to see and so happily found. They had been through a lot in their own time. Things had changed. One practically destroyed, and the other trying so hard to keep him together. She had wished so much over the past year that she would find her way to them again, and she had. As they stood in Victoria Station, in the crowd of faceless people, she realized that because these two were here that she had returned "home".

In the face of one, remained a longing. A longing for something passed that he wished would return, but "seemed" so absolutely hopeless. But in those blue eyes there remained a spark of something fantastic, seen every time a genuine smile spread across his face. His face, though worn, was still so young. It reminded her much of her own face after all that she had been through. They both knew such strong meaning for the reference to a “before time.” A phrase that had several times passed his lips. And she always reminded her self of that, whenever he seemed so hard to cheer. Because after all this time, she had grown to love him and trust him as a friend.

In the other, she saw so much hope. Immediately put at ease with his generous and sweet mouth and charming voice. Their green eyes seeing everything that was possible in each other. For a year she had sought a kindred. Someone to understand her and support her, after having lost the only person who had always understood her, her father. He had been so much to her during her hardships, and she had grown to love him dearly. Longing to be with him with every passing day. And wishing time would heal her still open wounds, so she could be what he wanted. Wanting so badly to be herself again, to find her lost light. He was so stable and understanding; she longed to be stable, for him. Wishing for him to be her light. As she would find out, that hope was not misplaced, and she would grow to love him madly and have that love returned equally.

Hospital Scene

She stood beside his hospital bed, her right hand gripping tightly to the bar, looking down at her father. Hard to believe that the small wrinkled form with ragged breath had once been a 300 pound man, whose voice could stop strangers in their tracks. What happened? She thought to herself. How could have I have missed this? I should have been here. But then she thought of her new found friends and love, and the consuming thought of London. That beautiful place that had made her so happy, how could she blame it? She had found unknowing refuge there, sanctuary from something that would have destroyed her from the inside out.

She slowly took a seat, watching him for movement as she eased down slowly. He had been unconscious for a week, and she wished with every fiber in her being that he would make some sign of his old life, not simply the mechanically aided rise and fall of his chest. She placed her shaking hand in his. Even at her age, his hand still seemed to overtake hers, as if things had never changed. It still felt like his hand, warm and soft and shadowed by his dark hair. She took a firm grasp, and announced her presence, calling him daddy and telling him she was home. Her family had insisted that he was waiting on her. Waiting for his youngest and dearest to return home, home from a place that he had once loved as much as he did the places of his childhood, London. He had known that place in his youth and loved his wife there, and did everything in his power to give that place to her. No one else, only her.

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So we find ourselves here again

So in the usually progression of time, we find ourselves coming full circle. No sooner I leave, I return. No sooner I graduate that I begin school again. No sooner I have love that it is kept at a distance. Fall Semester has begun and I find myself feeling nothing for the idea of being a graduate student. Files have been lost and found in the graduate office filed for my receiving a bit of help concerning a job to pay for my tuition. But it's been months, I've got plans now I've paid my tuition in full without their aid, and now they want to get around to helping me out. Those people have been nothing but trouble for me and I find myself not particularly wanting any job they show to me. And the fact that no one has discussed ANYTHING with me about working patterns, hours, or the entire scheme of things or answered any of the questions I've had about the whole process makes me have less than ample amount of respect for them and really makes me want to abandon the idea of any job that they would give me. However, I need the money and the job experience, but I also find myself not really caring. If there is the possibility that it will foul up my opportunity to study or to see Graham, either by consuming those few days I have with him in December or by ruining a summer that I planned to spend elsewhere, I'm less than eager to take the job.

Now the job that has been leaked to me by one of my professors who recommended me to the director of the museum, was the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum. Which quite frankly is a massive WWII Air Force museum that I have been in love with since I was a kid. Ever since I saw that inner dome in the lobby that was lined with an actual cargo parachute, I knew that I wouldn't mind working there. And in theory I wouldn't. But the reality of the job is being trapped in a room archiving all day and not really doing much else. I would love to be a tour guide or a welcome agent, but those jobs are not available to me. Number one because they don't have enough visitors to make it worth it, and the second is because they have veterans that volunteer for those position. What better person to lead you around a WWII museum than someone who actually fought in it or someone who was actually in the air force. And the fact that gas from my house out to the museum will be heinous is right up there concerning my not really wanting to do it.



My classes began today and I can't say I really like them. Had two today and one tomorrow. Light schedule compared to my earlier years; however, the work load is alarmingly simplistic. But if you think that too often, it'll bite you in the arse. I actually missed my first class yesterday, because I'm an idiot and misread my schedule, which I guess was eventually going to happen, I mean I had been flawless for 4 years. The two I went to today I was less than impressed with but I also wasn't shocked. I suppose they were predictable, such is my life. We've begun our assignments and one of the books I have to read is for my Topics in Southern History class, called Away Down South. I'm not quite sure what to think of that class yet, but if I know Dr. Price, he'll be interesting and the books will be terrible and I'll barely scrape by with a B.



Which brings me to the thoughts that consume me. I still miss England. I'm constantly thinking about Graham and though my life seems to be chugging along and trying to pull me back into the scheme of things, I find myself not being able to leave it behind. My brother and sister talk about maybe I should get a boyfriend who actually lives in this country at which time I laugh at them and say no, Graham's it. And they laugh and say, we'll keep working on it. But when you think about it, if they couldn't get me a boyfriend in the years prior to my meeting Graham, they sure as hell won't be successful now. Ha ha ha. Anyways I'm looking forward to December, and I'm building myself up every day on that thought. The thought of him and of seeing him again. Being in his arms, and as much as proper and stable internet and a webcam and skype help, I find myself longing for him. He pointed out to me that we say we miss each other a lot and that we say we love each other more than we ever did in person. But for me, being so far away, it seems to be the only thing I can say, because it consumes me. And the pain that I can't physically show him I love him, so I feel I need to say it. And when I say it, it is as much for me as it is for him. I used to always be under the impression that no one ever misses me as much as I miss them. That that was always how it was going to be. I would always be thinking about them and they would occasionally think of me, when they were bored or when I called, bringing myself to their attention. But with Graham it's different. He thinks of me. And for someone like me who is constantly thinking of others and is regularly being forgot, it's amazing to have someone who longs for you as you long for them. An astounding feeling that I've never been able to match and probably never will.


So much is changing for my boys and I'm hoping that my not being able to be there doesn't make them think I've abandoned them. I know they'll need me and when they do I'll be where they can find me. Shanna has returned and I really hope it goes well for the 3 of them. But especially for Graham and Ash, they've been through alot and they deserve some kindness. I want love for them. A good and strong love. A love that even Ash can call something real, one who is so true to the singularity of that word. And Graham knows he has a love in me that is so right that he has regained a trust in that word, that he thought he had lost. I love them, and they know this. As for Shanna, I'm not angry with her anymore. I want badly to trust her again, just like the boys long to. And I hope deep down in my soul that she will have some redemption. I love you, Graham with all my soul. I care for you Ashley, you deserve so much better. And hello again Shanna!

Lingering

So I have returned home, or well back to America. I find myself missing Graham and Ashley very much. Especially Graham. I find myself wishing it was December already. Not just because of the sweltering Georgia summer, but because therein lies My Graham. I predict the very idea of being in his arms again is going to be the single wish that will keep me going. I miss waking up beside him, hearing his laugh, his singing and hearing him talk to me so sweetly. This past two and half months has fostered such a love in me that it is hard to explain. Talking about him constantly and sounding very silly and childish when I giggle or cry "yay" when his texts arrive. Ever since I arrived home, my friends have constantly asked if I was all right because I had drifted off into thought while at the table at dinner or sitting on the couch during a game or a conversation. I used to do this before, but it was usually the thought of dad that did it to me, but now it is Graham and I guess emotionally that is a step up. No where near as depression as thinking of dad during my free moments. I miss Graham so much, and it pains me that he's so far away. I had grown so accustomed to seeing them both, waiting for them to arrive home, eating dinner with them, doing our dishes and just being in the same room with them. I even miss the faint sound of their laughter and the soundtrack of UT. I miss listening to them sing at 3AM and I wish so much to be back in the dark of the lounge and loving just being with them. How I miss them. And yes, how I need them.