Thriving and Surviving

When I left Megan in Wiltshire and headed back to London she had given me a letter that I wasn’t allowed to open until I got home. It was sweet to have something hand written from her, I knew it wouldn’t have been the first draft but it was Megan’s first attempt at the (rather soppy) type of message that I’d usually send her every night.

The sentiment was beautiful, all the love and promises laid bare for me to see, to assure me of just how much our new relationship meant to her. Something I could read and re-read whenever I felt like it. The intensity was incredible, it was like someone had lit the fuse and the L-bomb had exploded. Megan had even said I was like a drug to her, I didn’t need any explanations. What we had was addictive.

I remember it became a little joke of ours, I even wrote a cheesy little poem about it (I’m sorry, please have a sick bucket at the ready)…

You’re like a drug to me

From the moment that you said to me
You get this high just from when we meet
And now I know I’m like a drug to you
I’ve been wondering what this drug could do

Do I make your heart skip a beat
Could it sweep you off your feet
Can I be your only remedy
If you’d only take a dose of me

If loving you is an addiction
I’ll be your medicine and affliction
Just hold on tight and trust in me
Our cure is what this love could be

I will make you smile when you frown
Deliver laughter when your down
Prescribed at least three time a day
Each dose will take your cares away

So if you’re left with any doubt
Just swallow me down and try it out
No greater cure there could ever be
Than everything you mean to me

God it makes me want to wretch just re-typing that tonight, someone please pass me that sick bucket. But that was what it was like, everything had been coming along very slowly until that first kiss. Yet the moment that happened the floodgates were opened and everything escalated quickly. One week we were friends, then we kissed, the next week we were in love, a few weeks later things we couldn’t get enough and not more than a month later things got really serious.

I didn’t question what we had at all, it felt so right. Megan gave me something that no one else ever had. She could express herself extremely well and for the first time I felt adored. I felt like I was the one that had been chased, I was the one that made her happy. She was tactile and affectionate, passionate and wasn’t shy about telling me how she really felt. I know every relationship has a honeymoon phase but this just felt so different to anything I had experienced before, our new relationship was thriving.

Megan was determined to enjoy every minute when we managed to get some time alone together. We’d barely talk about all the stress she had in her life when we were physically together. The weekend after her birthday I didn’t get to spend much time with her, Megan had work and also happened to share her birthday with my best friend Farrah. So I trundled off to Wales for what has now become an annual BBQ with my school friends.

Ever since the split from Lara I had resolved never to abandon my friends for a relationship again. Farrah and Emma have always been there for me and at times I’ve been the worst friend imaginable with my absence. I convinced myself that everyone was just growing up and doing their own thing, but I’d missed out over the years and I loved spending time with them. The BBQ was amazing fun, I managed to drink almost an entire bottle of Absolut Raspberri Vodka and had no idea what I was chatting about the rest of the night.

I amused my cousin no end as I attempted to put my heels back on while too drunk to realise it would be easier to sit down and put them on, instead I opted for balancing on one leg while attempting to get my blurry foot into a blurry shoe while standing in the middle of the room. I knocked the shoe over several times and re-attempted this several times, enough for my cousin to get out his iPhone and start videoing the attempts.

There were many amusing incidents that evening in fact. Some I have no recollection of, like apparently one of the guys at the party had walked in on me in the bathroom. It’s really about time that Farrah put a lock on that door, especially as she expects anyone that visits that house to be drunk in about 60 minutes… or maybe that’s just me?! After I’d given up and slumped on the sofa there was the almighty cry of ‘Pile on!’ and everyone including the choccie lab clambered on top of me, that made for an interesting photo, you can’t even really see I’m there.

I was having such a great time reconnecting with my friends over the last six months. Making new friends in London to hang out with, share the occasional drunken night in Soho and finally beginning to feel like while I was in London that I wasn’t just coping. My friendships were thriving.

Then there was the great news that I had secured an interview for a new position at work. Ever since I had decided I wanted to stay in London I decided that I was going to make something of myself while I was there. I got my head down and looked for any opportunity that would help me network or learn new skills. I’d been getting involved with some of the project trials within our department and found the whole change and improvement approach quite refreshing after spending so many years in a contact centre. As soon as a position became available in their team I went for it. My career looked like it might finally be thriving.

Megan on the other hand was struggling and she wouldn’t every really show me just how badly. Like I said before she was determined that every minute we could spend together would be pure bliss. It was. Yet I would hear clipped details about the stresses she was up against when I was back in London.

Megan was living on her own in ‘the Shed’ now, Rose had left but she was finding it difficult to make ends meet. Rose’s parents were trying very hard to interfere and get Megan to take Rose back. Apparently Rose’s Dad would even give her money to tide things over and kept trying to get her to meet up with him in the country lanes around the neighbourhood. He still made Megan feel uncomfortable, he would compliment her inappropriately and the text messages had been witnessed by myself and Megan’s colleague and they didn’t seem appropriate at all, Megan bottled it all up and kept it to herself.

She knew that moving home to her parents was the best solution, the wisest thing to do. It would at least afford her the distance from Rose and her family that she’d need to really move on with her life. The biggest problem here was her black labrador, he was her baby and although her parents were more than willing to welcome her back with open arms their place just wasn’t big enough for this brut of an overly excitable labrador. Megan was heartbroken at the mere thought of leaving him with Rose and her family. Things were turning nasty between them and it wasn’t likely that she’d ever get to see him again.

Then there was her health. Generally Megan managed to keep on top of her illness, she had to take pills with every meal to make sure that she’d be able to digest it properly and as long as her life seemed relatively stress free the constant pain was even managed by medication. Megan had stopped seeing her psychiatrist having claimed that they were nearing the end of the course of treatment and she really was doing much better, she didn’t take any anti-depressants at the time even though she was going through a lot of big life changes. Eventually the stress got to her. Megan had been surviving for too long, one day at work she was in so much pain that she collapsed and ended up being taken to hospital.

It was the week before Megan was due to come up and visit me in London. I was prepared to cancel the plans that we’d had to go to my works summer festival and head back home to Somerset. Megan wouldn’t hear of it, she was determined to get out of hospital and on a train if it killed her, she wanted to get away from everything with her time off. The situation was exasperated even more by the fact that the hospital contacted her ex and she showed up just to be dismissed by Megan not wanting to see her, then a day or two later when they still wouldn’t discharge her she lost all mobile signal for long periods of time. Well done O2 and Blackberry for that massive cock-up.

Megan finally had a bit of luck, the hospital discharged her two days before she was due to travel up to London to spend a long weekend with me. I was pretty worried about her but she assured me again and again that she was up to it, despite being a little nervous about the rail journey she was going to be fine. I arranged to leave work a little early to meet her at the train station before heading back to campus for the summer festival.

Oddly enough it was Friday the 13th, and I’m not a superstitious person at all but when you get a frantic message from your girlfriend about railway engineering buggering up the first journey she’s ever taken to come and see you it seems like too much of a coincidence. After a little panic and a lot of calming words Megan arrived in Ealing and I was there to greet her at the station, she seemed to forget her worries as soon as she saw me, the relief was immediate. We hugged, we kissed and we headed back to my house so that Megan could drop off her bags and freshen up before we’d head to the party.

It was going to be a great night.

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