make (someone or something) look or feel better, younger, or more vital.
Seems like a simple concept doesn’t it. To make someone or something look or feel better, younger or more vital. Notice how the definition only states to ‘look or feel’ because there’s no turning back time. You can never really have a do-over. It’s just an attempt to overwrite a period of time which hasn’t weathered so well, whether it’s by denial or a concerted effort to try harder in future. You can’t change what’s already happened. It doesn’t stop us trying.
In less than a month now Megan and I were all booked up to go to Paris. Even when things had been so precarious between us I was still looking forward to it. It was one of those rare moments when I could actually make one of Megan’s life long dreams come true, that had to count for something. That must show her how much I care. I wanted to feel like we were dating again, Megan said she wanted that too.
So we started dated each other. We arranged dates for each other. I bought us tickets to go and see Dirty Dancing one evening. Megan suggested we use some two for one vouchers my parents had given us to visit Kew Gardens. We were having an incredibly hot start to the spring / summer season and in our apartment the heat was nearing unbearable. We were happy to spend as much time out and about as possible.
The day we chose to visit Kew Gardens it was possibly one of those ‘hottest day of the year’ days. We walked from our flat to Kew along the river and noticed an Ask restaurant on our way, so we decided to head back there for dinner later that evening. We’d picked up some things for a picnic on the way and headed for the park gates.
I was sweating buckets before we’d even paid the entrance fee. Once we were inside I was keen to slow down and take everything in our stride. There’s no point rushing things when you’re only goal is to enjoy the day and take in your surroundings. I like to be at my leisure and not have to rush from one place to another. Meandering through the park on a sunny day seemed like a fun way to pass the time to me.
The heat was a little overwhelming, since us Brits (and myself especially) are rather ill-equipped at coping with sunshine. We all burn to a crisp, sweat buckets and generally wilt. Ok, that’s a pretty huge generalisation but it’s my way of saying we weren’t out too long before the heat was getting to me and all I wanted to do was find some shade and a refreshing drink or ten.
We still managed to do most of the main attractions within the gardens, my particular favourite was the treetop walk. It’s nothing compared to ones I’ve done since while visiting Canada but it was fun all the same. I unexpectedly bumped into a colleague while in the queue for an ice-cream at one of the many kiosks in the grounds. She was there with her girlfriend, I didn’t know them well at all so just said a brief hello and disappeared into the gardens again.
It wasn’t the same, I felt bad for expecting it to be. I wanted to feel just a fraction of the excitement we used to feel when we were meeting up for dates when I would visit home for the weekends when Megan still lived in Somerset. I wanted to feel more like the cheeky couple we had been in those early days when we would be able to say everything we wanted with a look, the playful affectionate contact of simple actions like holding hands and stealing kisses.
It had been a gradual distancing between us, but the intimacy of any kind was now few and far between. Nothing seemed to happen between us at all anymore unless I initiated it and that made me sad. I again found myself playing the silly game of waiting, all the time hypersensitive to the way Megan behaved around me. I felt like part of the furniture in her life.
When we went out for dinner that night we both made an effort for each other. I picked out a summer dress that had been in my wardrobe lying in wait since my last summer holiday. Megan always looked stunning. We headed out ready to enjoy the slightly cooler evening. Neither of us would be drinking so we decided to take the car and save the walk home.
The service at the restaurant wasn’t great, in fact it was painfully slow and after seating us in a tiny garden area the waiting staff proceeded to forget we were there for a very long time. There was a time when that wouldn’t have matter to us at all, yet these days we needed the distraction of interaction with the waiting staff to move the time along a little quicker.
We already felt like we knew everything about each other, we saw each other every day of course and over communicated about how our day had been or otherwise spent it together. The night left me feeling a little deflated, instead of focusing on the effort we had each made for each other, the beautiful weather of the evening or enjoying the lovely meal (when we finally managed to place our order) Megan focused on the negative.
I was saddened by this because the day had been going so well. I wanted to do something nice with the woman I loved and for us both to appreciate the time we spent together. I didn’t want to sit across from someone barely speaking to me, who couldn’t even acknowledge the effort I had made and moaned about the shitty service the whole night.
It was in moments like that I found myself looking across the table at the woman I called my girlfriend and honestly wondering if this was even the same person I fell in love with. I had heard all her assurances that the feelings were still there, I just couldn’t see or feel it anymore. I desperately wanted to. It was clearly going to take a lot of effort to be successful with this rejuvenation project.

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