Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Sitting at a pub in a South Coast town called Berry. I was having drinks at this pub on a Friday night to clear my head. In the gambling area i met Raymond, an old man who's wife had passed 8 years ago. He was wearing a grey jumper, clear folding marks down the middle of the chest. The fibres in the jumper were separating from wear and tear. The jumper sat on him like the worlds most comfortable pyjamas. The pale colour matched a slow heartbeat and a heart only left behind to work. He was wearing an old pair of workman's slacks, the rough kind. They were blew with small spots of what seemed like green paint. His shoes also had layers of dirt, paint and were made of brown leather, that looked aged and well worn. He blended in with the old pub atmosphere perfectly. He held on to his beer and avoided eye contacted with other punters as he watched each race, however his stare went beyond the stakes, past the competition. I knew his look, I knew this look! It's the physical act of pretending to do something when you want to be left alone. Your body is deceiving it's audience. He was there, but his mind was somewhere else.
I wondered around the pub and Raymond only got up to get another Schooner of beer. Bar tenders seemed to know he didn't engage in conversations and they served him with minimal conversations. My eyes were fixated on the football game. I was internally cheering on my favourite football team; St George Illawarra Dragons as they played the Cronulla Sharks in what would see them loose again in this season. The majority of the pub was cheering on the Sharks, hence why my support was internal. I was watching the game in the opposite corner of the pub, close to the bar. I was drifting in and out of thought, and was in fact no different to Raymond, that was probably why i noticed his stare. This night was the night before i received her text message since we had a fight. So all i really wanted to do was be alone, in a place where i knew no one and i could drink, think and be ignored. This was a prefect place for me to feel the withering emotion she offered me. I had not heard from her since valentines day night, little did i know in 24 hours from tonight she would send me that text message.
I felt a person sit next to me at the bar, the corner of my eye saw a grey jumper sleeve holding a schooner glass, half empty without foam and warm looking. I turned slowly and he looked at me as though his eyes were screaming. "Gday" I said. "Hey buddy, whose winning" he replied in a crackled voice that sounded dusty and rarely used. "Ummm, Sharks, typical because im going for the dragons!" He giggled at my reply and said; "Mate don't say that too loud, in this place you can support three teams, dogs, eels and sharks, anything else then you bring attention to yourself!" He let out a warm smile and extended his hand as he motioned for a hand shake, "Raymond" he said. I shook his hand firmly, his hands rough like sand paper and dried up leather as I told him my name. We spoke during the game as my team lost with a poor excuse of an A-Grade game.
Towards the end of the night he began sharing more as the beer flow increased. He spoke of his wife, and showed me photos. He told me about how amazing she was and that he knew he got his shot at love, and she was it. Raymond knew he could never love again. She was everything to him. His dream when they met was to get married, have kids and live happily ever after. Unfortunately for them. she was unable to have children, a cancer that would later take her life and ultimately steal her from Raymond. He told me about his Mum and Dad telling him to leave her and find someone who can have children as he was the only son in their family, and they wished for his name to be carried on, nothing they said could stop his love. He said they never had a single fight, they lived everyday to the fullest and in love.
At one point he began talking to me in questions, and seemed as though this was a series of thoughts that had conquered his happiness and heart. He said: "Have you ever been in love?
Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. I know there was a reason i met her. A reason we lived the pain, we lived the happiness and we lived the dreams."
I told Raymond about her, and he told me to fight for her love. If i feel so much, then there is so much to loose by not fighting for it. I told him i felt that my heart was taken her, broken by her and now it is in pieces because of her!
He simply looked at me and told me something that will have me telling this story to people until i die. In a simple and heartfelt voice Raymond put his hand on my shoulder and said "Mate, Love is like falling down... in the end you're left hurt, scarred, and with a memory of it forever. Without falling down though, you would never know it was possible."
Her message stopped me in my steps. I dropped to my knees and allowed tears to leave my face. It said she cant sleep, she cannot eat, she cant do anything without thinking of me. She said she wanted to work things out but take it slow and see where it takes us. She needs alot of 'her' time and she cant see herself doing that without 'us' time as well.
She asked me to ring her after she finished work to talk, and i did. We talked about the highs and lows, we argued a little because were both stubborn and she took my breath away with each challenge she laid down for me. Listening to her on the phone just made me think about holding her. Having her cute hands linked to mine. She asked me if i was free that night, and we organised to see a beautiful girlie movie called 'Definitely Maybe'.
Our date was picture perfect, it was as though nothing was wrong. We had rekindled the love again without a hitch. Raymond's words still ringing in the back of my mind i held her until am that night. She placed her head under my neck and i held her right hand with my left, fingers weaved within mine, and my right arm hugging her and running my fingers up and down her back.
She decided to leave before the sun came up because she had work the next day, and then she asked me to join her on a road trip to visit one of her best friends. This girl lived down the coast, and they had met through working together. I agreed to go not knowing what it would mean....
Today was just one of those days where everything I did reminded me of you and every song I heard somehow related to you. I hate days like today, because they remind me of the one thing I dont have....