It swirled around me, twirling and gliding in the wind like miniature ballerinas.
It was like summer snow.
As I sit here staring at it on the overgrown, flaking green bench, with the slight shudder of the trees being the only audible noise as they sighed in the wind- I am struck by the sudden simplicity of my life these days.
Like the dandelion dust, everything was settling into place, the natural order of things it would seem.
The baby blue sky loomed overhead, dappled with fat puffy clouds rolling with ease – never threatening to open up and pour their heart out onto my pedestrian head.
I had the feeling that all my emotional disorder,too, was also non-threatening.
A memory struck me.
This same route and bench, just a little less overgrown with the more emotionally unstable clouds no longer rolling, but rather wrestling to take over every last blue patch.
But it hadn’t mattered then.
Because it was one of the seldom precious days that I got to spend with him, alone.
Walking to the canal had been our thing and something that I had been fiercely protective of.
Back then if anyone had so much has hinted that we liked each other I would have flipped out.
Why? Because I had a boyfriend and I might be many things but I certainly wasn’t a cheater.
I was a firm believer in if you no longer loved someone then you should be honest and break up with them – but not cheat. Never cheat.
And I never did.
I never let it happen.
Ignorance is bliss, and we were both mighty good at pretending. However, the more days that passed the less real he began to feel, that boy who was waiting for me somewhere two hours away. It became more like a pen friend, someone that was a calming memory, a friendly looking boy with a big quirky grin.
And while I would never dare admit to myself let alone another living soul that I was beginning to fall for a boy that looked as though he had been carved from marble and had as many different sides and interests to him as a multi faceted diamond- I just couldn’t break the other ones heart.
But whilst walking along the canal we drifted in and out of conversation so seamlessly and with the ease of a sewing machine running along fabric. It was something I had never experienced before and I remember feeling a warm fuzziness infect my bloodstream and creep into the cavities of my heart.
One of my favourite times was when we had found a park and I nearly made him sick from spinning on the round-a-bout too much.
And how could I forget the suspicious looking builder who walked through the park, eyeing us uneasily before disappearing behind a tree to do his business whilst on his break.
All the times we’d gone into shops together, all the while sub-consciously going through the motions of appearing like a couple.
A fragment of memory flashes through my mind like a land mine suddenly going off and I am transported to the first time we met. When our hands had accidentally drifted together on a bar crawl. We were both young and drunk and I remember the shame I felt the next morning for that split second- because I knew then that I was unshakably attracted to him.
It had been clear from the start that I should have ended things with Mr Long Distance….
A great husky dog just lumbered past as I wrote that, nosing his way up to my knee as if to push my pen, momentarily idle in my hands, onward.
Looking up, I can hear the trills of several different birds chattering away above me. They remind me of the rumour mills I left at home and their busy noise as they set about spreading the news of the break up.
I don’t regret my past because it guided me to my present. And my previous relationship hadn’t been bad per say, it had its bad qualities but that goes the same for most people’s first relationships.
It was just different.
After the big event that summer and when we got back together everything started to take on an eerily artificial quality. When we went out for walks over Christmas, I took hundreds of photos as if to convince myself that everything was fixed. That I was fine.
I stopped noticing things and was in a constant state of panic. Constantly aware of my past actions and events. And that’s not to say that anything was explicitly his fault, the mistakes that were made on both of our parts were sentiment to the bubble we had been living in. The whirlwind of first love, of feeling untouchable -when really we were just as vulnerable as everyone else.
Towards the end when we walked I stopped noticing things. Like the birds singing or the way the sunlight caught the leaves of the billowing willow tree whose limbs stretched out, casting shadows of shimmering curtains.
When you’re young you fall in love with the first person whose nice to you and you think that’s your eternity. In reality you get bored, little things start to annoy you over time and after a while it gives you a rush just to have an argument – because at least it’s a response.
You never think that the person you share your stories with, walk with, drink with- the witness to every shade of you that exists in the palette of the world could possibly reciprocate your carefully packed away feelings.
A couple of days ago we took this very route and had a picnic in the graveyard in Attenborough.
I like the graveyard best for writing and reading and always insist on going there whenever I have the chance.
There’s certainly something comforting about old churches.
They tend to be in old parish villages created hundreds of years ago (or so I like to think) in the middle of nowhere- away from the humdrum of everyday life.
The gravestones all lean-too alike the Indian bean tree I saw in Lewes, Brighton over Easter. This makes them appear as though they’re trying to get closer, as if the dead are all huddling together to take a peek at what I am writing.
Most of the graves there are from the 1800’s – miners or war victims and a couple of children which fills me with melancholy.
The flowers and grass have claimed the little church as their own, and I like to imagine that the waves of greenery have swept them away. The vines wrapping around their now skeletal ruins and dragging them down to some heavenly underworld- floating in a sea of roots and flowers. The living walk overboard, dipping their toes into their world, skimming the surface alike how they skim the names on the old stones.
I don’t like the idea of being stationary, which is why when I die being buried -if there is no afterlife- feels so permanent and damning.
He said something a while ago that really resonated with me. He said that human beings are obsessed with taking shortcuts even if it only shaves off a second of time.
And, although I did love him truly I feel as though the other boy I left behind was my short cut.
My safety net.
And it was suffocating. For the both of us although I think it will take him a while to see that.
Now, as the sun wraps itself in clouds and I watch the dandelion dust continue to float away – carried hitherto, I realise that all along all I have ever wanted and ever will want is the freedom to take as many alternating paths as I want.
The simplest yet most difficult life goal is to imitate the very freedom of the nature I see all around me.
-To be like dandelion dust and simply just float away.