Earl Grey, grief and miracles

I had a wobble yesterday. I have them now and then and I need to let myself not feel so much of a failure for having them, I’m human. I have to remind myself of that sometimes. I think we often go into machine mode and forget that we are not robots set on go, we are organic beings who mess up and have anxieties and get affected by externalities. I need to remember that.

Anyway, two good things came of said wobble. Firstly I didn’t give in and eat my body weight in mint Aero and secondly¬†because I chose to flee the house, drop my work and get on my bike to take my mind off bingeing and the way I was feeling I had a really cool experience that I would otherwise have missed.

At the midpoint of my bike ride, as I hauled my much happier and energised self into a cafe and ordered a cup of Earl Grey I realised I had no money, the lady behind the counter said it didn’t matter I could drop it in some time and an old chap behind me offered to pay for my tea. Normally I would have declined but I was still frazzled enough to just accept. I asked if he wanted us to sit together as he ordered his own tea and a biscuit for the dog.

This was funny because I’d joked that I’d go and find an old codger walking his dog to talk to before I left and here he was, complete¬†with little Westie outside waiting for his biscuit. We sat in the shelter of the cafe but outside in the sunshine, it was freezing but such a beautiful day it was a shame to spend it inside. The hot tea warmed my hands and insides anyway.

We had such a lovely chat about everything and nothing, I learned that he was 91 (he didn’t look a day over 70), he had a sharp mind and a sharp wit to go with it and he really cheered me up. He told me tales of wartime and tales of his children and grandchildren and great grandchildren all scattered around the world. When we’d finished I asked if he wanted me to walk with him down the sea front, he said it would be lovely to have some company and so I locked up my bike and we set off arm in arm. It was the first time I’d been arm in arm with an old chap in years, since I lost my dad I think and just being close to this guy and smelling him and listening to him reminded me so much of my dad it was unreal.

I realised as we walked along that a lot of my sadness is grief from losing him and that sometimes it just spills over again, even after all of these years. He was the only one who ever understood me and I realised that I just miss him and that time does make it easier but that loss when it hits you afresh is as bad as that first morning you wake up and remember that they left the day before. It cuts as deep and takes the wind right out of your sails.

I felt myself snuggling up to the old guy closer and had to check myself so that he didn’t think I was going to molest him. When we’d finished our walk I told him thank you and said how he didn’t realise but his company, his jokes and laughter, his stories, his conversation had been a huge tonic for me, I’d been having a crap day and he had given me something I couldn’t explain but I was grateful for it. He told me that I’d done the same for him. He said it was the first anniversary of the loss of his wife who he had married when he was just 19 and spent a lifetime of happiness with. He told me he’d spent that morning at home and all of the family he had talked about, none of them had called to see if he was OK. He’d been acutely aware of his solitude and he’d left the house wishing he had a companion to take his mind off things to walk along the sea front with and chatter about something or nothing. He said he’d told himself not to be so foolish, it had never happened before, all he had to look forward to was a solitary walk again with just Rosie the dog for company, it would take a miracle for him to find someone willing to spend time with an old boy like him.

He planted a soft kiss on my cheek and thanked me for being his miracle.

Well he was mine too. It was all very emotional and lovely and we’ve got a date for Friday (tomorrow) to go for a walk again, I told him he’d have to share me with Nick this time but he didn’t mind, he said it was just lovely to have someone to walk with again and reminded me that I’m buying the tea. I really hope one of his family called him later that day.

Life’s as complicated as we make it and other people might be pains in the arse at time, but at others are heaven sent, good people exist, happiness restored.