I had three phone interviews yesterday about Island Wife, due to be published on March 28th by Two Roads. I think there will be more to come over the next short while when I am new news as opposed to old news, which I will be by the second week of April. By then the sound of running feet will be receding, not coming closer – such is our quick-quick world. I will be standing here, open-mouthed and half way through the answer to a very personal question, laying down my words, one by considered one, only to find the room has cleared in a heartbeat.
So, it seems of the greatest importance that I use this platform with the respect it requires, for the legacy I leave behind will be the things I have said, that may be remembered, for life and death are in the power of the tongue. Words will leave me and attach themselves to the hems of departing coats only to be re-assembled through the filters of a very different person, using a different emphasis, perhaps, a different tone of voice. What I say may not be what is printed or spoken out. What I mean may not travel the distance.
And so it is in relationships, those ships that fascinate me most of all. Every one of us in one, like it or not. Some of us are crossing oceans, through angry storms, turning our faces into biting ice winds that threaten to tear off our very skin; some bob gently across a mirrored calm, the sun warming our bones, and some just putter up and down the same claggy-banked strip of canal on an ancient barge with rusty screws, a draggletail posy of wild flowers in an old jam jar on the cabin roof. But this is to stereotype and is not therefore the truth. The truth is that we all travel storm wards at some point in our lives, and at others we bob across the mirror and in between, we deadhead the draggletailed posy whilst the endless ordinary banks pass us by. And whilst we do all this, we bring that of ourselves to the table, to our relationships. We bring likes and dislikes, opinions and phobias, passions and failings, gifts and skills.
In an ideal relationship, such as the one my neighbour has, or my sister, or that woman I read about
in last weeks Sunday magazine who lives beside the sea with a loving man and who has enough money to spend on whatever she wants to spend it on, neither person fights to control. Neither person pulls rank, manipulates either by loud domination or weak dependency and neither wants anything less than to lift the Apple of their eye up to whatever light warms them. My opinion of what you should or should not do, has no place in our relationship. My only role is to love you, and to love you right I must remove myself. My……Self.
This doesn’t mean I am silent and fuming in the corners. It doesn’t mean I don’t tell you loud and clear when I am angry or upset with something you have done or said. What it does mean is that I can be honest, create my own boundaries, speak with my own voice, make my own choices and leave you to do the same for yourself. I expect nothing from you and you expect nothing from me, and both of us give and receive freely. It sounds like perfection, you say, too perfect to attain, but it’s not perfection. It is Love. Love for myself and Love for you.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and I am single-stepping right now as the Island Wife considers her response to another personal question. There are often two answers to that question, two directions. One choice. Mine.