The Elder Sirs

My Dear Dashing Sir,

One memory touches my heart like no other. I find the topic to be unsettling on the one hand and appreciative on the other. I am talking about your parents. They were a paradox to me, because with you being so young your parents were quite advanced in age. They were actually older than my grandparents. You explained that they had you rather late in life, and I knew you were an only child.

We were headed to Newcastle to meet your parents, and boy were you nervous. I had never seen you so nervous.  It was very endearing. I believe I even teased you about it a few times, and you let me! Did I mention how nervous you were?!  We were staying nearby in The Hunter. Your father was in the hospital preparatory for surgery, and we headed over to see him and your mother.

The first thing that I noticed was how much your parents loved you. I could see it radiate from them when either of them looked at you. They adored you. The sun rose and set with you in their eyes, and their faces shown with unconditional parental love. I understood that, because it was how I felt when I looked at you too. I’m sure they saw it reflected on my face. I really couldn’t hide it, nor did I try to.

My first impression of your mother was that she was quite frail, but I equated that to the strain she was under worrying about your father. She was quiet but watchful; consequently, she was a true lady. I knew I was under the intense scrutiny I call the “mother’s microscope,” and I can’t blame her. You were her baby boy, and I was a strange American woman. I was more than happy to be analyzed. We had dinner later on that night with your mother and her friend. I distinctly recall whispering to you that I was worried about your mom. I could see her stress. You promptly went to her and encouraged her to get some rest. Your concern for her was tender, and it touched me deeply.

What to say about your father? He was such a rascally gem (like father like son?).  I can’t even tell you how long I sat next to him holding his hand while he entertained me with story after story. He would laugh and pat and squeeze my hand. I wasn’t letting go no matter how numb my hand went. His face was so animated, and I was an enthusiastic, willing audience. You wandered in and out of the room checking on us as you flitted about making sure everything was in order. You were the dutiful son.

I don’t remember what he and I were discussing, but I said the word “withdrawal.”  (I pronounced it with-drawl.) He looked up at you confused at what I just uttered. You understood instantly and said, “With-dra-wal, Father.” He nodded and looked relieved. He was afraid of offending me. He was a dear. I apologized to him for talking funny. He just laughed and probably made some wise crack.

I vividly recall him gazing intently at me, and I stared back – neither of us saying a word for a few moments. I didn’t feel uncomfortable or embarrassed in the slightest. He was still gripping my hand tightly. After some time, he looked over at you and said, “She’s beautiful son. Don’t let this one go.”  I blushed. You reassured him that you wouldn’t.  My heart was so full at this point.

Of course we needed some comic relief by this time, and your father gave us that as well. He went to get up and promptly flashed me when he threw the bedcovers back. You were there in an instant and tucked him back into bed. I’m sure I was a bit mortified, but we laughed about it later. You made some comment about me being privy to the family jewels.

I miss something I never had. How is that even possible?  I miss something I truly thought would happen at that time – a relationship with your parents. I get so angry when I hear you tell me how callous your ex was with your parents. I am not a violent person, but I’d love to pull her hair – hard. Hell, I’d love to snatch her bald. There was no reason to be a grade-A bitch towards them. They were the nicest people. I thoroughly enjoyed them. I feel so cheated out of getting to know them better. I never got the chance to personally tell them how I felt about their son, and to tell them that I loved you. That hurts my heart. I mentioned them briefly in my Epistle letter. I remember wondering specifically about your father and replaying over and over in my mind my short time with him. That memory always made me happy.  I am going to add what I said before in Epistle.

I wondered after your parents for the longest time. It was torture not knowing when your father passed. I assumed it was not long after I met him only to find out he lived another few years! He was a delight to me. Not knowing hurt. You took that from me. Then to find out that the woman of your black heart couldn’t be bothered with him and would callously wish he would die. Damn her. I will never forget him telling you how beautiful he thought I was and to never let me go. My laughter is quite hollow I assure you. I am also so incredibly saddened to hear that your mother has recently passed. Damn you.
 

At the end of the day, I am happy I got the chance to meet both of them. I would have rather met them and go through all the pain again than miss out on that opportunity. They were your parents. They gave the world you – my Sir. You are a perfect legacy of two great people, and the world is a better place for having known them.

So affectionately yours,

Darling

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My Dearest Darling

Yes my parents were quite elderly. My mother was older than you are now when she had me. My father was only several years younger than your father is now when I was conceived. Growing up it was not an issue until I hit 5th grade. That’s when I began to notice their age. I remember a message filtered through the school that my grandfather was here to pick me up. What an entirely incongruous statement that was. Three of my grand parents had died before I was born and my maternal grand mother passed only eighteen months later. I never really knew any of my grandparents. Now Dad would have been close to 70 when he took me from school that day. I suddenly realised that they were old.

You are right though. I know my parents loved me very much, as I did them. I could not have asked for nicer people to have filled that role. No doubt I spoilt their retirement plans, though they never mentioned it. My mother was quite a bit younger than my father but even in this age of modern medical miracles it would be quite unusual for a woman of her advancing years to carry a child to term. In her case I was her first and last.

So I was nervous? I really don’t remember. I have no doubt you are right. I didn’t even put a fight when you mocked me about it. I must have been on edge. I can’t believe you took advantage of me in a weak moment. I really thought better of you (smiles).

My mother would have watched you like a hawk, of that I have no doubt and the friend she was with was a cagey one. She would have not been afraid to ask the difficult questions or put me on the spot. If I was nervous, it was with good reason. Up until you I had been a serial monogamist. But you knew then as you know now, things were different. We were going to marry. We had your two children to consider. There were many decisions yet to be made. While I wanted to shout it from the rooftops that I loved you like no other, however there were still many questions that we did not yet have answers for.

She knew you were important to me of that I am certain. I mean your photo made it into the hallowed gallery. I would cringe each time I visited my parent’s home. Like many loving household you would see pictures of family. Well, I being an only child, walking into my parents home was like walking into a shrine to my life. To say my mother was proud would be an understatement. Everything from winning academic trophies to meeting important notables to playing prestigious concert halls was all neatly catalogued on the walls, and you my Darling had a place in that shrine.

My father was quite the rogue. He had lived a colourful life. During the Depression he stowed away on a ship to try and find work in New Zealand. During WWII he had enlisted as a private, made corporal then sergeant, and he’d been busted back to private on a number of occasions before finally being dishonourably discharged for assaulting an officer. Like his son, he always had a healthy disrespect for authority. He could spin a good yarn and cut quite the dashing figure in his youth. I like to think I have adopted his more endearing habits while discarding his more disreputable ones. I have no doubt that he took a shine to you. He always had an eye for the ladies. He lived another five years after your departure.

One of the funniest things I remember after that time was a visit I paid to him in the last year of his life. I was there with my then wife and he inquired after you. Now he couldn’t remember your name but I remember him saying something along the lines of  – “Whatever happened to that American lass? I’m surprised you let that one slip through your fingers. What was her name again? Was it Helen?” Well we both know that is not your name. I corrected him on that fact. All the while my then wife sat seething to my right. I had to turn to my left to hide my considerable mirth at my Father’s quite tactless yet hysterically funny comments. I think it may have been the last time she ever saw him alive. Their relationship was frosty at best and I think his comments tipped her over the edge.

I could go in to quite a bit of depth about my ex wife’s perceived short comings. They would pale under the harsh glare when compared to my own inexcusable behaviour. Suffice it to say my parents were a burden to her. My father, who literally got on with everyone, never took to her and she loathed that he lived longer than her own father (who made his own dramatic exit from this world). 

My mother never really understood where you had gone and why she (my ex) had replaced you (let’s be honest here I never told mum). My ex hated mum’s intrusion into our lives. My ex had trouble understanding that, because I was an only child, all the decisions were made by me. I had no brothers and sisters to help share the load; all help could only be provided by me. With my mother’s failing health (and she being an only child herself), there was no family on her side that could be enlisted to help as well.

The biggest fight we ever had in our marriage was when I paid for her father’s funeral! For the life of me I could not understand her issue. It took quite the argument for me to establish that her real issue was not so much that I had paid for her father’s funeral, but that it set a precedent for me to pay for my own father’s funeral. I was astounded by her line of thinking. With an elderly mother of limited means, and me being the only child, who else would have paid? Would I only be allowed to organise a pauper’s funeral on his death? It was the final straw in our already rocky marriage. It teetered on for several more years but we were really only postponing the inevitable.

I am happy you met them my Darling. I know you didn’t spend much time with them, and that I robbed you of the chance to spend more. That you remember them so warmly makes me smile.

 

You Will Always Be My Darling

From Sir With Love

©2013 Darling and Sir

Memories and Mementos

To My Distant Darling

As you remember, if somewhat sporadically, when you departed these fair shores you left behind some physical, tangible and dare I say personal mementos of our time together. Also prior to our meeting, you and I had also exchanged a number of gifts, none of which sadly remain in my possession. Along with the photos recording our time together and of course my own most vivid memories, that is how I remembered you.

You had sent me a jacket, which never fitted properly. I never told you because I didn’t want to hurt your feelings. It was eventually donated to a goodwill store and hopefully someone derived much pleasure and good use from it. You had sent me a shot glass emblazoned with the face of Eric Cartman of South Park, a favourite TV show of mine at the time. I remember you feeling quite risqué then for even purchasing such an item, especially in view of the strict religious nature of your upbringing and the conservative sensibilities of the town in which you lived. We both know how, years later, I ended up losing that token of our love with my then wife (whom I married after meeting you) breaking it in an “accidentally on purpose” manner because she knew of its provenance.

But after you departed I had so few ways in which to remember you. I was tidying things up after that most hideous day. It was the last time I saw you.  The last time I held you. The last time I smelled you, and the last time I kissed you. It was the day that damn Qantas jet took you from my life. Well as I tidied I found your vibrant purple pyjamas. I can remember how raw my emotion was on that day. You had just left and I was desolate. I just sat down on the bed and held them; I buried my face into them and drank in your fragrance. Then I lay down on the bed clinging to them, wishing they were you but knowing they were not. I wept.

At the time they were my most potent reminder of you. I have told you how I would place them gently on my spare bed and lay down next to them and think of you. For many years they were permeated with your scent. Sadly your fragrance depleted over time and I nearly lost them all together when my now ex wife found where they were hidden. We both know she was far from blameless in this story. You were the one variable over which she had no control. She knew that if one woman could steal me away it would be you. I never told her that I thought I would never hear from you again after what I had done and that she needn’t have worried. I took some perverse pleasure in knowing that she was threatened by you. That tale will no doubt will come forth in all its sordid glory as our story unfolds.

You also left a candle which I know you had completely forgotten about until I reminded you. It will appear twice more in this narrative, once when we stayed at Katoomba and again on the day you made contact again after all those years. But let’s save that for another time.

 

You Will Always be My Darling

From Sir With Love

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Dear Sir,

I must admit that I hid all the memories of you which included anything tangible. They were just too painful to see, and it was more than I wanted to bear. Talking about them has been very liberating and poignant. I am so happy that we can share these memories.

I must also confess that I had forgotten that I sent you a jacket. The knowledge that you hid from me for years that you didn’t keep it due to a poor fit has filled me with much mirth. How gallant of you to try to spare my feelings over it. I am just sorry that I bought and sent you such an unworthy article of clothing. My intentions were good. I can’t even remember what it looks like!  I have considered expressing mock indignation, but the situation is just too comical, not to mention I could never get away with that emotion with you much to my chagrin.

While I may not remember the infamous jacket, I do remember that darn Cartman shot glass (I didn’t even know what South Park was, and I had never watched an episode). I searched far and wide for such a trinket to send you. I felt rather devious and daring when I found it. I knew you’d love it. It saddens me that your ex-wife felt so threatened by a material object especially since I was before her time. What did Cartman ever do to her?

I also remember sending you monogrammed handkerchiefs. I was thrilled to know a man who carried handkerchiefs in a modern day and age. It made you even more dashing to me than you already were. You sent me home with a washed and ironed handkerchief the day I left you. You instinctively knew I would shed copious tears as I flew home. As you know, that handkerchief was one of the things I recently discovered and you heard the disbelief and joy when I found it.

I am still incredulous regarding my purple pajamas. When you disclosed to me that you still have them, my heart cracked. That was, of course, during our first text exchange. The disbelief still haunts me.  You got married after me. You made a life for yourself. I was forsaken. You chose to let me go, yet you clung to something that was a mere insignificant reminder of me. The irony is not lost, and I struggle with that knowledge to this day.

The candle is something you have had to tell me about, as I lost all memory of it. Your initial pun was clever though (your story to tell, not mine).

Ardently yours,

Darling

©2013 Darling and Sir