Love – so many words spoken, written and sung. So much angst that can destroy, so much happiness that we feel overwhelmed. It comes in many shapes and sizes – friend love, love like a brother or sister, love the kids, love Mum!, love of a good time, love of inanimate objects and pets. For me a great love of weather, surfing, plants and a great book. Love between two people? How many books or movies made about this theme? Unattainable love, gaining of love, losing love or vengeful love. So many layers to this emotional state that can physically affect us. Billions of us deal with Love every day. My days had turned into years, never really understanding what deep true love was or whether it even really existed outside of books or movies. Yes it does. Read on………
Almost ten years on from Divorce. Life was good. A free man with the kids finally moved out of home. Just Amber the Dog and me. (I keep on having the song “I’m Free”, by the Soup Dragons on continual brain rotation). Dabbled in the online dating sites and developed a couple of platonic friendships and met some quite strange members of the opposite sex. Maybe they thought the same of me.
Concept of settling down into a permanent relationship and marrying again was as foreign a concept as “selling Ice to Eskimos”. Comfortable I was in mind of solo life. Plenty of stuff to do. Time to treat myself after the sacrifice of many years of parenthood.
Life throws curve balls at the most unexpected times. Early 2014 and pretty happy in my Job of seven years. But apparently the exclusive management club at the top were not. Maybe I had been too outspoken over the years, maybe. I cannot divulge (non-disclosure clause) the true reasons, but will say I was asked to leave in the most acrimonious circumstances. My truth was true, their truth was…..
In many ways it was the best timing. An awesome surf season was had over Winter in Perth. I picked up work doing garden cleanups for people dealing with Cancer and the elderly who just couldn’t get out in the garden anymore. More conversations and cups of tea were had than gardening. Very satisfying the work and conversations were. Office life became a dim memory. An unexpected phone call from an Aussie friend in Kuala Lumpur who provided a contact for possible work. A month later flew over for interview and not long after received the Job nod, packed the bags in early February 2015 to a new Solo man future.
Way back in time to teenage years, a vision of the ideal woman crept into the senses. These were Singapore high school days. In the context of later years, I had no idea how important these days would be. This mystery woman who would have my 100% heart was an ethereal concept – be intelligent, have opinions and happy to discuss at an intellectual level, be her own person – strong in her endevours, no bullshit persona, know the concept of fun and stupidity, love music, be truthful and trustful, of course – be attractive. (to me at least). There was no visual representation, just these concepts.
It was never a case of looking hard for this person as it was more a dream than anything else. With marriage and children, the concept dissipated. Sometimes it surfaced at the most dark times of the marriage, but it was more like a nagging shadow at the edge of the senses, never to be really focused on. After divorce, the mind flicked to this ‘ideal’ woman more often, but disappeared into the background just as often. Importantly, it never went away.
Kuala Lumpur 2015, and it was work hard, head down, save money and have some fun in about that order. Fun I had, busting some moves in the nightclubs and Bars of Changat Bukit Bintang, mainly to my now all time favourite cover band – “Timepiece” ( trust you are well Yannr Alley). A late night moment of weakness and found myself registering for a local online dating site. Almost forgot about it until checking emails a couple of days later and many inquiries from local women, most with a religious bent that I found less than encouraging. Solo man life continued.
Maybe a week later, I found myself on the site again, trolling through many profiles – reading like – “love to travel, get together with girlfriends for coffee, shopping addict”, and more superficial stuff. Nothing that triggered any interest. But wait, what was this profile of “Luna”? The picture – close up of face, no expression, black and white. An odd pseudonym and pic indeed. No mention of shopping, travel and the other superficial stuff, this mentioned love of good books and other intellectually stimulating stuff. I did it – pressed the like your profile button and away the email notification went to “Luna”.
Checking back a few days later and no reply. I was not bothered and vowed to myself to just get on with what was a satisfying Solo man life and ignored the dating site. Three months of happy life, home after another sweat filled walking around the job day, checking the private emails. “What is this? Who is this sender – Luna?” Memory took a while to catch up and realised this was a reply to my profile like of many months before. The message was relatively short, something along the lines of – “have you found anyone yet?” My reply? “I have met a few, but none with that particular zing”. To this day, why I used the Zing word is an eternal mystery, but it was sufficient to receive a very short reply not long after – “we should meet”. It was not a “Could” but a “Should”. Almost an order to attend.
This call to attend had almost never happened. My initial Profile like had disappeared into the digital ether via her Spam folder. She had also lost interest in the online dating site over a year earlier, redirecting all emails from it into Spam. Almost forgotten it had become. This woman enjoyed finding philosophical quotes of the day and was having trouble tracking down an email feed that included these quotes. On impulse, she checked Spam, but didn’t find the quotes but found me instead some three months after the initial contact. She convinced herself – why not check out this matt-saleh (foreign white man)? Just a coffee and that would be it.
Strong willed and no-nonsense the mysterious “Luna” was. Piqued, my curiosity was. Ideal woman fragments started floating up on the periphery of the conscious mind. She suggested the best bookstore in the World coffee shop to meet. (Kinokuniya) Real names were traded – Shakirah she declared. I thought the name may be fake. Phone numbers were swapped. Coffee was had, much conversation, some involuntary laughter, nothing forced, time flew by. Shakirah having seven children is certainly a sharp memory. Committed this one was to secure the children’s and her safe future.
After what seemed like ten minutes, which was actually a few hours, we said our farewells with a polite handshake, almost straight after found ourselves having a non-thinking farewell hug. Promise made to catch up again which turned into an afternoon at my place watching an Aussie Rules football final which I had jokingly suggested she come and watch, never expecting a knock on the door that Saturday! Watch she did and another piece of Shakirah was exposed – the hardcore sports observer. No holds barred with the umpire receiving caustic comments and the players bagged for sloppy footy! I cannot help but smile now at my astonishment then. More than intrigued I became.
Independently of each other we pledged to ourselves that this developing romance could not happen as our respective happy state Solo lives were under real threat. Pledges were made to selves to break it off, but when that face to face moment came to state our intentions, the opposite happened and the burgeoning love could not be denied. It overwhelmed all the logic senses, invaded every emotional twitch muscle and nerve, assaulted every sensory perception, symbiotically hooked into the heart and disintegrated any vestige of happy Solo human.
Surrender we did. White flag not needed. Not so harsh reality of uncontrollable love of each other took over.
Shakirah opened up and talked about her ideal man that had invaded dreams over the years – a silhouette with my head shape standing near the waterline of a beach. More than once the vision had presented itself. I surf, so the vision had relevance now. On Mecca pilgrimage not long after we met, she followed a man around the Ka’bah who she knew couldn’t be me, but the body, head shape and profile including hair loss could have been me. That sealed it for her.
I was already convinced that the woman of my vague dreams had jumped out of the Universal ether some 35 years later.
Maybe we had always been in each others orbit. During Singapore times in the early nineteen seventies, the family had driven to the island of Penang more than once with one of Dad’s Island circumnavigations driving straight past her childhood kampung. The early 1980’s had me visiting a good mate in Sydney. We drove past her college of learning on more than one occasion. Maybe the love pheromones had been inhaled and stored at that time for later reference, just lying dormant for that moment some years later. The Universe does indeed work in mysterious ways. We were destined to collide.
Today marks our Fourth wedding anniversary and six strong years of knowing and loving. In that time the love has stayed strong. The only real argument was not over our relationship or family, but a geographical difference in opinion about Continents. Loud and willing it was. There has been the odd short sharp word, but the other partner always asks “how are you feeling, you Ok?”, recognising that we all have our moody and grumpy patches – probably me more than Shakirah. That is what we do- support each other without fear or favour. Love reigns true. Comfortable we are in our existence as if we have been together all our life. It has become difficult to retain memories of our previous marriages as if they are relegated to a dreamscape history archive.
Laugh we do. Talk? We cannot stop. Together in everything. We are one. We are Love, now and forever.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY my LOVE!