What’s French for butterflies?

26th October 2002.

This memory is nearly a decade old but I still write about you from time to time – you were my muse after all who humoured me all those years.

Mud, life and movies – from one of those days where the only way to drown was in film.

People say that in this day age there are no great love stories. But there are lovers who could beg to differ. Who met at a time when thoughts of full time jobs, mortgages and paying back student loans were three years away… They met in months where fresher lust had shown its true colours and city lights could be seen through the leaning towers known as halls of residence. On their edge of the world, as they liked to think of it, their own place and space in time, now sealed with kisses like those they used to give each other. Young and free, they had only their dreams to think of and believed they would know each other forever.

It’s hard to believe but it really was nearly ten years ago that I was 18 and fresh faced in a big city where I believed anything could happen. Throwing caution to the wind wasn’t an option, meeting Will Turner wasn’t a choice, finding myself here isn’t a coincidence. Although to this day I cannot decipher all the events or the very moment that I fell for him, it stands to reason that I did even though I tried in every possible way not to. Resisting him was not easy, giving into him was harder but being with him – was this painful contradiction of utmost bliss and inane fear.

I can count the number of times I met you on my ten fingers, I see each goodbye as vivid as the first as painful as the last. That train platform, my suitcase and a letter I dared to send afterwards that had no response. I even remember meeting you after all those years and in a crowded room, you still caught my joke, you still caught my eye and even after all those years we could still share that, that moment that we will always be but just a moment after all.

It’s strange the things you remember little things like how they have their tea, the song you watched on TV while you were waiting for the train or that it snowed. Conversations dealt in stolen moments have their own splendour and the empty promises whispered have their own nostalgia. Some how you block out the all the goodbyes and the bad moments, times we didn’t speak and things we should have said but didn’t. It’s funny that when it all really is over, all you remember are the good things and how everything was once and how we once met in a room in a tall building where you were changing and I was passing.

Perhaps my visit was always doomed; I never was good at opening up or telling you how it was. Then afterwards for a week, month, years at least I would agonise over the things I said but wished I hadn’t, imagining that I could be with you again for a second and trying disdainfully to relive the embraces that have passed.

What do you do if you date a girl who looks at a William Turner painting and cries? If you decide not to run a hundred miles – then I think you’re in for life. Think about what she might have been through to stand there and look at the way he has painted that horizon and what she sees in the way he has captured that light and the lost souls of Odysseus.

That some days for this girl, it might get too much – she might cling onto you a little harder than you’re used to or want her to but know that this girl has depth. That her dreams play out to Jack Johnson songs and are of prophets and the secrets of the world.

She will always be somewhat tortured by her words and ideas. But when she looks at a William Turner painting she forgets all of this for a while and thinks of what he has reflected of her in that painting and sees her own beauty in those free horizons that go beyond the depth of the just oil marks on a canvas. For a while she forgets everything.

But who can forget the butterflies or the emptiness that there is now when I still to this very day find myself thinking of you?

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