Normandie

I’m sitting here waiting for my life to change. In one way or another. I’m off work now, taking the rest of my holidays, the mandatory ten days for fathers after birth and another two weeks worth of overtime. It will be one and a half month of free time.

The baby is not born yet. She’s on overtime. She should have been born yesterday, but it’s all theory and calculations. No one can really say when she will be born.

We’re sitting on the sofa watching daytime TV. I massage her neck, her feet, her legs. The house is quiet. Very quiet. Just the sound the tiny canary bird flying around the house being his happy self can be heard. The TV is on, but the sound is almost mute.

“This must be how the soldiers felt before Normandie”, I tell her. I don’t really know if she actually knows what Normandie and 1944 means, but I tell her anyway. How the soldiers waited in ships, landing vessels, in aircraft and in large barracks. All ready to go. They knew that once they were given the order, they were off to Normandie. Their lives would change forever, Of course, their situation was much more serious. Their own lives depended on luck, strategy and their own abilities. But, nevertheless, they were there – waiting for their life to change. Forever. So am I.

At any point now, we will have to go the hospital. My life will change. Nothing will ever be the same. Cross fingers the change will bring joy and happiness. A new person will arrive. My daughter. My parents granddaughter. We’re all waiting. My aunts are waiting. My friends are waiting. My co-workers are waiting. It feels like we’re all just waiting. And so we’re just sitting in front of the TV waiting. Waiting for our lives to change into something else.

And to you, my dear daughter. I don’t know your name yet. I haven’t met you yet. Just be very careful. You are so close to being born now. Arrive when you feel like arriving, but don’t wait too long. Stay safe through your journey. It will be tough for you just as it is for your mother. Myself too. I don’t know what to expect now. I’m here, like a soldier before D-Day knowing damn well that once the order comes through – my life will change.

Travel into this world safely, and I will take care of you from then on. See you soon.

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A bleak, February visit to Edinburgh

I remember giving her the airline tickets as a Christmas present. It was her first Christmas with me and my family, and only four months since she moved in with me (and for her – to another country). The start had been a bit rough, but I expected as much. We were slowly coming to terms with living together, and living in the same country together. And, so I decided to buy two tickets to Edinburgh, Scotland as a proper Christmas present. We would spend five days in the Scottish capital in mid-February 2010. Couldn’t have been more off-season if we had tried. I wanted it like that, besides, it was also cheaper.

The look on her face was priceless when she opened the present. She didn’t really know what to expect from a Christmas Eve and what presents she would get. For once she was at loss for words. It’s the best gift I have ever given anyone.

I feel that Edinburgh in February of 2010 was almost a peak in our relationship. Everything was still very fresh. There were no IVF, no issues with finding work, no immediate money problems. No focus on depression, anxiety or OCD either. Just two people going on a trip to abroad to a country we both loved. The weather at home was bitterly cold. In Edinburgh there were no snow, no sub-zero temperatures. Just a mild winter. It just felt good.

There were tourists, but not many. The weather was bleak with heavy clouds, but we loved it. No sunshine, no heat. Just a regular winter in Britain. We walked around the streets of Edinburgh being happy. Just happy. «If only more people knew!» she said while we climbed up some steep stairs towards the castle. She was thinking of the lack of tourism. But, hey, it was February. It was like we were all alone in this magnificent city.

We walked up the Scott Monument, visited her university (she had started an online degree there), visited pubs and ate unhealthy English food. She bought herself fudge and claimed that any time of the day was «fudge o’clock». She was almost like a child in a an amusement park. We didn’t really do selfies back then, but I had my video camera, and she had her handheld Sony camera. I videotaped, and we both took photos. Photos of us on Princess Street, besides the statue of Hume, at the castle or around some high point look-out spots in the city. On almost every photo, we are smiling. She’s smiling. In some photos I see that she has taken off her glasses before the photo – something she often did. I may not always smile in the photos, but I am happy down to the very core of myself. I can tell. There’s not a single worry in my eyes and posture.

In one photo there’s just a bunch of KFC food. Not understanding the Indian accent added in with the Scottish dialect, we didn’t understand a single word of what she asked when we ordered, and we ended up with a huge meal we couldn’t finish. We laughed. It’s funny what you remember and what you forget from a trip like this.

We went to St. Andrews in the rain. We saw the ruins – completely alone. I videotaped while we were walking around studying buildings and architecture. Looking at the North sea and holding hands. It started to rain even more heavily. We only had one umbrella, and we both tried to get room under it for cover while we crossed an ancient church yard. In the distance, an RAF Typhoon did circuits at RAF Leuchars. There was no one else about. The photos clearly shows it; not a single soul. Just us, a couple of sea gulls and the sound of a jet fighter somewhere in the background. And the rain. Heavy rain.  My video camera stopped working due to the heavy rainfall. I didn’t really care. The trip was almost over anyway. It stopped raining shortly afterwords.

I write this because I was just asked what my favorite vacation was. There was no hesitation when I answered. It’s not my trips New York, San Fransisco or Texas. It’s not Cambridge, Munich, Prague or Krakow either. No, it’s Edinburgh during a bleak and rainy February 2010.

It all felt like it was just us (sometimes it actually was just us!). We were in love, we were together, we were still fairly young, and we were out exploring the world. It was exactly as we had envisioned the start of our lives together.

Sometimes I truly wish I could go back and do that trip with her once more.

 

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Looking for my shoes

My football (soccer) shoes broke last Monday. My thoughts immediately go to that new pair I bought two years ago I still haven’t used. Now is a perfect time to throw away the old and start using the new ones.

Only thing is, I can’t find them. Just where did I put them? I know I took them with me from my old house (and from then house before that), but where I placed them in this house I don’t know. I look in the closet where there’s shoes stored but I can’t find them there. I look through some closets, but I can’t see anything.

I honestly don’t know where to look. I walk into a small room full of stored things (including my computer that I wrote seven books on). I have yet to unpack three large boxes of things. Things wrapped in newspaper. Most likely

fragile things. Stuff I bought, stuff I got as gifts through the years. Lots of things that have a certain meaning to me, but a lot that doesn’t as well. I start to dig through the first box. I reach the bottom of it, and discover photo albums that I made. I open one of them and look at the photos. 2009 maybe. Pictures of travel. Prague, Israel, Munich. Happy times. So many photos of my ex wife. Our dogs. Our home. I stare at a photo of myself in Israel in front of a desert colored wall. Most likely in Nasaret in 2009. My hair is long, my brown sunglasses looks rather out of fashion in 2018, but I don’t really get why  think so. My sense of fashion have changed as well. A t-shirt that says «I’d rather be watching Stargate SG-1». A bit childish.

A somber feeling of nostalgia and melancholy grips me almost instantly as I look through it. So this is where my past life ended up. In boxes. I know there’s more of my photo albums up in the attic. This new home isn’t really my home. It’s hers. My stuff have no place here, altough I am sure that if I told her I feel this way she would make a bit of room for it. But I also know that no woman would ever accept that her things would be stuffed away in this matter. Intentionally or unintentionally. I look further on at my photos. It’s like the guy I’m looking at is dead.  A life project that went south – a failure. A video game campaign that just ended because the choices were poor. To no fault of my own. My past life, all of it, now stuffed away wherever there’s room. That’s how much value it has. Her photo albums are in the living room. Photos of her daughter. Her time in Africa. Tons of photos of her ex-boyfriend – the father of her child. Why wouldn’t there be? He’s the father after all. An intregral part of the household even if he never sets his foot in it. But he’s there – in the photo albums. I am not. I’m stuffed away in the attic and at the bottom of boxes. And it’s gonna be like this for a long time.

I decide to forget about those damn football shoes, and attempt to fix the old ones.