As Long As You Live It

As a child, I remember sitting Indian-style on the shag carpet of our living room, recording myself on a boom box. I recorded my singing over my grandmother’s gospel tapes; I figured she had so many that she wouldn’t miss them, and I’m still unsure whether she ever noticed.

My brother, Chad, and I pretended we were in England and that we were sipping tea. We were very imaginative children. Looking back, it seems quite surreal that I would marry a British man, and have lived in England. To many this may seem like a small thing, but from where I come from, it’s sometimes unimaginable how things seem to fall into place–like it all happens for a reason.

I applied for a scholarship to study British Literature abroad. I met my husband, James, one night when I first arrived to study in Bath, England, while I was writing in the kitchen window of the dorm. Days later I walked by his office and asked him on a date. We talked so much during that night that the food went cold and the place closed. I still don’t understand how two people so very different from one another hit it off so well. Me, the headbanger/writer, and him…well, he was easygoing, hilarious James. In fact, when my dad picked me up from the airport, I laid in the backseat of his car and told him I met the man I was going to marry. He said I better not have. Within a year, I walked down the isle.

I remember the first time I walked around London on my own—not a fear in this world. And in no time at all, I was searching the world on my own, in trains, planes, buses, taxis, etc. I’d return home to James, and him not understanding my fascination with travel, and sitting on the train writing for hours. He knew how much it all meant to me, so he arranged a surprise trip to Paris. This world is beautiful and ever so magnificent. Even the bad things I’ve seen, add to how I feel about the world, and make me want to change it.

I can remember sitting in the Bath Abbey, almost daily, and praying. I remember meeting my stepson for the first time. I remember going to Stonehenge and thinking it just looked like rocks. I remember watching the Three Tenors at the Royal Crescent. I remember my wedding. I remember cooking Thanksgiving dinner for all my British friends. I remember playing Mortal Combat, Resident Evil and Crazy Taxi until 3am. I remember the first time I saw Eve. And these memories have formed me completely. They are not just normal memories. They are a reminder, to myself, that all and everything is possible.

And, to my love, James: I do not understand why we live in a world that people don’t want to just be with one. I wouldn’t trade my world for anything.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

-Pablo Neruda

Dreams do come true, and when they do, they help us grow into new people altogether.