Memories. They can be haunting. They can be beautiful. They can make your heart burn with pain or anger. They can teach you a lesson or remind you why life is worth living. They can be many things.
I want to be completely honest and say that for me, today has not been the best. There have been some tears. I am sad and have mulled over some very confusing and awful memories today that I simply wish I could forget. Alas, memories cannot be changed. Though those ones are not the ones that I wish to share. Instead, I want to share something set apart from those memories; something different – a special memory of mine, which I can only describe as simply the best day of my life.
It was nearly two years ago. Thinking back on it still makes me feel the same butterflies in my stomach that I had that very night. I can still smell the magic in the air. I remember the love and energy shared with this wonderful person. I remember feeling like I could finally breathe for the first time in my life…
I woke up late morning and pulled my lover in to my arms. ‘Happy birthday, baby’ he murmurs as he adjusts himself to take me in his own embrace, throwing some sweet morning kisses my way. My favourite person to wake up to. He had been an acquaintance of mine for years, and a friend for quite some time until our connection had eventually bloomed into an ever-intense, love filled, one of a kind romance. I could have stayed right there holding him forever. But, plans had been made.
We slowly collected ourselves to venture out, taking a cab to SPQR in Ponsonby to meet some close friends and family for a small lunch I had arranged. There was good food, good company, and time went quickly. Many who attended were meeting my boyfriend for the first time. All in all, it was a relatively stress-free success. My mother was nice enough to offer my boyfriend and I a ride home, to which we accepted.
Once we returned from lunch, my partner disappeared and quickly returned from the back porch where my gift had been delivered. I wasn’t expecting anything whatsoever so it caught me by surprise. Turns out he was worried it wouldn’t arrive on time having been ordered from overseas, so had instead kept it a wonderful surprise. That in itself is a huge feat. Although I love surprises, if I catch wind of any impending surprise for myself, I am quite spectacular at managing to ruin or guess what it might be. It is not intentional, merely an uncontainable excitement that sweeps over me and takes hold.
As I opened the gift I could feel myself holding back tears of joy amongst my excitement. He had spent a long while searching online for a glass teapot – something I had wanted for years, but had never managed to acquire. In with the teapot were a couple of green tea blossoms (tea leaves stitched together into a ball in such a way that when the ball is steeped, it expands into a blossoming work of tea art) and a tea for one mug, all from T2. A store I was to grow ever fond of once we moved to Melbourne together in the future. It was so thoughtful. And I felt completely undeserving. Still to this day I don’t think he realises how special that gift was to me. I thanked him and smothered him in a few kisses. I was always a little too affectionate I suppose, but we both were in that first year of our relationship.
The rest of the afternoon was spent drinking some good whiskey in good company, playing the odd video game, and stealing loving glances of my partner in quiet awe. I couldn’t quite believe how lucky I was that this beautiful soul had chosen to be with me.
It had rolled around to about six o’clock, when we left for dinner. This was another unfoiled surprise he had managed to succeed in keeping from me. I had only been told to dress nicely for the occasion. It was starting to drizzle outside and he called a cab to take us downtown. To his directions, we arrived on a street corner in the viaduct where we stepped out of the cab and, taking my hand in his, I let him lead the way. The excitement! I had already been spoiled so much with his love and thoughtfulness today that I could barely fathom that there might be more! But there was. He lead me up an old polished stone staircase to a restaurant called Kermadec. A seafood restaurant, named after the Kermadec Trench in the ocean, with almost a flawless reputation.
My boyfriend named his reservation at the front desk and we were escorted down a hall on the right of the reception. I could see the dining hall at the end of the corridor and could feel myself going a little pink in the cheeks. The place was so amazing I felt bashful and nervous and a little unsure on my feet but kept my focus forward and my thoughts happy. Suddenly we were detoured from making it to the dining hall, to the left along the corridor they opened up a small, private door for us to walk through. My boyfriend insisted that I go first. Thinking nothing of it I took a single step through the doorway and froze. I gasped for air. For the first and only time in my life, something had taken my breath away. I was speechless, yet again. Where I stood, my feet were perched on a small platform. Before me laid a dreamy room filled with water and a flat stone waterbed. Carp were swimming in the water and to the left of the room was a waterfall. In the centre of the room was the dining table, set quite low to ensure it belonged to the setting encompassing it. It was clearly set for only the two of us. ‘Go ahead’ he said quietly behind me. I could hear the nervousness in his voice. I watched my step, hopping across two pegs set out of the water to allow us to make it over to our table. My partner followed behind me. As we sank into our seats and the attendant closed the door to our private room, I could feel myself going uncontrollably red. Bright red. I struggled to look him in the eye, terrified I might say the wrong thing or do something to ruin the moment. My face adorned a shy, goofy smile for the rest of the evening, below rose-flushed cheeks.
I remember some of the things he said to me. He eased closer to scoop up my trembling hand in his. “…do you get it now? Do you believe me? I love you. I love you more than anything…” “…You’re my girl. You’re the only one I want. This is the real thing…” “…I want this to last forever…” I already knew. But I had never felt such love. No one had ever made such an effort. I swear if I could have one night to never end, it would have been this one.
The food was exquisite with cocktails to match. The night was spent in quiet discussion under an increasingly magic filled air. I feel truly lucky to have had the opportunity to share part of my journey in life with this person. I don’t know if I will ever stop loving this wonderful man. I fell even more in love with him that night. I didn’t think it was possible, but with the magic in the air, knowing this wonderful person wanted to be mine, and I can only describe how I felt like I could breathe for the first time in my life. I felt my heart open up as if I were whole and completely undamaged. Words are not enough to describe. I have approached this evening before, finding magical words that still appear to be dull in comparison to the reality of that evening. If only there were a way to explain this evening that would pay it justice! It does frustrate me so.
This person is no longer. He has changed so very much, as have I and we have parted ways. And god, there are some happenings between us I wish that I could forget. But I will never forget this one night; this special memory we shared. This memory is mine and I will hold on to it. That once upon a time, I was loved and this person was wonderful and they thought that I was worth it. Because what’s the point in living, if you don’t get to remember the magic?