How many moons have passed since you last received a love letter from me? It is not that I do not feel for you the way I used to anymore, or that I do not have the time or the inspiration to wax lyrical about how I feel for you... It is just that, in every relationship, there comes a time where people slide into an acquired comfort zone, that very phase of a relationship where you can sit around in comfortable silence without having to say a single word, or you look one look at the other and realise exactly syllable for syllable what is going through their mind. In that very phase we sometimes get so caught up in the day to day hustle of life, we tend to forget to express our feelings and let the other person feel just little bit more special for having our love.
This is exactly what I realised when I woke up this morning to the immense feeling of loving you, my husband, my homey, lover, friend. My hero... confidante... best friend... soul mate... partner in crime... The very one who knows me better than I know myself; the very one who loves me even when I hate myself...
I love you more than life itself. More than any word, any letter, any sound in any language can ever tell.
Looking back at the last seven years we have grown together gives me pride as well as joy, seeing just how far a journey we have taken together, hand in hand. I remember how we would spend hours on the phone, you running up your phone bill to exorbitant figures, me dragging myself to my dead-end part-time job. We’d stay up all night to chat. Sometimes we’d fight, you’d tell me some bitter truths about life, and I’d slam the phone down. I think of that April day when I met you for the first time and how you made me laugh at a time of my life when laughing was a distant memory. I remember how when you dropped me off that day you told me you’d marry me one day, only to have me turn around and say ‘not in a million years’.
I think of another April day, a year later, when I decided to take a chance on you, knowing you were still attached to someone else, knowing you were flat broke, knowing how you got my last nerve at times. I thank God I did. I thank God for that April day.
We’d share our last fiver so you could look for a job at the internet cafe while I went out to work and had enough change left of a fiver to buy my lunch. We’d eat egg and bread. We’d buy fake Chinese videos when I got paid on Fridays so we’d stay home and watch movies instead of wasting money at the cinema. Remember those Saturday mornings we used to have to get up early to move you car and keep on moving it around every two hours so you wouldn’t get a parking ticket? Or the time the bed in my box room came crashing down in the middle of the night and we spent the whole night and the next few weeks after that sleeping on the mattress on the floor? Or the time we were having a fight and I dropped the lid of the pot of stew on the floor and burnt a lid-size circle on the lino and had to raise £300 deposit? It wasn’t a walk in the park but we managed. You made it fun. You made every single minute of it worthwhile.
We would lay down on the bed at night, you caressing my hair and me daydreaming of a day in the future where I could have a decent room in a decent house share and you would tell me to dream big. ‘Why just a room?’ you’d say, ‘Why not our own house?’ and I would laugh.
When my dream was a small room, your dream was a six bedroom house. When glass was half empty, your glass was always half full. When I despaired, you dreamed...
We moved into our own place a year later, perhaps the first time I realised the power of dreams. After a whole year of angst with flat mates and weekend trips to Milton Keynes which had in time become my safe haven away from the stress of London, I had finally made the move to Milton Keynes for good and taken that giant step towards life-time commitment by moving in with you.
It was the same year I got my first teaching job. After three long months of self-questioning and soul-searching, I had finally got my first full-time job. All those sleepless nights worrying about how it was all going to come together, you were there to hold me tight and kiss the tears away. All those days I used to come home, exhausted and clueless as to how to survive a job I wasn’t formally trained for in a department where I was being bullied by the head on a daily basis, you were there to offer a warm plate of food and a back rub. All through the months of self-doubting, you believed in me and encouraged me to go on. You believed in me more than I believed in myself; you believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.
Then it was time to face my mum... She wasn’t happy about my choice of a future husband. It was not easy for you to patiently wait until I summoned the courage to confront my mum, yet you waited – quietly, patiently, without judgement or bitterness. When things came to a head, you hugged me tight and told me everything would be fine. And guess what? They were in the end... despite the worry, the pain and the heartache. You taught me to have faith in life and its power to sort itself out.
When you quit your job to take up photography, I had doubts. True to form, I worried, I analysed, re-analysed, then analysed some more. You put your own worries aside to put my mind at ease. When I used to laugh at your dreams of where the business would be in a year’s time, I used to laugh at you, and you used to just say ‘ok o, just wait.’ With hardly any money coming in, with unexpected twists and turns on the journey of life, with the pressure of my worries on top of yours, it would have been so easy to blow your top and lash out, but you never did. You taught me the virtue in waiting and seeing.
There were so many times I scoffed at your dreams; being the natural born pessimistic cynic that I am, it was an unconscious habit to laugh at dreams, bracing myself for the worst. Every time I braced myself for the worst, you would encourage me and pull me up to your level of optimism and big dreams. Every time I beat myself up for each and every failure, you would tell me just how wonderful I was. You never laughed at my fears. What is more you never laughed at my fears. For every single weakness in me I pointed out, you would point out a strength. In time, you built up my confidence. In time, you made me feel stronger than I had ever felt in my life. In time, you taught me how to dream big.
I look back at the person I used to be seven years ago: timid, negative and deeply lacking in self-esteem; and I look at the person I have become in the seven years I have shared with you. Through the ups and downs, through the sunshine and the rain, you have always been there. You have taught me to dream big even when I am living small, to not beat myself up for my failures and to celebrate my successes, to pick and choose the battles I take on; but above all, you have taught me to believe in myself and believe in life no matter what it throws at me.
In the last seven years, we have grown together. And in every single moment of that long journey, at each single step we’ve taken together, you have given me unconditional love and utmost respect. You have raised me up to all that I can be and more; you have raised me up so I can see what lies ahead. What lies ahead is amazing... What lie ahead are a six bedroom house, a coupe cab, four beautiful kids, all the Vogue and Elle covers we can dream of shooting, working together, working from home. What lies ahead is looking back, like we’ve done yesterday after an eight hour shoot, at all that we have been through with a smile, giving ourselves a pat on the back for the journey we have made together, proud of how far we’ve come.
I thank you for every unforgettable moment of the last seven years and for every single moment I look forward to sharing with you. And I thank you for all those times you have stood by me, stood up for me, stood behind me. And I thank you for being the wonderful, amazing you. And I love you more than any word, any letter, any sound in any language can ever tell. I love you more than life itself.