On a solo summer

Late last year Paul found out about a really interesting volunteering opportunity, on a turtle conservation project in Cyprus. He applied, and honestly I didn’t have high hopes, as his direct experience was pretty limited and I figured there would be so many applications the chances of him being accepted would be slim. But he did get in. And for various dull financial reasons, it was more practical for him to go for the full 9 weeks rather than a shorter stint as many others do. So on the 1st July, his 35th birthday, on a roasting hot day, we drove the 6 hours to Gatwick and had a birthday meal in the indian restaurant attached to the Premier Inn. The next morning, I dropped my husband off at the departures gate and drove the 6 hours home alone, on another roasting hot day.

It’s been a funny summer. An unexpected loss, and an unexpected heatwave. A hen do, a road trip, seeing new friends and old. Busy busy at work, and busy busy training for an upcoming half marathon. I had so many plans, to decorate the flat and get a grip on my diet and de-clutter and practice guitar. But time passes and life is busy and to be honest, I haven’t done even half the things on my to-do list.

What I’ve learned is that absence does make the heart grow stronger. My deepest, darkest fear was that of not missing my husband, of relishing the independence and the big empty bed, free to do whatever I want whenever I want! But what joy instead to feel a hole, a gap which I’m not sure I ever truly believed was there but there you have it, my other half really truly is that. My companion, partner, personal chef and dedicated cat-dad. The flat is quiet and messy (turns out it’s me who’s the messy one) and the cat is lonely and restless. But in just 2 weeks (!) I’ll be there, in the arrivals foyer at Newquay airport, waiting to bring my husband home.

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