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Leaving Home

Well with 34 days, 11 hours, 15 minutes, 05 seconds until we fly to NZ, time is ticking away. People keep asking me if I am going to miss my family and friends. Yes, it seems like a rather obvious answer to me.
Why am I going? Well 6 years and 53 days ago I met a man from New Zealand and we have spent the last 6 years and 53 days learning about each other, learning to live with each other. With the exception of a few business trips and late night drinking sessions we have hardly spent a night apart or out of contact. We talk every day at work over messenger like we did in the first six months of our relationship. We spend most evenings and weekends together. There’s not been a lot of time apart, but when we are apart from each other for a long enough time I can’t function. I lie in bed desperate for sleep but it won’t come, I make food and put it in front of me but the desire to eat wont come, I see his face when my eyes close perhaps it’s because he’s been with me for so long. We have a good time together, we like the same things and we make each other laugh allot and we care about what happens to each other. It’s not always perfect and it probably won’t ever be, but who wants’ perfection?

I sometimes feel like I’m failing, that my life is running away in front of me yelling “come on we’re going this way” and I’m in the distance panting thinking “I can’t keep up”. Sometimes I think why should I keep running I’ll never make it and I look around for something to take my eyes of the goal, am I trying to prevent myself from getting old? Am I trying to avoid making decisions? Am I scared of committing myself to something that seems so far off I’m scared I’ll never make it there?
Most people don’t really worry about things the way I worry about things, I have been told that I am a worrier and I worry too much. Well I have tried very hard to change that, but I like the fact that I’m there to care when someone else doesn’t and sometimes worrying to the extent that I do makes for very good forward planning. So I worry, think and plan and see what happens and I like being a bit off the wall, who wants’ to be boring? People like me for my mental ways.

I was googling mental illness as I am fascinated in why humans do the things they do. I wondered if I could find a good label to stick on me and I found a pretty apt description. The word to describe the mental illness is erotomania, now just to be clear I’m not saying I’m mentally ill, just a little crazy perhaps and the first definition of this word doesn’t exactly sum me up. It’s says “a rare disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that another person, usually of a higher social status, is in love with him or her.” I’ve never been one for thinking anyone could love me so that’s not quite me, but further down the page I read the following sentence and I had a Eureka moment.

“The term erotomania is also sometimes used in a less specific clinical sense meaning excessive pursuit of or preoccupation with love or sex (hypersexuality).” Wikipedia

Don’t put too much emphasis on the sex part, I like sex but I love love, my name is Elizabeth Marie Chapman and I am a loveaholic. Anyone who knows me very well will think, yes she’s the living embodiment of Venus (well I’m writing the story now and I say that’s what you think). 
I love to read books with a compelling love story the most famous being Pride and Prejudice. I have found myself associating lovers and myself to the characters from the books; imagine my dismay when they don’t do what they did in the book. Silly girl I tell myself and move on. I have had a few Mr Collins types, a few Wickham’s and about three Darcy’s. Thank god I never really got into Tess of the d’Urbervilles (I was too busy being in love to take any note of this book, God knows how I passed that A-level, and he’s keeping that information to himself.)  I felt so strongly for Abigail Williams from The Crucible, although I felt sorrier for the Proctors by the end of the play and admired Mrs Proctor for standing by her philandering husband. “To err is human, to forgive is divine”. Sometimes though I didn’t give the poor guy a chance, I was too rash in casting off lovers, not so these days.

For most of the start of my adolescence I was obsessed with falling in love, being in love and love. Even now I have a collection of heart shaped boxes. It was all hearts, roses, love, poems and sighs. I wanted someone to keep me warm like my lumber jack shirts did. I wanted someone to wrap their arms around me and hold me so tight it would hurt; I wanted someone to adore me. I admit I used to fall in love very quickly, sometimes with people who reminded me of people I loved, sometimes with people who had a sob story, sometimes with people who just touched my heart and more often than not these feelings of love would grow into an obsession.
I’d imagine the perfect picture of how I wanted the relationship to be, someone to call me, someone to worry about me, Someone who wore a leather jacket and seemed dark and mysterious, someone who wanted to be with me, someone to offer me simple love tokens like ” I got you this can of diet coke because I know that you are thirsty in the morning” and then continue to leave one on my desk everyday (this did actually happen to me but he was a Proctor type so you can see why I cast him off) . I spent a lot of time day dreaming about how perfect love was and more often than not was disappointed. I blame Elvis. God I love Elvis songs. When I say obsession though I don’t mean stalker; I was once obsessed with a man when I was 19. He was a Levellers fan, had been to Glastonbury, he had a goatee (mental note I need to Google facial hair, attractiveness) he was older than me and seemed to know the score. In short he was what I saw as perfect, he was the one, and he was a God and could do no wrong in my eyes. Ha, all changed later. 
To be honest he wasn’t that great a catch, he had been fired and escorted from the building in a strong armed manner, literally a big man had his arm twisted behind his back and I couldn’t see then that that was a bad thing. As I watched him go I sighed and said out loud “there goes my happiness” (how great to be 20??). I worked for the company admin dept, so imagine my joy when I found a letter addressed to his address. I am somewhat ashamed to admit this but I wrote down the address and sent him a gift, some amethyst, something else which I forget and contact details. Surprise, surprise I didn’t hear from him (well to be honest if someone sent me a bit of purple rock and I didn’t know them that well I wouldn’t contact them). A few months later I bumped into him on a train platform, no I had not been scoping all the local train stations in the vain hope of bumping in to him, I was actually waiting for my train to work with two friends. My heart went up into my mouth and I could hardly talk to him. We exchanged pleasantries and off he went and I became a moon eyed freak. About a year after this I found him on friends reunited, I contacted him and he replied, I started day dreaming about what it all could mean? I should have been working (or sectioned) but day dreamed away and made various mistakes at work then went straight to not doing work, how I never got fired I do not know. The day dream all came to a rather abrupt end when we agreed to meet up for a drink. We got drunk, he asked me if I wanted to go out with him and I was over the moon, I had finally pulled someone who I thought was better looking than me (he wasn’t). I didn’t realise that I should have been worried when he said “I have a lot of Spanish friends” what he meant was “a lot of my friends are drug dealers” Then he asked me if he could spend the night on my sofa because he had no where else to go, he was essentially homeless.
You would have thought that alarms bells would be ringing in my head at this point, no. Why? Because I am obsessed with the dramatic love story and the tortured soul, I bought him a kebab, sent him on his way and I went mine. I phoned him a couple of days later and he seemed somewhat confused when I told him I missed him, he said he had to go do something and would ring me back later. After four days of waiting I deleted his number from my phone and decided that I should forget about him, it took some time to get over him but a change of job and a change of scene brought along many other potential love stories.
There were more tragic love stories, some equally humorous, some rather one sided, but me and my heart kept on bashing away determined that there was someone out there who would fill my days with endless wonder, or something else equally sugar spun. (Seems to be a clothes washing and sexual favours these days, his eyes though, you can’t write expressions like he has.)

At the grand age of 22 after roughly 15 failed romances (they weren’t all sexual partners) I decided that my heart had been broken enough, that I was tired of ending up with people who I loved desperately, guys who were just too keen, had bad taste in music, and looked like they had been dressed by their mothers. I gave up looking for anyone. I packed my bag and went for a single girl’s holiday to New Zealand. I got massively stoned, I got massively drunk, I ate a lot of pies and then I met AB.
I was determined to go on that holiday and enjoy myself, I was also determined not to fall in love, I’d done pretty well, and I’d gone at least 3 months without meeting someone and falling. One week into the holiday AB came crashing into my friend’s garage with a crate of beer under his arm. He had on a leather jacket, he had a fantastic goatee/beard type facial hair thing going on, he was wearing a lumber jack shirt, he looked at me, our eyes met and the one thought in my mind was “I want to have sex with that man”. And so I did. The days that followed were filled with exploring NZ, nights of passion and then falling asleep to the gentle pit pat of night rain. He brought me lamingtons, he drove me to the Piano beech (one of my favourite love films) and we saw a depressed heron. He took me out dancing, he took me out to breakfast and then at the end of the week he drove me to the airport, and I have been told that he stood and watched until my plane was totally out of site.
The major difference that I can decipher from most of this is that I finally had a fabulous love story all of my own (because it is all about me), that and our relationship has stood every test thrown at it, I did let him go once and I’m very lucky that he found his way back to me.
He sent me my first proper bunch of flowers and continues to send me flowers. He keeps in regular contact with me, he looks at me like I am the most precious possession he has, he loves me, he cares for me and sometimes he holds me so tightly that it hurts and I laugh. He see’s the all too familiar look in my eyes that tells him I’m sad and he knows I won’t always tell him what’s wrong and that sometimes there doesn’t need to be a reason other than I am his tortured soul. I know that he will take care of me.

So yes I am sad to leave my family, I am sad to leave my friends, and Emma who is more than a friend she’s my soul mate (it’s ok AB knows this), I am even sad to leave my job, that I have suddenly realised I love too. I am sad to walk away from England, the bars I have drunk in, the pavements I have walked and the train stations I have arrived at sometime in the morning after a night of amorous passion. I love the train stations, the bus stops, the buildings, bus tickets, cinema stubs, love letters I have written, places I have danced in, the various first kisses that I can remember and the many memories of things I have done whilst in the pursuit of having fun. Sentimentality gets you no where. (Mary Poppins has so much to teach us all)

AB loves me and my future lies with him, one I perhaps can catch up with, a future that I can make. Will this love story have a happy ending? Who knows? I wouldn’t want to know, but I’ll give it my best shot, because I love him.

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