Opposites attract, they say.
Chris was extraverted and sanguine, whilst I am introverted and melancholic. I’m quite content being introverted and melancholic by the way, but I was drawn to Chris like a moth to an arc light.
She lit up my life with her natural optimism (not that all would be well but that, in spite of everything, all was well) and her unwavering belief in my nascent creativity. She loved me in ways I could not love myself. At our wedding she declared:
I will encourage, support and dare you in your creativity – so that you grow fully and magnificently into yourself. I’ll be your best cheerleader. I will respect your space for you own private time, your memories, your family life and your stories. I will encourage you to be confident in your body – so that you live into and appreciate your vitality and energy. I’ll be encouraging if you are ill and when you are well. I’ll be at your side.
In return, I vowed:
You are my soul mate and my dearest friend, the apple of my eye and my heart’s delight. All that is mine to share, I will share with you: hopes and fears; work and play; life and love. All that is mine to give, I give you without measure; I am yours, whatever time and fortune bring.
She was true to her promise whilst she lived, and even now I feel her standing beside me, egging me on. I write, as I did before she died, both for my own delight and to warrant her faith in me as a writer.
Apart from loving her, it is hard for me to put my finger on exactly what I was able to give her. A necessary determination to see things through, perhaps? A concern for the essential? A willingness to face the shadow?
“You’re too Saturnine,” she would say, when I was particularly sombre.
Then she would smile like the sun.