The Silver Lining

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Chapter 10 - Grace Before

Dear Diary,

When I first met James, I was on holiday with my family visiting Ireland – back when my parents were together. I’d been on a walk in the wild and windy foothills, and we’d taken shelter in a cosy pub, just as the heavens opened. Nestled in the corner, I sat with my sister and mother. My father placed our drinks order at the bar when I saw him – a broad, distinguished-looking boy laughing with a group of friends. He had an enigmatic, raspy laugh and impeccable white teeth. His fingers kept combing his long hair back off his face. Absorbed in conversation, he sat hunched over his pint glass. At sixteen, I’d dabbled with the odd boyfriend, but I was yet to find someone that kept me interested. As I sat by the roaring fire, in that idyllic country pub, I just knew. He was the one.

Confidence hadn’t ever been an issue for me. If I had anything going for me back then, it was my relentless determination. When I saw him motion to the bar for another round, I asked my dad if I could buy a drink. Oblivious to my real intentions, he accepted with a shrug and passed me some cash. The rain showed no signs of slowing, and the bar was in eyesight but not earshot. As soon as I ordered, I took the plunge.

I asked if he needed a hand, eyeing up the row of ale in front of him. He told me that carrying lots of glasses was his speciality in this thick Irish accent before asking where I was from. I pointed to the group of people who sat sleepily in their seats and told him of my family holiday. We chatted about England some more, he’d always wanted to go himself. He recommended places of interest to see during my stay in Ireland. Then out of the blue, he asked if I wanted him to be my tour guide.

It didn’t take long for my parents to agree to our meet up. We spent most of that holiday together after that fateful conversation in the pub. After that, we stayed in touch, wrote letters, and spoke on the telephone for hours at a time. Then he got a job in England. He was some years older than me and had been working for a contractor in Ireland that had gone bust. There were lots of building trade to be had in York at the time, so he managed to snap up work easily. Fast forward a couple of years and we are shacked up married. Those years were blissful. Perfect even. The happiest of my life. I couldn’t imagine anything coming between us. Somehow, I was completely wrong.

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