Saturday, October 8, 2011
They say that relationships are mirrors. Women’s and men’s relationships with the opposite sex reflect their inner relationship. Over the years, Melinda had put a fair amount of work into defining and finding her “inner man with heart” - a positive inner masculine figure.
“I had this dream at the time when I’d decided to stop hopping between the US and the UK and finally found home inside of myself. At the time of the dream, I wrote: ‘Last night I dreamt that we met . . . I looked up and saw that you had entered the room and were standing, looking at me and smiling. Your hair was longish, silvery-white and swept behind your ears. Lamp black eyebrows. You were wearing a black suit with a black open necked shirt, no tie, like an artist. I pointed at you and smiled. Even though I had never seen you before, I recognized you. You walked over and sat down across me, facing me. Up close, your face was tanned, a bit full beneath your chin. I cannot recall the colour of your eyes.
Then you stood behind me and covered my eyes with your hands and told a funny story or anecdote which made me laugh. You had a distinct speaking voice with a rich timbre. Then you sat opposite me again and opened a portfolio of your artwork and some other papers. You showed me some paintings you had done on acetate. Translucent paintings in Chagall-like colours – night sky blue, crimson and a deep and wild green.”
Around this time, having finally decided to settle in the UK, stop looking for a mate and just get grounded in herself, Melinda took a trip to Birmingham – at the heart of the UK - for a long weekend to explore the city and meet up with Nicky Getgood, a fellow blogger whom she’d met online. In the course of the evening, Melinda was to meet “the silver-haired, sea green-eyed man of my dreams – Steve.”
Steve used to go to the Spotted Dog pub in Digbeth, Birmingham, fairly regularly. It was close to his office in the Custard Factory – an old industrial complex that had been turned into studios for creative people and businesses.
Steve remembers: “That night – 5th September 2008 - I was tired and had more or less decided to go home to the canal boat where I was living when I bumped into the artist Bryn Tranter. He persuaded me to pop into the Spotted Dog for their Friday Night Pimms O’Clock – all wind-up gramophones and great company. I knew that other friends would be there and agreed to go, just for while. So I crossed the road, ordered a drink and walked straight into the future.”
The future was in the garden of the pub. Melinda was sitting with Nicky Getgood – author of the Digbeth is Good blog. Steve sat at the opposite end of a table of a dozen or so people. “Although I was following the conversation, the only voice I wanted to hear was Melinda’s. I was drawn by her elegance and poise, her beautiful voice, soft as silk blowing in a California breeze. And, once we began to talk, her shining intelligence and perception.”
“When Melinda showed me a piece of her artwork – an accordion book made from images of Exeter Cathedral – my hands trembled a little as she handed it to me and explained how she had made the piece. It was full of such unimaginable beauty and depth.”
That weekend – before Melinda had to return to Exeter from Birmingham – they seized every opportunity to be together.
“We went out to dinner and a movie the next couple of nights and by the end of the weekend, we were able to open up and share thoughts and musings and interests that -normally – we would have kept to ourselves. Not only did we talk about books and music and films we like, but why we like them, our values and what’s meaningful to us.”
They met up for breakfast the next morning and by the time Melinda left to catch the train back to Exeter they knew that they weren’t saying ‘Good-bye’.
“And then we kept in touch through all the means we had: e-mail, text, letters, phone calls, instant messaging. Those first days and weeks, where we got to know each other mainly through the written word, were very important. Instead of fumbling through spoken conversations, we could think about exactly what we wanted to say to each other and then share those feelings in words that could be read and re-read.”
On the day that Melinda texted Steve to say that she had fallen from her bike, he picked one of the last roses of the year from a nearby garden and sent it with some homeopathic medicine for her grazed knee. Melinda then sent Steve a photograph of two pieces of slate she had found in the river, scattered over with the petals of the rose he’d sent her. The image – titled ‘Cleaved’ was what prompted Steve to tell Melinda that he loved her.
We have been building our lives together ever since and married on 22nd May 2010, standing in front of a quilt made by Melinda that used the image of ‘Cleaved’. Both of us have finally found home.