Fairytale Of New York
by G Moore
Life’s greatest lessons are usually learnt at the worst times.
You can’t force love, or force someone to feel something. If love doesn’t come freely, then it’s not yours to take.
I am a true romantic; I believe that everyone has that one person out there, their soul mate. I want to meet my soul mate. I want the “they lived happily ever after” we read at the end of fairy tales. A few times, I’ve thought I’ve met my soul mate. On closer reflection, maybe I forced the situation (even though I could feel something wasn’t right).
May 2013, New York
10 days in New York (one of my favourite places in the world) with one of my closest friends. Staying in a beautiful old fashioned brownstone B&B in Harlem, I encountered my ‘soul mate’ the handsome, funny, unruffled, charming handyman/maintenance guy that worked at the B&B. We’d see him a lot when coming out of our room, we would see him working on a job, and he’d have a brief conversation with us.
My friend and I were enjoying our holiday, there was an adventure to be had every day- walking over the Brooklyn bridge, exploring Spanish Harlem, Schomburg museum, brunch in Mid-town. Actually, brunch in Mid-Town is how it started. Parana – an amazing spot to eat. We arrived at the restaurant, and were asked for ID – I provided mine, and my friend realised she’d left hers at the B&B. We took the subway back to Harlem, to get her ID.
We bumped into my ‘soul mate’ on our way back to the B&B, and he asked how we were, and we spoke again briefly. As we got to the B&B my friend searched in her bag for the key and couldn’t find it – we emptied her entire bag. We were locked out of the B&B, the owner of the B&B was away for memorial weekend, so we were stuck. Another guest may have opened the door, but how would we get into our room. I suggested we try and find my ‘soul mate’ to see if there was anything he could do to help us. We didn’t walk far, and we found him outside a shop talking. We explained to him what had happened, and hoped he’d at least be able to help. Due to rules and regulations, he couldn’t just let us into the room. The owner was contacted, and she said she was on her way back – although she was out of state. We ended up spending the whole afternoon with my ‘soul mate’ in the Marcus Garvey Park – walking, talking laughing, and eating. Our lives were very different, but I liked him – there was something about him that put me at ease, and he was so funny! All women love a man who can make them laugh. Whatever plans he had were abandoned and I felt like a priority.
The unimpressed owner arrived, and the afternoon of fun in Marcus Garvey Park came to an end. We apologised profusely, and were finally let back into our room (along with the spare key, which I was sure to keep hold of for the rest of the trip). My ‘soul mate’ came into the room with us and was talking to me. He left his phone number and email address and said I should call/email him. I emailed him the next day, and we went for lunch. I liked him, and of course he’d been our knight in shining armour rescuing us when locked out. I didn’t think much of this; we lived thousands of miles away from each other- so what was really going to happen?
The holiday ended, and we flew back to London. I turned to my friend on the plane, and said I like my ‘soul mate’, I really like him. Back home, things went back to normal – but with one difference my ‘soul mate’ was sending me messages, emailing me, and facetiming me. We obviously had the time difference to combat, but we mastered that. When I was on my lunch break, he would be waking up/getting ready for work. When I finished at work he’d be on lunch- and we’d text through the day. Maybe it was distance that made the relationship more intense, but our feelings grew fast. Before I knew it, we were telling each other how much we loved each other. My ‘soul mate’ wanted me to come over, and I wanted to go and see him. I wanted to see if this was real. We continued in our love bubble, until one FaceTime conversation. My ‘soul mate’ seemed tense, less suave. I couldn’t put my finger on it. In the conversation, he said something that seemed strange “if you get a call or message from someone just ignore it”. I didn’t understand it, and he wouldn’t elaborate or explain. It felt strange. Maybe two/three hours after we spoke, I received a text message “Please do not text/call as soulmate is in a relationship with me”. My heart jumped out of my chest – I couldn’t believe it (now I feel silly for not thinking this could be a possibility). I didn’t respond, I didn’t even contact ‘soul mate’, I just cried.
I didn’t answer any of my ‘soul mate’s’ calls or texts for two days. Finally, I answered his call, after he called nonstop for 30 mins. Somehow, he managed to sweet talk me and explain his way out of this. The text message was apparently sent by the mother of his daughter. The ex was jealous when she saw my name and a picture of me come up on his screen, the ex went through his phone when he was playing with his daughter (I never asked how she had his PIN to do so). My ‘soul mate’ told me how I was the only one for him. I believed him. All the doubts I had, I pushed them away. There was an excuse/explanation for everything that seemed a little strange – and I bought it because I wanted to be with him.
A few months after the text incident, I won a place at Martha’s Vineyard for an artist residential. This was perfect; I would fly into New York and spend a few days with my ‘soul mate’ before heading to Martha’s Vineyard. When I finished at Martha’s Vineyard, I’d spend another few days with him in New York. We spoke about all the details, what we were going to do, what it would be like to see each other. I couldn’t wait. My ‘soul mate’ would meet me at the airport, and we’d head to a hotel I’d booked (I didn’t want to put any pressure on things, and felt it was best to have my own place to be). The night before I flew, we spoke for hours on the phone; the morning of the flight we facetimed while I was at the airport. The whole flight from London to New York, my stomach was doing summersaults. I was so excited, yet so nervous.
I passed through security, collected my suitcase and headed to the Arrivals section. I couldn’t see him in the crowds but walked along. After a 10 minute wait, I sent a message to find out where he was. I didn’t hear anything back. I assumed he must have been driving, maybe he was running late. My ‘soul mate’ would be there. After an hour of calls and messages, I found myself a taxi and went to the hotel. I arrived at the hotel confused and humiliated, I went into the bathroom to freshen up and heard my phone ringing; it was him. I angrily answered, and he explained how his phone had been playing up and he’d been delayed – and was on his way to the hotel to see me, that I “shouldn’t be mad with him”. I sorted myself out, spoke to a friend and waited. I waited and waited and waited. My ‘soul mate’ didn’t turn up. He didn’t answer my calls or messages – nothing. The next morning, exhausted and tearful, I started to get myself together. I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything. I sorted myself out; I spoke to a friend and my sister- who both told me to enjoy New York and not to worry. They would call him to see if he answered, he didn’t answer their calls either. I went out to go and have breakfast, and to look in the shops.
I returned to the hotel, and who would be sitting in the lobby but my ‘soul mate’ looking deflated and exhausted. We embraced; this wasn’t how I imagined it would be seeing each other. Then the apologies came quick and fast, his mother had a serious asthma attack and had been rushed to the hospital. I asked why he didn’t just send a quick message; he said he couldn’t think straight. We sat and spoke, and he had to go back to the hospital. I offered to go back with him, but he said it wouldn’t be great for me. I should stay at the hotel, and he’d be back. I didn’t see or hear from him for three days.
I arrived in Martha’s Vineyard for the artist residential, and he sent me a video – a tearful video. Apologising for not coming back to the hotel, for the way things had been between us, but things were out of his hands – the circumstances had spoilt us seeing each other. My ‘soul mate’ said his mother had passed away, he was in a state of confusion and didn’t know what to do. I immediately called him and offered my condolences. I asked if there was anything I could do to help, and he told me in detail what family were doing and that I shouldn’t worry. I should enjoy and make the most of my residential. We went back to speaking every day, and things felt like they were back to normal. We made plans for when the residential would be over; I would fly back to New York and we’d spend my remaining days together.
I facetimed my ‘soul mate’ one morning, and he was wearing a black suit, it was the day of his mother’s funeral. I asked why he hadn’t said anything before, why he hadn’t mentioned the date. Apparently, he didn’t want to stress me out anymore. I asked if he’d be collecting his daughter to go to the funeral, he said no, the ex wouldn’t allow him to take her. We spoke after the funeral, and he told me how it had been, how the reception went, and how he was feeling.
My time in Martha’s Vineyard flew by. I’m ashamed to say didn’t make the most of this amazing opportunity I had. The contacts presented in front of me I wasted, I didn’t pursue my passion. My mind was on him. The day I was due to leave Martha’s Vineyard my sister called, upset. My mother was in the hospital, she’d had a mini heart attack. I told my sister I would try and change my ticket to come home earlier. I called my ‘soul mate’ and told him. I explained I had to be there for my mother. We arranged we’d see each in New York, before I flew back to London. I waited at the airport for him and, true to form, he didn’t turn up. Didn’t answer his phone or the messages. I flew back to London, heartbroken – but glad I’d left early to see my mother (who made a full recovery).
I can accept that certain circumstances affect people in different ways, but I had to end things with my ‘soul mate’. I planned to end things, but he convinced me otherwise as he begged and apologised and said this wasn’t how he planned for things to be, his mother had died, why couldn’t I understand that. I realised maybe I was being unkind, and we started to repair things in our long-distance relationship.
There were always little doubts in my head, when he wouldn’t answer at our usual time. If he sent a video I’d be looking in the background at the surrounding – that didn’t look like his apartment. Then there were the lies, little ones that I’d catch him out with: he would tell me he was seeing his daughter and then would be with friends; he’d sorted out his passport, it had arrived, then saying it was delayed because of the Government strike. I didn’t understand the lies. I always tried to push these feelings away.
When I pushed the negative feelings away, things were good with us. We started planning my next visit to see him. I always had to do the travelling, as he was still sorting out his passport. We planned five days together, under the promise he’d be there, would text if there was a problem, and we’d have an amazing time together. The time came, I got on the flight, and trusted him again. I arrived at the airport, and he was there to meet me. I can’t even explain the feeling of elation. The five days together were perfect, absolutely amazing. I didn’t want to leave, and he didn’t want me to leave. My ‘soul mate’ wanted me to move to New York and be with him, we’d start a life together, be a family together, his daughter would spend proper time with us, she’d have a “real family life” with us. I flew back to London, and right away started making plans for my next trip. I started saving for our life together; he started sending me links to apartments so we could get an idea of where we’d live.
Once again, I flew out to see him, and like before he was there. Once again, we had an amazing few days together, before I continued on to the Cayman Islands to visit my sister. After ten days in the Cayman Islands, I returned to New York. We walked along Brooklyn Bridge, we ate out, and just had a beautiful time together. I booked a pent suite apartment, as his birthday was coming up, and cooked for him. Our time together was perfect. I met his sisters and his friends. This was real. Until the day before I left for London, my ‘soul mate’ had to go into work, which was fine. We travelled in on the subway, and parted ways – I went shopping, and he went into work. That was the last time I saw him. My ‘soul mate’ didn’t return to the apartment. I called and sent messages – nothing. Absolutely nothing. I pulled myself together and the next day I went to the airport. That was the last time I went to New York. On the flight back, I felt different. When the plane took off my stomach felt tight. Something had changed. I just knew it. I was pregnant.
I landed in London, to a barrage of messages from him. The excuses were there once again. My mind wasn’t on him and his messages. I took a pregnancy test – it was confirmed I was pregnant. I called and spoke to him, I told him, and he was elated. According to him this was this best thing; we were going to become a family. This is what he wanted. I was more nervous than anything. I wasn’t sure about his commitment. I wanted my child more than anything, but knew this would be a tough pregnancy due to a fibroid issue I had.
My ‘soul mate’ started with his ‘I should come and be with him in New York, he’s making plans for us’. I wanted to be around my family and friends. I also had been assigned a consultant due to my fibroid – there were worries about space for the baby to grow. I couldn’t even entertain his plans, as I knew it made sense for me to be in the UK. My ‘soul mate’ was going to come over, he claimed. We were sort of in our old routine with communication, but something felt different to me. One evening he called and seemed very nervous. I asked what was wrong, and he said he needed to tell me something but it was hard, that he didn’t know where to start. My ‘soul mate’ was engaged to someone, he had a whole other life. I couldn’t believe it. I kept repeating “but I’m pregnant with your child”, and he told me, “I’m marrying someone else”. I asked if his friends and family I’d met had been laughing behind my back. Why do this? I cried so hard that night I was worried something would happen to the baby. I called my oldest friend and told her everything, she calmed me down, and I eventually feel asleep.
The morning was the hardest thing ever, I couldn’t stop crying. As per usual he’d sent lots of messages. Apparently, he was confused and didn’t know who he wanted to be with. There was history with the fiancée, but then I was there, and he loved me. I’m not sure where or how I got the strength, but I went into work. The journey in was awful, on the busy tube in I cried so hard. When I got into the office, I went straight to the bathroom. When I saw my reflection, it was just thick black streaks of mascara down my face. I tidied myself up and attempted to carry on as normal. I prayed, I prayed to God and asked him to give me strength to do this. I wanted my baby.
I spoke to ‘my soul mate’ and he started with all his excuses. I asked about the text message I received at the start of our relationship; was this part of it? The answer of course was yes. The reason he was always disappearing was because of this woman. The lies he had told were horrific, his mother passing away was also a lie. My ‘soul mate’ asked if I was keeping the baby, he needed to know. I asked “is this to help with your decision about who to be with?” I told him “if any woman can take you away from me, then you go and be with her. I will never take you back”. I put the phone down. I’m proud to say, I didn’t ever take him back.
I had such a difficult pregnancy, I prayed every day for my child to be healthy and so I could be a good mother. I had my beautiful healthy little boy. I believe everything in life is meant to happen. Life is too short to wake up with regrets in the morning. Love people who treat you right. Forget about those who don’t treat you right. Never forget to love yourself, and treat yourself with respect.