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Interlude: Getting to know you – An open letter to Her.

imageTo say that I’m happy with my new life would be an understatement and I hope I speak for Her and MIssy when I say the feeling is mutual.
But as with all relationships, there has to be some kind of transitional period, the accelerated emotional learning curve that helps you to really understand how to nurture that happiness.

As you know, if you’ve followed our story from the start, She and I had been friends for a long time before we realised we were falling in love. In that time we had got to know each other pretty well, considering we had spent the vast majority of our friendship nearly 4000 miles apart.
But it isn’t until you spend time living together that you find out all the things you don’t know about the one you plan to share the rest of your life with.

Oh, I always knew there would be cultural differences, homesickness, occasional linguistic barriers (the old “two countries separated by a common language” cliché) and various other adjustments to my routine and lifestyle, all of which I was only too happy to make. But the actual process of getting to know someone, well that’s a different kettle of fish altogether.

At this point I should probably say that I might not be the easiest bloke to live with. Not that I’m intentionally difficult or awkward, but maybe there are facets of my personality which need some adjustment.

You can’t really predict what someone is going to be like to live with until….well, until you’ve lived with them for a while. So for the last few weeks I have been attempting to attenuate the me-ness of me, because although I’m quite happy being me, I’m perfectly well aware that others might not be so thrilled about it.
It has made me very conscious of how tone of voice, body language, micro-expressions and other non-verbal communication can affect the way others see us and most of the time I take notice of this and try to moderate myself and my behaviour, in order to not upset the woman I have fallen so deeply in love with.
And do you know what? The process of de-me-ing me, for the sake of Her and Missy, has somehow given me back the me that I most like being.
If you see what I mean.

However, every now and then I take my eye off the ball, so to speak, and a little too much of the old me leaks through.
That isn’t to say that I’m mean, rude or obnoxious on purpose, but sometimes I don’t take long enough to think about what’s coming out of my brain before I let it escape from my big mouth.

I am trying though, because there’s nothing I’d hate more than causing Her or Missy the slightest distress if I can help it.
So I can only apologise for any slips of the tongue, inadvertent snarkiness or thoughtless comments that may not translate the way I mean them to.
I’ve always known that She is sensitive and caring in a way that I’ve seldom experienced before and, despite Her best attempts at coming to terms with our time together, I feel it is my responsibility to make the extra effort, easing them both into a new and strange life that will, if I pay close attention, be the best thing that’s happened to all of us.

The love of my new life grows daily, so if I can only stop being quite so me, I think that we will all be happier than I could have ever imagined.


Together, alone.


Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Isn’t that the phrase? Well that’s only because “Absence makes the chest tight, the breathing ragged, the hands shake and the heart race madly” doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as nicely.

Somehow the fact that we were now, theoretically at least, nearing the end of our journey through the Kafka-esque maze of online bureaucracy, made the feeling of disconnection and solitude even worse.
Like being able to see Her, the woman I so desperately needed, trapped behind an invisible barrier, knowing She was only inches away and yet unable to reach out and touch Her, hold Her.

It was a fortnight of constant tension, a sensation that was becoming unpleasantly familiar to me by then and not one that I enjoyed. It seemed to have been my default setting for far too long now; an underlying feeling of mild and indefinable panic or anxiety that robbed everything in life of its shine, made it difficult to be positive and cheerful when talking to Her and made it harder than ever to be alone when She wasn’t there.

On good days I’d think to myself; “It’s all going to go perfectly, there isn’t a single reason why they would refuse the application.”
Whilst on a bad day I’d constantly be worrying and getting myself worked up about the most innocuous things, magnified through the lens of paranoia into insurmountable obstacles.
And all the while, She carried on calmly and serenely, soothing my nerves whenever we spoke and convincing me (apart from the Voices in the Dark of course) that I was worrying about nothing and it was only a matter of time.

We stopped using the word “soon”, as it seemed to have lost its meaning.

Meanwhile, She had one last mission to accomplish, the trip to Detroit for their Homeland Security biometric records.
Her friend from the lake house drove them the two hours down there and She arrived to find that with only minutes to spare until Her appointment, She had to return to the local library to pre-pay for the entire visa process and get a receipt.
Rushing there and back just in time, She managed to get a cancellation for both of them, (Her daughter’s appointment had originally been scheduled three hours later than Hers, as it took that long to fill in each application and submit them online) had all their various readings and measurements recorded and that was that.
All that remained was to post the whole lot to the UKBA and wait.

Except…the receipt She had to print off for our priority service and place in the envelope, to pay for the return postage, wouldn’t print, the button on the link was inactive.
After much fiddling around, changing computers and printers She managed to get the link working and duly inserted the receipt and posted the envelope, consigning our future to the faceless bureaucrats once more.
Oh, and She had to e-mail an electronic copy of the receipt to New York.
The e-mail button didn’t work.

Honestly, you’d think they did it on purpose.

She was finally able to send a pdf from Her phone I think, or maybe it was from the computer in the library, I’ve given up trying to remember the ins and outs of the official ineptitude we encountered during the whole infuriating process.
But that was it.
It was done.

Then, only a few days later She got an e-mail from our designated Entry Case Officer, asking for details of Her daughter’s biological father. (His name didn’t appear on her birth certificate, he was not in any way part of Her life, She had bought up Her daughter completely independently from any support or input from him since her birth)
They were basically asking for proof that he hadn’t made any claim for paternity or custody, nor made any attempt at paying maintenance or wanting to be involved in raising her.

How do you prove the non-existence of something?
People don’t go round giving out documentation every time they don’t do something.

So She wrote a letter stating categorically that there had been no contact whatsoever from the father and that She was, in every way that mattered, the sole parent to the bright and bubbly little girl whose life She was trying to enrich by giving her a new start in life with a loving family.
This wasn’t enough for the Faceless Ones, they reiterated their demand that She provide concrete, legal proof of non-involvement.

Take two: This time Her affidavit was accompanied by notarized statements from officials at both the County Court and Public Records Office, where She had conducted record searches to establish that there had indeed been no claims on Her daughter from anyone.

Again we waited.

A final e-mail, requesting that She send a current issue of Her daughter’s birth certificate, “…to allow me to ascertain that there is in fact no claim for paternity and that you are indeed the sole parent…” was easily complied with and, with no further missives from on high, we once more trusted our fate and our future to the unsentimental and inscrutable men from the ministry.

Swings and roundabouts.


There’s something to be said for doing everything by the book. But it’s also a good idea to check which book.

I’m always thrilled when I see photos of Her appear on my Facebook newsfeed or messenger thread, but one that I was particularly happy to see was the one of Her with Her daughter, posing with the bulky envelope that I’d posted a few days earlier, containing all my documents for the visa application.
The relief and anticipation was obvious in their excited smiles and I’m sure it was mirrored in my own expression as I happily Skyped them to celebrate starting the final stage of the tortuous journey that had led us here.
All She had to do now was make an appointment with the British consular people at the embassy in Chicago and then travel there to present their application. As far as we could tell (following multiple re-checking of all the UKBA and Home Office websites to ensure we had included every last scrap of documentation they required) the rest would be a formality and the visas should be issued the same day.

And that wasn’t the only good news we’d had that week either, although it didn’t start out too well.

She had still not managed to sell Her huge wooden bed, something we were counting on to help finance their flights over here, but She at least had Her car to sell.
Her generous host at the lake house, a retired law enforcement officer who now worked for a security firm, said that he’d take the car into work for their mechanic to look at, with a view to buying it for the business.
This was indeed good news as She was hoping to get $1500 for it, which would go a long way towards buying plane tickets.

Plus the fact a generous cousin of Hers had donated $1000 to a GoFundMe appeal that She had set up online as a last desperate attempt to raise money, gave us hope that it was all going according to plan.

Then the bad news.
The chassis on the car was badly rusted and it was now only saleable as scrap.

Oh come on Universe, that’s below the belt!

So, no money for the bed and a much lower price for the car, along with the fact that She’d had to pay out over a thousand dollars to settle a debt She had thought already cleared (another case of The Idiot reneging on his responsibilities) left us pretty much broke after paying for the visas, (£885 each at time of writing) even after I had taken out a loan for the deposit on a flat and furniture to put in it.
At this point another of the guardian angels, who seemed to be following our story so closely, stepped in and casually swept the obstacle aside.

I had stayed in touch with the aunts and uncles on my mother’s side of the family (mum died when I was a child) ever since I had reconnected with them in my twenties and had been talking on the phone to mum’s sister Jane, who had been following the tale of our relationship and it’s complications with interest.
I’d got to the wretched point in the conversation where I was going to have to ask her to lend me some money and I was dreading it.
But she saved me even that awkward moment by simply saying;
“Give me your address, I’ll send you the money today.”

To say I nearly burst into tears would only be inaccurate in that it contains the word “nearly”, and I sniffed and snuffled my gratitude at her for the next few minutes, arranging that she would actually transfer the money straight into my bank account that day.
And, bar a frustrating three hour phone marathon with various bank call centre sadism experts, the money was transferred to Her bank in America a couple of days later.

Phew! Relief, with a side-order of elation and emotional exhaustion.
We were on the way.
I made the money transfer on the phone from work at about ten in the morning and told Her when I called Her at lunchtime.

By my calculation, that means I was happy for three hours forty five minutes.

Checking my phone as I walked to the car I saw She had messaged me sometime earlier:
– They should take down that website, it’s completely fucked us!
My heart pounding, hands shaking, I ran to the car and called Her;
“What’s wrong, what’s happened?”
“All the information is out of date, they changed the procedures and haven’t updated the websites.”
I could hear the hopeless anger in Her voice and my stomach sank.

What more could they do to keep us apart?

In a nutshell, and to prevent me from becoming incandescent with rage all over again, what it boiled down to was this;
Except for the (incomplete) list of required documents and price of the visas themselves, almost all the information we had from all the official sources (including the nice lady at the immigration consultants who gave all the free advice, remember her?) was incorrect, irrelevant or out of date.
Including the most crucial part, taking all the documentation to Chicago.

You’ll like this…

It now all had to be sent (along with previously unmentioned additional paperwork which I had to post to Her in the States) to…are you ready for this?… fucking Sheffield!
Yes, Sheffield, that Sheffield, the one in Yorkshire.
Because that’s where the UKBA hang out, waiting to pass judgement on whether or not people get to be together.

Not only that, but She and Her daughter had to make the two hour drive to Detroit, where a storefront franchise for Homeland Security would “do biometrics”, whatever that means (digital fingerprints, photos, etc) which all had to go in with the rest of the small rainforest of paper She would finally post to….fucking Sheffield!

I apologise, I tend to get somewhat over-excited whilst discussing this part of the story.
Rest assured I had more than one lengthy and possibly not overly polite “chat” with various nonplussed members of the embassy immigration department, regarding advice on what they should do with their website and what I thought of the “service” they allegedly provided.
After which I ranted the whole infuriating story at my long-suffering sister on the phone, then sat in my room and cried for a bit.

If you go to the Home Office visa website now, you’ll notice that it has an obvious red banner across the top of it which reads;


Well about bloody time too.

If nothing else good came out of this whole sorry episode, I’d like to think that my “feedback” may have given the powers that be enough of a prod to actually do something and save any other poor victims of the faceless bureaucratic system the stress and frustration we went through.

So, we started all over again.

Battling the bureaucrats.





The passage of true love never runs smoothly. Somebody clever said something like that once, I’m sure.

They weren’t kidding.

Money was always going to be a problem, especially since The Idiot hadn’t coughed up the requisite amount of cash for Her severance. So She set about selling Her life.

To make up the difference, Her plan was to sell Her huge, handmade wooden sleigh bed, bought only a year earlier for $4000, also the car would have to go, along with as many of their belongings as She could sell in a series of garage sales. I kept Her company during those long afternoons sorting through the accumulated memories and acquisitions of a lifetime, deciding which few possessions would be coming with them on the plane and which would need to go into storage until we could afford to send for them.

I chatted to Her on Skype video, occasionally making futile attempts to charm customers into spending more money, or present myself as the romantic English boyfriend, come to sweep this American beauty off Her feet. Playing the heartstrings for profit, so to speak.

And all this time we were doing research; scouring government and UKBA (UK Border Agency) websites, visa advice specialists, immigration consultants (including a nice lady called Nikki, who gave me lots of free advice and links to all the approved Home Office resources that we would need to make a successful application for a “fiancee” or Family Settlement visa) and generally making sure we did absolutely everything completely by the book.

We spent hour after hour surfing the net whilst chatting on Skype, both of us looking into the bewildering selection of rules, regulations and qualifying criteria required by the faceless bureaucrats who presume to decide whether people in love get to spend their lives together. It was like dealing with something out of a Kafka play, crossed with one of the ministries of misinformation from 1984.

To say they make it complicated is a massive understatement.

It did occur to me to lead you through the entire torturous process, an attempt to instill in you the same primal horror of labyrinthine officialdom that I now experience when faced with yet another form to fill in or even more documents to find, but apart from the sheer amount of typing it would involve, it would make very dull reading. Suffice to say I wouldn’t want to do it twice.

Basically the plan (as dictated by the serried ranks of the Home Office and UKBA) was this:

– I would send Her the documents to show my suitability as a “sponsor”, consisting of payslips, bank statements, evidence of suitable accommodation for the three of us, my passport and proof of booking a wedding date at a registry office.

– She would print off and fill in the reams of official forms from their website and gather the various passports, birth certificates, medical histories and divorce papers needed to satiate the monster’s appetite for documentation.

– Finally, one day only a month later, She would travel to Chicago and get an appointment at the British embassy. There, She would hand over the mountain of paperwork and have a short interview. After that, it was a matter of killing a few hours in the Windy City before returning to the embassy to collect their visas that same afternoon.

What could be simpler than that?

As it turned out, practically everything.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. At this point She is still out of a job, about to get evicted, trying to sell almost everything She owns and without medical insurance. Hardly the best time for Her fibromyalgia to suddenly flare up then. Not that there is a good time.

It was very frightening.

It began with Her complaining of a stiff neck, then within a few minutes She said that it hurt to even curl Her toes or turn Her head. Straight away I knew this wasn’t right, She never made a fuss about the pain She experienced on a daily basis, so if it could etch lines of agony into the face that I loved in such a short space of time it was obviously serious.

A friend arrived and rushed Her to a local walk-in clinic where She had to sit and endure the pain for more than two hours before being seen by doctors, who immediately put Her on a steroid drip and pumped Her full of painkillers, the steroids almost instantly starting to alleviate the symptoms and allowing Her to return home that evening.

It brought it home to us how much this was affecting us (fibro attacks are often exacerbated by stress and that’s probably what set this one off) and I’m very grateful it wasn’t more serious and that She recovered quickly.

But if we thought the stress was over then we needed to think again, the worst was yet to come.


All cried out.

true romanticIt was as if a huge chunk of my insides had been torn out.

Much of my lonely journey home from our glorious holiday was spent on a tearful phone call with my long-suffering sister, snivelling my self-pity and hands free, broken-hearted pain as I headed back down the motorway and She flew back across the Atlantic. When I arrived home to my shared house, my room seemed more empty and silent than usual, even though She had never been there. I unpacked in a daze, acutely conscious that She was out of contact, by now on the nine hour flight to Chicago, her last stopover before flying home to Michigan.

It wasn’t until that evening that I managed to snatch a few precious minutes with Her as She waited for Her plane to board and by then I felt as drained as She looked. It was wonderful to see Her again, just the sight of Her tired smile lifted my spirits in a way I’d never have thought possible only moments before. But even then I was getting the sinking feeling that this is all that’s left now, after the joy of the last all-too-brief few days in Her presence it already didn’t seem enough.

She called as soon as She arrived at the local airport to let me know She was home safely and then I sat in miserable limbo until well after midnight before She finally called again, exhausted but delighted to be reunited with Her daughter, to say…well, what was there to say but, “I love you. I miss you. Goodnight my darling.” and then the connection broke, along with one more piece of my heart. 

This was going to be a lot harder than I had ever imagined.

Returning to work the following morning was supposed to be a welcome distraction, at least during the day, from the ache of missing Her, but it was not to be.

The first song playing on the radio when I walked in? Supertramp’s Breakfast In America, its cheery refrain of “Take a look at my girlfriend, she’s the only one I’ve got” nearly proving too much for my frazzled emotions and I only narrowly avoided bursting into tears there and then.

And as if that wasn’t enough, barely two hours into the first day back, my wrist made a horrible little crunch noise and a bolt of pain shot up my arm. It immediately became obvious that I’d once again aggravated an ongoing tendon injury and I was subsequently signed off work by the doctor for a month with suspected carpal tunnel syndrome, pending tests and possibly surgery. 

The only upside of this was that I was now free to chat to Her for as long as She’d have me, which turned out to be for as many spare moments either of us had in any given day. I wasn’t the only one feeling the distance now, it seemed.

We fell into a daily rhythm for that whole time, starting with me joining Her as She had Her morning coffee in Michigan, sitting out on the patio, listening to the birds clearing their throats for the big opening number. We’d chat as the sun, high overhead here, slowly broke free of the darkness and made skeletal silhouettes of the tall trees in the wooded valley behind Her house and then I’d chat with Her daughter while the two of them waited for the school bus. I was already getting to know and become fond of this bright and charming little girl, with whom I was by now regularly having lively, funny and sometimes hysterically nonsensical conversations and who was apparently very keen on the idea of starting a new life in England.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention, what with all the crying, angst and heartbreak; we now knew without a single doubt that we could not live without each other and had set plans in motion for Her to move here at the earliest opportunity.

So that we could get married.

Summer of love.

true romantic It’s amazing how quickly you can get to know someone isn’t it?

I learned all I needed to know about Her in the first few seconds She spent in my arms. Knowing from the moment our eyes met, as She looked up at me after that long-anticipated, fierce embrace at the arrivals gate, that here in this anonymous airport lounge was where I had finally found the One that completed me.

We see people in situations like this all the time, emotional little family groups, seemingly oblivious to the ebb and flow of other travellers around them, welcoming or waving off friends and loved ones at railway stations, airports and bus terminals everywhere. We may smile, seeing their happiness at being reunited, or feel their sadness in taking leave of family, but nothing could have prepared me for the sheer relief I felt as I picked up Her suitcase, took Her hand and, glancing down at her every few seconds to check she was actually real, walked on air back to the car.

In this dreamlike state, marvelling at how natural and right this all felt, I managed to make it to the car and get Her luggage in the boot before I had to take Her in my arms again, feeling any lingering traces of stress from the last few days drain out of me and finally allowing myself to believe that She was here and it had all come true.

Even so, the whole journey back to the holiday park found the pair of us continually reaching for the other’s hand or simply taking reassurance in the occasional smiling glance that after all this time we were together.

She had come home.

We arrived at the chalet in beautiful sunshine and carried the cases inside, after which I can only assume we spent an eternity staring into each other’s eyes in wonderment, holding one another close and feeling the electricity of those first kisses. But as time has clearly moved on since then, it can only have been minutes, or maybe hours, until we could relinquish the hold we had on each other so that I could make a coffee and She could take a shower. To say I was happy would not even begin to cover how I felt.

She came out of the bathroom in Her robe looking fresh and beautiful and walked straight back into my arms…

That evening after dinner we took a stroll around the park, sitting on a bench by the lake completely lost in a world of our own, before returning to the sanctuary of our chalet and, by the time She fell asleep in my arms in the early hours of the next morning, we hadn’t been more than ten feet apart since She walked off the plane twelve hours earlier.

That holiday will stay with me forever. The endless hours spent just talking, gazing, touching, being together, just that alone would have been enough for me. But there was also a trip to the historic city of Bath, visits to a pub in Clevedon called The Moon and Sixpence that we adopted as our own, walks along the pier and, best of all, the opportunity to introduce Her to an old friend who was on holiday nearby.

We met up with him and his girlfriend at their campsite on Salisbury plain and in no time at all She had enchanted them with the same easy smile, charm and grace which had captured my heart from far across the Atlantic and I loved every minute of it. Watching Her talk and laugh with my friends gave me a feeling I can barely even begin to describe, other than to say that if I’d been any happier I think I may have just exploded.

Not only was it apparent that She was as besotted with me as I was with Her, it soon became obvious that She loved England’s countryside, history and architecture too, taking dozens of photographs to post on Facebook for Her envious friends back home.

One of Her status updates read:

“Three things I’m sure of; 1) I love this man. 2) I’ve fallen deeply in love with this country. 3) I will never comprehend roundabouts.”

Well, two out of three will do me for now.

Every day was a new delight for that brief summer of love. Waking up next to the woman who I had fallen so deeply in love with from such a distance was a luxury that seemed quite literally too good to be true. Of course that would soon be exactly the case, and I wasn’t the only one who realised it.

Another of Her Facebook entries said simply;

“Starting to feel the stranglehold of time”

For the final two days there was occasionally a melancholy between us that would manifest itself in the shedding of a quiet tear, in the extra intensity of an embrace, or in my reluctance to release the tight hold on Her hand whilst walking around the lake. We were both painfully aware that our bubble of happiness was about to burst.

She had to check in for Her flight at five in the morning so all Her packing was done on the final night (I would return to pack my stuff before driving home) and I can honestly say that I awoke that day to two of the most heart-breaking hours of my life. I cried for the entire journey to the airport, clinging to Her desperately outside the entrance, looking down into those stunning blue eyes for what seemed like the last time. I watched Her disappear through security and walked numbly to the car, where I sat and sobbed like a baby until I was utterly drained of all the joy I’d felt only days before.

It seemed so incredibly unfair. I’d finally found someone who was perfect for me, who loved me as intensely and joyfully as I loved them and now, after having confirmed every instinct and experienced that overwhelming love in person, having Her wrenched out of my life so brutally was a pain that was almost physical. I felt empty.

As I left the holiday park a couple of hours later She rang from Brussels airport, where Her flight changed for the long-haul to Chicago, using up Her thirty minutes of free Wi-Fi allowance to speak to me. We were so emotional that I think we both cried for the entire call and I remember shouting with a desperation that surprised me; “Find someone to talk to on the plane and tell them there is a man here who loves you to the moon and back!”

Then the fragile connection broke and She disappeared out of my life once more.

The waiting game.

true romantic Once the countdown began, it was all I could think of.

Have you ever had a long wait for something you wanted so badly it hurt? Have you spent minutes, hours, days and weeks in anticipation of some event in your future that only became more distant the faster you chased it?

If so, then you know how I felt for the next few weeks.

That strange, bipolar rollercoaster of emotional turmoil took me on a ride like no other I’d ever experienced; one minute I was deliriously happy, almost exploding with delight at the thought of Her coming here to spend time with me, the next I was getting upset over something as innocuous as Her having to work on my day off, or the fact that She was going to see a concert with friends that I should be taking Her toor that perennial favourite, a failing internet signal, rendering the gigantic expanse of the Atlantic ocean an unbridgeable obstacle to our happiness.

The closer it came to Her arrival, the slower the time seemed to pass, until the best way to think about it was “if only the days we spend together take as long to pass as the days I have to wait before she arrives”,  because otherwise I would have gone completely mad.

Not that we didn’t have things to occupy our attention during the whole torturous process of course; we had to organise the flights, check out currency exchange rates, book time off work, sort out accommodation and places to visit, and also arrange for Her daughter to stay with friends, as she wouldn’t be coming on this trip. All the usual things you normally do when planning a holiday together in fact. But doing it all from several thousand miles apart, that was the challenge. Searching the internet for last minute deals is all very well if you’re going to book something there and then, but if you have to wait for the planet to revolve around the sun for another five hours before your partner even wakes up, snap decisions become slightly problematic.

Nevertheless we managed to reach agreement on a place to stay, a quiet holiday park just outside Clevedon in Somerset (She would fly into Bristol airport so it made sense to find somewhere that was close by) and She booked Her flight for the beginning of August. We would have ten full days together.

The day She left home for Her twenty four hour journey across the timezones was one of the most exciting of my life at that point. I followed Her entire day, from when She left the local airport to fly to Chicago, from where She would take an overnight flight that would land in Ireland as I got up the next day, the final leg taking Her to Bristol by air as I was traveling there by road.

I had enough time in hand to go to the holiday park first, filling up the fridge, unpacking, airing out the chalet and placing a bowl of flowers on the table (oh ok, it was a cut-down screenwash bottle from my car full of flowers, the chalet neglecting to provide a vase for the romantically inclined) before heading to the airport with a whole swarm of butterflies in my stomach.

Standing in the concourse with my eyes locked on the doors to the small arrivals gate, I still couldn’t help thinking this was all some kind of fantasy, that I’d wake up any minute and it would all fade from my mind, the events of the past few weeks having been condensed with dreamlike efficiency into those drowsy moments before awakening, only to dissipate in the cold light of day.

Then She walked through the doors.

The next minute She was in my arms.

I looked down into her stunning blue eyes.

I knew for absolute certainty at that precise moment.

This was coming home.  This was meant to be.