Saturday 11th April

I’ve been looking through the books that Laura left behind, trying to see if they give me a clue to the way she thinks about things. One of them is “A Tale for the Time Being” by someone called Ruth Ozeki who is now a Buddhdist nun. That figures because Laura is interested in yoga and all things Zen. This book is about a diary by a Japanese girl, called Nao, which is found washed up on the shores of a small Canadian island – maybe by the waves of a tsunami, maybe not. It’s kind of interesting – lots of words in small print but it takes you backwards and forwards between two lives. The one in the diary and the one led by the woman who finds the diary (also called Ruth).

The diary is inside the covers of a book by Marcel Proust, called “À la recherche du temps perdu”, in search of lost time, or a remembrance of things past. There’s a sentence written in the diary, ”I’m reaching forward through time to touch you … you’re reaching back to touch me.” I’m trying to reach back in time to touch Laura but she’s avoiding me.

There’s another book called “US” written by a David Nicholls. I don’t think I want to read it because the blurb says it’s about a couple called Connie and Douglas. They’ve been married for 25 years; their son, an only child, is ready to go off to University and Douglas has arranged a tour of Europe for the three of them as a memorable trip. They’re all set to go but Connie turns to Douglas in bed one night and tells him she wants to end the marriage. No warning! Just like Laura did to me.

I’m thinking better it’s ended now. I can’t imagine what it must be like after 25 years and all that history. Maybe Laura thought the same thing after reading that book and that’s why she ended it all.Where’s the logic and reasoning though; talking things through and sorting things out? What’s the point of me hanging on to photographs and letters? Am I wasting my time? There’s are these sentences in the book about the diary, “And what does it mean to waste time anyway? If you waste time is it lost forever? And if time is lost forever what does that mean?”

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Laura's words web

Thursday 9th April

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Waiting for the postman on a misty morning. Nothing for me except circulars. I had an email from Prof Andrews letting me know how things were going in the States. I’d completely forgotten that he’s due back in three months and I’m going to have to find somewhere else to live. That’s why Laura and I were talking of moving in somewhere together as neither of us can afford to buy a place alone. What will I do? Could move back in for a while with mum and dad and save but I’m too old to be living with parents surely. Have decided to collect Laura’s stuff together, what little there is of it. Take it to the tip or to a Charity shop. I don’t really want to let go of it but there’s little point in hanging on to it.

Tuesday 7th April

I wrote earlier about Laura being an Autumn girl. Her hair, her eyes, her smile. She reminds me of a painting here – a lovely woman. Laura liked it as well. I met her in Autumn of 2014 in Virginia Water so we had two Autumns together before she decided to finish it. I was looking through some photos I took – not of her as she must have taken them with her, apart from the one I found in a drawer. The seasons are so reliable, one comes after the other without fail. Laura said she thought most people take them for granted but each one has its special characteristics and we should appreciate them for that. I was thinking of showing the Autumn photos but what would be the point. They’re in the past, gone now, a memory trace floating around in my brain trying to find an anchor.

I can’t find words to describe how I feel now – the tension of waiting and wondering. The world is going on around me whilst I’m going through the motions

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Sunday 5th April

Spring is here and everything looks so different with daffodils and tulips blooming. We planted some bulbs together and now those tulips are blooming. Laura will miss seeing them if she doesn’t get in touch soon. I walked up to the woods above the memorial fields and the view over the golf club was gorgeous. Completely on my own . It isn’t the same without someone to share it with.

Wednesday 1st April

Woke up in the early hours, thinking more about a photograph. What does it tell me about the person, about Laura? She’s looking at the lens not me, gazing into that small circle of glass. How can that photograph represent the whole of her? When I was taking the photograph was I even thinking of her? I wanted to capture her; freeze her in that moment so I could keep on looking at her even when she wasn’t there, fill my eyes with her, imagine her talking and laughing with me. What was she thinking inside though? When I’ve been talking with families during research, interviewing them about their experiences, each of them tells a slightly different story, see events in a different way. It’s even harder when they’re telling me about something that happened years ago.

I took this photo quite a while ago now.

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The girl just attracted me as she walked along, slightly apart from people. Maybe she reminded me of Laura somehow. What was she thinking as she gazes to the right; where was she going? She’s holding her mobile phone, waiting for a connection. And the other people there. What are their lives like.

There was another photo I took towards the end of last year.

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They looked happy together. Perhaps they reminded me of me and Laura, or a vision I had of us together.

Nothing seems real to me at the moment. I can see the surface but it’s transitory. I keep wondering whether Laura ever meant anything she said. I need to find some firmer ground.  It might help to hold her firmer in my memory if I go back to some of the places where we used to walk or cycle.

Monday 30th March

Last meeting of the group before Easter. I told everyone that I was finding it difficult with them telling me I need to move on because I feel stuck, but I’m beginning to forget what Laura looks like; the taste and scent of her. Stephen asked if I could describe her. All I could think was that she’s an Autumn girl. Red-gold hair, deep hazel eyes and a lovely smile. I can see everything separately but not as a whole.

A photograph is flat. It doesn’t represent the whole of her. It’s a memory. I could look at it in twenty years time and there she’d be, still young, lovely and vibrant, but there’d be another Laura somewhere else, older, maybe with lines and grey in her hair, her body a different shape. She might even have had children but they wouldn’t be mine. I have a Laura-shaped hole in my life. Can I rebuild her out of the stuff she’s left behind and doesn’t seem to want back?

Julie asked how I thought Laura would describe me. That’s difficult. I know she liked my eyes, dark hair and sense of humour. She once said she thought I was pretty cool because of the clothes I wear and she thought I had a good body. She seemed to enjoy herself in bed with me. Was she pretending though? I’ve heard some girls do that just to please. Would hate to think that of her.

Friday 27th March

Someone posted a video on Facebook. Fits my mood. Some site called The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. Could relate to that. Nothing is set in stone.

Listening to others in the group has made me realise that everyone has a different story to tell and we all have sadness in our lives. I don’t think I’ve been really paying attention to the others because I’ve been too involved in my own misery.