The Perfect Fit - A Psychic Romance, Laney's Past Life & Love

Table Of Contents
Chapter 1

 

No wonder they've used this place for a couple of TV dramas, it's beautiful yet crazy all at the same time. Especially on days like today. I love coming up here, it's as if up high I get a chance to see things more clearly. Well that's what it feels like when I'm up here, but the clarity fades all too soon as I get back into town. The wind picks up, whipping my hair across my face, not attractively as the TV would make out, just blasted in every direction, more mop-like than madly seductive.

I always think how strange it is there are more health and safety fences and warnings in the car park at the foot of the cliff, than there are up here, infact there's no fencing at all on the cliff edge, just a simple wire fence separating the path and the neighbouring golf course. On calmer days I've tentatively peaked over the edge, getting as close as I dare, it's a straight drop down. It's so cool looking down on the seagulls having fun floating in the breeze.

Although it's windy today, it's not cold and the sun is out so the sea looks fantastic. A handful of dog walkers are striding along the pebble beach, head down in the wind. Taking a seat on the only bench along this stretch of cliff, I rest back against the wooden slats, smiling as the wind swirls around me. It's funny, I always find it strangely stimulating when it's windy and I'm up high.

It doesn't take long for my mind to start flicking up thoughts and images in quick succession. So why am I on my own? Why are parts of my life not working? What is it I'm not seeing? How come I can seem to help other people and yet be so crap at helping myself? Is it only me, or doesn't life make much sense at times? Some questions are just too big for my brain to work out.

Once my mind has started down this kind of route, I can't sit still for long, not without a pen and paper in my hand anyway. Although I've come a long way from where I was a few years ago, there's obviously quite a way to go yet too. Starting to feel the cold, I get up and head off towards the town at the foot of the cliff, specifically the little cafe that has become a regular watering hole for me over the past few weeks.

I walk this particular route two or three times a week. Across the town, along the beach until I get to the cliff path and then up and back in a large circuit. I love how different it feels, walking along the beach and then as I get to the top of the cliff, not only do I feel a sense of satisfaction at having made the steep climb up but the energy here is so different. It's wilder, more exciting and vibrant somehow. After the hour and a half it takes, the cobwebs are well and truly blown out. Or are they?

That's just the point, I think they're blown away, it feels like they've blown away but nothing much seems to come of it. Logic tells me, my head is clearer. I've done something physical, I feel good, I feel as if I'm in a good place mentally and emotionally and yet if I look at my life I'm not that happy with it. But then I'm not unhappy... I'm just not happy. It's always been so hard for me to explain to myself let alone to anyone else. Sometimes I wonder if there's a switch inside me that I haven't found yet, one that will suddenly spring life into vibrant action.

It's not that I'm bored, I keep myself busy, a friend suggested that that is probably a way of distracting myself, maybe she's right. God, I'd find it so hard to sit still.

No matter how much I exercise, my knees just don't like walking straight downhill, carefully I kind of side step my way down the well trodden pathway. There are some naturally formed steps and then a few man made ones but on the whole it's a pretty good path. It takes more skill and attention to avoid the organic parcels the sheep have left behind.

Crossing the car park, I'm glad I brought my rucksack with me. A super large mocha is what I need right now and a quiet hour or two getting what's in my head out onto paper.

My favourite table is empty. Here I can sit with my back to the wall, by this time of the morning the sun has come around, so sheltered from the wind this is the perfect spot for pondering
and
people watching
.
Easing my rucksack off, I shove it on a spare chair and then sit down. It's still relatively quiet, the lunch time busyness has not started yet. A middle aged couple pass by, holding hands, laughing. They look happy and comfortable together. How nice would that be? To be so at ease with someone, to have someone to confide in, to love and who loves you back.

That's the problem, it's as if my heart has gone to sleep and I have no idea how to wake it up. Of course I love my daughters and my family but it's as if part of me has shut down. I'm not exactly sure what part it is even, it's as if I've partially removed myself from living life somehow. I'm great at helping other people, being a shoulder for them to cry on, well actually less of the shoulder than the helping hand. Helping them up and out of their mess. Somehow I seem to effortlessly inspire other people, helping them to focus on what they want to do and then make a plan to get it. Often it's just emotional support they need, a few practical tips and then wham, they're suddenly on their way. So why can't I do that for myself? God only knows!

I'm not sure I even know what I want. According to a therapist I saw for a while, the reason for that lies in my past. Married to a domineering older man and pregnant by my twenty first birthday; I managed to go from sixteen to thirty six almost overnight. We lived and worked together, apparently his own insecurities regarding the age difference contributed to his increasingly angry and abusive attitude to life and me. He saw my colour and vibrancy of youth as a threat, something to be stamped upon, a light that had to be extinguished. I described it as like living in a cage for twenty odd years. I observed life, but I didn't really take part in it.

I've been divorced for six years now and yet somehow life hasn't really moved on. I'm living as if I were still restrained and controlled but there's only me doing the restraining. The stupid thing is, I have no idea how I'm doing it. I've moved, several times. I've tried new things, I've learnt new things and yet right here, right now in this lucid moment of clarity, I can see there's a core that stays the same; the way I feel. My heart feels numb to things. I suppose I got used to being in that cage; because in there, no one can hurt you, not really hurt you. But in there, no one can really love you either.

Every time I move home, I think I've ditched the cage, but I haven't, I seem to take it with me, the cage is always there, it just changes shape and location. Somewhere along the line, I lost myself and I have no idea right now of what to do about it. God I have no idea of what I want, what I like or if I have the bloody energy to make it happen. I must be jinxed in some way or maybe I was an incredibly bad person in a previous life. I just hope it was bloody worth it!

I definitely need that coffee. Turning round to look inside, I can see Cath is busy. Most of the tables are occupied. The cooked breakfast here is really popular, despite the constant barrage of healthy eating ads on the telly. Thick cut bacon, with crispy rind, two free range eggs and a doorstep wedge of fresh bread, it's pretty hard to beat. Not many people go out to eat muesli I suppose. I'm in no hurry and decide not to go in. I'll just sit and wait for a bit and order when things have calmed down.

I don't know many people here, but as I've adopted this place as a regular haunt, I've got to know Cath, she's down to earth and practical, just like me. She also has a few 'alternative' interests, just like me. I think we'll become really good friends. Her husband Joe spends most of his time in the kitchen, he's the cook and she's front of house.

Pulling my notebook and journal out of my polka dot rucksack, I root around for the pencil I know is in there somewhere. I have a thing about writing in pencil; I prefer it to a pen, well if I'm writing for myself. But I'm obsessive about it being a sharp pencil, so I always have a sharpener with me. This one came from a Christmas cracker. It made a pleasant change from the usual mini screwdriver and nail clippers. My trusty sharpener goes everywhere and before I start writing I have to do a couple of twists, it's as if it signals something in my brain; coaxing it into 'OK let's get going' mode.

Opening my journal, I find the words are easily spilling out already.

"Here I am, alone again, living pretty much as a recluse. Yeh, I might come to the town and sit where people sit, even go to the odd social event but it's all surface stuff. I can't remember the last deep and meaningful conversation I had. I don't stick around long enough for people to get close. I manage to keep them at a distance or pick safe ones that don't pose a threat. I don't do any of this consciously as such; I mean I've never sat down and thought I want to keep people away.

I'm polite, I'm funny, I'm stupidly talkative but only about the weather or what people are doing, and how are they today? I let people talk about their lives, they seem glad of having a willing pair of ears to unleash their worries and concerns. People confide very quickly if you're prepared to listen and the amount of intimate details regarding illness and disease I've heard over the years is enough to make anyone want to live more healthily.

But just thinking about the people I do engage with, they're of the safe variety; they don't pose any threat to me. Typically married couples, the young or the elderly, sharing the kind of surface, polite conversations we have every day. Where the hell did I pick up that habit?

Thinking about it, that was probably the shop. In my married existence we ran an antique shop, we expanded year on year and what started out as a tiny concern, ended up the size of a small superstore. I suppose I developed a 'retail personality'; polite, efficient, helpful and friendly. Great for customer service but not so great for anything deep and meaningful. Plus I'm a good listener and it's not like I don't like listening to people, I don't begrudge it, people are interesting but their lives seem so much easier to sort out than my own. I listen but I rarely talk about me.

The stupid thing is, people have often said that they would love to be me; they think I'm so lucky. I'm attractive (still getting my head round that one, it's not easy for me to write but at least I haven't scribbled it out). I'm intelligent, not the rocket scientist type intelligence, just quick witted; I pay attention and pick things up quickly.

I'm nice, I'm funny and genuine. Then why the bloody hell do I feel like I've failed, that there's something wrong with me?

I started salsa dancing a few years ago, my eldest daughter dragged me along when she wanted to go. I love the music and I do like to dance but I've never liked being the centre of attention, the bit I hate is when in the natural rotation of the class I end up with the instructor in the middle. Four years on and I still blush when I'm there in the centre. This blushing is a relatively new thing, I'm sure I never used to; it's as if I'm getting more sensitive.

Marcos at Salsa has been the rare someone I
can
talk to. He and his wife are good dancers, they still enjoy coming to class, more as a means of being sociable than a need to learn anything new. He reckons I have a large and polished V sign on my forehead. I was really shocked when he told me that, I thought I was really approachable but apparently not.

I don't remember ever sitting down and making the decision to be alone, to stay single. It's not as if I hate men, I get on with men much better than women. I can't do girly small talk very well, only if I'm listening to it. I can't deliver it, so I end up bizarrely mute. With guys, they tend to be quite happy to chat about work or themselves. Funny I can do work chat, I find that interesting whereas women usually tend to find that boring.

I'm not much of a foodie and not the conventional mother type either. I had both my daughters quite young and so the parents of their friends tend to be quite a bit older than me. Being single, people aren't too sure whether to invite you out or not, as it makes the numbers awkward and it's as if you're a threat somehow.

Plus I'm not the greatest socialite and not one for watching much TV, I can't engage a great deal about the latest soap or drama. I could be sat next to someone famous and never know it. I'm just not that bothered by it all really. I just wish I could find something I am bloody bothered about.

If I haven't made a conscious decision to be alone, does that mean it was a subconscious one? I must have made myself a pact somewhere along the line. Why would I do that? The obvious answer I suppose is to not get hurt. Relationships haven't exactly been much fun for me. They've been painful, restrictive and pretty toxic. Thinking about it like that no wonder I wouldn't want that again.

I also know it doesn't have to be that way. Other people seem to have happy relationships, even my two girls, they both have genuine boyfriends and manage to share some really precious times together. At least my crap relationship habit hasn't rubbed off on them. I remember being shocked and mildly elated at the same time, when I'd heard my youngest daughter lead her boyfriend from the bathroom, having just enjoyed an early morning shower together!

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