My Best Rose

Dear Z (My Best Rose),

Thank you so much for your package, it is lovely and I shall treasure it.

You surprised me. I felt you were exactly the person I remembered but the lens of time and the walls of distance left me ignorant of the truth. I feel so stupid that I misjudged you and my errant timing has led us down different paths. If you’ll excuse my continued foolish romanticism. Under the shadows and sunbeams between scudding clouds; along grecian goat-paths; we recognised each other across a rocky valley and waved. Each carrying our own memories of the other. I remembered a witty and driven sparring partner who laughed at my naïve romantic ideals. When we parted I imagined you conquering the world with lovers adoring your every step. I had no idea you would remember me as anything other than a bit of a pillock you met one summer in France (see former foolish romanticism).

7th November 2015

I was just re-reading your letters to me. I realise that as a low life cur I have not responded in kind. I am sorry. I love your booklist and would like to add some of my own.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez – I owe my own tortured literary romantic unrealism to the magical realism of Mr García Márquez. Or maybe I’m just like that. I suspect I’d not be able to read this book now. At the time I drank it up and believed I could love someone forever despite what life might throw in the way.

In Patagonia; Utz; On the Black Hill; Songlines and pretty much anything by Bruce Chatwin. I have especially fond memories of reading Chatwins articles in the Sunday Times colour supplement. These articles along with, In Patagonia and other books* spurred me on to travel.

The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall – I recently gave away my copy of this book to a friend who helped me during my marriage break up. I read this book because a woman I adored recommended it. The title was apt as she was an incontrovertible lesbian. Dammit.