Seventeen Years

At the end of a recent century, I travelled 500 miles to a new city with no clear plan but with only one idea in mind: that in that city lived a woman without whom I could not live a moment longer.

Since then the impossibility of living without her has remained as strong as the day I rode that southbound train. If anything, the idea of successfully negotiating the world’s endless barrage without her has become even more absurd.

I don’t often write about her, because surely no words I could use can make you understand what she means to me. Words aren’t enough to let you know how much she sustains me, how much she is my air to breathe, my water to drink, my sun to be warmed by.

I want to try, because for seventeen years she has held me upright, kept me safe and sane and given me reason to strive for better. For seventeen years I have been reminded, every day, what fortune I have been the beneficiary of. For seventeen years I have learned from close-up observation what humanity is at its very best.

In kindness, tireless.

In generosity, unstinting.

In humour, all-embracing.

In wisdom, inspiring.

In capacity for love…endless.

I’ve never felt as glorious making an audience laugh, as I do when I make her laugh. I’ve never felt as proud of myself, as I do when I make her proud of me. I’ve never been as dazzled as I am every time I look at her.

She makes my heart swell, my head swim and my jaw drop. She is, quite simply, the best person I have ever met. If all the world knew her, all the world would be a happier place. As it is I will keep working to make her happy, as some small recompense for the happiness she has been spreading all her life, all around her.

Seventeen years ago I married this woman. There is no other.