Black Dog

I’m here again, lost in the dance with the black dog;

I’m lost for words but my head won’t stop.

Doubting myself. Feeling so much but I can’t tell

If it’s me or him. He frightens me.

What if I don’t make it back this time?

Some days he hides, just behind the curtain…

I can laugh and joke on those days, but he keeps jumping out at me.

I’m trying; trying so hard to keep the beat

Because I’m not sure what happens if I lose it now.

“It’s okay to say,” I keep telling people

But I don’t quite believe that myself.

Not for me, anyway.

And the questions. The questions are killing me.

All the things my brain wants to ask, but the biggest one

Is whether I’d still feel like this if the beast retreated.

Trying to prioritise. Trying to decide which bits can be juggled

And which ones must be put away. Or aside.

Or be thumped all over, for all I know,

Just so the rest is easier to carry

Through this dance.

I wonder whether, if my dog decides to leave,

I will be dancing alone.








How long has it been?

You picked a night with a barely there, waxing moon and a sky streaked indigo. I can see the stars above and reflected in the water all around. You picked a night warm enough to sit outside and not feel cold, the first night like this in forever.

It feels like forever.

You always did that, chose the right place and the right night, or perhaps we were always lucky. It used to feel like magic, like the time I started the car and Liam Gallagher sang, ‘I don’t believe that anybody feels the way I do about you now…’ and we just sat and grinned at each other. Those things always happened when you were there with me.

How many years then?

How many years since we last walked this place, sat next to this very lake? It hasn’t changed much, but it isn’t the same. We catch up with each other’s lives, like long lost friends, reminiscing about those perfect, magical times. We laugh about nose twitching and fireworks in Blackpool. You sing to me, like you did in Devon, when you made me drive your car and scared me silly. And you hold my hand.

How long have you been gone now?

I don’t want to count those years. We walk.

A new house, you tell me, a new start. You ask me to hear you out, and I will. A new start that could finally be ‘us’. You’ve made me dinner. You remembered the last time I cooked for you and made me the same meal. You’ve even chopped the vegetables as I did so long ago, even though you laughed at me while I did it… ‘regimented veg’, you said back then.

‘You’re so lovely,’ you say. ‘You haven’t changed at all. Still so beautiful… still my angel.’

You’ve brought me back to reality now. You’ve made me angry.

I’m not the same. My life has gone through so many changes since you last held my hand, so many trials. You broke my heart and disappeared, because you didn’t know how to be brave. You left me alone and hurt, and you broke every promise you ever made me. When I needed you more than anything in the world, you were gone. In your absence, my world fell apart and it was one hell of a journey to put it back together again. I have been braver than you have ever been, and I did it all without you.

How long has it been since I loved you?

I don’t know when that changed, but it did. I used to pray for the day that you would be there again, to help me rebuild myself… I used to think that you were the only one I would ever feel safe with, certainly the only one I would ever love like that.

But I was brave enough for both of us, and I started over. I made my own peace and found my own happiness. My new start came a while back now; yours is not mine, and I am not your angel.

How long will it be until I see you again?

Probably forever.




1) Move backwards

2) Make (something) the opposite of what it was

Synonyms: alter, change


1) A complete change of direction

2) The opposite to that previously stated

Synonyms: opposite, contrary, converse, inverse, obverse, antithesis


Brake… back up… reverse…

Run away, build a wall, we’ve been here before.

My heart says yes and my head says run.


Don’t snap

Don’t say it… you’re hurt, I know

Don’t open your mouth

Don’t panic, breathe slow

Don’t ask the question,

Don’t catch the eye

Hold back your words

And try not to cry

Stop up the tears,

Please, don’t speak out loud

Don’t say what you want to

Keep your head bowed

Maintain the silence

Stay quiet, keep the peace

It won’t be forever

These feelings will cease

Close up your doorway

And then your heart

Lock it up tightly

And try to restart

That First Time

Thinking back… remembering the chaos before the calm.

In the corner, let’s sit in the corner. Did I bring my book? Ohhhh I hope I did… I need something to focus on. I feel sick.

Why do I do this to myself? Why would I meet a stranger? What if I can’t think of anything to say? Stop thinking, this isn’t helping. Get coffee. Coffee… black, no sugar. Coffee helps.

The book. Let’s read… if I focus on the book I won’t be focused on the nerves. Panic or excitement… I’m not sure which is stronger. These butterflies might choke me.

What if… just that. What if. Too many ways this could go, too many thoughts to straighten out.

Coffee. Drink the coffee. I could go then, if I wanted to. I do want to… and I don’t. I picture that face.

What if… There again. What if this is all wrong? What if I am not prepared? Drink the coffee and go. He probably isn’t coming anyway. He won’t even know I didn’t wait.

So. This book. I’ve read a chapter now, but none of it is sticking. These names mean nothing; I cannot focus. I’ve read it twice… this is stupid. Put down the book, and drink the coffee. Drink the coffee, and go.

Then I glance up and I see a face I’ve seen before. That face looks kind… and what a smile! Don’t forget to breathe… ohh I’m flushing… I hope it’s not too obvious…

He’s gone again, and the butterflies are back… then he takes a seat and they slow their fluttering. I feel myself smile. He’s talking to me but I’m not listening, just watching his face.

Did he ask me something then? Why are social situations so hard?? All I can hear is the music… The Script… ‘I’m Yours’. Forever to be associated with that smile.

I found my voice… small talk. I can do small talk. A walk then, he suggests… and I feel those butterflies clogging up my chest again. A walk…

Trying to feel relaxed. Trying to seem like I do this every day. But I don’t… I stumble… it’s okay, keep breathing. He makes me laugh, that helps… along with the breathing. Keep talking, keep walking; it’s fine.

And I stop, to look at his face, and he looks right back at me and smiles, showing me the dimples again. He kisses me then, and the world is perfect.







1) The state or condition of being preoccupied or engrossed with something.

2) A subject or matter that engrosses someone

Synonyms: concentration, concern, obsession, fixation

“A soul preoccupied with great ideas best performs small duties. – Harriet Martineau

Whatever the day brings, my preoccupation comes with it, running like a trailer through my mind when I should be thinking about other things. But other things don’t make my heart race, or brighten the very sky for me, or make me smile that smile so wide it hurts. My small duties get done, even as the movie behind my eyes plays a scene so touching, or erotic, or ridiculous… and my consciousness is drawn away from the mundane, with a soundtrack all its own.

I’m singing out loud.


What happens on the days when I don’t know if I can do it alone?

What should I do when it’s 3am and the tears won’t stop?

When I close my eyes and all I see is his face, how do I make that go away?

How did I fall into this so quickly?

How do I finish it?