because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Darby and Joan: July 2012

Darby & Joan are the quintessential middle-aged British couple, characterised by knitwear, hours of scrabble, and a penchant for staying in on Saturday nights. Darby and Joan are, in fact, @calummcswiggan and me. See what we look like when we finally do go out? TERRIBLE. 

Darby.

I’ve gone a bit mental again.

Four days ago you emailed me to say SWITZERLAND CALLED AND WANT ME TO WORK FOR THEM! to which I replied WELL, WHAT DID YOU SAY? And you were all WELL D’UH! I BOOKED A FLIGHT FOR TOMORROW NIGHT! You were already in the arse-end of Italy someplace, working for the company I told you about, and when I asked the name of the place you’d be going to so that I could do Googling you didn’t know.

Your flight was practically booked, and yet you didn’t know where from or where to.

So then, when BIG GAY CAL! flashed up on my phone as I was walking to buy tampons and white chocolate yesterday, and you were safe and sound and well, I demanded to know all the things, and you simply said, LAURA. THE HOTTEST OF ALL THE FRENCH MEN PICKED ME UP FROM THE STATION.

CALUM. That wasn’t my question. My question was DOES THE COMPANY WHO MADE YOU FLY ALL THE WAY TO THE MOUNTAINS ACTUALLY EXIST, OR ARE YOU NOW PART OF A WHITE SLAVERY-SLASH-MALE-SEX-PET RING OF DEBAUCHERY?

But also: THANK YOU FOR BEING A MENTAL AS WELL. Because fuck. Life should totally be details, smetails, let’s talk about the pretty stuff, and ooooh! Look! Something shiny! I knew we were BFFs for a reason.

And so if I have to confide to anyone about my mentalist tendencies, it has to be the guy who really doesn’t have a judgemental leg to stand on. You actually squealed when you said there were mountains IN THE MOUNTAIN VILLAGE.

After I was sad about the Best Month of My Year ending-, which, I know, you weren’t there, so how could it possibly be the best? I FEEL THE SAME- I threatened to just go on right ahead and buy a Paulo Coelho novel. I’m mad for Paulo, like everyone is, but you know how I get. I’m all travelling and thinking and projecting and the last thing I need is frickin’ Yoda telling me to follow my heart and heed the omens because BAM! I see signs in my cereal bowl, and right now my Coco Pops are telling me to keep running AND NEVER, EVER, LOOK BACK.

Obviously then, as I sat down with several spritz and the first page, I automatically thought yep. This is absolutely a book written just for me.

DUDE. Paulo is all I will never reach my goal by staying in the same place all the time. I can only speak to my soul when the two of us are off exploring deserts or cities or mountains or roads.

Mr. Coelho? I KNOW.

Calum, it has sent me so bonkers that when Paulo wrote I know I am in all the people surrounding me and that they are in me I took it literally.

I am surrounded by Italian high-school students, and so I made it my personal quest to preach say yes to life to them all, to the point where in the last half hour of one lesson we sat with our secret fears written out on a piece of A4, and we did a gratitude circle.

A motherfucking gratitude circle.

And after everybody had said something they were grateful for, we held our fears in the air and tore them up as we shouted out, louder and louder, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID BECAUSE I AM GRATEFUL. I WILL NOT BE AFRAID BECAUSE I AM GRATEFUL.

Before I knew it there was this tangible, weird energy in the air, and everyone was crying, and there was paper everywhere that we then had to pick up to put in the trash before we could go for a fruit break and OHMYGOD THE EMOTION.

See also: ‘my path is reflected in the eyes of others… if I want to find myself, I need that map.’ When those kids said thank you, they needed that letter, I realised: I did too.

Then later, I sat reading and writing in the courtyard, and had my (*WANKER ALERT!*) creative notebook out on the table. A student from that same lesson came over and flicked through it, pausing at the blank pages I have yet to fill. Smiling, she nodded at the empty part of the book and said, ‘Your future.’ 

I don't think either of us could have been any wiser, do you? I wiped the awe from my face as she strolled nonchalantly away, and all I could think was, I wish Calum had seen that happen. Fuck. The fifteen year-old just out Paulo Coelho-ed Paulo Coelho. 

Only tomorrow knows what tomorrow will bring, she basically said. Our tomorrow is still a blank page.

Talk soon, Darby. Enjoy filling your pages with fit French men.

Yours,

Joan x


 (p.s. r.e: the above photo. You're welcome.)


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