Sonnet: Looking for Love

Looking for love in all the wrong places,

Swiping right on all of the same faces.

Asking questions getting one-word answers,

It’s a social media disaster.


Whatever happened to love at first sight?

Enter a room and just know that tonight,

Is the night where you will first cast your eye,

On a future loved one. No need to try.


Manners cost nothing, and when face to face,

We are more respectful and observe grace.

We strive to do and say that which is right,

And doing so, a shared future seems bright.


So go offline, go over and above,

Know in your heart you are looking for love.

Sonnet: His Hand He Did Lay

Upon my shoulder his hand he did lay,

For just one moment, perfection today.

Less than a second, eternity still,

Night’s spent long dreaming for this very thrill.


We pass in a hallway, through me he looks

Perhaps perfection, on my part mistook.

I chastise myself, confidence shaken,

Forget about love, yet unawakened.


I cannot ignore, this hopeless romance,

I feel eyes burning with every glance.

Lingering longer, he stands by my side,

An exorbitant joy I cannot hide.


Then on my shoulder his hand he did lay,

He asks to join, as I go on my way.

Sonnet: Online Dating

Swiping right, and often left discarded

Unmatched, unwanted, broken hearted

Profile pictures pass, feelings follow fast

Love in the present, but lust in the past


‘Hey, how’s it going? Up to much tonight?’

Incoming message the future seems bright

A spark, a connection, unseen by sight

Each message worth every megabyte.


Ghosted for days now, a catfish for sure,

A false face makes an angelic allure.

Deleted and blocked after one night,

It was nothing more than love at first swipe.


Refresh, restart, today starting again,

Here, looking for love, and not just a friend

I Had To Ask

Three times I’ve met you in the last year and each time, I am incredibly glad I had the notion to do so. The more time I spend around you, the more time I want to spend around you. Hours in your company never quite seem like enough time and even the topics which might otherwise be difficult to talk about are interesting and fascinating, partly because your unique view of the world challenges my own perceptions and makes me want to know more about the world around me.

When I first got in touch, I did so because I couldn’t shake the feeling that you were someone I would enjoy developing a friendship with. I sat next to you everyday for the best part of a year, ten years ago, yet I was never able to chat to you beyond trivial greetings. With hindsight I recognise that that was due to an attraction to you that at the time I wasn’t able to admit to myself, and instead presented itself as a social awkwardness.

I’m still aware that a part of me feels that same attraction to you now, and although I am very happy to be able to develop a new friendship with you, I don’t want to mar that potential friendship by misconstruing any unspoken boundaries. I said earlier that a big part of the last year has been about creating opportunities, and knowing you is an opportunity I am so glad I acted on, if I’m completely wrong here and you have no interest in anything beyond friendship then I’m sorry if this makes you uncomfortable. However, I hope that even if you aren’t interested in anything beyond friendship that asking you directly does nothing more than give you at least the reason why it was you I chose to catch up with beyond any other person.

Defining Pain

Written on – Tuesday, 7 August 2018 – 14:15


I have experienced many types of pain this year.

The pain of losing a job I love.

The stress and anxiety that comes from being unemployed.

The fear of the unknown.

The challenge that is finding a new purpose.

An illness that floored me for months.

For the first time in my life a broken bone. A physical pain comparable to nothing else I have ever felt. I thought that that might be the turning point, the moment that I could say the most difficult thing had happened. 

I was so wrong about that.

Broken bones may hurt, but they hurt nothing in comparison to broken hearts.

A broken bone you can’t ignore, it is all consuming and steals your focus anytime it tries to wander. Yes, drugs help, but they only distract you from the physical pain which waits on you.

Emotional pain is different. It too is all consuming, but unlike physical pain, if you are not ready to process it, you find yourself in the VOID. The place where emotions can’t hurt you and feeling good and bad disappear.

Physical pain is all present all of the time it can be medicinally repressed and in time, without ever doing anything, it fades away. Emotional pain can be like pressing pause. However the longer you ignore emotional pain, the harder it can be to recover from it.

Call it depression, call it denial. But for me it’s just old habits dying hard.

It reminds me so much of the poem by Norman MacCaig, ‘Visiting Hour’.

The poem itself is about a different kind of loss. But the line,

“I will not feel. I will not/Feel. Until I have to.”

This resonates within me often.

Years of counselling and self-discovery prove to me that I will feel again. When I am ready. 

Perhaps I’ll cry. Perhaps I’ll shout, or swear. Perhaps I’ll wallow in despair for a future that will never be or a relationship that is already long over. I can’t say for sure how I’ll react.

Four days have given me very little time to come to terms with how I feel, yet already I have felt myself on the verge of being overwhelmed. Every time I pick up my phone to talk to you and then remember I can’t. Every time I hear an inside joke that only you would find funny, and then remember we will unlikely never laugh together again.

I scroll through photographs of the last nine months, and your face haunts me. Your smile, beautiful and already gone. How long has it been since I saw it? Even if I hide your face, I still see it burned into my mind. I can picture every expression, every reply and retort. I can see you roll your eyes and scoff as I tell another stupid joke.

Every time I think of something good that we shared I find tears in my eyes, as I come to terms with the fact that these moments are only in the past, and will come to be nothing more than a memory. 

I wish I could change how things are. I wish I’d been able to try harder. But it isn’t just the good things which I recall. The hard parts, the parts neither of us could get passed. The words that were said, the look in your eye that last night we were together. I doubt I will ever be able to forget that look. It spoke more words than I will ever be able to and sealed a fate that neither of us dared try to change.

I may not be ready to feel, not everything. Not all at once. But when I do I hope that what I retain are my memories of the good, that they shine brighter than any darkness which found us.

Navarone. I wish you all of the best going forward in your life, knowing that I no longer get to share it with you. As we move forward, as individuals, I hope that our time together has made us stronger. I hope that we can both find the happiness we were unable to find together.

Hear Me Roar

Sunday, 14th May 2017 – 12:43

In November of last year I developed three things: an idea for a short story (Luca’s Story), a horrid chest infection, and the beginnings of a relationship. By mid December, only one of those things was still around.

I met Roar (not his real name) on Tinder. It wasn’t my first time attempting to meet someone using the medium of online dating. But Roar was definitely the first person from that specific app I’d genuinely considered meeting. Based in Dundee, I was immediately hesitant to get involved with him fearing that there was just too much distance to start anything with him. However the more we chatted, the more I came to really like him. He was dorky, cute, and he made me smile. Pretty much everything I look for in a guy. I quickly became smitten with someone I’d yet to even meet.

But meet we did. After about a week of almost constant chatting back and forth we decided to meet up in Perth. It was for the most part, the middle ground between us. I had asked him out, so the date was mine to plan. I hadn’t really been in Perth since the year I had spent studying there almost seven years prior. Needless to say my ‘plan’ involved a lot of winging things as I went.

We agreed to meet at the Perth Train Station. I had driven through and parked as close as I could, using my sat nav to find a spot I could park for free. Roar travelled through from Dundee, and waited patiently even when I was a little late getting in to Perth. I made it to the station, but didn’t realise I had parked at the rear of the station and so when I approached, I actually entered the rear platforms, before making it to inner station. Roar eventually called me, I think he must have thought I wasn’t going to show. After assuring him I was really in Perth, he managed to direct me through the station, getting me to the main gates where I had to sheepishly find a guard to let me through the barriers. Both the guard and Roar found my plea to get through quite amusing.

Roar was sweet, he playfully mocked me for breaking into a train station, but it made it easier to talk to him. I admitted that I hadn’t really planned anything specific, but that I was hoping to find a place to have pizza together. Neither of us knew Perth particularly well so when we stumbled upon a Pizza Express within five minutes of walking I think we were both quite relieved.

We already knew quite a bit about one another through texting, and had even used FaceTime to talk in person a couple of times prior to actually meeting. We chatted back and forth, and it was just so easy to be in each others company. All too soon we finished eating. I don’t think either of us wanted to end things at that point, and so it was a relief when Roar mentioned that his next train was still an hour and a half away. What to do during that time?

We settled on going to the cinema. It was snowing lightly and neither of us were keen on being outside any longer than we had to be. There was nothing either of us wanted to see, but that didn’t stop us. We decided to watch ‘The Light Between Oceans’, in hindsight not a film for first dates, but it gave us a chance to just be around one another with no agenda or need to think of what to say. I’d say we spent more time looking sideways at one another than we did watching the film, and we left about half an hour before the end to allow time to get back to the train station.

The snow was still falling as we walked back to the station, and as we walked through the streets of Perth our hands met, and without it being a big deal, we walked hand in hand back to the station. It felt right, and it felt special.

It was less than a week before we met again. This time it was Roar’s time to plan the date, and his itinerary was much more detailed than mine. A full day of activities were planned, with a back up wet weather plan should we have needed it. We managed about two of the activities he had planned that day, due mostly to the fact that my chest infection had gotten much worse and beyond sitting in the cinema, or driving around, I was not really able to do too much that day. But it was a day that brought us much closer. I think both of us had allowed ourselves to get swept up in the joys of a developing relationship. Even on our second date, we really felt so close.

I saw Roar a number of times throughout the rest of the month. Each time we got closer, and more comfortable around one another.

Yet already my nemesis was at work. The part of me which destroys the things I care about. The part of me which walks away from things I am passionate about. My inner self, the part of me that doesn’t believe I deserve the good things I have. I had so many reasons at the time that made sense when it came to ending things.

I had no time, I lived too far away, I didn’t have enough money to travel so often. I had just given up a flat, and was living in between my brother’s flat and my parents house. I was a full time carer for my brother. I was still helping out regularly at home. I had a lot of work commitments.

The list went on and on. Yet while each reason was valid and made sense, ultimately my decision was truly a reflection of my relationship with myself.

It’s often very easy to get swept up in something new. Roar wasn’t just something new in my life, he represented something I don’t think I’ve ever had before. He represented a desire to have more than just a life which facilitated to the needs of others. He represented my desire to have a life that catered to my needs as a priority. It wasn’t just that I wanted a relationship, it was that I wanted to put myself first.

I’m a very closed person. I don’t let my guard down easily, I don’t let people in, not entirely. Even the people that know me best have had to build up what they know about me over years of friendship.

With Roar it was different. I not only wanted to share the bits of myself that I was proud of, but I felt I could share the bits of myself that I often tried to hide. I ended things before they ever really begun. I ended things because I was scared. I ended things because by opening up to another person, I had finally began to open up to myself. I realised that I needed to become more familiar with who I was, and the things that I actually wanted in life, before I could share that with another person.

Learning to love yourself is a daily practice. I wish I had been able to figure these things out before I met Roar. But meeting him, and getting to know him has led me down a path that I am happy to have travelled. I doubt I will ever see Roar again, but I will be forever grateful that I met him. Knowing him left me with the realisation that it is okay to feel special, and that it is okay to want more from life. Above all, it made me aware that my needs are as important as the needs of other people.

Six months have passed and while the relationship with Roar is long over, the positive relationship with myself that I once again have is something I can take from our short time together. So thank you Roar. I truly hope you also find lasting happiness.

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