Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered Am I

Van Doren Hall, WSU Pullman, WA
     After agenda check and my rather flighty, embarrassed explanation of why I was late, we all headed off to our desks and offices. In the advising suite, friends gathered 'round and wanted to hear more.
     "He wrote, ' time there will be no hiding place for your lips!'" I said with a dreamy sigh. A collective "AAAAHHHH!" escaped from the gathered women with several patting their chests and two hugging themselves in delight.
     "He's wooing you Jaq!" said Chrisi with a wide grin."Oh Jaq this is fantastic! This''s a book! Oh Jaq! Your love story would make a great book! Never mind the cancer book--put it aside and start writing your and Les' love story. You can always go back and finish the other book later, but this is just so wonderful. You are such a good writer and everyone loves a good love story!" Heads nodded in unison all around as my friends and colleagues hugged me, wished us well, and slowly drifted back to work.
     I was dumb struck by Chrisi's suggestion. I knew how amazing and miraculous our story was, but then, I was in it. Everyone who's ever fallen in real, true love has a story, and thinks their's is the  greatest. I mulled over this idea of hers for several weeks. In the meantime....

From: Jaqueline Almdale
To: Les Biggs
Subject: Tossing and Turning in My Sleep
Date: Thur 10/28/2010 5:20 AM in Pullman WA (1:20 PM in England)
Good afternoon Les,
     It is 5:09 am here. I tossed and turned all night. I hope you weren’t too disappointed by my last email. Life here goes on at a pace—and without you. :( At least I managed to find my glasses right off this morning. Miss you so very much—words don’t do this feeling justice. Miss the warmth of your hugs, and the sound of your voice.
     I’m going to dinner tonight with Cheri Curtis—my heart sister, whom you didn’t get to meet because she was sick with what turned out to be the intestinal flu bug. She and her husband Jeri want to meet you and they are both ready to welcome you with open arms into their family.   
     They have completely redefined the meaning of family and acceptance for me. They already accept you as family because I am so remarkably changed by having met you, and Cheri—who believes in true love and happy endings--declared when I told her about us, “Thank you GOD! Hope lives, in the guise of an Englishman.”
     She always believed there was someone for me, even when I didn’t. She’s deflected my cynical nature for years. When Cheri called Jeri and told him, he got all teary eyed and said to Cheri, ‘It’s about time someone else sees Jaq for who she really is and loves her like she deserves—besides you I mean!”
The Snake River & Hell's Canyon Park, ©
     Cheri and Jeri want to take you/us on a jet boat day trip on the snake River to Hell’s Canyon, so keep that in mind for a trip back in warmer weather sometime in the future.
     Sitting here trying not to cry, aching for your presence. You can bet I will be a woman of great motivation between now and January. Lot’s to do and keeping busy will keep my mind off missing you?? Nope—doesn’t work that way.
Love and Hugs,

From: Les Biggs
To: Jaqueline Almdale
Subject: Phoning You
Date: Thur 10/28/2010 3:12 PM in England (7:12 AM in Pullman, WA)
Hello Peach,
     Just a quick note as i want to phone you but note you are out to dinner tonight. If you read this before you go out reply and i will know when to call. I will monitor my e mail.
Love you lots

From: Jaqueline Almdale
To: Les Biggs
Subject: Phoning You
Date: Thur 10/28/2010 5:34 PM in Pullman WA (Fri 1:34 AM in England)
Hello Les,
     Dinner called off. I just arrived home. I am going to crawl into a hot shower for about ten minutes and then wrap up in my robe and make a cuppa. Then I will sit patiently with WW magazine and wait for your call. It is 5:34 pm my time.
Love Jaqueline

From: Jaqueline Almdale
To: Les Biggs
Subject: Missing you
Date: Fri 10/29/2010 3:16 AM in Pullman WA (11:16 AM in England)
Hello Love,
     Not sleeping so well. Fell into a near coma after we talked, buoyed by the sound of your voice. Awoke at 2:30 this am by Wee Man who is desperate to go outside. I came home last night to find a notice on my door that due to complaints by other tenants about the large cat population at the trailer park and the growing amount of cat feces found in people’s yards, we can no longer allow our cats to go outside.
     Poor Wee Man doesn’t understand why I cannot let him out. He will use the cat box but his nature is that of a night time hunter. He is meowing pitifully at every window and door.
     Thank you for calling me last night Les; for your reassurance that this is real on your part too, and that you are real and not an amazing dream.
I love you!

From: Les Biggs
To: Jaqueline Almdale
Subject: Missing you
Date: Fri 10/29/2010 10:07 AM in England (2:07 AM in Pullman, WA)
Hi Jaq my Peach,
     Amazingly i opened my eyes at 1.15pm my time but as bedtime was 4am i suppose it was to be expected. Staying up until 3am here to phone you is not a problem if only i can get through on the new phone service as i can easily see bankruptcy looming if i carry on using the mobile route.
     Just phoning the kids from your home while i was there cost about $95 and i will chat to you a lot longer than that. I will keep looking at different methods to hear your voice as i can`t bear not to...January seems a long way off but the reward of your embrace will be worth the wait; shit Jaq i`m so wound up about you, and to be able to see the love pouring from your inner a dream come true.
     Life on the canal is a great way to live but to have someone to share it with is a bonus; i've found that person and you're not getting out of finishing your time in this life without me. I've thought of many ways we could share this dream which can be achieved with 2 little words that l for one would gladly say so sure that i am of how i feel about you Jaq.
     I went to the UK Border Agency web site to look at visa application processes and I think that is going to be the hardest part.
     I just want to give my whole self over to you--to share everything with you. Relationships can not be successful if done piecemeal, and i don't and wont' have any secrets from you.
     The wind is blowing like mad, the sky is ready to dump it`s tears at anytime, but typing this i feel a warmth inside that the weather will never penetrate, nothing will ever swamp my inner self with cold because all i have to do is think of is you and i glow...i am so attracted to you, and i love you lots.
     Plenty of boats going by but that`s the way Braunston is with the choice of routes being London, Rugby, Oxford and Warwick and as i sit here i am not sure which to take as none of them will lead me to you. I can at least be content that i can choose either and take you with me because where my heart goes so do you.
     Now 5.15pm and the afternoon has vanished, Andy (Tina) has texted me to say they will collect me next w`end to go to an out of town market set up on an old dis-used airfield so that will be a nice little jaunt with 2 people i regard as good friends.
Napton Marina November 2010 © L. Biggs
     Saturday i will go into Daventry--just 10 mins on the bus to get a bit of shopping. Last night i made a sausage casserole, so tonight`s meal will be the second part of that with some spuds added.
     Clocks go forward Saturday night so the darkness will close in earlier eating away the day. Boat priorities are to re-fuel and get some coal and hopefully find some fallen trees to cut up for cheap winter warmth. Just looked out and the sky has started to cry.
      Tonight l will try to do some more of the video editing and free up some space on the camera cards, i just have to make sure all is copied to disc before i delete anything.
View from NB Valerie, near Braunston © L. Biggs
     Attached are some photo`s: first is the marina where NB Valerie is moored on the towpath on the left ready to depart having been moored next to the boats on the right while her captain was away visiting America. Next is the field i moored opposite. Keep your chin up and look after those lips for me. All my un-questionable love and devotion is yours.

From: Jaqueline Almdale
To: Les Biggs
Subject: Missing You
Date: Fri 10/29/2010 10:29 PM in Pullman WA (Sat 6:29 AM in England)
Dear Les,
     It’s fine to shorten my name to Jaq—everyone does it and I am comfortable with it. I ask only that you not call me Jackie. My family called me that growing up, and it’s not my name. My given name is Jaqueline, and Jaq is the nickname I chose for myself. I’ve been known by Jaq to most of the Uni for years. Folks are sometimes surprised to meet me, and find out “Jaq” (Jack) is a woman.
      The politico’s automatic phone dialing schemes are in full swing. I arrived home tonight to find five messages on my phone--all auto dialed within the space of an hour and a half. One was a voice recording of Barrack Obama, another was from the Loyal Order of the Police asking me to vote Republican; the third was from some polling group and so was the fourth and fifth; as I sit here typing the phone rings yet again and it’s another polling group—this time for the Republicans.
     If a person—or an answering machine--picks up the call, then the automated machine drones on to the end of the message even if the answering machine cuts off or the person hangs up. It’s a damn nuisance.
     We vote nationally on November 2nd, hence all this political craziness. After Tuesday it will all be over for another two years.
     Oh Les! When I told you to use my phone to call home I meant just pick up my land line and dial direct. Surely it would be cheaper than using the mobile. $95.00! Jesus wept--that’s intercontinental telecommunications robbery.
     If Skype works for you then we could set up a pre-arranged time say, twice a week to talk with each other—once when you are up in the wee small hours and once when I am up at the wee small hours. Fair is fair my love. And hearing your voice is my lifeline to reality and sanity about this whole amazing experience in which we find ourselves.
     You’ve been here before, with Val, but I’ve never been here before with anyone. I know what you mean about being wound up. I go from being utterly euphoric to being completely terrified. This feeling is so much bigger than anything I’ve ever experienced Les. In order to trust this is real I need for us to take things slowly.
     I hope you will understand. I get why I feel the way I do about you—it is because of the way you treated me when we were together and about who you are—the person who’s company I experienced; but I am struggling with the intensity of your feelings for me—so suddenly. I don’t lack self esteem—believe me, I like myself for who I am and I enjoy my own company.
     It’s extremely hard, after all these years of dealing with men who didn’t quite ever see what was special about me—or didn’t quite get me--or who did and found themselves absolutely terrified by the depth of the relationship that might ensue, because it would mean they might have to work at something instead of having it handed to them, to believe you find me so amazing, attractive, and lovely—and yet that is absolutely how you make me feel.
     I am baffled and awed in turns. I didn’t do anything but be myself. I cannot think of anything I’ve done that warrants such deep devotion, desire, and love so quickly.
     I recall our conversation on Thursday evening after W&W. You shared with me your consideration of a life with someone else and the attendant pro’s and cons. I appreciated your willingness to trust me and speak so openly and candidly. You also said you would never marry again.
     If I were an heiress I’d be suspicious but I can safely cross that off my list! I will always be honest with you as well. It’s the only way I can be. Please understand that my terror isn’t of you—or us—it’s about how quickly this has grown between us. 
     I am overwhelmed with love and gratitude that you would say those two words to me. If/when the time comes and you do say them I want them to be for the right reason: because you want me in that way, so I can say yes. And as we both agreed, a piece of paper does not a relationship make. Neither of us needs it to prove we love the other. I believe too that relationships cannot be done piecemeal. We have to give ourselves wholly to the process or not at all. We just have to make sure the process allows us both time to work through things in a manner that allows growth and surety about the outcome.
     London, Rugby, Oxford, or Warwick—that’s a tough list of choices mate! :) I appreciate that none of them will bring you closer to me, but you are right--I travel with you now. Rest assured my heart goes where you go too.
     I’m so glad you will be going with Tina and Andy to get out and do something fun. I worry about you. I am here, surrounded by my friends. They are the family I made for myself. They love me, support me, and are happy for us both.
     You are out there alone, cruising the cut, kept company by your own thoughts and this crazy intensity of emotion. Please, please take care of yourself. I think the only thing that is going to get either of us through the next few months is attempting to live a normal pace of life, getting caught up in trivial everyday things. Otherwise, I don’t know about you but I could well lose my mind. I will Google Daventry.
     I will also be buttoning up the yard and porches for the advent of winter. Tomorrow I’ll put up the deck chairs, the umbrella, and sweep everything down carefully. Next weekend the car goes in to swap the summer tires for the studded winter tires. Remember driving up into Snoqualmie pass, into the mountains as we left Seattle? The pass has snow on it now.
     Cheri Curtis is coming over to dinner and a movie tomorrow night. We'll have home made beef stew, fresh bread, and my signature Green & Black hot cocoa with cognac and watch Leap Year with Amy Adams and Matthew Goode.
     Thanks for the pics! Please keep them coming so I know where we are. I’ve added them to my computer photo album. How incredibly lovely your home is Les, so very lovely… My chin is up. Keep yours up too.
Love Jaq

     I was out of my depth now and everything seemed out of focus and slightly blurry; unable to sleep, I paced the house like a lioness in a cage. I was totally distracted at work when I should have been thinking about my students; I had no appetite. I put on my coat and took off my pants. If my car hadn’t known the way to work and back home again I’d have been parked out in the toolies in the middle of a damn wheat field trying to figure out how I got there. 
     I glowed when I thought of Les. Part of my restlessness came from feeling as though I had the sun, the moon, and stars inside me now. People told me I looked seventeen years younger; my walk and the way I held myself was completely different. I was no longer shuffling grimly through each day with my teeth clenched and my head down, in survival mode.


  1. Hey, you two best put weights in your boots before you float off on the Lurve cloud!! I am so pleased for you two, hope for me yet then! I will just echo what everyone else has said, thank you for sharing this special story
    Debbie x

  2. LOL! Thank you Debbie...truly if this can happen to me it can happen to anyone. May all your dreams come true too.
    Jaqueline XX

  3. You only look 17yrs younger? Are they all blind, you look at least 20 yrs younger. XX

  4. Aww Les, have I told lately that I love you?