ME : THE QUESTION
I remember staring at the screen and reading the question one more time. It was short and sweet. Easy for me to answer, but my mind stalled for what seemed like an eternity stubbornly refusing to process the implications.
I was like some dyslexic schoolchild. My thought-processing faculties struggled to get going and it was as if time, itself, had come to a complete standstill. I was completely flummoxed. This was unexpected. It was like when you have a conversation with someone and suddenly they switch to a completely unrelated subject without warning. No continuity, equals confusion often for me. Maybe I’m just not as sharp as I used to be? Or can I blame advancing years and loss of brain cells as the perfect excuse?
Confusion lifted as my brain, without warning, clicked into gear. What threw me initially was how I had overlooked it? I looked at the date again. The message had dropped into my inbox over four months ago! I was truly mystified. I was meticulous when it came to computer housekeeping. Always reviewing my email inbox, as well as old files and folders, on my computer. I had been the same when I was working. I endeavoured to be organised, clearing the clutter. It was key to working in a hectic environment. There was so much work to do and too few hours to do it in.
It was the simplest of questions. But who was asking the question and why? The name was not familiar to me. But maybe it should be? More to the point how did they know me? I was confused. So many years had passed.
Susan was sat with her feet up on the settee reading a book on her kindle. Probably another Tom Clancy thriller. Although, these days, she was trying out different authors from the seemingly unlimited supply of free ebooks offered by the growing number of self-published authors. She must of looked up and seen the puzzled expression on my face.
“What are you looking at?” she asked, tilting her head to one side, as she lay her kindle down.
“Come over here and I’ll show you,” I remember saying.
Curiosity got the better of her, as she quickly rose from the comfort of the settee without any further comment, and sat alongside me on the seat I was perched on. She looked at the screen. She was deep in thought and I knew she was going through the same stilted-thought process I had just a few moments earlier.
“Who’s it from?” she asked finally.
“No idea,” I responded. “I was just looking through my messages and noticed this one was marked as unread. The funny thing is I received this over four months ago and never noticed. I can’t understand how I missed it.”
“So are you going to reply to it?” she asked looking at me.
“I don’t know … I really don’t know,” I said staring at the screen.
All I could think about over the next couple of hours was the message despite my best efforts to find another distraction. Picking up a book, or channel-hopping with the television remote, did not retain my attention span for long. I kept wondering who had sent the message and why? I knew I would have to respond to it. I needed to find out more. My curiosity was well and truly piqued. I imagined the sender had probably given up all hope of a reply, by now, given the weeks which had elapsed.
I opened the lid on my laptop rousing it from it’s sleep mode. I had left the browser open on the window displaying the message. Slowly and deliberately, I typed out my response. I hesitated momentarily, before pressing ENTER. There, it was done. Little did I know then, that action would change the whole course of my life and take me on a journey of self-discovery. I would ask countless questions over the weeks ahead. Everything which had gone before, I would challenge and come to view differently.
Before I continue, I need to take you on a journey with me starting from my childhood. This will help you understand my roots and the reasons for my hesitant response to the question I had just answered. Some of the events I can remember quite clearly, others are more faded with the passage of time.