When I was fifteen and on holidays with my parents I overheard a young woman talking on the public telephone in the lobby of our hotel. She was being extremely affectionate with the person on the other end of the line, who I was sure was her best friend, even though it could have been anyone – husband, boyfriend, mother, sibling.
I was shy and awkward and I wanted more than anything to have someone I could call darling and sweetheart on the phone.
That’s 45 years ago now, but I can still recall the longing I felt that day. It came to my mind yesterday when someone called me on my mobile.
‘Hello my darling one, can I call you back?’ I answered, almost without thinking.
‘Yeah, sure,’ she said.
As I rang off I was pierced so strongly by the memory of that longing that it brought tears to my eyes. Only this time it was with realisation: I now live my life surrounded by people I call sweetheart and darling, gorgeous and honeybum, people I love and care the world for.
I wish I could reach back to my fifteen-year-old self and tell her, ‘Don’t be sad. Not all at once, but bit by bit, you’ll get exactly what you want. And it’ll be just as you dreamed it would.’