Многие из нас живут по принципу "главное не распускать сопли!". Я одна из таких многих. Но в последнее время я начала спокойнее относиться к вещам, ко всем вещам, в том числе к настроениям, которые нередко посещают меня на выходных, когда появляется время много думать и грустить, грустить в сотни раз сильнее, чем не на выходных.
Тони Парсонс такой замечательный британский писатель, наш современник. Эту книгу мне 6 лет назад подарил мой бойфренд, тот, которого больше нет в моей жизни вот уже целый месяц. Это чудесная книга, чудесная как все простое.

Rose loved all of that.

And I loved her.

It wasn't difficult. The only difficult thing was working up the courage to call her after she gave me her business card in the bar of the Mandarin. It took me seven days. Right from the start, she mattered too much to me. Right from the start, I could not imagine my life without her.

Because she was beautiful, smart and kind. She was curious and brave. She had a bigger heart than anyone I have ever known. She was good at her job but her sense of worth didn't depend on that job. I loved her for all those reasons. And I loved her because she was on my side. She was on my side without conditions, without get-out clauses. It's very easy to love someone when they are on your side.

Once, when we were all on the roof of the China Club, Josh said this interesting thing -- probably a first for old Josh -- after a few too many Tsingtao.

"If Rose met God, she would say: why are you so nasty to Alfie, God?"

He said it in this shrill, girlie voice and everyone laughed. I smiled, trying to be polite to the blockhead. But my heart beat a little faster. Because I knew it was true.

Rose was on my side in a way that nobody had ever been on my side. Apart from my parents. And my grandparents. But they were sort of obliged to be on my side. Rose was a volunteer. She cared about me. Those kids in the park -- the cheddar gang -- would laugh at the idea of a woman like that caring about a man like me. But she really did. I'm not making it up.

And by loving me, she set me free. Free to be myself.

There was a dream I had once had in London -- the dream of trying to be a writer -- that I had never really had the guts to pursue. Rose made me believe that if I was prepared to put in the hours, I could do it. I could become a writer one day. She saw not only the man I was, but the man I could be. By loving me, she made me believe that my dreams could come true.

That's why it is all so difficult now.

That's why I have to force myself to carry on today.

Because for a little while back there, I had it perfect.

The old Chinese man has finished his slow-motion dance.

As I jog past him for the second time -- well, by now it's actually more of a slow shuffle than a jog -- he looks at me as though he has seen my face a thousand times. As though he recognizes me too.

He speaks to me again and this time I understand exactly what he's saying. It's not breed at all.

"Breathe," he says.

"What?" I say, fighting to catch my breath."


"Who?" he snorts. "Who? You -- that's who. Not breathing right. Too shallow, your breathing. No good. No breathe, no life."

I stare at him.

No breathe, no life? Who does he think he is? Yoda?

"What's that?" I say finally, not too friendly. "Some, like, wise old Chinese saying?"

"No," he says. "Not old saying. Not wise old Chinese saying. Just common sense."

Then he turns away, dismissing me.

So I try it as I run out of the park. Inhaling deep, filling my lungs, feeling them expand, letting the breath seep out. Doing it again. Inhaling, exhaling. Slow and steady.

Kicking through last year's leaves, making myself take another breath.

It's not easy.

You see, she was my reason.

Tony Parsons

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