"We have just returned from nine days holiday in Cornwall and had smashing weather and a lovely time. When one is married, they say that holiday periods spent together and festive occasions like Christmas and New Year's Eve are the times that reveal all the cracks in one's marital relationships. It can be very difficult for some marriages to work, however much effort one puts into preserving the relationship, and like leaving a clothing shop with an item either three sizes too small or too large, however hard one tries, one will never comfortably fit into it! I suspect that marriages and all relationships aren't much different. One can start off as friends and then grow to love the other person deeply, but however hard one tries, a size ten woman and a forty-stone man are most unlikely to make natural bedfellows and they invariably find themselves as a couple where their relationship is impossible to grow into. Similarly, being lucky enough to find one's soul mate in your marriage partner is like finding a jumper that is perfect to your size, shape, colour and style in every way, and however old and thread worn it gets over the years of natural wear and tear, it will never be an item for throwing out!
In times when the marriage contract often starts to fade before the ink has dried, how marvellous it is to witness married couples reach their silver and golden wedding anniversaries, loving each other more today than the day they first met. Such loyalty, devotion and dedication towards each other is both rare and enviably and sets an example to the rest of us.
Like many a married person who has loved and married more than once, I also wanted it to be 'forever' when I married, but it wasn't to be so. So I tried a second time, and that marriage, although happy for the most part of its 28 years, still ended before my heart had given up on it. Twice married and twice divorced from two women who no longer wished to remain married, I withdrew from the marital stakes and determined to grow old, a man of single status.
Then, one November day in 2010, I visited Haworth and took a stroll up Main Street. Having been a published author since 1989, loving literature all my life and being an ardent reader of history, visiting the village of the famous Bronte sisters seemed the perfect way for a man of romantic inclination to leisurely spend the afternoon. As I walked up the cobbled street steeped in history, the women that passed down it seemed to get prettier each time one passed by, looked my way and smiled in that coy manner that cannot mask interest. Then, I saw her! She was sitting alone at a corner table in a restaurant called 'Gascoignes' at the top of Main Street; an eating establishment that has recently changed its name to the more industrious title of 'House Steam Brewery.' Without giving my next move a second thought, I found my old legs walking inside 'Gascoignes' and taking up the chair next to the black-haired maiden.
I wasn't aware of it at that precise moment, but once I stopped looking for love, I'd found it once more, in the corner of a Haworth eating establishment.
I knew the first moment I saw Haworth that it was heaven on earth. I knew when I first saw her that she was different to other women, even though I wasn't quite sure at the time that she was the woman for me. Since the moment I first left her that afternoon, my legs and heart longed to return to Haworth for a second glance, and since that second glance, my eyes have remained fixated. It was nothing tangible that I could touch and say, 'That's it! That's the love I seek!' It was more a feeling that told me that all I now saw would be all I ever wanted.
Sheila, I waited for your next spoken word before the sound of your last had left my ears. When you touched my mind, you left an impression to remind me in future years why I fell in love with you. But, it was only when you touched my heart, I knew that I would never forget you. Only through loving you, have I learned what really matters in my life. Indeed, it is only through your love that I can now know a happy selfishness; that nothing else matters except you, me, our happiness and time together and Haworth.
I know that we came to each other late in life and can never hope to make the marital milestones of fifty, nay twenty-five years as man and wife; probably not even ten. It would be wonderful were my health to allow us to reach the ten-year milestone and I know that whilst we may not always see eye to eye on all things small in life, as far as those bigger and more significant issues go, we will never be too distant in thought and will always be of one mind and heart. It was you who taught me that once two people share the same spiritual dimension, their minds, hearts, and souls are forever mated.
The world would be an uglier place without Haworth, and my world would be much uglier without you, Sheila. My love for you is infinite, Sheila Forde; nothing else is worth searching for, and all else is a mere illusion of a cobbled dream." William Forde: August 28th, 2017.