Tyrhone. Named after Tyrone Power but with an extra ‘h’.
We’ve fought so many times, almost-broken up 536 times. It hurts, staying together through everything. “Hurt people hurt people,” we say to each other in an ironic way today.
Today, when things are so much lighter than they once were.
He hates it when people misuse that word, but I can say it because the day before yesterday he literally flew into the air like a bird. Before my eyes, when I went to pick him up on his first day of training.
They’re just practicing on the ground, I thought as I watched him extend the glider above his head and run like hell with a propeller strapped to his back.
Then up, and up.
Holy shit. I did not expect that.
Actually, the words I used were more harsh than that. I was in shock. He wasn’t meant to fly till day three.
I watched him soar above me. I dare not wave or hoot or show any sign of celebration until he landed. I just cried.
I cried for him, the kid from South Africa who knew what hunger felt like (literally) yet dreamed of flying to the moon.
The kid without a dad, or an education, or a hope in hell. The weird kid, the shy kid, the kid I’ve gotten to know through the man I love.
The abused kid, the misunderstood kid, the married and divorced kid. The kid who gutted fish in a factory in Scotland at seventeen to help his family. The kid who’s always worked shit jobs and saved his money. The guy who teases his Mum, lectures his little sister, provokes his brother and loves them all.
The guy who forgives, and moves on. Blames no-one. Expects nothing from the world and has received no free passes or paved pathways. He’s found his own way and he likes it that way. He doesn’t like to dwell on what was.
The past is the past; it’s over, he says.
It sure is.
This is his moment, I think. This is his. Very few things in his life have been for himself.
Tears are streaming down my face and my heart is exploding with love for this guy; the kid and the man. The man who has made my life so amazing. The man I wanted to be friends with when I met him at a music festival seven years ago, without the faintest idea of how he would change me.
The man who taught himself design while doing night security in London. The man who watched Photoshop tutorials while the other guards watched porn. The man who has taken more crap from crap bosses than anyone I know. The man who is his own boss now. Literally.
It’s such an honour to witness this moment.
It’s such an honour to be part of the journey which has led to it, an honour to love and be loved by this guy, who is almost unrecognizable from the guy I met at the music festival.
We shouldn’t have made it after everything we went through together. The odds were against us. Two dysfunctional people from dysfunctional families (who we love) from opposite ends of the earth, hurting and healing each other.
But mostly healing.
He’s taught me so much by being so different from me, by being so very uniquely him. It used to infuriate me, his refusal to fit in. Now, I see what a blessing it is. By all accounts he shouldn’t really be up there, soaring over the drought-stricken, cracked Californian earth. I shouldn’t be standing below watching and crying and holding my breath.
I think it’s because of something bigger than us that we are here having this experience, but he would disagree. He’s a staunch atheist. How someone can be so kind, so humble and so patient without a belief in a God, I don’t know. What I do know is that he has taught me more about being a good person than any belief system ever has.
He’s thinking about none of this of course as he listens to his instructor Joe through the radio, guiding him to his first ever landing. If putting your life in the hands of a bloke you just met is not faith, then I don’t know what is.
As his legs wriggle free of the seat, dangling in the air above me, I’m praying in a really old-fashioned way which I am far too cool to do most of the time. I understand then that love and fear are very much intertwined for me.
After he lands his elation is visceral; his smile as real and true as I’m ever likely to see on him.
He did it. No matter what happens after this, he had his moment of greatness.
It was all worth it, I think as I run toward him to congratulate him.