The Month of Love: Readers tales of true love

 |  January 27, 2009

February, 2009

It was a cold evening in February, and the express train to Dover was rattling through the frozen Kent countryside, carrying me to the ferry boat for Ostend, where I would board a sleeper for snow-bound Munich in southern Germany.

With a squeal of brakes, the train made an unscheduled stop at Tonbridge. The door of my compartment flew open and two expensive suitcases were flung in, followed by a flustered young woman, swathed in fur.

She threw herself back into the opposite seat, smiled and apologised for the unexpected break in the journey. She had booked to board the train at its one scheduled stop, Ashford, a few miles down the line, but an accident on the icy Kent roads had held her up at Tonbridge. She pleaded with the station master there to stop the train for her – and he did.

I understood why the station master had broken the rules. This damsel in distress was capable of stopping not only a British Rail express but men’s hearts, too. She was a creature of incandescent beauty. Like the station master, I fell under her spell.

Miriam was her name. She worked for the Arabic language service of the BBC and was on her way to a skiing holiday in her father’s alpine lodge above Gstaad in Switzerland _ alone.

The journey to Dover passed in a flash. I arranged for her luggage to be transferred to the waiting ferry boat and invited her to a drink on board.

The boat was one of the antique craft that used to ply the English Channel, with a snug bar and a first-class, top-deck dining room, where we took a candle-lit corner table for dinner. The more we talked – about our shared tastes and interests in music, literature, art, travel and even politics – the deeper I fell under her spell.

After dinner, we strolled out to the promenade deck and watched the lights of Ostend approach across the dark water. She stood at the rail in front of me, wrapped in her furs. I breathed in her perfume and the salt spry from the sea, my face caressed by windswept wisps of her fragrant, dark hair. We were both silent, lost in the beauty of the clear, cold night and the tension I knew she shared.

We stood like that until the boat approached the pier. She turned, brushed my hand and whispered: “Come. We have to go.”

Her train to Zurich and mine to Munich stood waiting on parallel platforms. Hers was due to leave some 20 minutes before mine and I accompanied
her to her Wagon Lits compartment. As I clumsily helped stow away her luggage, I turned and looked for one last time into her dark eyes and said: “I wish I could come with you.”

Her reply will stay in my memory for ever. “Why don’t you?” she smiled. Time stood still as images of sunlit days on Swiss ski slopes and warm nights in an alpine chalet tantalised my mind.

The guard’s departure whistle broke my reverie. I took the easy option, jumped to the platform and watched the red rear lamps of the train carry away my dreams.

For many years, I was plagued by the question: “Why did I jump from that train? What course would my life have taken if I’d stayed aboard?” But then I came to Thailand – and fell in love Story by Carla de la Vega

My love story begins in a small fishing town in the Pacific coast of Mexico, called Sayulita. I used to go there every weekend to do some surfing, tanning, and to have fun with my friends. My father had died the year before. He was my best friend and the most amazing person I have ever met and he had always been concerned about me not being able to make a commitment or fall in love, but I just knew, my Prince Charming was yet to come…

As I was lying on the beach with my friends, it was what some call: ‘Love at first sight.’ This cute American boy with blue eyes, blond hair, and great abs, playing with his dog in the ocean. “Aw! Not only cute, but he also loves animals!” It was a few weekends after that, when I went into a store to buy a waterproof camera, when to my surprise, he was the cashier. He didn’t speak much Spanish and he just smiled and said: “Do you speak English?” We became friends and even though we were very different, I liked everything about him.

I was leaving in the next couple of months to go live in Paris, France. I had arranged school and planned to be living there for a year. I knew not much could happen between us, but we still kept seeing each other. He was living there for a while and I kept visiting the town every weekend.

Our counted days were so much fun and full of adventures. I still left for Paris at the end of that summer and said goodbye to him.

Six months went by. We kept in touch. My birthday was coming and he called me saying he had sent me a package with his parents’ friends who had just happened to take a trip to Paris. He told me to pack a bag for a few days and get ready to go somewhere. A trip to go skiing, perhaps? A train ticket to another country? I still got my bags ready and headed out to the hotel where I was supposed to meet Mary and John, but instead, you can imagine my surprise when instead, I saw him standing right behind me with a rose in his hand. After an awesome weekend in Paris, I was able to get him a job. Two weeks later, he had a place of his own and was a ‘nanny’ for a Parisian family with two boys. Paris was, needless to say, enchanting! And even though money can be pretty tight when living there as a student and an ‘au pair’ our life there was fun. I moved in with him after a few weeks. We visited lots of museums on the first Sundays of the month (when they are free) and the view of the Eiffel Tower was always amazing when we would have picnics right in the park below it.

Unfortunately, a little later Prince Charming got hurt pretty bad and had to have surgery on his arm. After 5 months, destiny was taking us oceans apart once more and he had to head back to the US.

Two months later, he called me and asked me to move to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with him. I accepted. Being a Mexican girl, that decision was not easy. My family had a hard time accepting it, but they trusted I was doing the right thing. I moved in with him and my family came later to visit me.

Prince Charming and I got in a really bad car accident while travelling through Nebraska on a weekend trip, just one day after my mom and sister had left. We were both rushed to a hospital where we stayed for a month. He was hurt internally, dislocated his femur and broke his shoulder. I was hurt very bad and broke many bones in my body including my spine. Doctors didn’t know if I would make it and if I did, if I would ever be able to walk again. Well, it’s just like some people say: LOVE CONQUERS ALL! With the support of all of our family, friends and each other, and after many surgeries and lots of pain and frustration, we made it! We survived! We survived the accident and we survived each other: our bad moods, our different cultures and backgrounds, our differences and all of the obstacles that all that brings. It was a challenge and we were put to the test. While I was hurt, he had to take care of me for a long time and still does, with all of his heart.

We got married a year and a half later, at a beautiful beach in Mexico, surrounded by our family and friends. We have travelled a lot, shared a lot, worked a lot, lived a lot, learned a lot and loved a lot…and even though some may still say