I'm sorry to tell you that I'm feeling a little bit maudlin today. For some strange reason I want to call my grandmother tonight. I want to call and find out how long she had to wait for the bus to East Ham. I want to call and hear her tell me how terrible the television is. I want to call her and hear how much her feet hurt. I can't, of course. She died some years ago. I wanted to pick up the telephone and listen to her voice. It's come out of the blue and I don't know why. I just miss her tonight. I really do.
That's the thing about being apart from people. It causes you pain. It doesn't make it any easier when you've deliberately moved yourself away from people, regardless of what they might think. I'm planning a trip home this year and will be in sunny England - and possibly further afield - in June and July. I get to eat Marks and Spencers food, lard myself up with proper chips from the chippy, annoy friends and family by asking, "Who's that, then?" during soap operas and of course, see my dear old dad.
I was reduced to tears at work on Friday when one of the doctors asked me if I was going home this year. I said I was and that I was looking forward to seeing my dad.
"Do you know what it feels like for a father?" he asked. "Don't you know that when they're so far away it hurts? It really hurts. It gets you right here," and he pressed a hand against his chest.
I know. I do know. It hurts me too. Sometimes I sit here and I think about my dad sitting on his own on the other side of the world. I wonder if he ate properly today. I wonder if he spoke to anyone today. I wonder if he understands that it hurts me too. Not all the time, of course. But sometimes. Like today.
Still, I get to see him in about 16 weeks. I can pick up the telephone right now and hear his voice. I can't do that with my nan.
Ring someone you love today, if for no other reason than to hear their voice. You'll be glad you did.