A long time ago, in the early dawn of romance we shared ourselves and our backgrounds through our new found love, as couples do. In the early glow of intimacy we edited and adjusted our stories. We must have liked the new selves we saw reflected back through adoring eyes of the other. The disclosures between Mottsu and I may have painted a portrait more of who each wished they were, than of who we knew ourselves to be. Did we construct ourselves as loving and lovable each wanting to be deserving of the love of the other? Did I do that?

When we whispered our hopes fears and expectations we may not have told the whole truth about ourselves. For our own reasons some things remained private unshared. Parts of us, or whole episodes from our lives sat buried in our histories, undiscussed.

It’s easy to love somebody for whom we perceive them to be, or for something we see in them. It’s hard to know how much of that persona is created by the beholder, sculpted into someone we want to love. In my case I think both parties were co-conspirators to this deception neither wanting to disillusion the other. It was all too easy to read the title of someone else’s book, the chapter headings and then skim the content ignoring the gaps. However I read Mottsu I felt I knew him. How many, like me, settle for a synopsis while believing they have read the complete unabridged version of their partners life? Like Virginia Woolf said “Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart and his friends can only read the title”.

At the time we met, Mottsu was building a new life in an unfamiliar country with no apparent need to unpack his history. I know now I didn’t piece together the whole jigsaw of who he was. I loved and accepted him for who he appeared to be. I didn’t doubt his completeness, didn’t guess the omissions and he had no compelling need to disclose the whole truth. He didn’t see a need to alarm me with his darker parts.

Episodes from the past can be moved into the shadows and remain there, undisclosed and undiscussed. Maybe some of us get away with it, if we’re lucky, or like Mottsu, sometimes darkness you thought was hidden in the past will rear up and overtake you. When that happened to him I found myself disbelieving and dismayed about his partially disclosed depression. He didn’t share the full story. I barely dreamt into what he was really going through and I realised too late that I didn’t know him.

I didn’t even guess at what I didn’t know.