So the story is told. And the designers and editors and printers and who knows how many others have been busy behind the scenes, and the labours of the aftermath year will soon be released into the world for anyone to read.
Of course, it’s not the whole story – I doubt even the most prolific memoirists have told their whole story. Some things are best kept private, and I’m sure everyone is too involved in the specifics of their own lives to be very much interested in ours. Aside from that, there are incidents I’ve missed out and behaviours I’ve played down, for two reasons I suppose. First, they just didn’t fit with the narrative as it was emerging. Secondly, I’ve wanted to treat people fairly, even when they acted in ways that challenged us, and I’ve been careful not to be judgmental or bitter. Those qualities simply don’t belong in a love story, or at least, not in our love story. Definitely not in ours.
I haven’t told all, but I have tried to be honest, and I hope I’ve owned up to my own personal failings as they impacted on events. Mr Smith, of course, has no failings, or at least none worth mentioning. Really, none. Rites of passage of this order and magnitude have a way of dissolving any perceived shortcomings, and even if they didn’t, there’s not a single instance of Mr Smith so much as squeezing the toothpaste in the wrong place or leaving the seat up. Really, I can’t think of any. And I hope that as you read, you get to meet a courageous, funny, intelligent and compassionate man – the kind of man who can easily overlook the failings of others and inspire his flawed wife to play them down in a book.
But I have exposed my own imperfections, for anyone to read about along with the discoveries of my heart, mind and soul. It’s not the whole story, but it’s enough to feel that I’ve laid myself – both of us – bare, for anyone to read about. And that feels just a wee bit scary.
So I’m feeling the fear, and as I’m feeling it, I’m finding that it’s not really fear at all. I’ve felt real, heart-thumping, soul-shattering fear – it’s one of the things I’m laying bare – and if I can feel that, I can feel whatever it is that you feel when you put yourself out there and launch a book for anyone to read.
Even so, I might just allow myself a little wobble on the 24th of June. Wish me luck.