There are a lot of photographs I could share, but I have chosen for now to not include any photographs of the children or any “compromising” pictures, except for the following:
This is one that Paula sent to me in the spring of 2013, while she was busy trying to convince me to return to the UK, yet unbeknownst to me, courting Claire. It speaks volumes about how the kids felt about me, and I loved them very much.
Apologies that the above photo is so tiny. It was the first photograph ever taken of me and Paula together. We were sitting on a bench at the Shoreham-by-Sea beach in October 2009.
The above is a picture of the sea itself, and one reason why I was so taken by England. What a delight to be living in a place where a short 10 – 15 minute walk could have me watching the foam lap on the rocky shore.
The next group of pictures were all taken during the month of July 2010, before and after we were married on the 20th. Paula had arrived on the 3rd, and so my friends wanted to treat her to true American-style 4th of July. I treated her to tours of my little town, Greenbelt. I treated her to meals at Chevy’s, Johnny Rocket’s, and several other restaurants. We went to the upscale shopping district in Friendship Heights, visited many of the national monuments and museums, stopped to have a look at the White House, and wandered the National Zoo. And we had some “alone time” — you’ll glimpse a bit of the teddy bear tattoo Paula had gotten very soon after we met so that I would “always be close to her heart.”
The couple of photos of Paula and I in bed are worth noting. To prepare for her visit, I’d gone out and bought craft paper, and spent hours using marking pens, water color paint, glue and glitter to make banners welcoming her to my home. I even wrote her a love letter on one sheet that was probably 3 ft x 4 ft, telling her how much I loved her, and how I looked forward to our future. She has probably burned the posters by now, even though they came from the heart.
The last photograph is a gift my friend had given us, hand-crafting the box. The box contained DVDs of our marriage, in both US and UK format. Here’s our wedding ceremony:
Sad to say, but the following photographs are not in chronological order, but were all taken after we were married. Some were captured before I learned the truth about Paula not owning her home, and hence, were on trips I made to the UK before finally being able to move there. Others were taken after I moved to the UK in July 2011, one year after we were married.
The first two were from a rare night out in which we had a lovely dinner at Aberdeen Steak House in Brighton. The third photo is from Christmas 2011, opening a gift — still didn’t know the truth. Further down, there are more pictures from that Christmas.
There’s a great photo of Paula at gay pride in Brighton with the pink hat, which would have been August 2011, the month after we were married.
Then there’s a photo of me and Paula at Abbey Road, and a few others further below. That would have been on our trip to London in fall of 2010.
There are some pictures of our trip to Wales in October of 2010, which is when I learned that my dear friend Meg has died in childbirth.
Paula painting our bedroom… A color we had chosen together after a session with the marriage counselor. I could not do the painting because I couldn’t see well enough to catch the drips or notice the spots that needed a second coat. I particularly like the picture of her holding up the paint roller.
The London shots include our meal at McDonald’s and a free visit to a museum that had to do with the motion picture industry.
There are a few photos that Paula took of herself using her videocam, and a couple of random shots I took of Paula just because I thought she was beautiful.
You’ll notice a few photos of me. Two were taken on one of our rare nights out, at the pub at Devil’s Dyke. One was an outing with the kids to Bramber Castle, and another to an outing at Arundel Castle. Another was in the chapel at Lancing College. I snapped a picture of Paula in the midst of casting her ball when we took the kids bowling.
This is just a small sampling of hundreds of photos, videos, emails, and all manner of stuff. This was a real marriage to me, and I sacrificed a lot despite the odds and despite everything she did, to make it happen and to make it last. It’s just a shame it didn’t mean anything to her.
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