Get your hankies out. I am a Brit. 15 years ago I met a beautiful girl in California. She won't mind me saying she was a crazy, drop dead gorgeous party animal, but despite what people kept trying to tell me about her being bad news, I just loved her most for the things I could see inside of her. We hit it off from the first moment, and despite all the mutual attraction, we took everything really steady and actually courted properly. I asked her if she would like to go to Wales to see the castles she had only seen in books. See what I mean about her being different?How many chicks are into Welsh castles for goodness sake. She bit my hand off and also made a decision to go straight and clean and she returned with me to the UK where we became close friends and had some great times. Sure there were hard times too, very hard, because it was not at all easy for her to get over the problems of addiction, and neither of us properly understood the score, but basically we were doing OK. I believed she was worth every ounce of effort, so I proposed to her, she didnt say no, but the wheels fell off. It turns out that the laws in the UK made it impossible for us to make a life together unmarried because she would not have been able to work legally in the UK or me in the US. No way did I want her doing anything illegal, so the plan was for me to stay in the UK and work my butt off for three months to put in our kitty. She returned to California where she could earn a packet, and then Id fly out and we'd marry and start our new life somewhere in the US. Unfortunately during this time apart, the power of addiction was too much, and back with her "friends"who did not do a lot to support her, she lapsed back into her bad ways. When I pitched up in California to be with her as agreed, she basically ended it all between us. There were more questions than answers, nothing seemed to add up at the time, and I guess the frustration of not knowing the full story made the break up really hard for me. So 15 years ago I returned to the UK and anyway you get on with life, get over it and re-join the field of play. I never expected to see or hear from her ever again. There are some people you never forget. 5 1/2 years ago something got me thinking about her, and I wondered what she was up to, so following my instincts I sent a letter to a newspaper in Minneapolis where I remembered her family was from, asking if there was any way of maybe finding her just to see how she was. I was not surprised that nothing came back. I was relieved actually, because I didnt really want to know she was still out of control. So, no reply, all forgotten. Never mind. Just before Xmas something triggered a memory again and I was thinking about her again, so armed with the Internet this time I followed my instinct and sent a Christmas card to a person with her name in some Minnesotan hick town I had never heard of, just to say hi and how's things. It was a complete pitch in the dark really, and I forgot I even sent it. Well, on Monday I had a little letter back from the US of A and guess who it was from? 5 1/2 years ago, the former love of my life went for treatment and from that day to this has been straight and sober and clean and happy. She has a good job, her own rambling house, a couple of cats, and generally doing OK. Thee were so many emotions reading her letter. It was an unbelievable feeling of relief - and I just felt so proud of her - and vindicated as well, I guess, that I hadnt been mad thinking all those years ago that there was something special inside her. She has got over an unbelievable path of self destruction and all those talents I could see hidden away 15 years ago are now out in the open. But it gets better than that. She enclosed every which way piece of contact info. Last night I phoned her, and after the initial shock "I cannot believe this is happening", well, it was like we had never been apart. She is still the same to talk to - the funniest lady you ever heard, sexy husky voice and absolutely buzzing with life, but all in the best possible way. She is still mad on Harleys and driven to live life to the full and see the world and try things, but not in a desparate way like you do when you are running away from something you cant face when you wake up from being stoned out your mind. Brits and Yanks apparently speak the same language, but we dont always, and it was amazing talking and misunderstanding and laughing at our different turns of phrase. I dont want to bore you with any more, but luckily I changed the tarif on my phone for international calls just before I rang her, but even at 2p a minute, it is still going to be a decent sized bill. And who gives a %%%% One step at a time, but she sounds serious about us getting together for a week or so. And this time she wants to make the big effort to fly across the ocean to see me! And judging by the picture she sent me of a beaming drop dead gorgeous 41year old chick on a Harley, there will be no problem picking her out of the crowd at the airport.