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First Love Story

1957 Kuala Lumpur Airport, Malaysia. A slim woman with dark curly hair alights nervously from the plane from Dublin, her heart pounding. It had been cold and wet leaving Ireland but she has been travelling for three days and her pretty dress is damp with fatigue and sweat. It’s been nearly a year since the last time she saw her beloved and then, he had been tall, dark and rugged in a classic double breasted suit and now she spots him , his lean face now lightly tanned, his khaki shorts displaying knees, hitherto unseen by her! The enormity of her one-way ticket and her exhaustion overwhelm her and with a huge hug and very few words said, he whisks her away to the family home of his friend, her chaperones for the next four days. When she next sees her fiance, it is on their wedding day. He is waiting at the altar in St John’s Church, she walks down the aisle towards him. It is a solemn moment, so far away from family and friends, defying tradition. I still have the metal trunk that she, my mother, bought for her journey into her new life, with her wedding dress and trousseau. It reminds me that true love takes courage and vision.

It also takes a firm belief in the Love Story. They barely knew each other after nine months apart, and in this photo, I can see that this moment is slightly unreal for them and yet they will take the step that will keep them together.

They were very happily married for over forty years, when my mother suddenly died at the age of sixty-six. He continues to live life to the full, as they both did. Their Love Story is for me, one of the best.