I grew up knowing my father’s undying love for Tynemouth, his hometown in the United Kingdom. Even when he was already a permanent resident of the United States, he had stories to share about his special place. As soon as his words started with, “You know, in Tynemouth…”, we knew that we better buckle up because we would be in for another ride down Dad’s memory lane.
Did we believe any of it, though? I must say I did when I was a toddler. It all sounded so majestic and peaceful, you see. I often compared it to that town where Belle came from in Beauty and the Beast, even if Dad said that Tynemouth was surrounded mainly by the sea. But as I got older, I began to think that some of his stories were weaved by his wild imagination.
The primary thing I could not fathom was how a place could be picturesque all over. As per Dad’s words, “You can look at Tynemouth at any angle, and it will be picture-perfect.” It might be the city dweller in me talking, but that could not be possible. I mean, no matter how colorful New York City was, everyone knew that it still had gray areas hidden in the shadows.
Then, I Had A Relationship Problem
Talks about Tynemouth became far between when I finally moved out of my parents’ house and shacked up with my boyfriend, Zac. He was an aspiring theater actor on Broadway when we met while I was completing my medical residency in one of the biggest hospitals in NYC. Although we had only been dating for almost a year, I agreed to live with Zac because I felt like he was the one for me.
Little did I know, Zac was a poser. He had been posing as some wealthy family’s heir among his peers, claiming that acting was among his hobbies. After all, people who had barely broken into the industry typically earn peanuts. Still, he always had new clothes, shoes, and whatnot.
How could Zac afford all those? I bought everything for him. I was not the type of girl who waited for the guy to give me gifts at all times. I was cool even without receiving any material objects as long as the guy is nice to me.
That’s what happened with Zac. He’s always apologetic for not having enough money to cover his half of the rent and other bills. Since I made more than enough for myself as a doctor, I told him not to worry about that. In return, he would always have the house cleaned and have warm food prepped for me.
This setup worked until I heard his phone chime while he was in the bathroom one day. Call it a woman’s intuition, but I felt a sudden need to read the text he just got. And when I did, my heart sank.
“Thanks for the lovely night, handsome,” the text read. It came with a naked picture of a woman.
When I confronted Zac, he had the gull to direct the blame on me. He spewed a lot of excuses, such as “You are always on call at work” and “You tend to come home super late and tired.” Well, duh, when you’re the one wearing the pants at home, that’s what happens!
I kicked Zac out that night despite his pleas to wait it out in the morning. I could not be bothered by it – I was sure he had other girls to shack up with instantly. Still, I could not bear to stay there, so I took a cab and went straight to my parents’ home.
At once, my parents knew that something was up when I asked them to buzz me in the building. Crying, I relayed everything that transpired between Zac and me. My mother, the hot-headed one in the family, wanted to hunt down my ex and make him pay for everything. But I liked my father’s suggestion better.
“Go to Tynemouth and unwind there. A new place might do you some good.”
Letting Tynemouth Save Me One Day At A Time
After filing an urgent leave of absence at work, I flew to the UK and traveled to Tynemouth. I held zero expectations in my heart; all I wanted was to escape from New York for a while. However, when I reached Tynemouth, I felt transported to another – calmer – dimension.
Most of the structures looked the same. They were all old but well-kept. There was something about their uniformed appearance that gave me a sense of peace. Then, it also helped that the other side of the area was a never-ending body of water. Seeing, hearing, and even smelling the seas genuinely calmed my nerves.
I stayed in Tynemouth for 30 days. I took crash courses in painting and cycling; I was at the beach every day. I even found some of Dad’s old friends and school counselors and visited their homes.
Were 30 days enough? No – it would never be. Tynemouth was a healing place for me. Alas, my life was in New York, and I could not leave that behind. But I promised myself to visit Tynemouth as often as possible.