Tomorrow I will be 36 and I wonder is this the year when the quiet slide into bitterness begins. Many of my friends have come to know disappointment well – marriages are beginning to fail, hopes dashed upon the black rocks. We will never be rock stars, we are just like everybody else (if not considerably worse). All we can hope is to be happy, and sometimes that can seem a possibility as distant as Africa. The heart remains alive and hopeful but it is a tired beast now and perhaps its reserves of optimism are thinning. Despite everything I sometimes hold to the dream that something that once was good in the past might come back and be good again although all the proof in the world tells me that it will not and that if it does it will not be the same. And yet this dream of the past holds me strongly and keeps me pushing away any new thing that might become as good as I remember that time in the past to have been. And I wonder what it will take to free either of us from the time we had together, if she is not free already and it is only I that remain here, waiting, hoping? Will it be the death of one of us, or some other irrefutable truth, that says it is over and gone for good and will not ever come back and be the same? And I wonder, as I think about this, if it was ever real or if even then it was a dream, an imagining fuelled by the eager wish that happiness such as this exists, for without such a dream, without such happiness, what is there for me, or for her, or for any one of us?