My daughter has awful taste in men. I know some people would say like mother, like daughter, but I never listen to that. Her boyfriends have been nothing but disasters and dead-beats. I wouldn't have parted with her for any of those worthless good-for-nothings. But you… I let her go for you.

I didn't have a choice of course. She wasn't even going to ask my permission. She wouldn't even have told me if you hadn't made such a huge mistake. To think that she'd have lived another life away from me, making up lies and excuses… and that maybe one day she wouldn't have come back. That year of my life was the longest, most painful year ever. Even when Pete died, I could somehow see a way out of it. I had her. Without her… nothing.

I could have hated you so easily. You dragged my baby girl away from home and showed her things that no one should have to see. She didn't tell me everything, but she told me enough. And something in her eyes had changed every time she came home; she'd grown up, grown up way beyond her years. Sometimes she'd stop abruptly just as she was telling me something and she wouldn't say anymore. You'd changed her. She wasn't my Rose anymore, my little girl. She was yours. And I could have hated you.

But I couldn't. No matter how much I berated you, I couldn't in my heart hate you. Because you'd made her so happy. My daughter… the girl with no A levels, no job, no future. You'd given her a purpose in life, you'd given her a life she could only ever have dreamed of with me. I knew she would never have stopped going back to you, couldn't have given that life up. She was addicted, hooked on the adventure and excitement… and hooked on you. She was utterly, completely in love with you and I knew how that felt. I'd never seen her so truly happy in my life. How could I have forbidden that?
So I let her go and trusted her to you. I sat at home and waited. I pretended I was fine with it all, because I knew she didn't want to hurt me. That she didn't want to upset me, but this life… she was made for this life. I couldn't stop her. So I waited for the phone calls, the visits, the bundles of washing brought home. And if I was sharp and angry with you, it was only because I was jealous. You had my Rose in a way I could only ever dream of. I suppose all mothers feel that way when their children leave home, but it was worse for me. You'd out-done me in a way only an alien could.

The only time I ever thought she might stay was when you changed. I could see improvements in you that Christmas, but you weren't the man she'd fallen for. All I could see was hurt and betrayal on her face, and I knew that this would be the time to hate you. But I couldn't. Even though you were tearing her apart, I couldn't hate you.

And now we're here because of you, a million light years from home. I saw what you and Rose did and I knew I didn't want her involved anymore. But it was her life, her decision. When she left us in that strange place, going back for you, I felt my heart break, but I was comforted by the fact she was with you. She was doing what made her happy. That was all that mattered.

And now she's here too. And my heart's broken even further. I've seen her fall apart and crumble in front of my eyes, pining for the man she loves. I know how that feels because I've been there. And yet somehow it's worse to see your child suffer that way. She ran to me on that beach, her mother, wanting me to kiss it better like I used to when she fell over. Like the little girl she still is underneath it all. A little girl who has seen and experienced too much too young, and is now collapsing underneath the weight of it all. She just wanted me to take some of the pain away. Only I can't anymore, because her pain's too much, it's never-ending. What you and her had was too intense, too special, too exclusive. She never told me she loved you, but I knew she did. But it went beyond love. It went into feeling whole for the first time in her life. She was never the same since she met you.

A mother is supposed to protect her child from anything, but how can you protect them when you don't know where they are? Even now she's in the same house as me, I can't protect her, because her thoughts are a million miles away with you. Since you left she's become less than the Rose I once knew, my Rose. She's just a shell. And I'm scared she'll never recover and my beautiful Rose will wilt and fade before her time.

And now I want to hate you. I want to hate you for taking away her light and joy and just discarding her. I want to hate you for destroying my little girl's life. I want to hate you for abandoning her here, where she doesn't want to be. How do you think it makes me feel to know that my daughter's safe, here with me, where I want her, but that she's dying inside because it's the last place she'd have chosen to end up?

But I can't hate you. Because you loved her just as much as I did, and you've lost just as much as me. You took care of her for me for so long. She's never told me all the stories, but I'm sure you've saved her life countless times. And I know you weren't always saving her for my sake. It must have been awful to keep returning to visit me, doing the domestic thing that she said you never did. But even so, you made a promise to me and you kept it.

You always brought her home. And I love you for that.