The Girl from Murrayfield 

 This is a story about a beautiful, blond
and blue-eyed girl named Andria

The Girl from Murrayfield is not a story about a girl from Thailand but a story about a beautiful young lady from South Africa. Murrayfield does not exist in the land of smiles. However, Murrayfield does flourish in a suburb of Pretoria in South Africa. Pretoria you may have heard came to world attention as the place where Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, better known as "The Blade Runner" because of his prosthetic legs, lives. Oscar was convicted of culpable homicide for allegedly murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Reeva was born in 1983. It's also the year my story begins. 

Unfortunately, the story about Reeva and the story I am about to tell you both have a comparable tragic ending. But I'm not here to tell you about Reeva. For that, you can follow Reeva and Oscar's story in the news. However, there are similarities here to the lives and the passing of two beautiful young ladies whose premature deaths both came from gunshot wounds.

It's all about the Third of September

The Third of September is a day I'll always remember for on this day the girl from Murrayfield (the topic of my story) entered the world. Her name is Andria. Later the songs "Papa was a Rollin' Stone" by the Temptations, "Careless Whispers" by George Michael and "Cruel Summer" by Bananarama were to play a crucial part in this story. The Third of September is a day of sadness. It's the birthday anniversary of my beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed fiancée Andria. She was born on this day in 1966.

The lyrics to the psychedelic soul song "Papa was a Rollin' Stone" was written by Motown songwriters Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. It was initially recorded as a single in 1971 for the group The Undisputed Truth, but later in 1972 Whitfield also had The Temptations record it, with much greater success. It was this group that I remember most. The lines of the song go something like this; It was the Third of September, the day I'll always remember, cause' that was the day my daddy died.

On the 15th of November 1984, Andria passed away from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Somehow Andria got hold of a hunting rifle and then shot herself in the stomach. I've no idea how long she suffered. Andria was just eighteen years old. At the time, I was miles away and as a result, never got to see her alive again. As I write my story, I sit all alone, lost in thought and intently fixed on the only photos I have of the two of us together. 

Andria was a beautiful young lady who I still miss very much to this day. The photos were taken at my elder brother's wedding in Cape Town South Africa. It is the way I, Grahame, would like to introduce myself and to also share my story with you. Andria's memory is never far from my side. The little time I spent with Andria was, without any doubt the most loving.​  ​

 Andria - The Girl from Murrayfield

I thought it best to start at the very beginning of just how Andria, the girl from Murrayfield and I first locked eyes with one another. It all came about while completing my military training in Durban, a city on the east coast of South Africa. The year was 1982, and I was off duty at the time.

I originally came across Andria's sister Luanne reading a book alongside a hotel veranda, and I had to meet her. She was sitting all alone, so I decided to approach her. And she readily accepted my invitation. Soon we were lost in translation. However, it wasn't long before Andria turned up with her then-boyfriend, and they sat down beside us. Not long after that, I had a date with destiny. Luanne and I immediately became good friends.  

The next day Luanne, along with Andria and her their younger brother and dad, returned to Murrayfield. The children's mother had not accompanied the rest of the family on their brief holiday in Durban. Luanne and I kept in contact writing to each other until one day she wrote to me to say that she was getting back together with a previous boyfriend. I felt heart-sore but wished her well.

It wasn't until later the next year that I received a phone call. It was Andria on the line, and she said that she would like to meet up with me. She was visiting her grandparents in Cape Town. Little did I know it then, but that phone call would change my life forever. And ultimately her's too.

Without too much as a thought, I hopped into my little red sports car and headed out to meet up with Luanne's younger sister. I remember that day well as Andria greeted me with such charismatic enthusiasm. Her natural high spirit captivated me like no other girl I had ever met before. Or after for that matter.

At the time, I had no idea that this would be the beginning of a full-blown love affair. However, our close bond was only to last two years, albeit the most beautiful. Most being spent in a long-distance relationship.

You see Andria was to fall deeply in love with me and me too with her. The probleat the time was that (if you see it as a problem) Andria was still at school. She was just sixteen years young, and I had already turned thirty.

Now you may be asking yourself why a guy fourteen years her senior would want to get hooked up with someone as young as Andria was. Yes! I know Princess Caroline of Monaco married her lover Philippe Junot when she was twenty-one when the age difference between them was seventeen years.    

Next thing I knew was that Andria wanted desperately to marry me. Over the phone one day, she made me promise that we'd get engaged. Andria was then seventeen. Though I got on well with her parents, the truth of the matter was I wanted to wait until I could approach her parents to pop the question. More so, I wanted Andria to finish her schooling. Andria could not wait and made me honour my word that I would take care of her. It was a difficult decision, but at the same time, I didn't want to disappoint.

I had the ring designed, hopped on a plane and flew out to meet the girl I was so crazy about from Murrayfield. I spent a week with Andria and then had to return home for work commitments. I shared some extraordinary times with Andria and her family. Andria's parents knew the age difference and accepted me as one of the family even inviting me to a live performance of Rod Stewart who had come to South Africa to perform. 

Grahame and Andria 

Andria - The Girl from Murrayfield

Little did I realise that when I lovingly kissed Andria goodbye at the airport in Johannesburg, I wasn't going to see her pretty face ever again. Andria had previously visited me in Cape Town on many occasions, and we wrote to each other often. Being an artist, I would draw images on the outside of envelopes just like the Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon did when he sent letters to his friend in Spain. I would also paint small colourful images on Andria's face whenever we went out dancing at nightclubs. Those were extraordinary times for us, and we were to have many more of them.

After Andria's passing, I'd go to some of our favourite places where we had shared special moments. There would be times that I'd see her in the crowd only to be disappointed when in reality, the pretty blond girl I thought was Andria, wasn't. And for years after that, I'd write short messages of comfort in the local newspapers to try and keep her memory alive.

People often ask me why Andria took her life at such a young age. It's a difficult question for me to answer. Perhaps there were warning signs that her family may have known about but one that I didn't see. Like the fact that Andria's brother drowned in the family swimming pool at the tender age of two when Andria was just six. Or that Andria tried to take her life once before at the age of fifteen. That only came about when I read an article her father wrote in a magazine shortly after Andria's final farewell. I continually search for possibilities, but still, I don't have any answers.

Now and then I'd break out in tears because I felt it was my fault that Andria is not here with me now. It's been more than thirty years since Andria's passing, and I still find it extremely difficult to bury her memory or to let go of the past. Because of this, I often feel urged to share my story. It was because of this I needed to put pen to paper and tell it as it is.

I know that it can sometimes be extremely distressing to express oneself to those who have not gone through this kind of heartache or even to be able to write directly from the heart. But if you've ever had a love affair, (tragic or otherwise) that you'd like to share with me, I'd love to hear from you. If you want, you may remain anonymous. There's a form at the bottom of this page where you can enter your details and tell your story. But before you do that, please continue reading the rest of the story as it's far from over. 

Paintings by Belgium artist Jean-Michel Folon

Nicole - The Girl from Trieste 

To rub salt into an already large wound, a movie I took out from my local video store after Andria's tragic death, overwhelmed me even more. The movie I'm referring to is called "The Girl from Trieste". This movie still haunts me to this very day because of its many similarities to my story. 

For this reason, I chose the title of my story "The Girl from Murrayfield". That film that had all the hallmarks and surprisingly similar too, to that of my extraordinary relationship with Andria. "The Girl from Trieste" also known as "La Ragazza di Trieste" is an Italian romance-drama. I'd be lying if I told you I'd watched this movie only a dozen times. I watch it over and over again to see if I can find solace to the madness and sadness. 

The movie, released in 1982, tells the story about an older American artist and a beautiful young dark-haired Italian woman named Nicole. They become lovers. The artist was at first, smitten by Nicole's youth, beauty and free spirit, but soon realises something is amiss. Their frenzied love affair is short-lived when the troubled girl drowns herself in the ocean.

Could it be a coincidence that being an artist myself and being the older guy who falls hopelessly in love with a beautiful young girl who, like the girl from Trieste, would take her own life? Isn't it also a coincidence that Andria and I first met in 1982. They're far too many similarities to both the movie and my story that ended so tragically. Is it strange that sometime later I would take in a housemate in Cape Town who was born in Trieste? 

It was uncanny that many years after Andria's passing I began a tempestuous love affair with a beautiful dark-haired girl named Nicole who is strikingly similar to the girl from Trieste? The relationship lasted six months.   

The Girl from Trieste

Andria - The Girl from Murrayfield

Before Andria's passing, there were many songs we would share, but there were also a few songs that would leave a lasting impression on me long after her passing. One such song is "Careless Whispers" recorded and performed by George Michael. Whenever I hear or play the melody, emotion takes its toll on me. Below are the lyrics to "Careless Whispers". The song got released in July 1984. Andria passed away in November 1984. Through empathy, please feel free to watch the video below.

The only change I personally and purposely made to the original lyrics was wherein the line it says "I should have known better than to cheat a friend" I replaced it with "I should have known better than to leave you all alone" The truth is I didn't cheat on Andria. Still, somehow I felt guilty, leaving her all on her own when she needed me the most. Now it's me who's all alone.   

Careless Whispers - Lyrics  

I feel so unsure

As I take your hand

And lead you to the dance floor

As the music dies

Something in your eyes

Calls to mind a silver screen

And all its sad goodbyes


I'm never going to dance again

Guilty feet have got no rhythm

Though it's easy to pretend

I know you're not a fool

I should have known better than to leave you all alone

And waste a chance that I've been given

So I'm never going to dance again

The way I danced with you

Chorus Ends

Time can never mend

A careless whisper of a good friend

To the heart and mind

Ignorance is kind

There's no comfort in the truth

Pain is all you'll find

Repeat Chorus

Tonight the music seems so loud

I wish that we could lose this crowd

Maybe it's better this way

We'd hurt each other with the things we want to say

We could have been so good together

We could have lived this dance forever

But now who's going dance with me

Please stay


Now that you're gone

Now that you're gone

Now that you're gone

Was what I did so wrong

So wrong that you had to leave me all alone

Andria - The Girl from Murrayfield

"Cruel Summer" is the title of a pop song performed by three charming British singer/songwriters known as Bananarama. This song still leaves a significant impact on me. The title itself says it all. As one of the band members said, there was a darker side to their melody than other summer songs.

"Cruel Summer" was first released in the UK in 1983 and then later in the USA in 1984. These were the two years Andria and I spent together, and it's also why, whenever I hear the song now, I think of my summer days without my girl from Murrayfield. The Bananarama girl to the right of the video wearing white dungarees bears a remarkable resemblance to Andria.

Cruel Summer - Lyrics 

Hot summer streets

And the pavements are burning

I sit around

Trying to smile

But the air is so heavy and dry

Strange voices are saying

What did they say

Things I can't understand

It's too close for comfort

This heat has got right out of hand


It's a cruel, cruel summer

Leaving me here on my own

It's a cruel; it's a cruel, cruel summer

Now that you're gone

Chorus Ends

The city is crowded

My friends are away

And I'm on my own

It's too hot to handle

So I've got to get up and go

Repeat Chorus

It's a cruel, cruel summer

Leaving me here on my own

It's a cruel; it's a cruel, cruel summer

Now that you're gone

You're not the only one. 

Do you have a compelling story that you'd like to share?

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