The love poem I received on the 6th anniversary of the day we met!
Today is a special day for my husband and I. It is the anniversary of the day we met. Yes it is probably a rather childish anniversary, like a young couple in high school celebrating their three month-a-versary, however it’s the day my life changed far for the better and so it is important! It is twenty four years since that fateful night we met! I can hardly believe it! How the time has flown but the love has only grown!
I went out with “the girls” and we did the rounds of our usual bars, meeting up with “the boys” later in the night, my current boyfriend being one of those guys. We did not go out together but would meet up at some point during the evening and then he would return home with me. When we met people he knew he didn’t introduce me as his girlfriend. He kept his distance, he was wary. I know he had been hurt in a relationship with an older married woman, she had fallen pregnant and forced him to pay for a private abortion or she would tell her husband. I understand it must have been painful for him but he made me feel used and worthless. I felt so lonely and confused. Not what I needed after my bad experiences. I was heading down a bad road. I had been patient but was well and truly sick of being his booty call, ending each weekend night together only to be ignored all week long.
For Valentines Day he had bought me an album I wanted but gave it to me only if I gave him a few albums that I didn’t listen to in exchange. At a New Years party he had fallen ill, a virus and alcohol not mixing well. He went to bed and I could have stayed with our friends but instead I went to him and looked after him through the night, emptying his sick bucket and cooling his fever with a damp cloth. He never thanked me once. This night while sat at the bar I was really sick of it all, maybe he noticed my bad mood, he turned to me and said “you know I don’t know why you put up with me!” and in a “Eureka!” moment I replied “you know I don’t know why either, we are finished!”. I got up and went to the bathroom my friends following. I cried some and they said come on lets go have some fun.. so we left and headed for our favourite bar.
(On a side note: I was 17 at the time. I had been going out to bars with friends since I was 16. The establishments didn’t have a clue and back then if you looked 18 that was I.D. enough! The night I celebrated my 18 with a pub crawl party I am sure those bartenders and owners got a shock!)
Dancing and drinking I felt very happy. I felt I had done the right thing at last, it was better to be on my own than be made to feel so bad about myself. At closing time I did not want the night to end so I announced a party at my place open to anyone who wanted to come and then my friends and I piled into a taxi home. Lots of people turned up at my home soon after. There was only a jar of instant coffee granules to offer as a drink! I was literally penniless at the time, on the dole after my youth training scheme placement had fallen through. Receiving the young persons allowance (a reduced rate assuming the claimant to still be living at home) and not knowing any better that I could claim housing benefit and other monetary help I was barely able to cover costs. I had nothing left over for luxuries like food! My flat was a popular meeting point.. a place to gather without parents! One friend had stapled an envelope on the wall and visitors would drop their loose change into it, usually enough to keep the cheap coffee in stock and sometimes enough to buy packs of spaghetti to boil and eat plain. Friends that were also out of work and living in my building or the one across the road would often go shoplifting, returning with gifts like a block of cheese or a tin of beans. I couldn’t bring myself to fall as low as shoplifting but I was bloody glad they could and they were kind enough to share! The upside was I had never had a more attractive body! I was still curvy living off black coffee and eating rarely and badly!
With nothing much on offer a lot of people left fairly quickly but my little home was still packed. I didn’t have much in my flat but the things I owned I took care off. When my cousin puked over my second hand sofa I cried as I cleaned it up! It had a matching stool thing that looked like a huge blanket box, but didn’t open, half was a seat and in the other half was a table top. It was plush all the way around except for this square table top surface. The surprise was this was not only a table but a lamp! It was quirky and I loved it so to see someone sitting on top of it was very annoying! I stormed over through the people and demanded to know why they would sit there. “Well there’s no where else to sit” this guy tells me as he looks up at me! Oh my! He was handsome and I went a little gooey in my tummy! He was obviously tall, even while sitting I did not have far to look down from my 5ft stature, long dark wavy hair a nice smile and gorgeous icy blue eyes.
I looked around and replied that he was right! He shuffled forward a bit so he was sitting more carefully on the edge and I budged him over a little and sat down right next to him and that was that.. we started talking. We put on Helloween’s Keeper of the Seven Keys part two album and listened to all of it as we talked and talked. What a coincidence that he owned the part one album while I owned part two! I remember asking his age and he told me to guess.. twenty I said. You are three years out he replied.. “What, you’re seventeen like me?” I asked! He looked older! He was! He was twenty three, a month away from twenty four! I was only a few months into my seventeenth year! I was shocked at that but we got on so well it didn’t seem to matter. As more people headed home we finally got seats on the sofa. I was tired and wanted to sleep but my cousin and a dozen others had claimed my bedroom, this was the cannabis camp, and there were dopey sleeping people everywhere. We decided to share the sofa and so we lay and cuddled up together and soon we were kissing but he didn’t press for more. We fell asleep together but got a rude awakening sometime around four or five am as in walked my ex-boyfriend, noisy and very drunk, expecting to carry on as if nothing had happened! He stopped dead still and stared at us in complete disbelief. Then he turned and walked out! He would soon be telling everyone that I had cheated on him, how he had found me with another guy and that he had dumped me! I didn’t care, my reputation was lower than mud anyway, I knew the truth and so did my guy. He was in no rush to leave the next morning and we talked some more. The coffee was gone, my last tin of beans had been stolen. I had nothing to offer him so I didn’t understand why he was staying! Before he left he asked if he could meet me that night and I agreed.
Living in the same small town, with friends that linked our circles, frequenting the same bars yet we had never met. The chances of that first meeting were slim to none! He was not going to go to the party because he didn’t know me, he only went because a friend said he would be going too and then that friend left almost immediately, he lived nearby and he’d really only wanted the cheap ride home with so many sharing the taxi fee! When we sat talking he didn’t know it was my place at first. He has always told me how much he loves my smile and my eyes but he remembers my tight fitting black jeans the most from our first meeting! ( charming) That and how at ease he felt with me. He was usually self conscious, awkward with no confidence in himself. My friends told me I shouldn’t go out with him.. ” have you seen what he wears to work?” they laughed! He came from a traditional household, his mother bought his clothes for work and yes they were straight laced, grey puffa jacket and brown trousers with an ironed front crease you could cut an apple on! However I knew that the clothes do not make the man! I knew how my mother had dressed me in second hand old lady drab frumpy clothes. Never judge a book by it’s cover! Besides at the weekend he dressed like a rock star! When he returned home his mother asked where he had been, when he told her where he had stayed the night she said “Oh they are all nutters down there!”. The area I was living, my building in particular, was associated with undesirables!
So out I went to meet him for our first date.. he seemed a bit distant when we met up, he stayed by his friends and I stayed with mine. I thought he had changed his mind and was trying to avoid me. That I was going to be relegated back to booty call territory. I felt angry but he was simply unsure on what to do, how to take it forward. Would I want him hanging around with my friends, should he stay with his mates and wait for me to join him later, he didn’t want to mess things up. It didn’t seem like things were going to go well but the ice was broken when my friend, after having far too much to drink even though she knew she couldn’t handle it well, vomited all over the table, filling the central ashtray that she had hoped would contain all of the up-chucked volume. We worked together to get her sorted and back to my place. Getting her settled we retired to my bedroom and at that point knowing he liked me, knowing he seemed a nice guy but scared he might ask me for sex I threw myself at him! It was what I did. If he didn’t ask I didn’t have to say “NO”, If I didn’t have to say no I wouldn’t be raped and so giving it up in a pre-emptive strike meant it would be gentle and on my terms. That is how our relationship started out. It is not how it continued!
He stayed with me most of Sunday, popping to the nearest shop for supplies, birds eye chicken curry crispy pancakes and chocolate! He came to visit most nights, bringing groceries he would cook for me or we would cook together. I found work, long hours for little pay with a woman I had worked with on the newspaper on her new venture in childcare. I was always tired back then, my body coping with having so little food for months my metabolism trying to cope with me eating meals again. I would come home from work and sleep on the sofa. If he arrived while I was sleeping he would sit and wait for me to wake up. He cared for me and I really liked him. He seemed like a fairytale prince but I was still frightened, more of losing him now than being hurt.. Each night I would take his hand and lead him to the bedroom. After he would hold me and wait for me to fall asleep before returning home. One night as I took his hand he didn’t follow, I turned around to him and he pulled me back down onto the sofa. “You know we don’t have to do this every night” he said! I felt walls crack and begin to crumble inside. “I want to” I replied and I did. I wanted to give myself to him for the first time without the fear but after that it was only when we both wanted to. We declared our love soon after, in June he moved in with me and he proposed to me on my 18th birthday and married me on my 19th birthday!
So tonight we will celebrate our first night in each others arms by watching a movie, snuggled together on the sofa under my electric blanket, probably holding hands after eating a puff pastry chicken pie dinner and there had better be chocolate!