I would say there have been 5 major relationships in my life before my partner and I got together.
1. The sweet 16, long haired, skipping-through-fields-and-gazing-into-eyes one. Musician/literary dandy, slight toy boy factor of one year, the first love and the one over whom tears were first shed and the twang of teenage heart strings echoed in mix tapes featuring The Cure and the House of Love. Still on good terms, lovely guy, fuzzy, heart shaped memories etc, but at the time wanted me to be someone I wasn’t, so my choice to end.
2. The teenage crisis moving-in-with-older-guy one. Mmmm. Big waste of crucial youth/beauty of early 20′s for 2 years. Muso, 10 years older, lessons learned but, you know, essentially ridiculous choice. Ended by me a lot later than should have been.
3. The “on the right track” one, same age, same profession (designer), lots of fun, great times and social life, basically messed up by me as slightly messed up by insecurities gained from numbers 1 and 2. As a result, not able to be cool in relationship and acted a bit mental a lot. Oh dear. Duly dumped, much heartbreak ensues. However, still friends and on good terms with mutual mates/family etc.
4. The guy I spent my late 20′s with, from 24-29 and the second boyfriend to live with. Toyboy of three years younger, musician, lovely guy and lots of fond memories but sadly he grew up during our time together. He found his confidence, I lost mine. Literally, this fella would walk in front of me like a peacock with the dreary brown wife plodding behind. He ended it ( twice, more fool me for going back after round 1) much heartbreak ensues.
5. Ahem. Oops. The rebound fella from number 4. This rebound lasted FAR too long (18 months). Good point were: lots of travel and gigs, goodlooking arm candy, good for the time after dumpage of number 4. Bad points; basically the fella was an idiot with an Oedipus complex, still lived at home at 28 (warning bells, anyone?!), immature in every way and was, unfortunately, a twat. My choice to end.
In between this little lot there were people important to me, dates, mistakes, crushes, but the main list remains, and by the time I get to après numero 5 I have had enough.
“No more musicians please”, (“the band” ALWAYS come first, as do other women), “no more crisis rebounds/rebellions, I want to be on my own, live in Barcelona, run on the beach and do lots of writing”, I tell my beer buddy Miles. We meet up every day for a pint (or two) in the pub after work, easy after I live in town and our flats are equidistant to the boozer. We go on bike rides together, go and check out some cool art stuff on weekends. Take the cameras out and take some snaps. You know, friend stuff. We have done this ever since I moved back to the fenlands after number 4 and during number 5 of above.
“Yep”, I say, on the way to Cornwall, for a week together “I really don’t want to be with anyone. Nope, I am happy, FINALLY with who I am, I want to just have some time alone, be myself and that’s it.”. Miles nods, listening, as he always does, to my musings and ramblings.
Miles is my brother TIm’s best friend. We have known each other for years and years, meeting up in London when he came to visit friends nearby, staying in my flat when Tim lived with me. Hanging out with my brother and Miles is always so much fun. I am always myself, relaxed, laughing, in good, safe, inspiring and fabulous company.
So, we go on this trip to Cornwall for a long weekend away, just mates. As always, lots of fun – beer, cooking fish over beach fires, taking road trips, messing about with photography, wine, beach walks, beer, rainy beaches, cosy pubs. Miles knows I am tired so makes sure we chill as much as I need. He knows am self-employed, often working random hours as I start the business, and that my endo makes me struggle often with pain and exhaustion. All cool, no need to explain, we are mates, he knows all about me and has done for years.
There is no way we are an item, hahaha! No, no, just mates. I want to be on my own.
We come back from Cornwall and I teach, as usual, in London midweek, which often spreads into a few days staying with my Dad and little sis and catching up with my mates. From Tuesday to Saturday I am away, but it feels like something is missing.
Or is it someone?
Noooooo, I have never thought of us like that.
Hmmm. Number 5 used to say that Miles was in love with me. I just thought it was because he was way more thoughtful than the apron-string-loving narcissist. I mean, I know he brought me back some carrot cake from my favourite stall in Broadway Market knowing how much I miss London Fields, but love me? Noooo.
Suddenly the M11 drive home is too long.
I just want to get home.
And by home I mean to Miles.
I knocked on the door that time, and life was different. Everything was different.
3.5 years and 2 children later here we are.
We have never argued.
We are totally knackered, but totally together, and totally happy.
We will get married, one day, when the girls are older and can enjoy a party with us, but it’s not important to us. The most important thing is who we are, our little family of 4 who are my world, and life with my bestest boy mate who turned out to be the one who had to watch while I made mistakes and got hurt. The one who waited, who patiently listened, who knew me really well, and, well, just The One.
So, to the man who works flexi hours when my endo cripples me, who knows before I do when I am heading for a fall, and who believes in me more than I believe in myself – thank you
Love is you and my girls.