It was a week or so ago that we turned five and I’ve been meaning to write about it ever since. I thought I’d jump straight in but hesitated, wanted to be certain that I could get it right; much like I was five years ago.
I was sitting in a north London pub opposite you. I gave myself a stern talking to – be sure: be sure before you drink any more and certainty becomes proportional to blood-alcohol levels. So, perhaps your recollections of me being stony faced and silent aren’t too far from the truth. You see I had already half fallen for you, as silly as I knew that was. I don’t talk on the phone easily to people I don’t know well, yet we talked for hours. I don’t like staying up late on a school night, but I gladly talked to you until the Cinderella hour. I needed to burst my bubble. I needed to wake up from my dream, I told myself. I needed to meet you. So I stared at you intently, weighed every word you said, looked for cracks.
And then? Well, somewhere between the second and third pint I relaxed and decided to just ride the wave. The play we saw was beyond strange and the acting was terrible. Oddly, that helped us make the date a success, I think. And when it was over and neither of us wanted the date to be over so we went for dinner.
Your misstep of choosing a chain restaurant was swiftly followed by mine – filling my own wine glass to the brim, remembering my manners (such as they were) and filling yours until the wine spilt. Somehow these mishaps were endearing. In fact, months later, you told me it was then that you were sure about me. I relaxed.
We got a minicab, but the driver had no clue where he was going and in the muddle I realised we were closer to my house than yours and so it was that the evening continued into morning – with tumblers full of Black Label Smirnoff that we both had the wisdom to leave undrunk. Wrapped in your arms, I slept fitfully until it was time to head to work.
E-mail followed during the day as I knew it would, never fearing that kissing you goodbye on the Bakerloo line train would be our last kiss. I returned home that evening to discover your silver chain and pendants wrapped around my bedpost. But I had only the faintest idea that your fingers were already entwined around my heart.
We look young in the photos taken just a month or two later on the Isle of Wight. Facing the camera head on we already seem so certain. I know I was. Of course life or fate or whatever you want to call it had some nasty surprises for us. It hasn’t been easy, has it? But I wouldn’t swap any of it for not having met you.
Here’s to reaching double figures.