The start of something beautiful
As I have already mentioned, A Man and I became best friends quickly after we met. I do realise that I went immediately from there to us getting married. Needless to say, there was a lot more to it than that.
When A Man and I first met, like the protagonist of any good rom-com I had a boyfriend. I had been with him for around 6 months at the time, and our relationship continued on-off for another 2 years after that. Even at 14, I was a relationship girl, in it for the long-haul! He and A Man were perfectly well aware of one another’s existence, and the three of us all got along great together. They would go out riding on their 50cc motorbikes (I wasn’t allowed to call them mopeds!) and leave me behind. It even got to the point when the two of them went to a tractor rally together and the roof of their caravan was dented by hailstones the size of golf balls. I loved my boys and the fact that there never seemed to be the risk of our little posse falling apart.
My boyfriend of the time wasn’t a bad guy. He never hurt me or cheated on me or anything like that and we’re still friends now. In hindsight, we just grew out of our relationship. We didn’t really have all that much in common and it was only natural that it should end. Nevertheless, when we did break up in October 2005 I was devastated. I thought I could never move on and I would never find anybody else. A Man was there throughout the pain of my breakup to hug me and listen to me bitch and moan and put up with me mooning around the place constantly. The weekend that my ex and I broke up happened to be the same weekend that my family moved out to live with my paternal grandfather, in the village A Man lived in. I’m sure that regardless of the events involving my ex, A Man and I would have ended up hanging out even more than we already did; it just so happens that I had more free time on my hands than I would otherwise have done. We became virtually inseparable.
Little did I know that A Man was in love with me. I was totally oblivious; we were just friends. Sure we’d had the conversation that if we were both single at 40, we’d marry one another, but that was just because we were both Friends addicts (I mean, who wasn’t in the 2000s?!) and decided that their back-ups were a good plan. Just in case. My mum even thought we should get together, but was always met with the same refrain: “But we’re just friends, that’d be really weird!” (anyone thinking Lion King? No? Just me? Ahem…).
At my insistence, my ex and I briefly tried to sort out our relationship around Christmas time. On New Year’s Eve 2005/06 I had a few friends over. My parents were out, but we just stayed in and played board games and had a few drinks – it was pretty low-key. My boyfriend was at a do with some of his guy friends, so it was nice that A Man had no other plans – it meant I had some company. A Man stayed over and we slept in the same bed because from my point of view it was no different to sharing with any of my girl-friends. The following morning I went and made us a cup of tea and we sat in my room chatting.
I asked him whether he had any New Year’s resolutions and he said he didn’t. I pushed him. “Go on, what’s the one thing you didn’t do or didn’t have last year that you want from this year? If you put your mind to it you can think of something.” A Man went quiet, so I kept pushing him and playfighting to try and get it out of him. Eventually, he mumbled “It’s you”. I was less than impressed. He knew all about the problems with my boyfriend and this just made my whole situation even more confusing. I shouted at him. He left not long after.
3 weeks later, my boyfriend and I broke up. I realised that there was no point in prolonging it and making myself more unhappy. A Man was once again there to support me. He held me as I cried. And one day, we kissed.
A few weeks after that, we made ourselves ‘official’ and told people we were going to make a go of it. Apparently, everybody else had just been waiting for it to happen and we were the only ones who hadn’t known we were together already months before. 5 months after we told the world we were together, A Man proposed. But that is a story for another day.