This post was inspired by Claudette over at Ceenoa. Beautiful words, imagery and art, I recommend a visit.
Back in the year 1547, Claudette asked if anyone else had noticed how random WordPress’s word search suggestions were. For those of you with blogs, it’s the three keywords that appear underneath the search box in your Reader. And they often don’t bear any relation to words you may have searched before, or the style of blog you read. Long story short; SOD was invented, (Suggestions Of the Day). The idea being you included the three words in a thus inspired post.
I promised to partake, but then found some drying paint in desperate need of watching. Claudette announced she was (hopefully temporarily) relieving herself of blogging duties, inadvertently giving me the kick I needed to fulfil my promise. Yesterday I committed to log on, take the WordPress words on offer and create something fabulously interesting. I then watched some more paint dry.
The WordPress Gods were however very kind. They pitched me Delicious, Beach and Astrology. Back when the idea was first mooted, I commented on that day’s three words being Toddlers, Cute and Mountain Biking! So I’ve got off fairly lightly.
I also suggested I’d bring something fun and quirky to the party, but I’m bringing you a love story instead. My love story:
In Two Thousand and Four, He knocked on my door.
That’s how I always remember the year I first met Him.
What do you call that person if you’re not married but you’re a fair amount of way through life? Boyfriend technically. But we’re not 15. Although that is our age gap. (Pauses as an incredulous gasp passes the parcel round the audience). For clarification, I am a Cougar, not a Gerbil. Yes, Gerbil’s a thing. Look it up.
No, we’re not married. Though we kind of are. THAT’S a story for another day. So, He’s not my husband or even Fiancé. Partner? Significant Other? They never quite have the right ring. The right ring WOULD make Him my husband, but we’ve not yet felt the need to take that road. Of course we’ve PLANNED it. We are after all sentient beings.
There really is a gap in the market for a word that covers this relationship; one that so many of us are in. I sit in the camp that would happily describe him as my Other Half. I fully respect those who baulk at such a term. It suggests incompleteness. I am whole as a person, I don’t need completing, but He is the Yang to my Yin. Our contrasts are complements, not differences.
Back to 2004;
I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar. I started work in a supermarket. CHECK HIM OUT! Yes please. Popped Him in a carrier bag and took Him home. Although it took a further six months for that to happen. It was P’Tang Yang Kipperbang from the off for me (great film). Just exiting a marriage, it was more of a slow burn for Him.
Having been single for a couple of years, I was in that place where ‘this is it for me now’. I was ok with that. I certainly wasn’t ‘looking’. So it was all the more surprising that He had such a delicious hypnotising effect on me.
He, on the other hand, was sleeping on his ex-wife’s sofa, so, you know, it was complicated.
We flirted and dipped our toes in the water, quickly pulling them back out again. But every evening shift we worked together (He had a full-time day job, juggling the two to survive), we found ourselves ticking another box on our respective ‘kindred spirit’ lists.
My birthday rolled round and He bought me a little book. Not only was I floored that He’d bought me a gift, it was something that overwhelming said ‘He gets me’. He shrugged, it was nothing, just thought I’d like it. Many moons later He confessed He’d searched high and low for the damn thing as He knew it would show that ‘He gets me’, but He didn’t want to scare me off by making a big deal.
Halloween rolled round and we worked together in the morning. Hearts skipping beats around the fresh produce. It took that age-old romantic gesture of text messaging, later that night, for us to finally confess we both loved Johnny Depp. And possibly each other.
If you’ve visited these pages before, you may already be aware that Halloween is our Anniversary, and we’ve just celebrated our 14th. When I applied for that supermarket job, it was on spec. There was no vacancy, I just happened to know someone who worked there and I needed a job. The store was just over the road from where I lived. However, I inconveniently got posted elsewhere. So I always joke that I met The One by applying for a job that didn’t exist, in a store I didn’t want to work in. Was it fate? Destiny? Star-crossed and all that? Us Librans don’t believe in astrology, but I thank the Universe if it played a part.
We try to escape at Halloween. Regulars will know this often involves an ill-fated camping trip. But there’s always a beach. And we write in the sand; He Heart Me, (insert year here).
I’m feeling emotional today. Two years ago this very day I lost my job. Out of the blue and at very short notice. Only 48 hours earlier, we’d signed the contract for a home of our own. I was then unemployed till mid February. When I finally started a new job, we breathed again. Eight weeks later, they made me redundant. The whole sorry saga is a cornerstone of The Lockwood Echo. I blogged about it last Christmas on the first anniversary of the ensuing clusterfuck, desperate to get it out of my system.
Overwhelmed by the stress of keeping hold of the roof we rented, the roof we had just sold our souls for, throughout my unemployment and two redundancies, we Yin-ged and Yang-ed our way around the minefield we found ourselves in. The foundation of our relationship is the six months we spent becoming best friends, before we became a couple. By then all our skeletons were out of the closet and laid bare (ok, skeleton’s by default are bare), and after so many years together we knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses. As one of us found ourselves at the tail end of a particular strength, the other one took the lead and paved a way forward.
Two years after that fateful day, we are sat in the home that we sold our souls for. We found our path through the minefield and we are stronger for it. We couldn’t foresee how it would play through, but I knew I’d rather be sat in a gutter with Him, than sat in a castle without.
We don’t live in a castle.
So today has brought back memories of a really tough patch. It was physically, mentally and spiritually draining, but when it comes to ‘Me & Him’ vs ‘The World’, my money will always be on Us.
If you enjoyed this post, consider sharing it with your friends, family, neighbours, that woman you sometimes chat to on the bus. There are little buttons below to make that task easy for you. If you didn’t enjoy this post, do pop your thoughts on a postcard, then bury it in your garden.