Twenty-five years ago I met the man I’d one day marry. November 14th 1987 (yes, I’m posting a day early ‘cos tomorrow I’ll be busy )
I was seventeen and had just broken up with my first boyfriend after more than three years, the last of which had been a study in on again/off again misery. To say I wasn’t looking to meet someone new is an understatement. The conversation earlier in the day went something like this: (ME) “I’m NOT going!” (My sister) “Yes, you are. It’s an expensive function and you’ve already paid.” (ME) “I don’t care. I don’t want to get dressed up and be social, and I definitely don’t want to spend the whole night pretending to have a good time.” (My sister) “I need your help greeting and seating people. You’ve got an hour to get ready.”
So… fast forward to the function later that night, and my sister had me running around like a turkey, smiling at everyone and welcoming them. It worked a treat because I didn’t have time to be sullen or sooky, but I still would’ve rather been at home in my PJs with a family block of Cadbury and a tub of icecream.
And then someone new arrived. Within a minute my sister had told me thirty-five interesting facts about him, far more than she could possibly have learned since he’d walked in the door. And my heart sank because NOW I understood why I hadn’t been allowed to stay home and wallow. Suddenly the rest of the night loomed ahead like a treacherous, uphill path in the dark, and my Bacardi and coke tasted like dirt. I wanted to go home.
I did the only thing I could do. I monopolised my sister’s time. Talking to her and her hubby was familiar, amusing… safe. And the time ticked by. Yes, there was a handsome older man (by my teenage standards) sitting across the table, but although we were the only two unattached people there, he was nothing to do with me. All I had to do was eat food from the buffet and chat to Kim and Steve for a couple of hours. It was going to be okay. I could do that.
But when all twenty people at our table – including my sister – got up in some evil pre-planned exodus and left Matt and I sitting there alone, things changed pretty rapidly. I’ve never asked, but I think the same thought might’ve crossed both our minds (and I can’t type it here!) He stood and held his hand out to me, and we escaped to the far side of the dance floor where everyone watching – and they were watching – couldn’t see us quite as well. Knowing he was twenty-four (thanks sis for that extra dose of panic) I blurted out “I’m only seventeen,” and hoped he’d take that as his cue to stick to one dance only.
Twenty-five years – and two kids - later, I’m beginning to think he missed that cue. It’s possible he missed the next one, too (or chose to ignore it ) The end of the night approached and I had myself a little panic about the prospect of another date. He probably wasn’t going to ask anyway, but what if he did? Returning home to tell my parents I’d met someone and we were going out the following week (and uh, yeah, by the way he’s twenty-four) didn’t exactly fill me with joy so I thought I’d best avoid the possibility. It’d been a far better night than I’d anticipated and that was that. Good enough, or so I thought.
It turns out my parents were okay with a date (no doubt thrilled with the prospect of anyone other than my ex being in my life), and so when Matt asked me out a few days later, I accepted. One date led to another and another until they eventually led to our wedding, and now even that is in the distant past. Photos: 1988 above, 1995 below.
Who knows what the next twenty-five years will have in store for us, but whatever it is we’ll face it together.