Well, I’ve put it off for long enough. But by popular request I’ve decided it’s time to put it down in writing. Anybody that I’ve told this story to has always said it’s really romantic and, to be honest, it’s the most wonderful thing that’s ever happened to me. I’ve been a bit unsure about writing about it as it’s a lot more slushy than the usual material I post and it’s very personal. But hey, names have been changed to protect the innocent and it makes a really nice story. I’m not sure I can do it justice but I’ll try. So here we go: the story of how my long-suffering girlfriend and I met.
I’ve mentioned many times before that I moved down to Yorkshire from Scotland in 1999. I didn’t know anybody in the area so I was really stepping into the unknown. To me it was an adventure and I was about ready for an adventure. So a few weeks before I started my new job my father, brother and I drove down to the area to see if we could find me a place to live. We checked a few places out and eventually found a really kick-ass mews house that was only a few years old. The problem was that I’d have to wait a further month before I could move in. It was, and is, a great house so I waited and lived in a hotel for my first month (kindly paid for by my new employer).
So after 4 weeks I finally got to move in. I literally had a bag of clothes with me so I picked up the keys, went to the house to drop my stuff off with a plan to then drive up to Scotland, pick up my brother and he could help me move all my belongings down and we could go and buy some furniture. But on that Friday evening after work I went into my house and as I came out I bumped into my next door neighbour. She introduced herself and told me her name (which I immediately forgot) and we chatted for a few minutes. I though “she’s a bit of all right”, bade her farewell and drove off to Scotland.
I didn’t see her for a few weeks but then we started talking. I had no idea if she was single or not and I assumed not as I would often see guys dropping in and cars staying overnight. So I didn’t get my hopes up. She seemed like a really nice girl so I thought that if I could just be friends with her then that’d be cool – I’d know somebody in the area. The first thing that I really liked about her was that she was very independent. She wasn’t like the girls I’d gone out with before; the needy, high-maintenance types that you can’t leave alone in a room of full people and always have to act up for. No, she lived on her own and did her own thing because she chose to. She was a woman.
So we started by talking, telling each other about ourselves and getting to know each other over the coming months. We went to the cinema a few times (she said that it was great to have someone to go to the cinema with) and we’d often talk until the small hours in the morning. Sometimes she’d drop around for a chat and other times I’d dream up an original excuse to drop around and chat to her. She was quite often out at nights as she had a busy social calendar (she was into amateur dramatics and such like) so I would only see her a couple of nights a week and chat to her over the fence at weekends, if I wasn’t away mountain biking. We were getting on really well and I realised that I didn’t want to push it any further if she didn’t as I wouldn’t want to lose a really nice friend like that.
Then one night she did something that is number one on my top-ten memories list. Being a Yorkshire lass she’s a hell of a cook and suggested she cook us a Chinese meal one night. This she did, only she put a hell of a lot of effort into it. Little bowls of delicious Chinese cuisine (not the stuff you get out of a packet), chopsticks, candles, the works. She rolled out a rug and we sat down on the floor to eat what was a fantastic meal, drinking fine wine too. It was wonderful and we were never stuck for conversation. But I was no closer to finding out if she wanted to take it any further. She’s a damn good looking woman and I’m no oil painting so I understood that I could be at the back of a long list.
Well, after a good six months of getting to know each other, things went further (I won’t go into detail, it’s not that sort of site). I took her along to my work Christmas do (she referred to herself as rent-a-neighbour) and then she went away on holiday skiing in the Alps. When she came back we were an item. And here we are nearly three years later, still going strong.
To summarise, she was the girl next door. I was the boy next door. And we spent six months courting and getting to know each other before anything happened. The fact that we’re still together after so long is testament to the fact that we got to know each other first. I’m at the stage where I couldn’t imagine life without her and no matter how far in the future I picture, she’s always there. My heart misses a beat every time I see her and when she’s not around a part of me is missing too. That’s as slushy as I’m going to get.
I later discovered her side of the story. When she first met me she was a bit disappointed as I was pretty young. She normally went out with older guys. So I had failed at the first hurdle. She was actually seeing a guy when we met but they broke up as the relationship had run its course. She genuinely did think it was a good idea to have someone to go to the cinema with – so she wasn’t trying to make moves on me. And right until she went on holiday at Christmas time she wasn’t sure if she actually wanted to go out with me or not! She was as unsure as I was and wasn’t following any kind of plan. The things you learn with hindsight.
However, the story I always like to tell of how we met is that she was doing some gardening and as I looked out my window all I could see was her bent over, facing away, pulling weeds. I was hooked! Of course, that story isn’t true. Unfortunately. And I haven’t yet decided which version makes my memoirs…