Have I ever told you the story of how Gof and I got engaged? I’m not talking about how after a few years (and several difficulties) we decided not hate marriage anymore and tie the knot, but the moments where the proposal actually happened?
I’ll give you a hint. It wasn’t a proposal.
See, Gof had just officially moved in. We were officially, after 2 years of my constant moving around, cohabitees. My shoes and his trainers. His comics and my classics. My video games and his dolls. Sorry, figurines. No, I didn’t mix the last two up.
I hadn’t lived WITH A BOY since my last relationship ended in 2003. At least not with a boy I also shared a bed with. (*side note, he’s actually not a boy, but a manly man of some years senior to mine. Just so that’s clear!) It was oddly anti-climatic, having him move all his stuff in as I called around the various companies who quite rudely demand payment each month, like the electricity people, the cable, etc. and told them they could also chase HIM up for money. We signed the paperwork that allowed us to legally live together in the little local authority flat we both already called home. I kept expecting the OH MY LORDI WHAT HAVE WE DONE moment to happen, like we would run screaming from this relationship upgrade. I mean, on paper we would have never worked. Two years previously, he was a man just months out of a marriage, such a painful break up that he promised never to contemplate marriage again. I was a bit of mess (ah, the wander slut years… memories) who didn’t sleep with him straight away because I actually liked him. I was also weeks away from being evicted from my flat, jobless, and drunk 80% of the time. In what wacky romcom would that turn into true lurve? And yet, it did. He got over his previous relationship in his own time (thankfully, peacefully, and the pair remain good friends which is incredibly sweet), and in that time, I reached a place, mentally speaking, that was somewhere between completely bonkers and trying to improve my life. I stopped using alcohol as a crutch before it became a serious issue. Between us, we worked into each other, turning closer into the people we are by just being with another. I truly do believe that.
Anyway, it worked. We were working. It wasn’t always easy, life seemed to throw more than I thought we could handle in those days. No matter what the problem though, it was never with each other. We were a team against all the world threw at us. And as we settled into a routine that was natural as it was normal, I began to want to celebrate that. I finally had a roof over my head. We lived together. I could access his comics at any time! But how? I didn’t believe in marriage, and Gof was decidedly allergic.
One night in January 2010, we were getting ready to go to a friend’s birthday night out. We were in the kitchen, I was putting on my make up over the dining table and he was keeping us both topped up in cheap booze. We began to talk about how happy we both were. How life, quite happily, didn’t turn out so bad after all. Sure we didn’t know where things were going next, but it was exciting rather than scary. We knew, just knew, that we would be together.Step by step, we had already embarked on the trip of two lifetimes. We already have a marriage, in everything but paperwork, we said. No need for an expensive trip into more debt for one day. And yet, it’d be nice to celebrate the milestone. Look how far we’ve come, watch us go! Yeah, we agreed, it’d be cool to be surrounded with our loved ones and just be us.
Hang on, I said. Did we just get engaged? There was a laugh already in my throat, a joke of how cheesy and lovey dovey we were being. My make up was only half on, but something in me stopped, and I looked at Gof.
Yeah, he said. I think we did. His face was serious, almost in shock.
So we’re getting married? I asked, not quite sure what to make of this.
The wedding is next year.
I’m looking forward to it, of course – but I’m already his partner in crime. We already feel married. That may change, I’ve known people who say it really does feel different, but for now, to me, the wedding will be happening 6 years into our marriage. I’ll let you know if it’s any different on the other side.