It’s hard to believe that just the year before things had been so perfect, then we found ourselves in this situation where we were starting over. It felt very much like trying to recreate the perfect scene of the year before, but it was a little jarring, like when your favourite soap uses a new actor for one of the characters and expects no one to notice.
This summer is the biggest block of missing memories from my adult life. I remember that when I came home for the Summer it was going to be a long one. I was home by the end of May and wouldn’t be heading back to Portsmouth until the end of September. My parents insured me on their car since they had to sell mine while I was away.
I remember drinking at The Olive Tree with Michael and the rest of the boys most nights, the nights that they weren’t available was usually because Katy and Michael were working. They both worked at the shop at the end of the road where I lived, when I got bored I’d often hang out there until they finished. We go for random drives in the evenings after they finished work usually ending up in Bath or Bristol. It was an odd routine, but it was fun and there was always good banter.
I remember one night being out for a drive on a Sunday night and being pulled over by the cops. It was long past closing time at any of the bars in the area and the roads were dead. I had a full car and it probably looked suspicious to them. I remember not knowing if the car was registered to my mum or my dad which made things a little awkward. I managed to explain that we were just out for a drive since there isn’t anything else to do at that time on a Sunday night and then we were on our way again. You wouldn’t catch us doing that these days with the cost of petrol going up and up. But it was a valid way to pass the time in a sleepy little town in Somerset.
Katy was driving now too, I think she was already on her second car by the time I came home from Uni, I wasn’t a very good passenger back then. My nerves when in the car with her would drive her mad and bring up arguments. Our arguments were astonishing, they were never small. An argument over any insignificant detail would blow up into something massive and all of a sudden we’d be arguing about every problem we’d ever had. Nothing ever got resolved and things would build up and explode every so often.
I will admit to often being the catalyst in these arguments. I’m a stubborn and emotional person and if you cross me I’m not going to let it go until it’s been resolved in some way. Katy had a way of pushing my buttons, often making me feel guilty about her insecurities. There would be frequent jibes about what I had gotten up to while I was away, especially my two experiences (never to be repeated) with men. I could only take so much.
It wasn’t like Katy had been an angel either. When I came back home from Uni I only kept in touch with my closer friends that I had made that year during the summer, I wasn’t in contact with anyone that I had had a one night stand or any encounters with. I asked for, and expected the same from Katy and she agreed that this wouldn’t be a problem. I would often catch her out in this lie, she would still meet up with Beth regularly and it would drive me mad.
I didn’t think she was cheating on me, but it infuriated me that she would consistently lie to me. The one thing that I value above anything else is honesty. I’d rather be hurt my the truth than placated with a lie. Our second take at the summer of love was less plain sailing and more of a roller-coaster ride.
The fighting was awful, all I ask for is a way out of stressful situations when it all gets a bit much, to be left alone to think things over in the hope that a sensible conversation will follow. I never got my way. The arguments would get desperate with Katy thinking that if I walked away from her in the middle of a fight that we’d be over, I would feel trapped.
We would literally have shouting matches on my doorstep, I found out years later that my parents often heard every word, and probably half the neighbours. I truly can’t remember what we were arguing about one time but there was one fight that got out of control. I wanted to leave having just found out more lies of Katy’s and really spend some time thinking about whether it was all worth it, she wouldn’t let me leave.
Katy would block my path every time I tried to get away from her, eventually holding onto my wrist to get my attention as she pleaded for me ‘not to do this’ and that ‘she didn’t lie to me, she just didn’t tell me’ and many other excuses. She broke at one point and admitted she was wrong, rather than fight back at her I tried to leave again. Pulling away from her when she still had hold of my wrists, I got my hands free but she was still in my way screaming at me ‘hit me, I know you want to’ and then ‘go on, hit me I deserve it’
This seemed to go on for ages, and I felt more and more trapped with every minute, eventually I snapped and hit her. It seemed to be exactly what she wanted, what she was asking for, quite literally. I was appalled with myself all the same. I was annoyed with myself for rising to her jibes and not finding a better way to deal with things, I was ashamed that I’d hit her. In the moment of shock that followed I managed to get away. After that I thought I’d never see her again, how could there be any coming back from that?
We were already on our ‘Take Two’ it seemed we had entered into a whole new realm of our relationship. It was highly unstable and volatile. Moments like this would be the absolute low points of our summer, but I said it was a roller-coaster for a reason with these lows there were some absolute highs, we certainly knew how to make up after a fight, and that seemed to be enough to keep the charade going for now.