“When you try your best but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse
When the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?”
Coldplay – Fix you
Despite the opening quote, I’m not actually much of a fan of Coldplay, they have one or two little gems, but for the most part I find their style dull and repetitive. However when it comes to sentimental agonising they pretty much get the message across.
The biggest mistake I have ever made, and made repeatedly, is believing that I can ‘fix’ someone. It’s taken a long time for me to realise that the only problems I should ever focus on are my own, sure I can be supportive, but I’m not responsible to making someone else a better person, especially if they have no interest in doing so for themselves. Lesson learned.
For what Lara and I had, I think I can use a pretty good home-buying analogy. Think about your options when perusing the property market, you might like to buy something shiny new and comfortable which is ready for you to move straight in. Alternatively you might want to buy something in ruins and rebuild it in your vision, a full on project and lifetime achievement. What no one wants, is to buy something which on the surface appears to be everything you want but come moving day you discover a bunch of essential repairs that you never budgeted for.
I think you see where I’m going here. All this time that Lara and I were making friends, building trust, catching feelings and finally getting together I hadn’t realised that I had only ever seen just the facade. Lara had portrayed a careful representation of herself to secure my affection, it worked. It wasn’t until we got ‘comfortable’ that I got to see the real Lara.
We were so young that we didn’t have to have it all together. I mean how many people at the ages of 19 and 21 can say that they’ve found their dream career, the person they want to spend their life with and be completely content? Yeah I don’t know anyone either. We were both unhappy professionally, lacking direction and ambition, nothing that couldn’t be fixed.
The day I started to see Lara more clearly is quite a funny story, you reach that comfort zone with someone typically when you let something slip, usually by accident. You gauge the reaction to the incident and it’s either a big deal or it isn’t.
Lara had created this image of herself as far as I was concerned. She was honest, girly, shy, considerate and pretty well grounded. The girly thing was refreshing for me, something I hadn’t experienced before. Katy hadn’t been particularly ‘butch’ actually who am I kidding, of course she was, just not hardcore. Lara appeared to be girly, complete with lashings of eyeliner, long blonde hair and women’s clothes! Sure, she still adhered mostly to the ‘lesbian uniform’ of baggy jeans, hoodies, polo shirts and trainers but it was still bought from womenswear.
It was something more about the way Lara would act around my family that made me think she had manners, she would actually make an effort to speak with my family when we were at my house together, although very shy at first. First impressions were good, and they had lasted a very long time, so what slipped?
We were out one night for a birthday celebration in Bristol. Emma and Katy were there, it was before Katy had moved on and accepted everything that had happened between Lara and I. Eventually throughout the evening Lara had gotten offended by Katy and was going to wait out the rest of the night in the car, I joined her in my car to keep her company. We ended up reclining the front seat of the car and lying in the passenger seat together just holding each other while all the others partied the night away.
Emma came out to the car and tapped on the window, initially she was embarrassed thinking she had interrupted us getting up to something we shouldn’t have been doing in the car park. We hopped out of the car to chat with her, she’d gotten bored of the nightclub too. We were all sitting outside in the car park chatting away, we gave Emma our full attention since we’d all come a long way in a short time and I think we were genuinely friends during this time. I was sat one side of Emma and Lara the other when mid conversation out of nowhere an almighty sound lets rip and makes me almost shout ‘What the hell was that?’
In short, it was Lara and she hard broken wind in front of me for the first time. It was so loud I was surprised that the surrounding buildings hadn’t fallen down. Emma found my reaction funny and we were able to make light of it, she told me I’d have to get used to it if I was going to be dating a vegetarian.
The ladette was revealed. I thought one of the best things about dating another girl up to this point was the absence of the farting and burping and finding it humorous? Maybe it was just my own reserved nature, it’s not something I feel comfortable with in company. Seriously can’t believe I’m talking about bodily functions on a blog, anyway, that was the catalyst.
I soon realised that as well as being a ladette, Lara was desperately unhappy at work, had a strained relationship with her mother and perhaps worst of all, no clear ambitions for the future. Being 21 at the time myself my future was unclear too, yet despite being unhappy in my job I knew that I wanted more, a chance to shine and progress. Lara would have opportunity offered on a plate and be so indecisive about it that it’s a wonder she ever plucked up the courage to go for a promotion at work.
Maybe she wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for my encouragement? Who know’s? When I had started to observe her behaviour, flailing on her college course as it barely interested or challenged her, working part time at a supermarket and getting frustrated by the monotony of it all I decided to help fix the situation. I offered encouragement and support when Lara considered quitting college and going full time at work, she would take a full time position as a shift supervisor at the supermarket, it was a step up.
Sure it might not be what she wanted to do with the rest of her life, but we were young there was plenty of time to think about that. For now a slightly better job, with more money meant nicer things like holidays and a new car. During this time, what was I doing about my own problems? Nothing.
I had all but forgotten that when I quit University that I would find a decent job for myself, that if I couldn’t work in something creative like design I would at least do the best at anything I found myself doing. The trouble was so much was changing at work, sure I was good at all the technical stuff, the company however were diluting the opportunities at our site, it was a very frustrating time for me.
So instead of focussing on me, I started to focus on us, on her. I kept plodding along at work, doing what I needed to get by and waiting for an opportunity to come up. I didn’t go chasing anything, I naively expected opportunity to come knocking at my door.
A few months after we had returned from Cornwall we booked another holiday, I had gotten my annual bonus from work and I used it to pay for a trip to Corfu. In the run up to this holiday we’d spend most of our time socialising with the guys, I remember nights in at Billie’s place, a house party at a friend of mine who serves in the Navy and a few nights out in Somerset with everyone. The days were ticking along nicely, we didn’t have to be ‘going somewhere’ in those days, we just enjoyed being together.
We were still in our little lesbian bubble, with a very healthy sex-life, plenty of affection, plenty of honesty, I still had no reason not to trust Lara, so I did trust her. I was dutifully fixing any problems that came our way, we had a good group of friends, an active social life, a holiday to look forward to. Life was good, it’s only since the years have passed that I can now see how fragile the foundations of our love had been.