Today is the 23rd of June… it’s a balmy British summer’s day. We’ve been having the most wonderful weather here in London recently, I stayed late at work to catch up with a colleague over a drink. On the way home I was caught in a light summer shower just before eight. I doubt I would have noticed the odd deja vu if I hadn’t been gearing up to recounting the events of the 23rd of June 2012. I guess that’s why I’m writing again tonight.
I left you last with a story about how oblivious I was to Megan’s growing affections, hinting about how that was all due to change. We’d been talking now for months, had been back in each others lives a little over 6 months and we were finally the friends to each other that we never got to be the first time around. There was nothing I couldn’t tell Megan and I liked to think that were the same reversed.
The weekend before my birthday I was home, I spent a night out in town drinking and celebrating with my friends in Somerset. I spent a night at home for a BBQ and cake with my family. Megan never came out drinking with me and my friends, she claimed to be too shy and even if she wanted to Rose wouldn’t really let her. Megan had said she wanted to see me before I left to head back to London, she didn’t think she’d be seeing me again before my birthday and she wanted to give me a card.
I had time booked off work to relax and enjoy my birthday pretty quietly back home and then when I came back to London I’d celebrate with my friends and colleagues. I was really excited about turning 27. For some reason it was a year of my life that I had been looking forward to ever since I was a kid. To me being 27 was to be in the prime of your life, the kind of age where you have your life together and you should be happy and content with your lot in life. I was determined it was going to be a great year.
The weekend before my birthday drifted by rather slowly, Megan could only spare a couple of hours to meet up. We met at a local park near where I lived for a chat. That’s when Megan gave me my birthday present, she only asked that I wouldn’t open it until she was out of sight. I remember agreeing and not thinking anything of it, Megan rationalised it as being shy and feeling awkward around people when they opened gifts from her. I’d open it as soon as I got home to my parents house.
When I got home I found not just one present but many wrapped up and presented a bit like a little hamper. All the talking from the days, weeks and months before culminated in this moment, she’d been paying attention. If I remember rightly there was my favourite chocolate, perfume, a scented candle with a little post-it note instruction telling me to relax for once and a silver bookmark with a little design of my favourite flower. There were little post-it notes throughout which explained the gifts and how she’d paid close attention all that time about what I liked and loved.
This was the moment when all the little pieces starting clicking together. Friends didn’t typically do such thoughtful presents for each other, friends didn’t hint at growing feelings and be so cryptic about it when you ask them directly about who they like. I finally realised she’d been flirting. I finally realised that I had been too. I decided right then that life is too short not to take a chance when it comes up. Her and Rose might have been on again or off again, I couldn’t keep up. I just thought she should know her options, so I told her I felt the same. She might not have said she was falling for me, she didn’t need to.
We hadn’t planned to see each other again before I went back to London, but with everything out in the open now it seemed silly to waste spending this time together. We quickly made plans to go out for a couple drinks one night while I was back, it seemed inevitable now that something would happen between us. Before we’d even shared so much as a hug we both knew what came next, by this time there didn’t seem any way to stop it.
When I fell in love again, I did it the way I imagine many people who have been hurt before fall. Hesitant,wilfully resisting love’s advances, wary and managing to withhold your feelings so completely that you don’t even know you’re dangling off the edge of ‘that’ cliff before it’s too late. The timing was all wrong, the distance was awful, there was baggage (lots of it) and I didn’t want to wind up in another situation where I’d get hurt again, it didn’t matter. It was too late. Love was coming for me, it could be bliss or it could be disaster… the only way to know for sure was to take that chance.
The chance came on the 23rd of June, on a night just like this. In the gentle shower of a British summer evening while out in Bath. The details can wait, there’s a little more of the story to tell.