Speak now or forever hold your peace

I think there are many moments that you can define in your life that when you look back and reflect which become times where you realise you should have voiced your thoughts instead of keeping them bottled up. Failing to do so finds you entering into an unspoken agreement with your own conscience that if you don’t take the chance to speak now you must forever hold your peace.

When I look back now I recognise the moment that I’m about to talk about was certainly one of those. One where I should have offered my own thoughts into the mix. Things might have been different, not a whole lot different perhaps, but different.

About three things I was certain: Megan loved me, she’d gotten a job in West London, she’d be moving to London in just one month.

Megan’s start date for the 15th of February was growing ever nearer. We started talking about living arrangements, having such a tight deadline to work with made it seem impossible. Megan assumed we’d be looking for somewhere to rent together. I didn’t challenge this assumption.

Inside my head was screaming ‘Is this the right thing to do?’ and no matter how much thought I gave it I couldn’t be sure it was. We had talked about moving in together, I just hadn’t imagined it happening so soon, I didn’t immediately connect the idea of closing the distance between us by Megan finding a job in London with the idea of living together.

I also thought as it was still relatively early days for us that it might be better to keep our living arrangements separate to begin with. Maybe Megan could find a group of housemates she clicked with like I had.

I never said a single word of this out loud. I know why. Megan always told me that she was shy, the idea of living in a house share with complete strangers didn’t appeal to her at all. Other than me, she didn’t know anyone in London she could rent with.

Couple that together with the sometimes heartbreakingly worrisome conversations we had when we were apart about how she said she wasn’t coping without me and my unrelenting love for this woman… Well, moving in together sooner than expected didn’t seem like such a struggle after all. I started to shortlist local flats and apartments to find our own little space together that we could make all homey.

It was a busy couple weeks for me where I would rush around at lunch time with an estate agent, trying to cram in as many viewings as physically possible in an hour. In the end Megan suggested a flat in Brentford she liked the look of. The location was perfect for both our jobs and the rent was even under what we had decided was our upper limit.

Rental properties are snapped up pretty quickly in the area, I knew we needed to act fast. So, after viewing the apartment I made a call or two to Megan to assure her that she’d love it and paid the holding fee. Now all we had to do was rustle up an absurd deposit, first month’s rent and agency fees and then and only then rustle up even more for furnishings.

I was enjoying my new role at work, although it hadn’t exactly come with a staggering pay rise. It was going to be a tight few months. When I really started looking at my finances it was clear that something would have to give. Did we really need two cars? Couldn’t we share one? We could both walk to work.

Megan’s parents agreed to help with the deposit and we could pay them back over time. It was so generous and unexpected. Megan had a little money left over after I covered the first months rent and fees. I had some money in savings which I was reluctant to spend as it had been left to me by my Nan. I used it anyway and swore to myself that when I replenished it that I would do something for myself that my Nan would love to have heard about.

It nearly bankrupted us in the process, but we were ready for the move. I handed in my notice in my shared home, by the time I would move out I would have been there a full year. It had been an amazing year where I had made friends, enjoyed times with my housemates, gotten frustrated with the housemates, laughed with them, BBQ’d with them, gotten drunk with them and played agony aunt with them. It would all be over too soon.

Then again things had been changing. I wasn’t the first to leave. By the time I would vacate the house the only one standing would be Dana. Still, it was a happy and crazy time. I had come to the house as a hot mess recovering from a disastrous break up. Not unlike the other residents in our heartbreak-house.

I was finally letting myself look to the future. I had an amazing girlfriend that made me hope again. I could see an amazing future for us, she believed she could too. We’d have the keys to the new place from the 1st of February but wouldn’t be moving in until the 14th, Megan didn’t want me to move in without her, she wanted my first night in our new home to be spent together. It was an easy promise to keep.

Between settling on the flat in Brentford and making the required arrangements we started to get all the essentials we needed. We had some fun with the shopping. I had all but forgotten about the niggling feeling that perhaps we shouldn’t have moved in together right away. Occasionally it would pop into the forefront of my mind, typically when a friend or someone seemed surprised that we were moving in together after just six months. I would always reliably inform them that by lesbian standards, that’s rather slow.

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