In the beginning we were very good at playing house. We behaved like the young adults we were supposed to be. I made sure all the bills got paid on time by setting up all the required direct debits and other bits. Megan set up an account for us to pay the bills from, we were managing our finances very responsibly. We were even putting our mark on the apartment.
It didn’t take long before I lost out to Megan’s views of how the downstairs should be arranged, the concession meant buying a dining table. The living area ended up being a rather quaint shabby-chic affair with accents of red and cream throughout the already neutral general decor.
We had little trinkets and hearts hanging off almost every surface imaginable that didn’t require hammering nails into the walls. Canvas prints hanging on the walls using brown parcel string suspended from the mezzanine floors’ banister. We put up one canvas that was from a photo from a date we’d had along the Thames, it was the view of the London Eye from the Jubilee Bridge. Megan had subtlety edited it to make the colour more consistent with the rest of our apartment.
I had bought the coolest placemats for our dining table, they were just like London street signs. By the time we had the dining room table we had gotten quite good at putting together flat-pack furniture. Our trips to ikea had been numerous in those early days. It’s not that we really forgot things, we just went back for the doughnuts.
Our first effort at home improvement had been to rejuvenate the wardrobes that Megan had bought with her from Somerset. We spent almost a whole day scraping the ugly moudlings off the original doors with kitchen knives while trying to preserve the chipboard underneath. We each gave up on it at least twice as a bad job before battling on. It was frustrating work but the end result was ultimately something to be proud of.
Now for some reason Megan let me win when it came to choosing the colour-scheme for the bedroom. I’m not entirely sure why since I had decided that accents of hot pink and lime green (yes, together) would look amazing. She must have loved me… It was bold, but then I’m a fan of bright colours and bold statements.
Our apartment was looking less bare with each passing day. We soon realised that with each of us having an abundance of clothes that a triple wardrobe wasn’t going to be enough for all our clothes. Queue another trip to our favourite store Ikea! The trip before had been much more organised, we had a list and everything. We bought rugs, kitchen appliances and other such essentials. This time we were going with one purpose, chests of drawers.
We underestimated just how heavy the flat packs were. Lugging them up the three flights of stairs to our bedroom was hard work. Once again, Megan was my saviour. I hate manual labour, the idea of lifting all the heavy crap up and down the stairs had me wishing we’d ordered online for delivery. Together somehow, and without really much help from me we got the boxes up to our apartment.
So we bought some basic white drawers (one set each). Then we just had to struggle through interpreting the instructions and get it all put together and in place. We were a good team when we got around to the second set of drawers. Initially Megan would dive right in and start doing in all wrong while I consulted the instructions and did things right. I already had to live with a TV corner-unit that had the upright supports on backwards so the chipboard was facing forward, I wouldn’t put up with that with any new furniture and I definitely caught more than one mistake.
We had plenty of sticky-back plastic left over from our wardrobe renovations. We up-cycled them immediately adding a flash of colour by covering the top drawer of each in hot pink. The effect was quite good and they matched the wardrobe perfectly. Better yet, they didn’t even look like something that had come from Ikea since we had managed to customise them.
These were the finishing touches really. In less than a month we had put our mark on this place. Anything more would have been overkill. It already was really. We had bought lamps, rugs, prints, soft furnishings and all kinds of things in those early days. It was fun having this little project of ours that we were working on together.
All the while Megan was getting on great with her work. She was enjoying being ‘top of the class’ in her training group and was one of the first of the bunch to step into the working environment. For the first few weeks Megan would stay in a supervised team with all the other newbies, the sales targets were tough but she seemed to be doing well.
The next couple of weeks Megan would learn about the team she would be joining permanently and really settle into life selling pet insurance for a living. It was a big change from what she was used to but she seemed to be flourishing.
Our days were each filled with work. I was enjoying the new challenges that I’d been getting to grips with in my relatively new project support role. Our evenings were busy with homemaking and learning the subtle nuances of living together. Every night we managed to go to bed happy as could be, so far living together had been every bit as amazing as we could have imagined.
Playing house wasn’t a game, it felt like the start of something that would last a lifetime. When I look back now it all happened so quickly, sure we had known each other for years. Yet just seven months after we had shared our first kiss we had moved in together. At the time it didn’t feel rushed at all, everything just seemed perfect. I found myself some days having to pinch myself to see if it was all really real.