A love story (how I met my husband)


When I was sixteen years old I thought my world was turned upside down. Twelve years on, it turns out, I was right. For sixteen years I had lived, breathed, schooled and partied in the same few towns in the South East of England. It was all I knew, my whole world was there – my grandparents lived a few streets away, the rest of my family just nearby and my friends were right around the corner. But then, the summer after my GCSEs we packed up our lives, my parents, my sister and I, and moved away. By far, it wasn’t the greatest move ever made in the history of man kind, but to a sixteen year-old counties felt like oceans and my life was overseas.  

Scared and a little sad, the summer of anticipation and uncertainty felt like one that stretched on forever. Before email was the norm, and texts cost what felt like a fortune, slowly, my friends slipped away and I found it was time to start a new chapter: college.

It was a difficult start; we moved to a town where most of the children’s parents’ parents’ grew up together, and no one new where I came from, most thought I was Australian - they couldn't figure out my accent. It was tough to make new friends, when friendship groups had been around since birth and the history, the feuds, the make-ups and the break-ups were the foundations of their relationships. But I was lucky. In my desperation to ‘fit-in’, I decided to audition for the school play. This was a school rite of passage I’d never experienced before, but thought I’d give it a go and hopefully make some friends. The play turned out to be a musical, one that’s a bit risqué and naughty, and so because of this, not the whole school could be involved – just the upper years (10 & 11) and the two sixth form years (12 and 13). I auditioned and got a part.

The sixth form and the school were two miles apart. As I hadn’t been to the school, it was another unnerving step, another place I didn’t know and people I didn’t know. The first rehearsal was one night after classes, and I was gratefully taken over to the school and not made to work it out alone. On the stage, scripts were handed out, and we sat in a rather lop-sided circle for to read through the play. It would be a lie to say I remember it well, only that I have a vague recollection of a red-haired teenager being rather cheeky and having the confident banter with friends and teachers that I hoped one day I would have. It turns out, this cheeky red-headed lad, was rather charming for a 16 year old and in a few weeks, we’d become, I’d say, quite good friends.

What good is sitting alone in your room...
The first time I sang in front of the entire company, I can still remember his face. He sat on the top of a stack of chairs and not once did he whisper or move. And after that first scary song was over, people came up to me with compliments but I couldn’t tell you what they said, only that he, my friend, said “amazing.” When I think about that one moment, I can still feel the electricity.

When the play was over, it was hard to stay in touch, and we would text and hang out a bit, but it was difficult – I had a boyfriend who wanted to still be with me, but that didn't stop me from wondering, what if?

The following summer, as the new school year began, my friend and I found that not only now were we together at college, but studying almost exactly the same subjects. It was hard to be apart. His charm and casual confidence was infectious, and like a magnet, I couldn't pull myself away. There was something there, something unknown and unusual and I continued to wonder, what if?

And so came around the next school play, and I would be lying if I said I didn't choose do it because of him. I didn't need to take a role, not with the amount of studying I needed to do, but the thought of those few extra hours a week to be somewhere that was allowed (permitted by my boyfriend) was something I didn't want to give up. And so we began play number 2.

While I was at sixth form, those were my happiest moments. I had a carefree confidence that sadly, is lost to me now – I could sing in front of hundreds of people and now I’m afraid if my neighbour hears me over the fence. It was that carefree confidence that kept me asking myself, what if how you feel is because you've met the love of your life?

He stayed at college and I went off to University, and one year on, he went off too: miles apart but still there was that something unknown that kept us thinking about each other. We emailed and called and saw each other in the holidays, and that nervous anticipation was still there each time we went out as friends. Other love affairs came and went, and when my relationship ended it took 2 days for the rumour to spread and for me to see someone’s number calling my phone. But those intense University years meant we were selfishly having adventures of our own and it is something we are thankful for. I had the chance to try working in America; he went off travelling with his friends. But the postcards never stopped – like magnets.

On my 22nd birthday, four months since we’d last seen each other, I was waiting for a date with a guy I barely knew. A glass of wine and an hour later, I was drunk and hungry and cross – and like I had willed it, who’s number called my phone? And for the first time since we met, I decided to just be myself, to not always edit what I shared or tailor talk about the good stuff. So when he said happy birthday beautiful, and asked if I was having a good day, I responded with the truth that I’d just been stood up.

As we both paused for a reaction, my heart pounded in my chest, until he said: “Then I’ll just have to come and take you out.”

That call was six years ago and that friend, that charmer and magnetic man is, I am proud to call my husband. So if you find yourself wondering what if? and don’t know which road to take, I say, believe in faith and take a leap because everything happens for a reason.

Laura x

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