Good morning readers. Today we have a belter of a story for you; one that will make you believe that little bit more in magic, and who couldn’t do with that on a Monday morning?
Rach M is a stupendous writer and I have been after her for months to write the story of how she got engaged. I have heard this story in pieces, over too many glasses of wine, and it needed to be written for it has everything; family, love, trials and tribulations, faith and jumping both feet in. And it’s so, so funny. Over to you, Rach M:
M and I often get asked how we met. I know it’s one of the things I am most keen to know about couples– the story of them, hearing that look-by-look, word-by-word evolution and energy that changed them from strangers to the couple standing in front of you. I go misty-eyed at the romance, I love people taking risks, jumping for their one chance, love that conquers all. I don’t like settling, the deprecating ‘oh well I suppose he’ll do’ that I have been horrified to hear some friends say or imply. No-one should ‘do’. Better to wait for your someone than have just anyone.
Not that I’m perfect, or that I haven’t had my fair share of ‘anyones’ in my time, but in the year before I met M, I was single and enjoying myself immensely and didn’t want it to be compromised for anyone less than someone. My stomach jumped with excitement and nights out felt full of light and promise. More and more of my friends were settling down and there was a much smaller group around for the sort of nights that were a staple of my late teens. Nevertheless we had ourselves a blast, flirted outrageously, snogged fellas, drank cider in fields and danced to an awful lot of Bon Jovi.
Me, single, drinking cider in a field and loving it.
“No-one’d have my two!” my Mum would joke to relatives at weddings and nod in the direction of my (single) brother and I, who’d roll our eyes and vow that if either of us did tie the knot we’d have to send out a embarrassment disclaimer weeks in advance and get her tranquilised on the day. My Mum is an Irish Mammy – if you have one, you’ll know what I mean. If you don’t, think: larger than life, great fun, loves fiercely, fusses continuously, gossips ferociously and sticks her nose into EVERYTHING.
“But I like being single!” I’d seethe through my grimace. “You don’t want to end up like your cousin”, Mum’d warn, all big-eyed whispered foreboding like a child telling a ghost story. My cousin was with a guy for eight years. She never discussed marriage with her fella, and then one day out of a clear blue sky, he dumped her, saying he didn’t want commitment. I’m gutted for her but unlike my Mum I can see that this could have happened for a variety of reasons, not just the fact that they didn’t have ‘the conversation’. Mum, however will hear none of it. She reads the Daily Mail and in her book, a story’s not a story without someone to blame. “Oooooo, she’ll end up on her own!” says Mum with the finger-wagging, mark-my-words drama that she has down to a fine art.
“Like me, you mean,” I’d point out. “I’m on my own and loving it.” Mum’s point was that I was sailing dangerously close to 30 and by the time I met someone, got to know them, got engaged and then married, my ovaries would be drying up. (I have paraphrased her somewhat here, but I rolled my eyes at all of it).
I loved that (apart from the relentless pressure from my mum) none of my friends ‘worried’ about me. They weren’t trying to fix me up with anyone, they didn’t pity or patronise me, and were brilliantly supportive when one New Year I said ‘Ok, I’m ready to meet someone now.”
I saw an ad for a dating ceilidh, which sounded like a laugh to me. When I tell this story, I‘m amazed at all the little things that lined up to pave our paths together. The first time my friend and I tried to go to it, we didn’t have tickets and were turned away at the door. If we’d got in that night, I’d never have met M. That year, I’d decided to celebrate my birthday on a different weekend, so I happened to be free. M says he was cooking pasta when he took the call from his mate, and at first said ‘No, that he fancied a night in instead.’ The mate persuaded him and M eventually caved. To this day he says he did not know it was a dating thing, that he’d gone to see the Bavarian folk band who were playing. Hmmmmmm, I say to that, with raised brow. Hmm indeed.
I can’t explain why I had such conviction that I was going to meet ‘someone’ that night. I had goosebumps when getting ready and I fizzed with excitement. The night before, one of my best friends handed me a profile she’d written for me for a dating website. It was a brilliant piece that brought tears to my eyes.
“Just give me the nod,” she said, “and I’ll post it for you.”
“Just give me one day”, I replied, “and I’ll let you know if I need it.”
I love to hear him tell the story of how we met. He tells of how I crossed the dancefloor and came right up to him (the only time that’s ever happened to either of us) and started talking. How it was as if we’d walked into each other’s lives and started as we meant to carry on. That we were so busy talking that we forgot to dance, or even kiss. That one of our first conversations was about the Holocaust because I’d been reading If this is a man by Primo Levi.
“Who would stand up, now?” I asked, incensed, passionate. “Who would be a hero today and stake their life to save a stranger?”
He doesn’t tell how impressed I was that he was able for it, that he was thoughtful and articulate. That he told me the story of his grandfather escaping the Nazis in
Vienna and that my eyes welled up. He doesn’t tell how in the cab office across the road from the dance hall he turned to me as I left and said in a moment of fear: ‘You won’t text.’
”I will!” I smiled, turned on my heel and departed, triumphant.
Some months later we went to see West Side Story in the theatre over the road from where we met. When I heard Something’s coming it gave me goosebumps as it described that utter conviction of meeting ‘someone’. It’s sort of unofficially become our song. And we’ll be playing it at our wedding back on that dancefloor in summer 2013.
Me, not single, and also loving it. Think it’s the loving it that counts.
Coming Soon!…Part 2: “Birthday Came, Birthday Went“