Thursday, 11 September 2014

Not just any old Thursday...

…but a very, very special one.
On this date, exactly ten years ago, Lauren (aged 18) and I (aged 19) met. We became a couple exactly two weeks later, but this was the day we first met. It's one of those days I'll never forget - nothing remarkable involved, but the day my life changed unrecognisably forever.
This is how I remember it:

Lauren and I had been talking for a while by text, after being given each others number by a mutual friend. We decided to meet up, as friends, as we were both fairly recently out of hard break ups, and have a chat and a drink.

I was quite late, as usual. I wore blue skinny jeans and a white vest top (it was really sunny)- my hair was in a pixie cut. We had arranged to meet by the Bull statue, next to Birmingham's Rotunda building.
I remember seeing Lauren - she was wearing a pink tshirt, and dark jeans, and had beautiful long flame red hair. We went to the local Wetherspoons, and I remember thinking how easy it was to chat to her. We had a little bit of awkwardness at the stage, but nothing like as much as you'd expect when meeting someone for the first time - although it wasn't officially a 'date', I knew I really, really liked this girl!
We went on to a tiny lesbian bar, and talked more, and finally to the city's most popular (now closed) gay bar. We sat and talked, our faces really close together, and I really wanted to kiss her. I now know Lauren felt the same!

Lauren was supposed to be staying at a friend's house that night, but I really didn't want her to leave. I half joked that my bedroom was lovely, and I had a big purple bed that was really comfy - it worked!
In my room I remember as we both liked Dashboard Confessional (we were a bit emo with our music taste at the time!) playing a rare EP I had of theirs, trying to impress her! One of the songs was Hands Down, which summed up how I felt at the time. It still reminds me of that wonderful night.

The next morning my (quite nosey) mum tried to talk to Lauren, asking if she wanted to stay for Sunday lunch (I really didn't want to - my mom's cooking is not the best!) and my mom's face when Lauren said she was vegetarian was a picture - my mom had been hoping for years I'd meet someone who'd talk me out of my vegetarianism! She also tried to help by drying off Lauren's Converse which had got rained on the night before - by putting them in the tumble dryer and melting them slightly!
We had planned to go back into Birmingham city centre together, but just before we left, i remember my mom whispering "She's really lovely, Sarah". My family didn't officially know I was gay at this point - I had never confirmed or denied anything, although the difficult break up from my previous girlfriend, if not the relationship itself, must have undoubtedly given it away, plus I'd never shown any interest in boys. It was nice to know I had my moms support though, not that I ever thought I wouldn't.

We went back into Birmingham and went to Starbucks. It's a shame this Starbucks is now closed, as it had such lovely memories of what was our first proper date. However, Starbucks has remained very much a constant in our lives! I remember queueing for our drinks (tall caramel lattes), Lauren having caramel waffles, and me having rocky road cake, which Lauren laughed at because its so sweet, and she hated desiccated coconut and glace cherries. When we got to the end of the queue, I commented how funny and cute the tiny Starbucks take-out espresso paper cups were, and Lauren took one for me - I still have it. I remember she had a green fabric satchel type bag covered in little badges, mainly gay pride ones. I thought she was the coolest, most unique, interesting person I had ever met -  I wanted to look at everything about her and know everything about her.

She loved equality, peace, music, books, learning. She seemed completely comfortable in her own skin and sure of who she was and her place in the world - being so naturally, unashamedly yourself is the quality I admire most in a person. I wasn't just attracted to her, she was more fun than any friend I'd ever had, she was fascinating, and I had infinite respect for her.

We then walked up to Victoria Square, and sat on the walls next to the fountains. Luckily as its a huge Birmingham landmark, and home to the town hall/council buildings, this is one location from our first days together that can't close down! We sat and talked and people watched, and even now I love just sitting by the fountains, especially with Lauren, with all its memories of that day.

When we had to leave, I walked Lauren back to her train home to Lichfield. I was so, so upset to be leaving her. She was obsessed with a type of sweets at the time called Joosters, but only the green ones. I had bought a bag a few days ago, took all the green ones out, and put them in an empty favour bag from a wedding I'd recently attended (and had texted Lauren constantly throughout - this was probably when I started flirting with her a bit!) and tied it with a ribbon. I gave them to her just as she got on the train - she still has the ribbon and bag the sweets were in!

As Lauren was leaving for university a few days later, I was really upset to think she would be so far away. Little did I know that two weeks later, we'd become a couple, and two years later I would move to Leeds with her whilst she completed her degree, before we moved back to Birmingham, bought a house, got a dog, got engaged, and got married!

Fate is a funny old thing, when I think about the randomness of the situations and people that bought Lauren and I together, it's amazing we ever met. But, I believe the universe always has a plan - and a good thing too, as it bought me the most beautiful, cleverest, silliest, funniest, most generous, wonderful lady I could never even have dreamed of. I love you lady.

2 comments:

  1. Ah this is so lovely. Congratulations on your 10 years. More exciting times ahead! xx

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  2. Thanks Susie :) Can't believe it's been ten years but then it seems strange to think there was a time we weren't together! xx

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