Sixteen years ago today I married a boy, he was 21 and I was 20. We had known each other a year. We met just as we were completing our Art courses at the same college and finally got chatting on the opening night of our final exhibition. I remember being worried about having no money because having no money meant not being able to go for drinks that had already been mentioned by other friends. Mum was with me at the time having attended my exhibition and trouper that she always is, she gave me some money and told me to have a great night and off I went in pursuit of the boy with the lovely freckles and the greenest eyes I'd ever seen!
The evening was a success and the summer of 1994 is one I will never forget. Hubby told me on our third date that he loved me and on our fourth he mentioned marriage, it all felt very effortless and very inevitable. There were hard times to face when we went off to different universities and longed for the week-ends so that we could jump on a coach to get to each other, hearts beating so fast with anticipation as you stepped off the coach ... it was pure bliss and I was certain that I'd found my soul mate!
We were married at a time when it wasn't cool to get married, it was some what unusual for a pair our age but we never minded that. When I went off to uni the day after I got married with my new husband, being a fresher was the last concern I had. I was living in the very romantic city of Oxford and I remember it rained and rained and rained for that whole long winter. We didn't mind the weather conditions, we still took long walks around beautiful parks, drank coffee's in quirky little cafes, watched lots of films at the cinema, got dressed up and went out for special meals whilst all at once counting our student pennies. We were living in a ghastly shared house with a newly arrived nigerian couple deep in the throes of culture shock and a thieving south american boy/girl who stole from us but thought he might be able to conceal his thievery by reaching out to us and lending us deeply disturbing films of a sexual nature from his film collection! Through all the hard lessons of our first year of marriage finding out why for example, you should never write six months worth of post dated cheques to a landlord or why you shouldn't put bills just in your name in a shared house or why you should never rent or live anywhere that has even the slightest whiff of mould, through it all, we were blissfully happy ... even during times of unhappiness. Hubby and I have never professed to have a perfect marriage, we don't. We bicker, we can be mean to each other, impatient, we fall into habits of being very unromantic and we have times of being out of synch but above all of this we still know what we have always known, what we knew on our third date .... that we are soul mates and forever will be.