It wasn’t actually love at first sight. That stuff is reserved for Tom Hiddleston, Beyoncé and the first episode I ever watched of Rick And Morty.
We formally met at a party of a mutual friend years ago. She was having one of her wild parties as a celebration of an “I’m fucking leaving the country TAKE MY STUFF OR I WILL BURN IT” kind of theme. I rocked up after work, it was not long after I had moved interstate, so I hadn’t seen her in ages. There was a few high pitched sounds, hugging, catch ups then heading into the house to say hello to friends old and new alike.
I was wary of him, truth be told. There were rumours that he and my friend were very close of the very close variety, and I was the overprotective type who didn’t want to see her heart broken. He on the other hand barely made eye contact and kept any conversations to the monosyllabic variety. The rumour mill should never be listened to mind you, because that was the furthest thing from the truth.
The conversations came more fluidly when we weren’t in the same room, with us arguing via text or facebook message over who was going to get our friend’s Doc Martens, discovering points of commonality, and the conversations gradually turned to the flirtatious variety. Me being the complete oblivious moron that I am, didn’t completely comprehend this until a few days before a movie weekend at my place my friend and I had planned that he was tagging along to.
My friend pulled the plug 20mins before he was supposed to rock up, and to this day I swear she did it on purpose. It still went ahead anyway, with us both feeling like awkward teenagers watching movies, occasionally brushing hands accidentally and getting closer into each others personal space as the night wore on.
Contrary to all of my hangups and idiosyncrasies, I was the one that made the first move. “Do you find it as frustrating as I do that we have been this close and we haven’t kissed yet?” After a relieved sigh of “Jesus christ yes”, we kissed. We kissed and it was like all those stupid movies describe it. My first kiss was just after high school with someone that preferred to give an experience of making out with a waterfall. This was different. It was gentle, it was slow, it was all those goofy fireworks, cherubs with harps out kind of wow.
That was how it started. We went on an official proper restaurant date a few days later, he came back to mine and we hung out and watched more movies. I don’t think he left after that. A point I often remind him about much to his annoyance.
We always communicated. He knew of some of the messed up shit I had been through, he shared his own history with me and together we took everything step by step, each day at a time. He learnt how to move with any of my episodes, would distract me with pictures of kittens when I needed it, or would just curl up and hold my hand when I needed that instead.
He was studying in uni, I was working as a business manager 12hrs a day often 6 days a week at a motorcycle dealership that was slowly sapping my will to live. We went out to movies when we could get the time, had reading nights, tried not to lose our minds over puzzle nights and just set about carving out a life for ourselves. We are both competitive so when a pool table was involved it got heated, and the only time we would fight is over the playstation controller.
Everything fit so easily. He helped me get out of a really terrible job and onto better things, I started really being able to work with myself and get through some of these dramas and really grow on as a person. Just over 6mths later, he proposed. That wasn’t quite how I had ever imagined it would happen, it was just slotted into conversation on the way home from the city on the bus.
“Did… you just propose to me on a fucking Logan bus?”
“Yeah I think I did.”
“You’re an unromantic ass but my answer is still yes.”
Neither of us had a lot of money but we managed to get rings for each other, I managed to find one made by a Buddhist monk at a local market that he still wears to this day, mine was located at a random store in the city. Both were less than $40 but it was the symbol behind them, not the karat of the material. Through thick and thin, rich or poor… especially poor… more than likely poor… we would be there for each other down to our last dollar and our last breath. I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.
That was as official as we were going to get at this point- it was time to introduce him to the family. I had met his by this time so it was only fair. We jumped on a plane and went to Sydney for both mine and my mother’s birthday (they’re a day apart in March). We rocked up to the venue, and I stood outside for a few minutes trying to remain calm while holding his hand. He squeezed it in solidarity and we headed inside. It was pleasant enough despite how daunting it would have been for him.
My little cousin who would have been about 5 at the time was there and asked about us. “Do you love each other like mummy loves daddy?” she enquired. I looked around at the rest of the table while everyone looked about as shocked and awkward as if someone had just ran naked through the restaurant. I simply nodded and she seemed to ponder this for a moment before looking at him and saying “They have a face painter outside, I’m going to get a butterfly on my face” and taking off.
He also saw this as an opportunity to get air and decided that he too was going to go get his face painted up like a damn skull, so took off after my cousin leaving me with my family.
“You guys are so great together. It’s so good to see you happy.”
“I think it’s wonderful you’ve found someone that makes you happy you look like an entirely different person!”
The compliments went on like this for a little bit, which on a surface level seemed lovely but there was this strange air of a “but” hanging around at the end of their sentences. One of them decided to address the elephant in the room.
“But why do you guys want to get married?”
“Is this because he proposed so quickly?”
“No it’s just…. I don’t have a problem with you two being together it’s just…. I just don’t understand why you need to fight so hard to get married why is it such a huge deal?”
The conversation took a turn for the worst pretty quickly after that. They were attempting to not be offensive and kept telling me so, but kept bringing the conversation back to “But why do you want to get married?”
“Because we love each other and that’s what two people do when they want to spend the rest of their lives together?”
“Yeah but… why is it such a huge deal that you need to be able to get married? Isn’t just being together enough?”
“Is that what you were asked when your now husband proposed to you?”
“Well no but I-”
“So why should it be any different for us?”
“Well because… because uh… SO WHO WANTS A DRINK!?”
Me. Definitely me.
I excused myself and went to the bathroom in order to cry into a scrunched up handful of toilet paper. I spent my birthday crying into toilet paper. These days my family have gotten a lot better around him but I still haven’t forgotten that day, it still burns my memories.
At this point the unknowing reader might be wondering why my family had such a bizarre reaction to introducing my partner to my family. If this is isn’t your first article you’re reading from me you might be wondering if I have hit my head. I will come clean. You see, this article is littered with typos. Replace every reference to my partner as a male with her actual gender, and re-read it again.
Our government is looking to hold a useless tax-payer funded and wasted plebiscite later in the year where you get to decide whether or not I get to hold some form of equal footing with you in societal standing. You actually get to dictate how I live my life regardless of you having absolutely no real input or impact in it! Isn’t that exciting?
No. No it isn’t. This license for hate speech is going to tell you that my partner and I are depraved. That what we do in the bedroom is a “lifestyle choice”. Kite-boarding on the weekends or going Paleo are lifestyle choices. A committed relationship between two people should not be whittled down to a “lifestyle”. I don’t point at heterosexual couples and say “ew look at their weird lifestyle choice!” because it’s not. a fucking. lifestyle. It is a LIFE between TWO PEOPLE.
“I don’t think you should be standing up and protesting what happens in your bedroom.” This was an AMAZING rebuttal I heard today. Those who are against marriage equality think about gay sex more than us gays do. I think my partner and I are both in agreeance that if we had as much sex as they think we do, we would be a lot more exhausted. YES. SEX IS INVOLVED SOMEWHERE IN THE RELATIONSHIP BUT IT IS A SMALL PIECE OF A VERY MUCH LARGER LIFE.
We are coming up on five years in September. We have had our share of ups and downs, arguments over paint colours for the house, love and loss, burnt meals and laughter over farts that sound like ducks quacking. She gets on my case about the housework, I get on hers because she puts the cutlery in the drawer away weird. She hates when I eat peanut butter and won’t come near me at all until I’ve brushed my teeth several times and gargled a heap of mouth wash. I make it up to her by making the most amazing noodles or “breakfast dinners” where I pan up a plate of hash browns, bacon and surprise her with tiny cheese kranskies.
Our favourite time of year is Halloween, we deck the whole house out like a novelty store exploded. She isn’t into xmas but tolerates my need to be festive and I make it up to her by covering the tree in skull decorations and rename the season Skullmass.
She loves when I provide foot rubs because her circulation is shit and gets worse in the winter. I love when she scratches the back of my head. I have stayed by her bedside when she was admitted to hospital for a poisoned kidney, she stayed by mine when I had my appendix out. I supported her when she was going through hell in her job and helped her get out. She convinced me to save a dog who has become the most important little heart stealer in our lives. We often get manoeuvred out of the bed because the cats take up more space than a goddamn child.
We leave notes for each other all over the blackboard at home that usually consist of a capital lettered “YOU HAVE THE BEST FACE.” I gave up the giant whiteboard in the office so she could have somewhere to scribble while she figured out calculations for her science degree. We buy each other ridiculous little presents when we can but they are treated like we just went shopping for each other at Tiffany and Co. No matter how bad things get when I see her face first thing in the morning I know I am going to be ok.
It’s my grandmother’s 80th birthday in a few weeks and I couldn’t afford the tickets. She surprised me with them at work on Friday because she knows how important it is I spend time with my family, especially as my grandmother is getting older. I am now going down there to surprise her because of my partner.
We are not just a sex act.