I remember so much the long walk home and first kiss tucked behind the back gate, after years of wishing and wanting, crawling towards each other in a very innocent courting dance, it was abruptly fast forwarded by a collision before dawn and then you were mine and I yours.
There was constant chemistry, once you kissed my nose and all my fuses blew, in a glory of blue sparks. The smell of your sweat after a day in your poly cotton uniform, pink and clammy with paleness, so lovely. You thought I was funny and that was such a big gift to me, as, in my family, over years amongst a sea of laughter being too young to get the joke, I had thought humour had eluded me. Your head would tip fully back when you laughed, it always reminded me of the hinged face of a Sesame Street character.
You had a buoyant elastic walk, I could spot your bobbing head from the furthest distance as I waited to try and catch you on the way to work, I on the way to school, practising my coincidental surprised face, because I couldn't really get enough of you, feeling always a kiss short.
You told me you loved me the first time with sign language in the pub, looking into my eyes, quickly and secretly. It was better than movies and when we first lay down together, you made a squirting sound and we laughed our heads off in the wonderment and glow of what had just happened. It felt like the first real time for me too.
You played me music, all the time, long personalised DJ shows, with all my requests honoured. You played me the song that moved you to tears out of nowhere, 'Come to Me', by Vangelis and though I didn't get stoned often, the sometimes I did, opened up even more doors than seemed possible, to let the music in. You would always walk me home, at two or three in the morning and I would sneak into my house and pretend, in the morning, it had been midnight. One time I stayed until 6am and when I got home my ceiling was on my bed after a crack had been slowly yawning for some time and I felt, wholeheartedly, that love had saved my life.
You bought me a cyan cotton dress that I tried on in Marks and Spencers, it was such a grown up gesture and it felt like I imagined being married might feel. When we got back, we only just made it through the front door and I was sure that was what being married felt like.
I found a picture of us yesterday, in a box of photos, at my mums. It caught me so off guard that I hid it in my handbag, only to keep secretly gazing at it every time the room emptied.
We were sitting on the sofa, with apeing slouches, summer in our clothes and the sense of novelty in our hands as we both held cans of Budweiser with awkward casual.
There was something very parallel about us, it was no accident that we were drawn to each other, our faces had
been put together by the same template, we had a similar automatic niceness and a gentle but strong individuality guided by feelings, not fashions. But I had a wildness about me that was incomprehensible to you, your passage through life had been infinitely more secure than mine, protected from the knowledge and fear that love isn't enough.
Occasionally in social situations, I would feel a growing discomfort and misplacement and I could be gaudy and
unprivate, where you had graceful reserve. I embarrassed you sometimes. I would feel instantly crushed and clownish, unable to make myself smaller in recompense and you would keep tally of these episodes and use them to step above me.
I remember you telling me that you thought Max purposely mixed up the order of your records to make you feel uneasy, but I imagine to the unschooled eye, order of purchase was an impossible chronology to discern. I wish I had been able to separate myself from your crushing paranoia, which seemed to get the better of quite a few of the young dope-smoking men of your generation, but with my mum slipping dangerously into herself and the inevitable insecurity this brought, my friends quietly stepped away from me and I found myself quite suddenly alone, over a black hole.
You forced me to leave you in the end and that was cruel as I still was very much in love with you. But there was nowhere to go when I received the letter in the mail that simply said 'slut' 200 times. I actually read it word for word and cried big tears of bereavement into the bath.
I will never forget the sound of the record player, 'Slip Sliding Away', it was such a beautiful song, it seemed like the record was hovering and my room was so tidy and smelled of fresh laundry.
It was one of those moments in time, and I can name a few before and since, when I have felt so connected mistakenly, so blinded by a powerful physical joy seeming to fill the room to bursting, unfathomable that it could be made alone. With promise in the air, after a perfect 6 months we sat on my bed, in my empty flat and you were endlessly beautiful to me...
But you were feeling something quite different and suddenly you looked like a complete stranger, like you had been body snatched, a shadow of twisted sarcasm cast over your face.