I remember it so vividly, the day that everything changed. I had been invited to a camp-out. Camp-out didn’t involve tents or barbecued sausages, but cheap alcohol in the woods, so naturally I was sold. Besides, I was eighteen, and had nothing better to do. I took my friend along, and as we sat in the back of the car waiting for everyone to get ready, another car pulled up. A guy got out, I knew it was the brother of the person who had invited me, we had met fleetingly a few times before and I thought he was cute. All I knew about him what that he was older, muscular, and didn’t talk much. A silent and brooding type, I figured. Way too cool for me, probably. I watched him out of the car window and he caught me looking. I smiled and he smiled back. He had the bluest eyes.
I’m not one to ogle over men, let me make that clear, but I did ogle over Tom. We went to the woods and I made sure I was sat next to him. I’ve never been afraid to be forward and he didn’t seem to mind. It was a nice atmosphere, with warm air and a clear sky. Drunk on god-knows-what, I spilled drink on him by accident and he had to take his top off. It was as if I had orchestrated it, like the start of some bad porno, but I swear I hadn’t. I’m not that good at forward-planning. After a while, the group dispersed and we were relatively alone. I laid down on the soft forest floor and Tom laid down next to me. I couldn’t believe it was happening. We spoke a little, but mostly he played with a strand of my hair. He was as good as a stranger, but I felt completely at ease, and apparently so did he.
In case you were wondering, this story is perfectly PG. In the early hours, he went home and we went our separate ways. But I wanted to, needed to get in touch with him again. This was before social media was as prominent as it is now. I begged his brother for his number, to which he resisted. The exact moment he caved; I received a message on Myspace from Tom with his phone number. I called him, and he answered like an old friend. We spoke for a long time, which was a big deal because it was also before everybody had phone contracts and free minutes.
A few days later, I invited him to a house party. I miss house parties. Are they still a thing? Anyway, it was a busy party, but at one point we found ourselves alone. He looked at me, placed his hands either side of my face and kissed me. It was movie-style perfect.
You might be thinking; a girl being swooned by a 19-year-old with a nice body and a car isn’t a big deal. Perhaps Tom was just a Romeo, and won girls hearts every day of the week. You’d be wrong. I quickly discovered that Tom was a massive introvert and way geekier than I had gathered from first impressions. He also doesn’t have a string of exes and he wasn’t someone who frequented house parties. In fact, it’s hilarious thinking back about how I met the man I’ve been with for nine years.
It’s been a long nine years and a short nine years. In many ways, it feels like my life started the moment we locked eyes before camp-out. Everything before that moment was irrelevant. We’ve grown up together. When I went out that night, I didn’t go out looking for love, or even lust. I have never had the idea that you need to be in a relationship. It just happened. And I’m glad it did.
Oh, and on our first date, we went for a walk and watched the Perseids meteor shower. Fuck, he’s good.