Friday, July 21st, 2017 05:11 am
I first saw Jez in 1994.
He was in a newspaper article pinned to the kitchen wall in my friend Alison's house. It was about 'Keele vampires' - he'd gone to the premiere of Interview with the Vampire with some friends in full goth kit.
"That's Jeremy" my friend's mother said. "Tori's boyfriend". Tori was Alison's older (and intimidatingly cool) sister. Her boyfriend looked even more impressive. In 1994 I was not cool, although I did own a pair of doc martens I had lovingly painted myself in glitter paint, including a gigantic sparkly silver witch flying through the air atop a broomstick, which I look back on with affection. I wore very bright tights to school and everyone thought I was weird. And not in a cool way.
The years went by. Jez and I didn't really know each other, although we were in the same place occasionally. I heard a lot of gossip about him. He seemed even cooler - very gothic, very charming, a bit of a womanizer.
I still wasn't cool, although my eyeliner improved and I acquired a pair of tight tartan trousers which I wore with more panache than I realised. Then Jez broke up with Tori at the end of university, and I moved away from Berkshire anyway to go to university myself. We lost touch.
Ten years later, we met again. This time it was in a pub in Oxford. It was at a live action role playing game. I walked in and a friend grabbed me.
"Who is that bloke?" she hissed. "The new one in the top hat. He's gorgeous"
It was Jeremy.
He was still too cool for me. Still rather gothic - he was wearing skin tight velvet trousers, a velvet waistcoat with bells on it and a top hat with bright scarfs wrapped around it. No shirt but a very impressive six pack. There was a little ripple of swooning women around the room as he walked across it. But I remembered him from my teenage years, and that was nice, and I'd only just moved back down south after many years in Scotland, was unemployed and bored and so the prospect of talking to anyone was good.
I asked him if he'd like to get coffee. Unusually, he wasn't in work the next day so suggested G&Ds for milkshakes. We met at 2 pm.
At 2 am we were still talking as we wandered around Oxford. We got locked in Christchurch Meadows as the sun went down and had to climb out over the wall. We sat on a bridge with blossom falling down on us and talked about bottling this moment. I remember feeling light headed, and oddly not insecure. It was easy and happy and right.
It hasn't always been easy or happy or right. God knows, we've had our ups and downs over the years. Some pretty massive ones. But somehow we've got through them. Somehow we've found our way back to each other.
We first talked about marriage within a week of getting together. But first it was too soon, and then there was drama coming from elsewhere, and then I was crazy, and then he wasn't sure, and then...
...well, there were always a lot of reasons. Looking back, though, I'm glad we didn't get married then. It took a while for us to be ready, to grow up, to find the life we wanted to share. It's only really been in the last two years that we've done that - thank you, Glasgow, and thank you Glasgow housing market - and now is, I think, the right time.
I don't find Jez intimidatingly cool anymore. He also would say he looks considerably less impressive without his shirt on, and I've not seen him wear a top hat in years. Less goth, more tweed now. But he still has the brightest smile and wonderful eyes. He's still my Jez. And I love him.
Countdown until we leave for the grand wedding adventure trip - four hours.
It's going to be fantastic.