I wrote this exactly 7 years ago, about how I met my then-boyfriend. That didn’t work out but we’re still good friends and the story is pretty sweet so I thought I’d post it here. It’s a nice little reminder that every relationship is worth something, in the end.
I just watched Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind again and, as before, it made me sad and happy and tearful and brought a big grin to my face.
Anyway, last time I saw it was before Mark came back up, so watching it now I saw it from a bit of a different perspective. It made me want to share the tale of how
It was a Friday night in the Art School, back when Abnormals Anonymous was still held there and was still very popular. It was the tail end of a period when me and Chris were going to the Art School pretty much every weekend, and indeed he was with me that night. Also present were some of Chris’ friends and my brother.
I never went to Abnormals with the intention of meeting someone; I just really enjoyed it and it was the one night of the month where I could be guaranteed to get stupidly drunk. I guess the invariably awful ‘avant-garde’ acts they put on there had that effect on me. I think this one particular night (in 2003) was my brother’s first ever night there, so I stuck by him a lot in that protective I-want-you-to-have-a-good-time way that you sometimes do. Chris, on the other hand, decided that he wanted to set me up with someone and was dragging men over every fifteen minutes. I was both touched and amused by his behaviour, but I wasn’t really in the mood so politely excused myself from the men he left to speak to me.
Then Chris got speaking to Mark’s sister, who he took quite a shine to. The fact that she had a gay brother just made her even more perfect, and so it was that I found myself dragged over to meet her and Mark. I was instantly drawn to him…I’d even go so far to say as I was initially rather in awe of him. He was like no other man I’d met before (certainly no gay man) and I loved the speed and substance of our conversation. He invited us all back to a party and we accepted, and everything looked like it was going well. As we left, however, my brother started inviting people back to our flat, and people were accepting. Even Chris and his friends, who had initially accepted Mark’s invitation, decided to come back. I had not long moved into the flat and felt that I should go back also rather than disappear with some people I’d just met, so I invited Mark and his sister back to ours. They declined, saying they had to get back to their party, and we went our separate ways.
What happened next is my own personal Eternal Sunshine… moment of the kind I’m sure everyone has at some point. As me and my brother walked away from the art school, planning to get a taxi, my brother turned to me and said, ‘Do you want to go back with him? If you want to it’s okay’.
I stopped and looked back after Mark, knowing that I did want to go and find him but knowing that I didn’t know him at all and it was probably stupid. I knew there was something there, some tiny potential that I’d seen somewhere deep down inside. Not even knowing how to explain what I was feeling, I said, ‘Oh it’s okay…we don’t even know where the party is anyway’.
‘We’ll find it…we’ll follow some other people’.
So, my brother shouted on Chris and co and off we set, walking towards the West End following a general direction that a crowd of people were going in. I kept a look out for Mark but wasn’t holding much hope of finding him.
Then we walked past a shop on Woodlands Road. I looked into the doorway and there was Mark, coming out of the shop. He looked up and saw me and smiled, and started walking me and my brother back to his flat.
When we got there it turned out that the party was across the road, and Mark had no intention of going over to it. He’d only asked us back to speak more to me. My brother swiftly cottoned on to this and left, not even telling me he was going. I realised after about five minutes that he was missing and called him, feeling bad that he’d left. He told me that he knew all along that Mark had only really been interested in me going back; he didn’t mind, and he wanted me to enjoy my night.
And enjoy it I did. Though one other happening worth mentioning is that Chris and his friends did go over to the other flat, and attempted to come back over to Mark’s later on. Me and Mark were in his room by this point and Mark shouted for his sister to let them in. I don’t think she heard and so they knocked on the door in vain for a few minutes. When it became clear that they weren’t getting in….Chris pissed through the letter box.
It’d be possible to over-think these things…after all, if i hadn’t gone to the art school that night, if Chris hadn’t met Mark’s sister…etc etc. But it still makes me smile to this day that me and Mark would probably never have met again if my brother hadn’t intervened, even thought he had no real reason to do so.
There are other moments like that, as it’s certainly not been a smooth journey that’s led to me and Mark being a couple. Moments that shine out like diamonds in a haystack. But I guess they’re for another time.