The first one liked boxing, UFC, Preston North End, his mates he’s had since primary school, holidays that are hot, and, weirdly, Fruit & Fibre.
The second one was, well, a bit of a mess to be honest. She definitely didn’t like Fruit & Fibre. She had a little one year-old. And was feeling a bit lost.
Over time. They struck up a friendship based on a mutual love for Ryan Gosling. And that time she served him up a brew with the teabag still in it. And the bond over the same surnames. Wait? Same university? Same road name? Same – everything?
She never thought they would be anything more than friends.
And he neither. Especially with her relationship and son.
So friends they stayed.
Until her fairy tale was re-written.
Her life fell apart. She lost her trusty steed, in the form of a child-hating Jack Russell. And, together with her prince, they realised that, actually, their life wasn’t a fairy tale. They were meant to be, once upon a time. But just so that little boy with the blonde hair, blue eyes and admittedly goofy smile could exist.
It wasn’t about them. It was about him.
For a time, she imagined a life, just for two. A mother and her son. Maybe a few woodland creatures to help with the chores, or, at the very least a couple of black cats – they’re magical right? But never anything more.
Except, as the stories always go, he was waiting in the wings. Her knight in shining armour. Except not, for two reasons:
1) Shining armour is so 6th century.
2) He prefers jeans and jumpers – much warmer.
3) This is getting a bit cringe.
But to be honest. He really did save her. He changed her life. He scooped her up and made her feel, well…safe. Loved. Happy. Ecstatic. Less lonely. Complete, All of those things.
He took her son in his stride, and in his arms. And he didn’t moan once.
She spent a long time, furrowed-browed, fretful, and reluctant. Would this last? Could it be that she was happy?
And, as the story goes, they were set to live happily ever after.
And yes. We are happy.
I think this sort of relationship, in the speed that it grew, and the luck that it relied on, was the sort best-reserved for those sorts of fairy tales.
Except, this fairy tale is my life. It came true.
Today, Mark and I completed on our mortgage.
The same house. The same walls. The same furniture. Address. Views.
But no longer am I tied in paperwork to another man. And no longer is the onus on me, in writing. This is the first thing that we have done together.
Our names are the same. A wedding will never happen. So, for us, it’s kind of like our commitment.
And while it doesn’t change the way we feel. It’s a big deal for me. To see his name next to mine. To call it our home and mean it. To slowly change it. To see it grow. And to grow old in it.
“I want to do this with you.”
And like the foundations of our home, I feel like we’ve got something that will last a lifetime.
The second my eyes were opened to the fact that he was more than my best friend - as a single mother, and someone who expected love to stay away - I have never been happier.
With him, and my son by my side, I do feel a little like the queen of my castle. Nothing can penetrate these walls. It’s no longer a castle in the air. A dream. A hope. A wild imagination.
We’ve our own little kingdom.
Him. Me. And the King who rules us – his name is Bill.
He’s alright for a king. A little difficult. But we worship the ground he walks on.
Until he goes to bed.
Then we drink fizzy stuff, eat a takeaway and toast our future.
Actually. No. To be continued… We've only just begun.