I've always wanted to be married, not get married, that seems like madness - a whole day of dozens of people staring at you and taking pictures from every conceivable angle. Heck, no. It just sounds anxiety inducing and I'm pretty sure vomiting at the alter is not a good start to married life. I wasn't interested in the day, what I craved was the life. I wanted a person to call home; I longed for all the petty intimacies - peeing with the door open, texting for forgotten milk, falling asleep on the sofa. When I was a kid, on the rare occasions I was defiant, I would listen to my parents talking about me in hushed voices after I had gone to bed. Underneath my heady sense of injustice I felt a longing. I wanted that, I wanted a teammate and until recently I had been lucky enough to have one and then I wasn't.
It was months after my marriage ended that I thought I might be vaguely ready to think about loving again and I figured if I seriously wanted to be in a couple I better take it seriously, I better treat it like a job. So I updated my CV:
Previous role: 15 year position as mostly supportive partner
Special skills: Cottage pie
Then I asked every trusted friend if they knew of anyone who might be eligible, someone for whom they would be willing to act as guarantor for my heart. I told them that it was an attempt to live in a fairy tale to not actively look for love. I got a lot of the 'scary eyes'. You know the scary eyes, they're the ones you make when your friend comes back from a two week all inclusive holiday in Tunisia and tells you she's marrying a barman called Aziz. Your mouth says, 'That's great honey but maybe a little soon' but your eyes say, 'Girl you done lost your mind'. I knew from the scary eyes that many of them thought I was crazy but I didn't care. If you want to be an actress you don't wander through life hoping a director will spot you on the 250 bus - you hustle, you network, you make it happen. Why don't we think the same about love?
The problem was maybe I was lying to everyone and mostly to myself because I made no work of meeting my ex, in fact he swept me off my feet. We got together at a time when I wasn't looking for love, I was looking for a career and adventure and a part time job that would keep me in Topshop jeans and love knocked on my door and said, 'Can I take you to Deep Pan Pizza?' And it was wonderful. It wasn't that I wanted to be so serious about my search it was that I hoped that if I did things differently, it would end differently, in that it wouldn't end.
So I didn't apply for any of the openings I became aware of because I thought that to aim for love might rob it of its essence. Is its beauty not in its elusiveness, the way it crash lands into your life without warning? It might be the last bit of magic in adulthood and who wants to live a life without magic?