15 years ago I had very different ideas of how my life would go. I had no idea life could be like this.
My brother convinced me, last minute to go to a school reunion with him. I really didn’t want to go but there were one or two people I hoped I’d see again. So we went to a pub in Havant and met with people we hadn’t seen in a long time.
It was strange. Seeing these people, many of whom were from my brother’s year or above, and remembering who they were, and who I thought they were. Then comparing that to who they’d become. There were a few people from my year though and I naturally gravitated towards them.
I was standing at the bar surveying the room when I saw a man sat at the head of a long table, holding court. He wore yellow tinted glasses and his eyes sparkled when he laughed. Everyone there was listening to and laughing with him and I felt drawn to him in a way I’d never experienced before. I knew some of the people he was talking to so I sat down and said hello. I remember taking with people, catching up, smiling, laughing. But all I really wanted to do was talk to him.
I found out his name and remembered hearing it time and again, uttered in exasperation by teachers and my dad, alike. “Truby!” My dad, the school handyman and chef, spent half his life fixing the things Truby had broken. I vaguely remembered a blond kid with funny, sticky-up hair. A full-time border with whom I had many friends in common, but wasn’t friends with.
I finally got to sit next to him and we talked. We talked about his music, my sculpture and we laughed about school. He was so easy to talk to and be with and as the evening drew on I knew I had to see him again. I kept touching his knee as we talked. It wasn’t conscious, I was only barely aware of it. But I didn’t stop myself and I didn’t question it.
Then he said we should probably mingle and I admit to feeling a little rejected. I went to the bar to get a drink and give myself something to do. It turned out that was the point he felt a little rejected by me. But we found our way back together and stayed that way the rest of the evening.
The reunion ended and we all swapped email addresses. I wrote people’s names and email addresses and Truby gave me his. It was his songwriting name. I knew I wouldn’t forget it, or him. But he kept telling me to put his name next to it so I’d remember it was him. I told him, “Don’t worry. I’ll remember.” He didn’t get the hint.
Truby and his friends offered to drive my brother and me back to our parent’s house on Hayling. We piled in and drove down memory lane. We stopped outside the wall, all that was left of our old school. We went to the beach and dropped over the new tourist train tracks. We laughed and messed around. And eventually they took us home. I kissed Truby goodbye. I told him I’d be in touch. He later told me he had asked his friends if I seemed interested in him, or was I just very friendly. They both said I was just really friendly, and Truby was disappointed.
But I emailed him that night. And we emailed every day for a week. Intense emails talking about things and with a candor we never would have managed face to face or on the phone.
1 week after the reunion, on the 14th July 2002, we met for a drink. We were both shy. All our confidence gone. But eventually we calmed and we talked. We drove around and spotted a badger. Truby brought his guitar and sang for me. He sang his ‘greatest hits’. I loved his music. Couldn’t believe it was him. Then he sang the song he wrote about the night at met, Train Tracks and Traffic Cones. I loved it. I loved him. I knew he was someone special. I knew I wanted to know him better.
We made so many plans but life had other ideas. And yet, through every trial thrown at us we grew stronger and closer. I could not imagine life without my Truby. He is my everything. I love him, am in love with him. I’m proud of him. And I never want to be without his protective arms around me.
As a girl I dreamed of a white wedding and children. But I got something far better. I got a friend for life. I got unending support and belief. I got integrity, honour and faithfulness. I found my inspiration, my centre and a true partnership in every way.
Thank you, my love. Thank you for the last 15 years. Thank you for the promise of all there is to come. You are my world.