Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Sadly, it is NOT my 21st Wedding Anniversary

Today was supposed to be my 21st Wedding Anniversary.

A great milestone, I think you would agree. But it is my sad duty to inform you today that, unfortunately, I have not made it to this milestone. I hoped to be celebrating it with you all today but it was not to be. Sometimes life takes an unexpected turn and the best laid plans do not lead where one expects. Life crushes your dreams, I am told.

No, it is not my 21st wedding anniversary today. It is only my 20th wedding anniversary!

A full year has been denied me, through no fault of my own. None, I tell you. I am blameless.

To get to the bottom of this cruel theft of a year of marital bliss, we need to go back the beginning. All the way back.

Many years ago, I was a charming and debonair man about town, as it were. I believe I was known for my good looks and witty repartee. At one point in my life I even used to smoke using a long cigarette holder, that's how debonair I was. I was what you might call "a catch". But strangely the foolish women of the world did not seem to notice this, something I have never really understood.

Fortunately a good friend of mine introduced me to a very wise young lady who, I later learnt, took pity on me and also claims to have "seen potential" despite the fact that this odd 24 year old Tom strode around the place wearing his grandfather's ancient Harris tweed jacket with patches on the elbows, carrying a pocket watch like Toad of Toad Hall and wearing a tie on hot summer days.

In those days, I was a focused fellow. If I wanted to get something done, I generally got it done. I was not the laugh-a-minute, happy-go-lucky chap you see before you today. So, when thoughts moved towards marriage, I devised a plan. It was a very good plan. Fool proof. It was a four step plan

1) Girlfriend and I fly to North Africa, under the pretext of a holiday
2) I propose to Girlfriend at romantic African Sahara sunset
3) Girlfriend swoons in a lady-like way and accepts with delight
4) We enjoy the rest of the holiday, riding matching camels at the edge of the Sahara Desert whilst smiling at each other

How could this plan possibly fail? I was very pleased with myself.

So, 22 years ago, we set off on holiday to Tunisia. I smiled to myself. Girlfriend had no idea that this was her LUCKY DAY. She had HIT THE JACKPOT.

Of course, I was a bit nervous. I wanted it to be perfect as I knew that this wonderful moment would be imprinted on our memories for ever. How right I was.

The moment came. I grandly popped the question. I can't remember the exact words I used but I think it may have sounded something like "I bring you good tidings. You are to become my wife!!!"

Imagine my surprise when the answer came back - "NO"

Actually, to be fair, she said "Yes" that evening. But seemed less delighted than I had expected. I took this to mean that she was overwhelmed with the wonderful news. However, the following morning she woke up and said "I've had a think about it overnight and I've decided the answer is NO after all. Anyway, what are we doing today? Swimming pool? Beach? Camels?"

I must admit, the rest of the holiday was not quite as fun-packed as I had in mind. And sadly we went our separate ways when we returned to the UK. But that only lasted a week or so because I discovered something quite interesting, which the scientists amongst you will find fascinating.

You know the phrase "love hurts"? Well it does. What I found was that during that short period of apart-ness I developed a real, physical pain in my side.  I couldn't eat properly and I couldn't focus. I analysed the situation and concluded that it was unwise of me to continue with my childish, righteous huff and despite this foolish woman not knowing a good man when she saw one, the blasted love thing meant that I was going to have to crawl back and try again.

So, I did.

A year later I took her to a grand hotel in Paris. Paris in spring time. Eiffel Tower. The Left Bank. Perfect. But then I paused. What if she says no again? Oh no! I would have wasted my money on another fruitless holiday. It was an odd weekend

Tom "Shall we..."

Girlfriend, expectantly "Yes...?"

Tom "....go and have lunch?"

I waited until we got back to London and eventually asked, with rather more nervousness and a lot less sure of myself, and fortunately Girlfriend said "YES". Phew!

So, a year after that, and 20 years ago today we got married and Girlfriend became Wife. We have been happily married ever since, have a lovely family, travelled the world together and had a wonderful life. And today we celebrate 20 years of married life.

I should be celebrating 21 years of married life but as Wife said when I brought it up for the thousandth time "Oh, for goodness sake, if it had been 21 years it might not have been 21 years. Get over it".

Gosh. Strong women who know their own minds. Don't you just love 'em, huh? I do.



Rita Rake said...

That is so lovely! Congratulations to you both, we remember that day well - your youngest guest (Jules) was only 5 weeks old and was so tuckered out afterwards she slept through the night till about 10 am the following day! Gave us a fright when we woke up! How times have changed since then and how blessed we are with our families. We send you our love and hope you're having a wonderful day xxxx

John Egie Aisien said...

Really great to read Tom - thanks for sharing. Should this serial tech entrepreneur thing get old, the Chinua Achebe-esque Blogger role is yours for the taking ....:)