I got home literally as Rosie pulled up outside to pick me up at 1 o’clock. It was a quick dump and dash situation and we made it to All Saints just in time for the rehearsal. That week was mad! Global Rock on the 2ndbefore which I passed my driving test which I was ecstatic about. Naturally, I phoned Matt as my first port of call out of excitement. Typically, though, his phone was off:
“Hey! So, you’ll never guess what… I just passed my driving test!” I cried down the phone at his voicemail! “You know what this means, don’t you? I can now do the driving! No more ferrying around. Okay, I gotta go rehearse, but I’ll talk to you later. Love you.”
He phoned me again later and we talked about it for a bit:
“I’m so proud of you babe!” he said down the phone as I was sitting in the dressing room out the back of the Playhouse.
“How many minors?”
“Six. Silly things really.”
“That’s not so bad!”
“I know! I’m really chuffed!”
That evening, I performed in the trial run of our competition dance - which would ultimately win us first place in the regional heats at Portsmouth next month and that weekend I spent with Matt. Being very grown up. I arrived with my shopping ready to make dinner again – fish pie tonight – but first we made a trip to the tip and then Dunelm to buy some duvet covers and things for the spare room which Matt had just redecorated after Joe had moved out.
It felt really mature and I felt strangely at home. It felt right. I was excited that maybe the stitches in our relationship were holding, but I was still cautious nonetheless. When we got back home, Matt got a phone call from Darryl. He had been broken into and had some things stolen. He was in a bit of a state and, Matt being Matt, said he would head over to offer some moral support. I was a bit taken aback, but could understand where he was coming from. I could see he was freaking out and, fortunately, along with Jessie J’s album which I had bought in Morrison’s along with the fish pie ingredients, I had also popped into Boots and bought some Rescue Remedy, which I popped into Matts mouth before he left.
Cooking without Matt in the house was both interesting and a challenge at the same time. It suddenly occurred to me that, although I knew where the important things were – saucepans (of which there were few), frying pans, milk and the like – I hadn’t accounted for the fact that I didn’t know where he would keep the butter. I knew he’dsaidhe had some… But I’ll be blown if I can find it. I searched everywhere, high and low. I even phoned my friend Sophie Myram whose mum lived just round the corner to see if she was home and could drop me some round. Turned out she was actually at her dads in Sidcot which wasn’t at all helpful. I made the decision that I couldn’t leave the house and walk to Tesco – or drive, as I had the car – because I would have had to leave it unlocked. I didn’t have a key! I was stumped. Eventually, I decided that the only solution was to ring Matt and find out where it was.
Pouring myself a glass of wine for some Dutch courage – I had been told what Darryl was like and didn’t want to set him off, but if I didn’t want to ruin the tea, this was my only choice – and dialled the number.
“Hey, Matt. What’s up,” Matt answered.
“Hey babe. Silly question, but where’s your butter?”
He laughed; “In the bread bin on the side.”
The bread bin. Really? Who keepbutterin the bread bin?! I rolled my eyes.
“Okay, thanks babe. Everything okay?”
“Yeah, it’s all good. I’ll be leaving in the next couple of minutes.”
I had been nervous about him going to see Darryl. I wasn’t sure I trusted him completely yet, and since I didn’t know what he’d be doing, I tried not to think about it too much... but it was really hard. I loved this man, but I didn’t know the ins and outs of him yet. It was coming, but he was still difficult for me to understand.
I found the spread – not butter – in the bread bin and proceeded to make the white sauce for the Fish Pie. It was in the oven when he came back home. We each poured a large glass of wine and curled up on the sofa, before heading up to bed. When the Fish Pie had come out, it resembled more of a biscuit than a pie. Mostly because Matts insufficient cookware had left me with a huge serving dish to place it in. I joked about it, but I did find it secretly astounding.
That week flew past and hurled itself at me in the process. I headed into London on my way to Essex on March 9th. I disliked London. It was crowded, smelly and overbearing. I could never work (or live) here, but appreciated it for what it was each time I passed through. I was texting Matt on the tube as I transferred from Paddington to St Pancras station, via the Circle Line, before I got on a train to Colchester.
I arrived, got lost, found myself and arrived at the University. Very quickly after arriving, I wanted to leave. It was horrid and I absolutely didn’t like it. The whole 20 hour day was completely pointless. It was dirty, small, uninformative, unwelcoming and old. I just didn’t like it. I phoned Matt on my way back into London and told him about my day. It was a feeble attempt to keep myself awake as I was absolutely knackered. It worked for a bit, and it was nice to hear his voice, but all conversations have to come to an end at some point...
We saw each other again that Sunday... It was strange. I picked him up on the way back from the Senior Choir rehearsal in Weston with Rosie in the back of the car. The two of them got on really well, so that was cool, but I could tell something wasn’t right when I went up to the door. He had been growing increasingly distant since my birthday, and the argument last month hadn’t helped matters. I was worried. I knew something wasn’t right and everything was still tense, but I tried to grin and bear it...
We raced up the motorway towards Cribbs to go Bowling. I made the silly mistake of undertaking a car on the road past Portishead which Matt and Rosie instantly pointed out. Oops. My bad. We arrived and I parked. Everyone – well, the three of us – piled out and hurried over to Hollywood Bowl to shy away from the cold. We had some drinks and played a round of pool – well, Matt played. I failed. Miserably. Son, Livvie and Ruth turned up and I confirmed the booking and we all ushered into the alley.
The game was actually really fun. I wasnoton form. At all. My winning streak from Germany last year and Cornwall at New Year had evidently worn off. It was great nonetheless. I can’t remember who won and who lost, but I’m pretty sure I was somewhere near the bottom… But not quite the loser. As the day drew to a close, we made plans about getting home. Matt and I decided that I would go back to his and sleep over so Rosie, Livvie and Ruth went for dinner at Bella Italia and Matt and I went to get some takeaway… ASDA was shut, so I filled up with petrol and we went home, choosing to buy some things from Tesco’s in Worle instead.
It was strange. It wasn’t the same. I could feel the needle and thread beginning to tear apart. Slowly snapping as the whole thing was being held precariously over a great chasm, threatening to destroy everything forever… Little did I know this would be thelasttime I would see him like this…
Back at the house we curled up on the sofa. We talked about Uni. I told him my worries about Leanne going to Uni in America. About how it was terrifying me that I was going to have to leave so many people I loved behind… he talked to me differently that night, as the Vagina Monologues played in the background. He told me how he wasn’t in contact with any of his friends from school anymore and how I would have to face that more often than not, this was the case. This got to me. How could he make these presumptions about me? From what he told me, his relationships were completely different to mine. While he had a really strong connection with his family and friends were secondary, I was the complete opposite… I thought he knew that? To me, in my case, my friends were my family. They were the people I turned to for advice and a shoulder to cry on. To me, my family were the people I lived with and who taught me how to be a good person, but my friends were the people who made me the person who was good… I thought he knew that? And it angered and upset me that he didn’t seem to care… What did he know?