As I promised in another post, I would tell the whole story of mine and Harry’s relationship. It’s long, I’m warning you. Like really long. And it’s gonna jump all over the place. Try and stay with me.
So… here it goes.
Harry and I met July 21st 2012, and we have both spoken how at the time we weren’t looking for love, or a relationship actually we both admit that we were at a stage where we didn’t know what we wanted. In the January of 2012 Harry had broken up with a girl he had been with for 2 years, and it stayed messy. In fact she stayed on the scene, going backwards and forwards on what they were going to do with regards to their relationship until a week before we met. A WEEK! That was when he finally put an end to it. He admits that he was in a bad place, he was out a lot and not enjoying life.
Whereas I had just returned from the trip of a lifetime, where I spent 5 days in Las Vegas and then had 10 days in Hawaii. It was a graduation present from my mum, and it was amazing. It awoke some sort of Wanderlust within me. I actually had a heart to heart conversation with my mum on the beach at Oahu, about how now I was graduated I didn’t know what to do with my life, how I would love to not get on a flight back to The UK, but I wouldn’t love to hop on a flight going in the other direction and end up in Australia or New Zealand, and wherever else I might have washed up. My mum being the amazing supporting lady that she is, sat on that beach and told me, if that is what I wanted then we could book me a flight anywhere I wanted and I could take her credit card and we could work out the rest from there.
I confided in her that I didn’t know if it was actually the urge to travel that was washing over me, or being swept up whilst being in paradise, or whether it was really just being scared.
Why was I scared?
I was scared because I had just graduated from university and it was the first time since I was 4 that I hadn’t been in education full-time and had a goal to work for.That is one of the most frightening experiences I’ve had, it was like losing your identity. I went from the title or role of Student to Graduate to Nothing…
When I handed in my dissertation I was hit with a feeling of loss. I didn’t know what to do. I sat on the bench outside the building where I had spent most of my 4 years at uni working, and I didn’t really know what to do. I lit up a cigarette and I nearly burst in to tears. It could have been tears of joy or relief from finally handing in the dissertation or it could have been tears of accepting the end had arrived the one thing I do know is, that as soon as I handed in the dissertation it dawned on me that I didn’t have anything to do the next day. I didn’t have any assignments and my life was entirely mine again, that was a scary thought. I sat there for ages, just taking in the Stirling campus one last time. It truly was beautiful and as I sat there and looked at the Loch I finally appreciated where I had been living for the last 4 years.
(See, how amazing it is)
I pushed the fact that I had no real plan and nothing to really focus on to the back of my mind and got on with celebrating the end of uni. I went out with friends a few last times and started packing up my life in Stirling. I then headed to Sussex, graduation wasn’t until June and this was April. Uni had ended with a whimper and not with a bang. No big exam to cram for or anything so dramatic, I just handed over 2 copies of my dissertation to a lady in an office and then that was it. It seemed like such an anticlimax. So I went home, I went to Sussex to pass the time. I managed to find a job pretty easily, granted it wasn’t anything special but it was enough to give me money to enjoy my summer and filled the now empty days. As June and graduation arrived I took some time off and headed back to Stirling, and I packed the past 4 years were packed in to boxes. A week later my family joined me up there and after graduation I returned to Sussex with my life in boxes. It’s a odd experience when your life can be fitted in to a trailer and a BMW driven back by a loving famly member whilst you fly home. I was only home for a day before I left for Vegas and Hawaii… My mind was a whirlwind with everything that had happened the past few months and the future.
So anyway back to the beach in Oahu with my mum, and I’m explaining to her that I was scared that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and that I didn’t know what I wanted to do or where I wanted to do it, if I ever worked out what “it” was. Or if I could really go back to Horsham not really done anything and that really deep down I was scared of disappointing her.
My mum being the amazing woman that she is told me I would never be a disappointment to her and that she didn’t want me to head back to England and get a job if it wasn’t what I wanted because I thought that she was expected. She never wanted me to be doing anything I didn’t want to because I thought I owed it to her or that she would be disappointed otherwise. She wanted me to live my life wherever it may take me and that she would love me if I decided to go travelling or if I got a great job or a crappy job. She was happy as long as I was happy.
We talked about all my options for ages on the beach, we went for dinner and we just enjoyed spending some time together. She told me I didn’t have to make up my mind until we got on the plane, or that I could change it on the flight and as soon as we got to Vegas again I could fly on from there. Whatever I decided she would have helped me with.
That time with my mum was exactly what I needed, I don’t think she even knows this but that talk on the beach all those miles from home instantly cleared me from the fear of not knowing what I wanted. It helped me be ok with coming home and having no plan and just doing what I wanted and see where life takes me. The original plan was to come home, and keep working the job I have and to save up, and then just go travelling for a few months or have another holiday.
The plan was: “Be ok with not having plans, find out who Emma is outside of education. Properly.”
This was from my Hotel balcony in Hawaii. It must be added that I was lucky enough to have swapped from one beautiful location in Scotland to one in the Central Pacific.(Just a couple I took whilst there in Hawaii… No filter required)
So I headed home to England and straight back to working the full-time cafe job I’d found locally just to see me through at first with Hawaii fresh in my mind, but more importantly a new sense of “It’s ok Emma. Really.”
This is where the story of Harry and I starts.- I promise.
(I know what you’re thinking, you came here to read about Love, not to read about my crisis of identity)
Less than a week of being home from Hawaii and my friend Rave (David is his real name but yeah…) was having a leaving meal and night out as he was off travelling. I nearly text him and told him that I had to cancel and that I hoped that he had a great night. I was shattered and I had about 15 minutes from finishing work, to get home changed and back in to town to make the meal.
However, as soon as I got home I couldn’t shake this feeling that I had to go. There was this nagging feeling in the back of my mind. So, I had a quick wash and a change of clothes and tried to do my face and hair. I rushed out the door grabbing a pair of heels and managed to get a lift in to the town. I made it to the meal in time and we all greeted each other the way we always do, and as soon as I got there I was so pleased that whatever it had been that had made me go had been there.
We ate and laughed and drank, one of our friends got in a couple of bottles of Champagne and we toasted to Rave. The group of us went on to a local bar where we always used to end up where even more of us were waiting to join the party.
Upon our arrival I immediately saw my friends Naomi and Rachel, the 3 of us descended on each other. We’d been talking for a little while when Na suddenly exclaimed: “Jack’s coming down and he’s bringing his brother.”
Jack is Na’s boyfriend (now fiance) now, don’t get me wrong Jack is a good-looking man but he isn’t exactly my type, so I automatically assumed Jacks brother wouldn’t be my type either.
I carried on my night; not giving this mystery man a second thought. Then, through the crowd I see Jack, so I give Na the nudge to let her know her man had arrived. Then there behind Jack was this guy. This unbelievable guy. I’d say it was love at first sight, but that’s when I realised it wasn’t the first time I had seen him.
It sounds so cliché but it was like everything went in to slow motion as I turned quickly round, away from him and said “Rach, it’s the Sussex Barn man!” Now this is where once again our story takes another leap back in time.
The Sussex Barn Man:
The Sussex Barn is a pub in Horsham where I used to go a lot with friends, because the drinks and the food were cheap and the portions were big. One afternoon a few months before Harry and I officially met, I was in the pub with a couple of the girls and we were watching the Football and eating and generally getting a bit drunk. I got up from my seat to make my way to the toilet and from the kitchen this guy appeared. I remember thinking “Phwoar” at the time. Anyway when I came back from the toilet I sat down next to the girls again and I said “I’ve just met my future husband.” I pointed him out and we giggled about it, how he was way out of my league and how had I not noticed this guy working here when I came in weekly? The drinks kept flowing and I couldn’t keep my eyes off him, instead of watching the football I was watching this guy moving around the pub. On our way outside for a bit we walked past him working at a table and I said to the girls once we were out of ear shot, in a really classy, drunken way “I’m going to have sex with that man!”
At the time it was hilarious and they took the piss out of me for months. It became a running joke with them anyway, when I was spending time with Rachel one night I mentioned how I had been at the Barn and there was a guy working there that was possibly THE One.
*It must be noted here that I didn’t actually stalk him or anything mental like that. I saw something I liked but I decided that I had no chance so I did nothing about it.*
Anyway, back we go to Rave’s leaving do… (are you still with me?)
So as I’ve seen him I’ve turned to Rachel and said excitedly “It’s the Sussex Barn man.” before going back to being totally cool. Na and Rachel both look over my shoulder and obviously see Jack and Harry standing there. They both say “Who? Harry? THAT’S who you meant? He’s Jacks little brother!” They found it hilarious that I was suddenly really flustered and all this time the guy I’d mentioned was so easily accessible for me!
Well, I don’t know what I said, but it was along the lines of “YOUVEKNOWNALLTHISTIMEANDSAIDNOTHING!?!?!?”
I carried on my night, enjoying myself, I’m then pulled aside by Na who says to me “Go and talk to Harry.”Me being me, I was going “Nope, not a chance, you know the boxes they need to tick” That is when Na played her card “He’s a drummer and he plays rugby… the 6ft thing clearly doesn’t matter as you’ve already told everyone you fancied him!”
I was speechless, she had me, he really was perfect. It didn’t make me go and talk to him though. I just sat there talking and drinking. Again Na came back from bein with Jack and Harry and this time she said “Go and talk to him, he’s been over there saying you’re stunning” Still I wouldn’t move, in fact in a weird turn of events I went “He can come to me if he’s interested” and once again Na disappeared to the opposite side of the room. Minutes later I turned round upon hearing “Excuse me…” I turned, and I came face to face with the man I am now going to marry. But back then on 21st July 2012 he was just the guy I’d fancied from the pub.
He introduced himself and we got talking. It was very casual at first, he asked why I was so tanned and I told him I’d just got back from Hawaii. It wasn’t a very long chat, and after a while he went back across the room to Jack and Na.
That was it, I’d blown it I thought. So, I got up to go outside for a cigarette to decide if I was going to call it a night and go home or what… but as I got up and was leaving Harry shouted across to me. “Where are you going?” I was stunned I stuttered “Loo…” to which he replied “Good, I thought you were leaving.”
I went outside and found Dane one of our group, and he gave me a pep talk. Now I have to say that the guys in our friendship group were very protective and for some reason had me on some kind of pedestal. In fact (without meaning to sound arrogant) they nicknamed me “The Elite.” Dane sent me back inside, telling me I could at least get a free drink. I joined the rest of our group and Harry suddenly appeared back at my side. I didn’t know this at the time but found out after, he’d had a couple of Jagerbombs for courage whilst I was outside. He finally asked me if he could get me a drink. We headed upstairs to the other bar, which was usually a bit quieter, and I ended up buying him a drink instead.
From that moment the rest of the night Harry didn’t leave my side. We talked about everything we liked and he even got on to how he was going to see the new Batman on the Monday. I wowed him with my Batman and other comic knowledge, then we got on to gaming and rugby before everything else. The other guys in the group are watching him, I’m suddenly really aware of it, the closer Harry is getting to me the more they are paying attention to what is happening. Harry proclaims “This girl is amazing! Like seriously, the perfect girl.” One of my friends pipes up with “She’s the Elite.” Harry seemed a bit stunned at first and then he goes to me (rather cringe now maybe) “Can I kiss you?”
So there in B52’s, surrounded by half the people we know and pretty much everyone else from our hometown, we had our first kiss. We spent the rest of the night until the bars kicked out together having a laugh. I taught him “Minesweeping” and we talked and laughed. He then said he would walk me to the taxi rank.
I was desperate for a pee, and was on the phone to my best friend who lived in town to ask her at 2am, if I could use her loo. She said yes.
Harry had left me to talk to his friend and I was talking to another guy I knew. I said bye and started to walk towards my friends. Harry suddenly appeared at my side, “Were you just going to leave me?…where are we going?” I told him I was needing a pee and off to my friends to use her loo. He joined me. So the first night he met my best friend and her now husband. (Who he already knew – Yeah Horsham is that small a place)
So after that stop Harry and I just started walking. We walked all around town, just talking and getting to know each other (there may have been a bit more kissing too). After a while I took off my shoes and Harry picked me up. He started to carry me. I couldn’t believe it.
As it approached 4:30am I said I should really try to get that taxi home, I had to be at work at 8 and I needed some sleep and a shower. So he walked me up to the station where I found a taxi. Before we parted I gave him my number and he gave me this incredible kiss.
I’d been in the taxi about 2 minutes when my phone dinged. It was him, already. From that moment on, we text all the time. We went on our first date the Monday and we never really spent any time apart after that. Now nearly 4 years later here we are planning our wedding.
The spooky thing is, there were so many times Harry and I should have met and never did. We went to college together (I was the year above), had a slightly overlapping friendship groups, he’d been at parties that I had been at or had thrown. We even worked at Tesco at the same time. But we had never met, or if we had we didn’t remember it. I was good friends with his best friend in college because we were in the same class and we spent time together. Harry later worked out that I was the girl his friend had fancied and “was keeping all to himself.”
I don’t know if I believe in fate, and I certainly didn’t before meeting Harry, but whenever we tell people how many occasions we should have met before we did and how close we had been but not realised… they all say it was Fate. It’s the only way people can explain it. Someone or something somewhere had a plan for us, and we had to meet at the right time. I can’t tell you what would have happened if we had met at a younger age, but Harry likes to tell me that he’d have broken up with his girlfriend at the time, and he would have travelled anywhere in the world to see me whilst I was at uni. He likes to think that had we met sooner, we would still be here, we’d probably already be married or travelling or whatever. It’s a nice idea, but I think we had to meet when we did, it was exactly when we both needed it.
I hate to think what life would be like now if I hadn’t gone out to Rave’s leaving do, had I decided I was too tired, and to have that night in, but I’m so fucking glad I went.