Dear Noodles and Boo,
Following Date Night last night, I’m feeling in a generous mood towards Husband
for a change. So when Daily Prompt wanted to know the magnetic forces of fate that brought me and your father together I thought I’d jump on board and remind myself of my mistake tell our little tale.
The year was 1997. I was studying Psychology with the Open University and part of the course I was on required a week at summer school. I plumped for Durham (as it was the furthest option away from home) and set off for a week of lectures and experiments
and excessive drinking not offered by the nature of distance learning.
It’s scary turning up somewhere alone, not knowing anyone, but that first night, in the bar, I got chatting to a group on the same course. A single parent to Eve and Indy at the time, I was introduced to a tall, dark-haired man who, it was pointed out, just happened to be a single-dad. Okaaaay. Awkward. There weren’t any fireworks of attraction and I don’t think we spoke much that evening. We were both doing the same course, but as so many people were everyone had been split into two groups and he was in the other one to me. We were both staying in the same building though.
The next morning in my group we became both student and human guinea pig, taking various listening tests to explore how the brain processes information. It turned out I was rather good at dichotic listening. I claimed it was because I had twins that I could process different voices at the same time. In actual fact I’d quickly worked out how to tweak the dials on the headphones.
My partner for the morning was a lecherous and smarmy bloke in his late-20s who managed over the course of the lesson to turn me off completely with his politics (complete Tory Boy – a complete no-go) psychological preferences (Freudian psychoanalysis? Don’t even get me started…) and far-too-close-for-comfort standards of physical proximity.
At break time Tory Boy was at my side like a limpet, trying to dazzle me with his psychological insight into God-only-knows-what. I was too busy scanning the crowd, looking for an escape route to listen to what he was saying.
And then I spotted him: the dad from the night before.
‘Oh, excuse me. I’ve just seen someone I need to talk to,’ I said to Tory Boy, before sidling up to the dad.
‘Sorry to interrupt, but…save me!‘
For the next 10 minutes he was my knight in shining armour, rescuing me from bigotry, misguided beliefs and and over-familiar hand. Besides which, he was nice and rather pleasant to look at.
Over the week we kept bumping into each other at breakfast. Tinky-Winky had just been sacked from the Teletubbies because his ‘interpretation of the role was not appropriate.’ We discussed how it would impact our children not to have Tinky-Winky in their lives. (Although, obviously T-W’s suit was just filled by another actor. One less inappropriate, I guess. I now can’t get the image of Tinky-Winky flicking v-signs and dry-humping Noo-Noo out of my mind.) I learnt that he had a daughter a year older than the twins, that he knew my home town quite well as he had step-family there, that he was a nice guy…and definitely not Tory.
Into the week I admitted to some of the people in my group that I liked this man. They tried to set us up on a river boat cruise. He wasn’t having any of it and sat at the other end of the table.
And then on the last night he made a move. I invited him to pop by the next time he was in my area and we swapped numbers. I didn’t really expect him to get in touch.
But a couple of weeks later I got a phone call. Watford were playing Norwich, could he pop by on the way past? That’ll be 17 years, an exchange of wedding rings and two children ago.
I never did complete my degree with the OU. But it still changed my life.