Our love is not romantic.
If romance is a grand gesture, weak knees, champagne and strawberries, then this is not our love.
We forget our anniversary. We have both lost our wedding rings. And we never had the big romantic wedding anyway.
We got married on a cold, windy January day in South-East London. It was just us and less than a handful of friends. We don’t even see most of them anymore. It wasn’t well planned but it was practical. A marriage of convenience—of sorts.
After six years together, I remember we spoke about it in the kitchen. “We should get married. It makes the most sense.” And that was that. No grand gestures. No weak knees. No champagne and strawberries. Not even a diamond ring.
In truth, you did get me a ring for Christmas Day. But I only wore it for a year or so. It was beautiful, but it hurt my fingers when I practiced yoga and it caught on my winter gloves. It was beautiful, but it wasn’t practical.
There was no white dress on our wedding day. I wore a green one. I rushed out and bought it that morning because the one I ordered online didn’t arrive on time. Years later I still wore my wedding dress to work.
I forgot the flowers so our flatmate ran to the store across the road from the registry office and bought a bouquet. I think it still had the price on it.
I asked my friend to do a reading for us. It was Kahlil Gibran. It was supposed to be meaningful, profound. But her two-year-old daughter wouldn’t let her go up and read without her and then she started pulling her hair and saying, “Mommy!” while she read. The registrar rolled her eyes and I got the giggles.
You forgot your name when we said our vows. I had to squeeze your hand to remind you.
We had our ‘reception’ in a pub near our flat. We both had a bit too much to drink and we walked home leaning on each other a little.
Our wedding day was not conventional, but then neither is our love. We don’t do storybook romance.
Sometimes I daydream about the wedding we will have one day when we can afford it. All our family and friends will be there. We’ll renew our vows on a beach somewhere back ‘home’, on a sunny day with just enough of a cool breeze to be perfect. No sweaty palms, no forgotten flowers, no fumbled vows, no-one’s hair being pulled. We will both look gorgeous and radiant and in love and everyone will say, “They make such a wonderful couple.” And we’ll dance to The Lumineers and all will be right in the world.
I love this little fantasy of mine, but I don’t mind if it never happens. In fact I’m pretty sure it won’t. Somehow it’s just not us.
And I don’t have anywhere to keep a big white dress anyway.
Although there have been some flowers and tender notes, we’ve never been naturals at full-blown romance. But our love has been stubborn from the start.
Its deep roots grew quickly and will not let us go. Although there have been times when both of us have thought they might. Somehow our love has stuck. We have stuck.
We might not be good at romancing but we are experts at fighting. We have had some spectacular ones. Luckily we are even better at forgetting it all afterwards, some times more quickly than others.
But in the end we stick. Our love is bullheaded that way. It doesn’t give a sh*t what we throw at it. It’s not going anywhere. It refuses to budge.
Give me passion, give me pain, give me loss, give me heartbreak, give me change, reinvention, starting again as many times as we bloody-well have to. Give me rage and fury, give me utter despair and dancing around the lounge, high-fiving triumph. Give me sitting up late figuring out how to make our money stretch, wiping noses and bottoms and sick off our shoulders and laughing about the grossness of it all. Give me guts and courage. Give me life, give me death.
Give me this stubborn love that we have.
Next to this love, romance just seems like indifference.
Author: Khara-Jade Warren
Editor: Caroline Beaton