We were six years old. Young and in love. Our parents were friends; we'd meet every weekend to play, chat and eat biscuits. Then it began. The unfortunate but necessary phase that every young boy goes through; girls? eew. Unluckily for me, by the time I'd pulled through this phase, we were attending different secondary schools. Our friendship consisted of the occasional 'hello' in the street.
We were sixteen years old. Fate had placed us in the same further education establishment. We were different people than we were ten years ago; almost adults now. We got talking, found out just how much we still had in common, and lamented my decision to cut our relationship short. We seemed to recreate the wonder of all those years ago, and even took our relationship to the next level. However, rather alarmingly, after a couple of months, the relationship began to wane. It was ended rather abruptly when she found the temptation of my brother's best friend too much to resist.
We were thirty years old. I was a suit in a large company. She was a PR agent for a recruiting firm. In an insane stroke of luck (wait for it), a lunch meeting was scheduled between us. I was wary of this meeting; I had attempted suicide after our previous break-up and wondered how I would handle this encounter. I arrived early, and ordered a gin-and-tonic to steady my palpitations. She waltzed in, ten minutes late, looking just as apprehensive as I was feeling. We tentatively went through our business motions, but conversation inevitably turned to matters past. She told me how she regretted the 'incident' as soon as it had happened, but I wouldn't hear her apologies. At the time, nothing she said could penetrate my black cloud of despair. We'd gone our separate ways shortly after that. We were both divorcees. We both didn't want to talk about it. History repeated itself, as it had done before, and we got back together.
This time it was to last. We did everything right, as adults do. We dated, we talked, we laughed. For our first anniversary, we went back to our parents' favourite restaurant and ate the meal we had every weekend; spaghetti bolognese. I proposed that evening, in front of the fire in our house. It was everything that every child hopes for, especially since it was with the woman that I had always dreamed it would be.
We were sixty years old. We had both luckily contracted cancer within the space of three months. On what was to be her final living day, we reminisced about our youth. She told me that on the day of my twenty-first birthday she had been in the same bar as me, but didn't have the courage to approach me. She had always wondered how much hurt, for both of us, could have been avoided if we had talked. We both started to cry, and she fell into what was to be her last sleep. We then realised that we couldn't be anywhere else but here.