A while ago, I started writing the story of how Stace and I came to be where we are now on Tumblr. I started this for a couple of reasons – I think it’s a sweet love story, but I’m also finding it harder and harder to remember what happened when, and who said what, and which of us was really the driving force. I’ve copied this from my Tumblr account, so if you’ve already read it, apologies. This is the first part of our story.
When Stacey and I met, I was in my final year as an undergrad at the University of St Andrews – she was resitting her first year. I was completely out at St Andrews, but entirely closeted to my family, which is one of the reasons that I spent the summer before I met Stace in St Andrews, working in the Aquarium.
Over the summer I’d had a very torturous relationship (if you can even call it that) with a medic – C. I really really liked this girl, she was attractive, sweet and yet feisty, and something of an enigma to me. A challenge. After we first kissed I knew it wasn’t just me, or the alcohol and guessed she probably liked me too. I was aware that she had only recently broken up with someone and so set out to be as sweet and interesting as I could.
I didn’t have her phone number, and she didn’t have mine, but I knew where she lived. One day, just after Easter, when I knew she was back in town, I went and bought a beautiful bouquet of 8 pink roses. I attached a note, with my phone number, name and invited her to dinner. That evening, I went and left the bundle on her doorstep and waited impatiently for her to contact me.
Short hours later and I was rewarded by a text… The flowers were beautiful, she said, if unnecessary, and she’d love to go to dinner with me. I booked a table at a fun restaurant, and was pretty chuffed. (I kinda liked her, a lot.) When she text me again, the day before, and called it off – she wasn’t over her ex – I was gutted.
I went to dinner with some friends and we laughed it all off – but once term restarted, her interest in me was renewed, and we had a few actual dates.
It was immediately after one of these dates that I met Stacey for the first time.
Stacey and I first met in a St Andrews institution – Empire.
Empire is the super-cheap-and-nasty fast food place in the centre of town, selling chips and pizzas and burgers. After a meeting at the university LGBT society, I was headed to a party which was hosted by the then-president of the society, as well a number of the other people who had been at the meeting. However, I’d been at work that day, so was hungry – and I decided to head to Empire for chips to perk me up. I’d already been to Tesco, and bought myself a bottle of wine and a packet of cigarettes – and I was agonising over whether or not I should partake in either. It was October (12th, precisely), and I’d been rationing my allowance of both booze and fags, but I wanted a night off from being ‘good’.
On route to Empire, I bumped into the boyfriend of a friend of mine – Chris, and so I chatted to him whilst waiting for my food. He was with one of his friends – a girl wearing a threadbare black and red hat with dark hair and dark eyes – I didn’t recognise her. Standing outside, wavering over whether or not to partake in one of my cigarettes, it was she who produced a lighter and persuaded me that I really did want to smoke.
The three of us walked to the party, and Chris introduced me to Stacey, and we chatted whilst we ate our pizza and chips. Once we’d arrived, I was sucked into the circles of meeting new society members and hugging people I’d missed over the summer, and I didn’t see Stacey again until I headed out the back door to find her smoking (utterly gross menthol roll-ups with *urgh* liquorice papers) – along with her girlfriend.
I have a confession to make; despite the fact that they look nothing alike other than they both had brown hair – I couldn’t tell Stacey and her girlfriend, M apart for weeks. It didn’t help that most of my friends didn’t know Stacey as anything other than M’s girlfriend. Regardless – I was still quite heavily into C, and so I thought nothing of chatting to them both outside the back door, and I was pleased when Stacey wanted to join in our crazy Judas Bowl related drinking games.
The rest of the night turned into a bit of a blur for me – meeting new people, drinking, dancing – so I didn’t know until much much later that Stacey had perhaps enjoyed my drinking games a little too much, and so had to be taken home by her girlfriend rather early in the evening. Whoops!
I, on the other hand, had my night ended by one of the society’s alumni, who took offence to my existence and drunkenly became a little abusive. It was nothing I couldn’t handle, but I decided to take myself off to bed anyway. It wasn’t a big night for me; at the time, I barely thought of that party or the girl I met there.
But when I started bumping into Stacey all around that little town, I started to pay more attention to her.
The first time I can remember actually noticing Stacey was at an LGBT Society event. Back in my final year at St A, I was on the LGBT Society committee – organising events and campaigns and general publicity. I enjoyed my occasional responsibility, and took it fairly seriously. It helped that I had been elected onto the Societies’ Committee at the union too.
So when we needed to organise an EGM (Emergency General Meeting), I was a stickler for the rules and knew an email had to be sent out a week before. Cue mad rushing around at 8pm on a Monday evening, when all I really wanted to do was curl up in my little flat with a bowl of soup and a blanket. My frustration must have been visible, because it was Stacey who excused herself from the crowd of society members and asked if she could help.
She ended up carrying my basket around the supermarket whilst I bemoaned the situation to her, allowing me to air my grievances which was really all I wanted. When I’d finished my shopping, so gave me a hug and told me, in a concerned tone of voice, to take care of myself. That night I was grateful for someone to listen to me; but it almost didn’t matter who it was.
Stacey maintains that the next time we met was at Halloween, at an event which she dressed up for in the hope that I’d be there. Her sparkly leggings and overblown eye make-up must have been lost on me, as I don’t remember seeing her, not at all. But then again, this LGBT Halloween Party was not my finest moment; there was the on-going fiasco with my medic girl from the summer, and I also managed to set a couple up this night (two girls who have since married).
If I do remember Stacey from this party, it wasn’t for her outfit (a fairy costume as advised by her flatmates), or for her (continued) inability to dance – it’s simply that she drank pear koppaburg. For a night that my sweet girlfriend says has a lot of resonance for her, that’s a rather frustrating lack of memory on my behalf. But hey! Who was I to know, that night almost three years ago, that this was the girl I’d still be with all these months later?