Adam Bird


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Tuesday, 25 March 2008

A Decade On

On March 24th 1998 I was in Amadeus, celebrating my friends birthday when halfway through the evening and most probably very drunk I had a life-changing conversation with a girl called Stephanie Wenham.

I had know Stephanie through Safeway, where I had worked for the past year or so. She had, by this time left Safeway, but a few weeks preceding the 24th of March saw our paths cross, again drunkenly, this time within the Station Inn (now Bar 24) back garden. After a brief flirtatious conversation and a sloppy kiss a seemingly new relationship was born. Who knows whether the events of just five minutes later defined the immediate course of things to come, but it was alleged that whilst walking through the pub I had myself another sloppy kiss with an unknown female, whilst holding onto Stephanie's hand!

Now normally, I would have expected a slap or something similar, but it seemed that I had somehow made an impression upon Stephanie, as through a mutual friend it was explained to me that he had been harassed somewhat as to my future whereabouts. Would I be at a particular place at a certain time? As Stephanie wanted to ensure that she would be there also.

It was also later discovered that a conversation had taken place within the confines of Stephanie's bedroom where a list had been written between her and best friend Carly as to my "pros and cons". A list which contents will be forever a mystery, but it appears that the positives were at least one higher than the negatives! I must place here, a suggestion of a repeat exercise and a comparison for what would make very interesting reading!

So on to it was Amadeus, ten years has somewhat dulled the memories (if the alcohol had left any intact in the first place). The journey there was of teasing comments by our mutual third party, but halfway through the evening, Stephanie taking her now customary trait of command led me over to the seating area where it was decided that we would be indeed boyfriend and girlfriend. Hardly romantic, it was decided matter of factly and the rest they say is history!

I never made the return coach home that night, instead Stephanie's sister provided the chariot back. Goodness only knows what her first impressions were, but they would make a wonderful anecdote I'm sure!

If the beginnings of our relationship were assembled with the help of alcohol, our first date away from the confines of Amadeus or Bar 24 was also memorable, possibly because it was rather dull! Stephanie was due to sell her much loved yellow escort, which was her first car, and indeed claim to infamy whilst at Safeway. Being bright yellow, matching her hair and Queue Buster pinny and coincided with the emergence of Lala the Telly Tubby! Loved her car she did, and so on our first date, accompanied by best friend Carly we took a two hour tour of the streets of Gravesend!

After then an hardly auspicious start we soon found a groove in which both of us became extremely comfortable. For the pair of us, it became a formative time, relationships we made then have carried on until this day.

Those early times, were great times, Sunday nights drinking in the Millers Cottage listening to live music whilst working at Safeway or Sainsburys where both social scenes were fun and exciting. I may sound nostalgic, but those late teenage years were great times, without pressure and a live and let live attitude.

I think that as Steph and I got together when we did, we shared a lot of the discovery of becoming adult and what adulthood entails. Our parents brought us up, nurtured us, but as a couple we have moulded and sculptured each other into who we are now.

Steph being older than me has pretty much led the way in terms of our important decisions, the matter of moving out and having a child. Although I have been party to both, it has been her desire which instigated both discussions. Initially, I guess both of us had been frustrated at the speed in which we have taken things onward, to the next step as it were. Quite possibly these frustrations, having effected both of us at one point, causing each other heartbreak and temporary breaks in our relationship.

We were quite possibly the victims of fate, meeting when we did, as if we were to meet now, the length of time that would pass in between key events would be so much smaller. As it was, we never moved out together until 2004, a full six years after meeting. This wasn't ever born out of not wanting to, just financial circumstances that dictated our decisions.

With hard work, and a lot of effort we have gotten to where we are now. We have a home in which we hope we can soon call our own, we have an amazing son, whom we want to provide a sibling for in the future and finally to one day to get married. More importantly for me, not only are our plans for the future, but those discoveries which we have made that have led us here and helped us make our preparations.

My first memories of Stephanie were in the Safeway smoking room having a cigarette and a chat, about what I really cannot remember, but it was a discovery which led to where we are now. Discovering that I fancied Steph when I was sober was another, along with the fact that I no longer fancied her anymore but loved her instead.

Those feelings are all inconsequential compared to the discovery I made about what a partnership, our partnership really means. Not seeking solutions to my own desires, but working at what we both desire together.

Standing next to a women in considerable pain, holding my hand, very nearly crushing my bones into custard powder as she gave birth to our child, was the biggest discovery that I ever made. Although I was quite possibly in as much pain as she was, I never wanted to let go. I knew in that moment, that the journey which led us there, however many pitfalls we had along the way, or how many were to come, it was all worth it, I wouldn't change a minute of it, not even for another second.

On March 24th 1998, I went to Amadeus for a friends birthday. I was worried because I had my paper round the next morning, and my boss in the shop had been on at me for letting him down, coming in smelling of drink in the mornings. I had school the next day, an assignment to finish.

On March 24th 1998, I went to Amadeus for a friends birthday. I had the best night of my life, I met the women who would one day, would hopefully become my wife.


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