A sharply frosty new year’s morning. Glowing from a sociable celebration in my local pub, stumbling homeward bound along Love Lane with my first, second and third boyfriend. One boy, a ringer for James Dean:
James Dean Ringer (JDR): will you marry me?
17 yr wendy: Oh! Yes! after I’ve finished my A levels and got my degree
JDR: Why? Why can’t we get married this summer?
wendy: marriage is for life – we’ve got a lifetime to get married. Waiting 4 years is nothing as part of a whole life time. We’ll be able to save up for a home together and I’ll be able to get a job to help out financially
JDR: If you don’t want to marry me this summer, then it’s over
wendy: Huh? Are you serious? I’ll love you whether we’re married or not. I’m not going to marry you as a way to stop you from leaving! If you’re going to leave, you’ll leave, if you want to stay, you’ll stay
I never saw him again. It broke my heart because I didn’t understand how he could propose a lifetime together one moment then leave in the next. Most baffling. In the following years he sent valentines cards from four different continents. I remember him fondly…