The Score of my Life
Astute observers of this page over the years will note that there are certain subjects I don’t talk about very much at all. This is no accident. Things related to my work and my family may arise incidentally from time-to-time but it is not my wish to regularly offer these aspects of my life into the public domain.
This week I felt I should make a small exception.
This week my wife, Patricia, and I slipped away for an nice dinner and a quiet clink of glasses. This week we were twenty years married.
Trish is one of the subjects I have deliberately chosen not to write about here. Mostly because she is, first and foremost, her own person and for me to trap her in the glass bottle of 'my own perceptions of her' would be to do her a serious injustice.
But, just this once, for the week that’s in it…
I met Trish in The George Inn on Borough High Street one Saturday night in March 1987. There was a party in a nurse’s residence adjacent to Guy’s Hospital and my flat mates were going. I wasn’t going, no way, I had free tickets to see a preview of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ in The Warner West End for the next morning and I was going to have an early night. In addition, I was grumpy and out of sorts. The guys needed a lift home, though, and, mostly for that reason, they persuaded me to go.
I guess I owe them one for that.
Trish was there in the pub. It was one of those ‘across a crowded room’ things… not an instant head-over heels reaction, more of a ‘She looks nice, who is she?’ type of thing. We spent the night talking. She had just arrived in London, I offered to show her around one evening, she accepted. I gave her a lift home and 'One Trick Pony' was in the car cassette player. She knew all the words. It’s funny how things happen, how they can fall easily into place.
We drove around London-by-night. We peeped into the Auditorium of The Royal Festival Hall and I asked her out again. Our first real-date was to The Royal Opera House to see Swan Lake. Unusual, that one, but I was going for an illusion of Classiness. Our first movie date was ‘Stand By Me’.
In 1989, my car got stolen. For me on my own, that would have been a disaster to mope-around-about for months on end. Thanks to Trish, it became a ‘Seize the Day’ moment. Instead of buying another car, the insurance money we eventually got was put towards a year-long world trip. I quit my job and off we went together. Such a thing would simply never have happened without Trish. I would never have been brave enough to pack in a job without having another one lined up, I would never have thought I could exist without a car… That 364 days out in the wide world remains one of the highlights of my life. The memory of that adventure keeps me satisfied now, no matter how fixed and anchored my life may sometimes seem.
We got married in 1991 in The Claddagh in Galway. We returned to London afterward and lived there until 1997 when we returned to Ireland with our new son… then another son came along…
One of the recurring themes of my early times with Trish was a wish to ‘have some history with her’. She was (and is) very bright and lovely and I always kind of feared that my rather thin enamel would wear off, (as it has for many people over the years) and that she would see the real, grey, me beneath and then she would go.
When we were getting married and the priest came and asked what reading we would like at the ceremony, I immediately suggested a slightly obscure one from The Book of Tobit. The priest raised an eyebrow. “Here”, he must have thought, “is a man who knows his scripture.” Not so, of course. As usual, I was bluffing. I had just finished reading ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’ and that reading and the sentiment, used so aptly therein, had remained with me. It still does to this day.
“Please be merciful to us and grant that we may grow old together.” Tobit 8.7
For that was always the wish, to make some history together and to be allowed the time to do it.
So, the report is, so far so good. We have made some serious history together and with the grace of whatever dispenses it, we will be permitted to travel onward a ways yet.
So here’s to us, twenty years into our married life together and still truckin’ along. And here’s to you, Babes, the love of my life…
… let’s do another twenty and see how we get on, yeah?