We call Tunnock’s Caramel wafer biscuits “A’s favourites” in our house. “A” signifies my first boyfriend’s name. He introduced me to Tunnock’s and I happened to mention it the first time we had them.
When we laugh about A’s favourites and BUB.1 asks Daddy “Does A still like Mummy, Daddy?” I wish I could explain the path that led to me to Daddy and BUB.1 being here.
It’s not a pretty or an extraordinary story. It’s everybody’s story.
I got a job after university, met a boy (B), broke up with A, lover of Tunnock’s, met a new friend (C), broke up with B, and moved to London. My third flat in London was a random flat share, via a London property paper called Loot, with a girl born the day after me (D). On our first night out in London together to celebrate our birthdays we bumped into an Australian boy (E) in a queue for a comedy club and he became my boyfriend. After a couple of years, and to cut a very long story short, C and E both ended up being in Sydney, and I went too, to meet them.
To cut another long story short both C and E ended up being less than reliable and after a while I ended up down there on my own. But another random flat share (via whatever the Sydney equivalent of Loot was at the time) with a girl (F) ended up in a fabulous friendship and a fabulous time. Meanwhile D had a friend arriving in Sydney who I ended up meeting up with, I had an absolute BALL, got heartbroken, got lonely and came home.
F and her boyfriend (G) were in London too by then and I lived close by. One day G mentioned online dating one and how if he was single he’d give it a go. I gave it a go and met Willy Wonka (Him!).
A + B + C + D + E + F + G = H.
From A to G were all random, easily missed meetings. I wouldn’t have gone to Australia if it wasn’t for that first job, that random London flat share or that place in a queue at the comedy club, so I wouldn’t have met F and I might never have had the conversation I had with G (who incidentally met F in a club one night and didn’t see each other again for months, then bumped into each other randomly at the same club, which they’d both only been to those two times).
I always thought I’d meet “the one” in a chance lightning strike moment of sheer certainty. And online dating doesn’t offer that. But his email popped into my inbox a day after I thought I’d cancelled my subscription and a few days later we met in a pub for a drink.
It was fortuitous that I clicked the wrong button and didn’t actually cancel my online dating subscription the day before he contacted me. If I had, his email wouldn’t have arrived.
Seven random encounters led me to a conversation one sunny afternoon on a roof terrace in West Hampstead about online dating and to now, to eating Tunnock’s Caramels with this man and our three children.
So when people say “You don’t meet people in clubs and pubs” or “It’s best to get together with one of your friend’s friends” they’re wrong. You meet people in life. And everyone you meet brings you something.
That all said, I would still have been eating Tunnock’s Caramels, with or without him, with happy memories. And for that I thank A.