How’s married life?

Signing the register - one minute we were single, the next we were married (photo by Roxy and Len)

Signing the register – one minute we were single, the next we were married (photo by Roxy and Len)

We got engaged in March and married in October

It feels like a whirlwind. Not an Audrey Hepburn/Gregory Peck-type whirlwind. More a ‘write three plays, live between Nottingham and the Isle of Wight, renovate a house, argue, organise a wedding, make up, move house, get married’-type whirlwind.

It hasn’t been plain sailing. We have basically wanted to kill each other half the time. Which makes it weird, because I never once considered not marrying him. And he feels the same. At least that’s what he says.

I’m not sure what love is. It’s definitely not Hollywood. But it’s somewhere in your bones and you feel it. And you just have to trust it, I think. Sometimes you have to summon it up, really, really hard. And sometimes it’s just there, bubbling at the surface, blocking out everything else you ever knew. It makes you feel immortal, when you think nothing else matters. Or terrifyingly mortal, when you’re awake and he’s asleep and the thoughts fill you. Anyway, you know all this.

My old mate Chris Keen hosted the ceremony - he knew the puffy-faced Malibu me and loved me just the same (photo by Abigail Steed)

My old mate Chris Keen hosted the ceremony – he knew the puffy-faced Malibu me and loved me just the same (photo by Abigail Steed)

After the nuptials, everyone asks ‘how’s married life?’ And they usually follow it up with ‘just the same, I expect?’ Only it’s not. Not for me, anyway. I feel totally different. I feel older; not in a bad way. I’m having to let go of the old me, somehow. It’s like I’m hanging over the well from The Goonies, and young me, puffy-faced and drunk on Malibu and orange, is looking up at me. We’re holding hands only she’s slipping through my fingers, and I’m letting her. She’s crying because of all the blue veins on her big chunky thighs and I’m saying, ‘I’m sorry, this is my time, down there, that’s your time.’ Ha! I love that girl. But sometimes she makes me feel bad.

Feeling the love (photo by Abigail Steed)

Feeling the love (photo by Abigail Steed)

But she was there. At the wedding. Of course she was. Every version of me was there. And they were surrounded by all the people who’ve ever loved them. Ok, this is getting confusing. What I mean is, my whole life was reflected back at me in the faces of all the people I’ve known and loved over the years. Not all the people. Not my ex-boyfriends, although I would have loved to have one or two of them there to say thank you for all they gave and taught me. Our wedding felt like a big celebration of two lives and it was amazing; I know people overuse that word these days, but honestly, it was. For the whole weekend, we thought of nothing but love and friendship. And it was exhilarating.

First day of the rest of our lives (photo by Chris Keen)

First day of the rest of our lives (photo by Chris Keen)

And now we’re home. And we’ve argued, probably about every other day. Before, I had this subconscious feeling that if things got bad, I could run. We both did. And we used it, in fights (yep, we really are as rubbish as that). But now we can’t. There is paperwork. But more than that, we made this crazy commitment to hang around together til the end of time. And even when I want to rip off my own skin in frustration, I know deep down that later, or tomorrow, I’ll want to lose myself in him again. Because he taught me to find flowers from the hedgerows to dye Easter eggs, and because, more than once, he heaved his heart into his mouth for me, even though every fibre of his unfussy Northern being fought it, and because he came skinny-dipping on a pitch black, cold Northumberland night one September, and… all the little patchwork bits that make the picture.

I have a feeling marriage will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And I know I’m ready.

Photo by Abigail Steed

Photo by Abigail Steed