The story of how Andrew and I met isn’t a very romantic one – In fact, sometimes I think we were highly unromantic right up till the point that he started talking about wanting to spend his life with me – And even then, we were typically Singaporean in that the conversation revolved around HDB flats.
I’ve never recounted this on my blog for this very reason. But I suppose when you’re this far into your life together, it’s always fun to look back on how it all started.
I was 22. I had gone through a tremendous heartbreak moving back after having moved back from the UK and I had felt like my life was in limbo. I was sort of enjoying my first job as a newspaper journalist but all I did was go out in the weekends for drinks. It had taken me a year to accept the transition back home – Up till that point, I had had nightmares almost every night and the only thing I had thought of was somehow chalking up enough experience to find myself a gig back in London on a proper visa.
The night I met Andrew was an odd one.
A mutual friend of our’s – a then colleague of mine – was in a spot of trouble and he had gathered a bunch of his closest friends together for drinks at Centro (the now Butter Factory) to just be around people he loved and to forget his woes. I had nothing on that night and being the single gal that I was with no commitments whatsoever on a weekday, I said I’d be there for him. He’d called Andrew separately and asked him of the same.
When we were first introduced, my first thought was ‘ooh, nice voice and very eloquent’. We didn’t talk much but just asked each other how we knew our mutual friend. I took my leave probably at midnight when I usually turned into a pumpkin (read: curfew) and that was that. Our first meeting.
In those days, I was a Friday night Zouk regular.
There wasn’t a single night when I didn’t show up at Members or Velvet for a bit of a lush sesh and boogie with my mates. I didn’t know we were the same age and had gone to the same school, so we kept bumping into each other with lots of mutual friends. We were all, “What are you doing here? How do you know him/her?!” This continued for some time. But still, nothing happened.
Then one day, we started chatting over MSN. I think we were both in the most bo chap stages in our lives, where singlehood seemed to work for us both.
I had just gotten over my ex-boyfriend and was kinda enjoying my freedom of doing exactly what I pleased and not answering to anyone and he had told me about a nightmare relationship that ended six months before. One evening, we started chatting about dating and we both started complaining about people we were sort of seeing.
What is up with these people?? We’d say.
This was on a Saturday evening and he said it was really sad that we were bemoaning bad dates online when we should be out meeting people, so he suggested we complain to each other in person at some point. I laughed but didn’t take it seriously.
Then I bumped into him at a press launch. We didn’t get to talk much as I was working that night and he was with his sister, and then he called me in person and got all apologetic that we hadn’t hung out. That made me laugh more – I really didn’t think we would, I had said. “But why not?!” he answered. He was then insistent that we would get together for a drink that weekend.
So we met at Muddy Murphy’s for a pint that Friday.
He bought the first round and we had quite a laugh. Then I did what friends do, and bought the second round. It was really our first evening face-to-face and having a real conversation in person, and I was surprised to find it was really going quite well. We seemed to be on the same wavelength and we shared a few laughs, so being the poor NUS student that he was at the time he had said:
“Please don’t take this as being forward. But we’re having a nice time and I do have a bottle of nice wine at my place, so if you think it’s okay, we could go back and share that instead.”
And you know what? Being the poor writer that I was at the time I had replied, “Hey, why not!”
Nope, I didn’t think he was being forward or that he even liked me.
We were just having a really good guy-to-guy (no kidding) chat and it felt comfortable enough for it to progress to that. We spent the evening sharing a bottle and talking about anything and everything over music that we realized we both liked. I even forgot all about my curfew and when it hit 4am, I got up and told him that I really had to go! I remember him looking really anxious all of a sudden and saying, “Hey, don’t go! We haven’t listened to ALL my music yet!”
I guess that was when we knew we’d be good friends. He respected my decision to leave and walked me downstairs to put me in a cab.
After that evening, we started hanging out at least once a week and we’d have marathon phone conversations at least twice a week. It was months into our friendship when he suddenly decided to kiss me, and then everything got awkward!
What was going on? Did we like each other? I knew I was beginning to like him but hang on, we were good pals. What were we doing? We both tried to ignore the conversation for awhile. We just continued hanging out and didn’t talk about it. I was so confused. And like a girl, I started reading into it and obsessing over it with my good friends.
Once in awhile, we’d hold each other’s hand when no one was looking and it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. That went on for awhile….
Then one evening at a friend’s Christmas party, he sat me down under the moonlight and asked me to be his girlfriend. I had laughed when he did that. It just seemed so cheesy and I felt like it was such a school girl thing to happen. But after I had said, ‘yeah okay’ and run off to tell my sister what had happened, he had apparently walked off in the other direction to message his best friend and tell his sister about it as well.
Nothing really changed after we ‘got together’. We still hung out like friends and even had to address the whole “is this going to ruin our friendship” issue. About three of four months into our newfound relationship, I went on a work trip to Los Angeles and this is when he first told me he loved me. I had reacted by hanging up on him so I don’t think we really knew how to do the couple thing for some time.
During our dating game, he was also a bit of a nitwit when it came to putting me above his interests. I was a bit of an irritating cynic and always thought the relationship was doomed from the start. It wasn’t the healthiest or most romantic of situations. We had a lot of awkward moments, and his sister told him he was a horrendous boyfriend. I knew my baggage wasn’t fun to deal with either and it was all a bit weird.
I think it was probably the day that he got down on one knee and proposed that we we turned into a fairy tale.
From that moment on, everything changed.
He was suddenly extremely devoted and I suddenly came first before everything else in his life. I remember his sister saying, “What have you done with my brother? Is he the same person?” And likewise, my attitude towards us was completely different. I knew he was the one I would truly spend my whole life with.
And I think the more we went through as a couple, the more we realized how good we were for each other. Of course there has been lots of grief and compromising along the way like any other couple, but that’s all been part of the process we’ve had to go through to learn how to live together.
So you see, now you know why I’ve never written about how we met. It isn’t the most romantic of stories – There was no love at first sight, there was no I knew he was the one I’d be with forever. That only truly came to be when we said I do.
But the one thing I do know is that there is not one bit of it that I would have re-written if I had been given the power to change our story.
And it’s why our life together is still just one great big Journey.
Read Andrew’s version of it here!