I met someone. Trust me, this was as big a surprise for me as for anyone else…
After the end of my marriage last year I had pretty much determined that I would surrender to the inevitable and be a monk for the rest of my life.
However a life of solitude was, evidently, not to be and a bizarre set of circumstances brought me to the man who now has the dubious pleasure of being my boyfriend.
The marriage broke down at the end of September and I moved out on the 5th of November into my own house, a small Victorian terrace just outside of the city centre in Hereford. It wasn’t much, but it was home.
For those rough months since September I buried myself in work, I would spend long days at my desk before getting home, reading and then going straight to bed, i wasn’t really eating properly and lost quite a bit of weight, I was still coming to terms with the knowledge that the marriage was over and so it was no real surprise when in January, something finally snapped.
I was admitted to hospital for a stay of around three weeks, the care I received was amazing, the food, less so. It became obvious while in the hospital that I wasn’t coping very well and with the news from my employer that I was to be made redundant as part of a staff restructure it was evident that the only sensible step was to return to my home town when I was released from hospital into care of family.
I recuperated with family for about a month before making the decision to return, albeit briefly, to Hereford to pack. The moving van was arranged for a Monday morning and so on the Sunday I took the train up and spent the day putting the remainder of my life into boxes.
I hadn’t returned to my little house since being admitted to hospital and I have to admit, it was not an overwhelmingly positive sensation to be there. I packed as quickly as possible before escaping to a local pub, The Barrels, where I sat quietly with a pint of cider, mulling over what direction my life would take next.
My mind drifted to a saying I was always fond of – ‘Sometimes new beginnings are disguised as painful endings.’ and I wondered if this was actually the start of something better. My quiet day dream was interrupted by a man who, unbidden, sat in the chair opposite me and asked if I wanted another cider.
I started chatting with him and as I did so, my eyes began roaming, taking in the details of his appearance. He had short, messy, spiked hair, dark brown eyes, over one of which rested an eyebrow piercing, a blanket of stubble covered his lower jaw. He had broad shoulders hidden under a dark t-shirt which displayed a full sleeve of tattoos down his right arm. It struck me that this was a very handsome man with whom I was enjoying a decent conversation. Something I’d not enjoyed for a long time. He’s not been able to shut me up since.
We both felt something that evening, though neither of us acted on it, – with me moving the very next day it seemed as though he was a nice guy but that would be it. We stayed in touch, he sent me flowers for my birthday and, after a while, I eventually agreed to go on a date with him.
One date became two, a third followed quickly and then after a few months I looked around and realised I had found a partner.
TJ is HIV negative, I (as you are well aware by now) am not, I casually dropped this fact into one of our early conversations and, without so much as stopping for breath he replied, “I’m a smoker, we all have our crosses to bear.”
My former husband, Jay was one of the first people after my diagnosis that I met and dated for whom the fact I was positive wasn’t an issue, I think I settled and married him even though I knew he was the wrong man for two simple reasons, firstly because I felt like damaged goods and that I didn’t deserve any better and secondly because of the fact he didn’t have an issue with the HIV it meant I could hide from it.
TJ admitted freely that he was scared of the HIV but explained that he was happy to learn, he wanted to know about it. I shared what I knew and in doing so relieved some of his fears. He was afraid, but wanted me anyway. I was afraid and realised I wanted him too.
He smokes, he swears like a trooper and he frequently teases me on one thing and another, he makes me laugh till it hurts, he cooks with a passion and when he smiles his whole face lights up. He loves my lemon meringue pie, my chilli con carne and the fireworks still have plenty of bang.
When I was younger I hoped to God I would find someone who loved me for exactly what I am. My first husband tried to change, alter and adapt me into what he wanted and for nearly six years I played the happy husband while he played away. I knew that he was cheating and was not in love with me, he wasn’t subtle and it frequently felt like it was being flaunted in front of me to remind me that I wasn’t good enough, that I was damaged and that I was lucky to be with him.
My new partner just wants me as I am. If I’m in a good mood, a bad mood, feeling ugly, fat or handsome he still loves me, and at the close of the day when we end up chilling in each other’s arms, that is all that really matters.
Thanks for reading