Monday, 5th of December, 2016. The weather app on my phone read 2°C but I swear it must’ve been colder outside.
I wore white boot socks over black tights, with my favourite cream jumper and a red skirt. Red and white is Christmassy, right? I wore make up – something I don’t often bother doing. Sprog spent over an hour on strike; a protest against Monday mornings. She sat in her room refusing to even look at her school uniform. At 8.05am when she eventually got dressed, I was ready to go.
I got collared at school by the usual people; “How was your weekend?” and “Will you be attending such-a-thing?” going in one ear and out the other as I made distracted excuses and bolted for the gates. The excitement was very real.
When we got into the city we hit the Christmas Markets straight away. It was easily 0° out, there was icy wind and the lack of bustling crowds that is common at the markets meant that we were even colder. It didn’t take us long to realise that we had arrived too early, so we headed indoors to thaw out.
We did two laps of the shopping centre. I can’t say which shopping centre, but it’s a big one. We talked the entire way round, about the things we saw, about the things we hoped to gift to people this Christmas, and about each other. I didn’t buy a thing and I blame him entirely, for being so distracting. He bought some Christmas presents, and didn’t moan once about going in every store including Disney just to look around.
Eventually our feet were aching. It was just after midday, we knew we didn’t have long before it was time to head back, so we retired to a coffee shop. We both drank water, being absolutely boiling from our vigorous browsing spree. The Boyfriend wanted orange juice, but at more than £2 a mouthful I don’t blame him for leaving it! While we rested we talked, a lot, as has become habit for us. We didn’t rush, despite knowing we had to leave soon, and not a minute of the conversation felt forced, awkward or fake.
It came to my attention over the hour we spent in the coffee shop that the amazingly driven, disciplined man before me wasn’t what I thought he was. The Boyfriend has always seemed perfect from any angle; adept at cooking, cleaning and ironing, considerate of everyone, even those who don’t really deserve it, smart and resourceful and determined. I have always assumed that his composed stature reflected a perfect upbringing. I was not aware that, like me, he had worn an angsty rebellious streak once.
Likewise, it dawned on me as I matched his teen-tearaway tales with my own that I have always been introduced as the outrageous friend. The crazy one. The one who knows no shame. “Did you hear about the time she…” is usually my best friend’s opening line. Yet as I recounted a (daring and hilariously) stupid teenage stunt to him, I felt embarrassed. I didn’t want him to know the crazy, outlandish teen that I used to be. I wanted him to see the period of my life he walked in on; all is not calm, but the only thing I rebel against now is my self-imposed 9.30pm bedtime. It’s not outrageous.
We left in time to have one last look at the markets on our way out of the city. I regret not taking pictures, if I’m honest, because it really was a lovely day. I didn’t get any of my Christmas shopping done, but I had a great time. We both agreed that it felt as though that one day out had taken our relationship to a new level – after falling asleep on each other on my sofa anyways! I hope we go again next year.