My Big Loves

You are my biggest love. You shaped me the most and we built our lives around each other. I’m more me because I had you. I think the biggest thing you ever gave me was a challenge, you were the best at making me see other points of view. You introduced me to new and exciting things. You gave me a home and a family.

I have other big loves though and I’ve been thinking about them and trying to hold on to them as just as much a part of my story as you. None of them are romantic but they have all shaped me like you have and I remember seeing each one of them for the first time, like I knew from that moment how important they would be to me.

The first, day 1 of high school, in my tutor group. The huge guy in brand new uniform that was somehow still too big for him. A later memory sticks out at me too. Him standing at the edge of hall eating creme eggs, his then stylish spiky teenage hair. A giant cuddle from him. He turned up for me without hesitation when you left. Comforts me and jokes with me. Listens and has cried with me over your loss.

The next, he burst through the pub doors at the top of the stairs like he was on a stage and declared ‘I have arrived’. He wore a very unstylish jumper, glasses that never suited him and dark curly hair. Still one of the most beautiful humans I have met to this day. A night spent drinking Budweiser from the bottles at a gig that never happened was all it took to join us for life. We lost contact along the way but the second he heard you were ill he found me. he’s been holding me up as best he can.

She was working at Debenhams, a fleeting introduction from a mutual friend. She looked like everything I wanted to be. I doubt she remembers that, but soon after we would end up at college and working together, socialising too in our time off. Strong and vulnerable all at the same time. She was at my side in my most formative years but years apart wouldn’t change what we had. She probably taught me my style but more importantly how to really be close to a woman and support each other through thick and thin, how to be positively jealous of a person you knew deserved all and every good that would come her way. We stayed more in contact than my other home town friends and somehow have ended up back here together, a light in the terrible year that came for us both.

Then came her, I had heard about her, in fact I hated what I knew. There she was having stayed the night with my brother, outside our apartment having a smoke. I needed a lighter so I had no choice but to join her, within 30 seconds we were friends for life. She introduced me to my life in our city, opened up the opportunities that would come to be a huge part of my identity. She taught me to love people as they are, to see two sides of them as one. The good can’t exist without the bad. She is flighty but only because she gets wrapped up in the world and the people around her.

She introduced me to her. When we first met she had a purple mullet and apparently she thought I was too cool for her. I was just shy. We were working on the top bar. When we crossed that boundary we were inseparable. Within weeks she lived with me. Like the sister I never had. We had our own rooms but slept together more often than not. We have held each other in the worst moments and celebrated all of our wins together. She has a hard shell but needs more love than anyone else. She taught me true compassion when she needed me at her side and true loyalty as she stayed at mine.

Then came him. He sat at the bar and she introduced me to him with an insult. He looked up with those soft eyes and awkwardly shrugged, pulling his mouth down at the corners like I have seen him do a million times since. His cheeky charm had me bowled over within hours. He’s never lost that but he has shown me what is underneath. Often a seemingly selfish man he has taught me that people can surprise you. He walked with me and J every day after you left, kept us moving. He sat with me on the bench and held me while I cried for you. This weekend he opened his house and gave me a home for a few days, the sound of him playing while I pottered around and took care of someone again.

Finally there was her, a tiny dot full of mischief at the end of the bar. She came with him but became more of my world than most of the rest of it. I would give up everything I had built to stand loyally at her side. It would hurt but I’ve never questioned that decision and now she stands loyally at mine. A kind ear, a strong resting post and hilarious when I need it.

So there they are, my other big loves, I hope they continue to shape me, that I can heal along side them and become even more because of them. X

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