We were running down the central reservation on Euston Road, attempting to make the last tube back to East Finchley, and awkwardly negotiating the crash barrier in the style of a school hurdles race on sports day. The evening out had been in celebration of the occasion of my 21st birthday – a trip to see ‘The German Sisters’. This film choice probably says everything about my sense of fun at the time – if you don’t know the film (and why should you?), here is an extract from the ‘Time Out’ review:
“Inspired by the cases of Gudrun Ensslin – the Baader-Meinhof terrorist and Stammheim ‘suicide’ – and her journalist sister, von Trotta once again takes up questions of the roots and potential paths of women’s resistance and revolt, creating a disturbing mosaic of personal and state histories around a sisterly relationship of intriguingly contradictory complexity.”
The party was composed of my closest university friends, my brother, and the sweetest young man I knew by the name of Michael. I was a bit unclear about how he came to be in our midst that evening – it may have been a set up – but confusion was no stranger to me in those days. Michael, however, knew perfectly well why he was there. That night was the night he was going to fix a date with me. Having understandably failed to find a suitably romantic moment during the evening, this was duly done whilst trying to cross Euston Road, and with my brother by his side.
Thankfully, his choice of outing was considerably more appropriate than mine, and our relationship started under the starry night in Regent’s Park watching Shakespeare. This was 34 years ago. Today, my husband was up with the dawn chorus to fly to Seattle for a week and today is the day that I want to tell the world how much I appreciate him. After all, they say absence makes the heart grow fonder.
He has never wavered; he has been faithful to me in everything and has seen me through all the many times when a sense of fun has been about as far off as another universe. His commitment and quiet determination have steered our lives together through thick and thin.
My husband is the best listener I have ever known. Always attentive, always interested and never diverting the conversation for his own purposes. That is certainly how he first gained my respect and admiration and has continued to do so over the years. Perhaps that is why he has also been so well respected and liked as a manager – never shying away from attending to personnel issues and always striving to ensure that those working around him have all the support they need to perform their best and be happy at work.
Despite his ability to empathise and understand another’s view point, my husband is no walk-over. He is not blown every which way by the wind, and where it matters, he knows firmly what he believes in. He will stand by his principles and these beliefs no matter what anyone else tries to persuade him of. I know this from bitter experience! You can be sure that I have put him to the test on this one.
Michael has always been a man of his word and someone who takes his responsibilities very seriously. His friends recognise this – he was best man to no less than three of his university pals; (and incidentally delivers an excellent speech on each such occasion).
And, he has never shirked duties….whilst the rest of us are busy reprioritising, to ensure that the uninspiring tasks remain firmly at the bottom of the to-do list, Michael is always to be found keeping on top of the washing pile, the ironing pile, the shoe cleaning, car checking, lawn mowing, light bulb changing and so on ad infinitum. He patiently wanders around shutting doors and drawers left carelessly ajar and restoring order after the chaos caused by others.
Restoring order from the chaos pretty much reflects why I would never want to be without him. I have, in Michael, a partner who puts me back together, time and time again, through the small consistent acts of understanding and care that define his very nature.