It's August now. Already. The eighth month of my 'Year of Yes'; my time to seize opportunities, stop being frightened and do 'em. Having my chocolate and eating it too.
In the spirit of the year for me so far, I'm going to do a post every single day this month - whether you like it or not - about the things I appreciate. It's so easy to knock the negatives and ridicule the obvious - they're my strengths after all - but to actually sit back and think about what makes me happy and grateful will be a challenge. Thirty days, thirty reasons.
Day One - Love Chunks
I fell 'in like' with him on the first day of uni in 1986 when he walked me there. We were both attached at the time so nothing eventuated, but I was pretty bloody relieved that he had his first O-week lecture at the same time I did, otherwise this clueless and frightened country girl would have ended up lost somewhere like Mile End, crying and wanting to take the bus back to Murray Bridge.
A couple of years later, single and on the hunt, I asked my brother - who was then LC's housemate - if LC would be interested in going out with someone like me. Rob instantly responded with "No way." Chastened, I left the party early. Little did I know at the time that big brother was being protective and hadn't even hinted to LC that his silly sister was interested.
In early 1993, I 're-met' Love Chunks when I was newly returned home after two years in London and he was in town for his sister's 21st. He was deciding whether to take a year off from the weather bureau to do the twelve month Graduate Dip Education (secondary), which, coincidentally, I had also enrolled in. He stayed in our share house (after all, he was Rob's mate and Rob was living with me at the time) and hugged me when he left for Melbourne a couple of days later. It was nice and I hoped that he would do the course.
He did and moved into the large house's empty spare room. A month later, he was knocked off his bike whilst riding down Magill Road. No broken bones but plenty of bruising. As he peeled off his shirt to show us, I was surprised at the thrill I felt seeing his chest rather than the sympathy or horror that would have been the more socially acceptable response. A week after that, with injuries and a groin strain from an old footy injury, he gallantly played tennis with me on the Salop Street courts and let me win. And gloat.
As I was about to go out with a girlfriend to see a movie that same night, he was to be found head-down/bum-up, scrubbing out the shower. When I got home a few hours later, we shared some cheap plonk and played a sodden game of Monopoly.
On the Monday, we shared the bus into town. Love Chunk's bike was still mangled and he was rather snazzily dressed for just a morning of lectures. He explained in great detail that he was catching up with his ex-girlfriend for drinks afterwards but that he was most definitely "Not interested in getting back with her, ever." Oh.....
On Tuesday, he asked me out for a coffee after our mind-numbingly useless 'History of truancy' lecture by a professor who looked unable to button his own cardigan, let alone teach teenagers. I went, heart beating through my stomach, palms sweating. Five cups of tea later, he asked me out. "Sure," I said, "How about this Friday?" We nervously touched hands and went our separate ways: he back to the Barr Smith for some study and me rushing to the nearest toilet before I exploded in the John Martins arcade.
Friday night date preparation was the weirdest I'd ever had in my life. No chance to fret about outfits or ask Jill - another housemate - for advice when the bloke I was dating slept about 10 metres away. In fact, I had to wait for him to get out of the bathroom! We drove in his poo brown Ford Cortina (known as Elvira) to the Norwood Hotel (now Finn MacCools) where we ate, drank, laughed, drank, drank some more and decided to walk home. As we sat in a booth I knew. I don't know how or why but I just knew. He was the one.
We were engaged six months later and married a year after that.
He's been my best friend, an endless source of kindness and strength. He makes me laugh and loves to become puffily pompous and chuckle at my childishness. His mind is a steel trap that loathes hypocrisy and dishonesty with a forcefulness that should be bottled, branded and sold to politicians, big business bastards and bullies everywhere. He can cook like a Michelen chef, yet loves eating his share of takaway pizza, crunchy potato chips and red wine. He can barely sit still as he curses the Adelaide Crows as they let the score ebb and flow, but his blue eyes twinkle like a seven year old's on Christmas Day for hours afterwards if there is a victory.
He has seen me at my very, very lowest ebb when I mistakenly believed that the world would be a better place without my presence and brought me back without judgement, guilt or anger. He empties my sick buckets during migraine times, rubs my back when insomnia wins and rolls over to let me borrow his warmth when I return, freezing, to bed after after a 3am twinkle. He was the first person to hold and feed our beautiful baby girl when she finally entered the world and proudly walks the streets nine years later holding her hand.