A Groom With A View

I am getting married. This year. To a woman.  Things are being set in motion, heads of steam are building, snowballs are rolling,  rabbits are running. You get the picture.  Sarah and I (or is it me and Sarah? I never know) met when we were old enough to know better, and fell in love anyway.

We were lucky enough to have things in common – kids, mortgages, and crucially, ex spouses.  Without sounding like some David Brent middle manager in front of a flip chart, I will save the How the Where and the Why for later. What matters is that when we decided to name the day for the second time round,  we wanted to erase our respective memories of our previous nuptials, which could  best be described in no particular order as - bewildering, half baked and miserable. In other words the  ceremonies where unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. 

This time we were both determined that our forthcoming marriage would be the very best it could be.  We are getting hitched in a swish boutique hotel in Liverpool city centre.  We did a recce on potential venues but as soon as we walked through the doors of what ended up being our place we knew. It felt right. The right décor, the right size and the right feel.  We wanted an early evening ceremony followed by drinks and a buffet  (don’t let the dreaded B word put you off – there wont be a sweaty mushroom vol-au-vent in sight).  Two speeches , one toast and then dancing interspersed with soulful crooning from an X factor hopeful whose dreams turned to dust in Simon’s rented LA mansion (or it might have been Sharon’s Miami pile, I cant remember).  The number one  thing to us apart from the venue,  is that we will have our friends around us when we exchange vows.  The people who mean the most to us.

Ok, you’ve been patient. First, the where.  A kids footy pitch  nine years ago. A frosty February Sunday morning. white breath, linoment magic sponge.    The competitive pit bull snarls and violent gesticulations were heard from all over the pitches. The language was blue and the insults raw.  But that’s enough about the Soccer Mums,  I was there to watch my lad. Sarah’s son was on the same team.  I had my hood up and scarf wrapped tight around my face.  Looking back, I must have stood next to her many times before. But this match was different. – we were in danger of winning a game.  From the screams of joy that greeted the final whistle and the party atmosphere on the touchline you’d think we’d won the Premiership. After hugging my son I looked up to find the manager, the architect of our triumph.  Then I saw her. 

I don’t believe in destiny, I don’t believe in star signs (but that’s me, typical Piscean) but when I saw Sarah standing there, looking straight at me with her beautiful big smile, I knew straight away that I just had to go over and say hello. 

“Hello.” I said.

“Hello.” She replied. 

“My son is in this team.”

“Well if he isn’t then I'd wonder why you were stood here amongst all these kids with a scarf around your face, to be honest.”

I hate it when a woman is quicker than me.  That was the last of the conversation.  And, apart from when  I turned around and saw her looking for me as she bundled her muddy son into her car, that was the last I saw of her.  My ex took my son to school so the next time I would see Sarah would be the following Sunday. So that was that. But what was seven days in one lifetime?  The answer was agony.  Waking up, driving to work, sitting in boring meetings, I couldn’t get Sa

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  • Sarah’s smile out of my head.  Thursday, Friday, Saturday dragged like no other. Finally Sunday morning came. It was time to play football,

    Anyone who knows me will know that the last thing I am is a clothes horse.  I don’t do fashion. But I blooming well did fashion that Sunday morning.  How can you wrap up against a wind chill of minus four still look dashing? The short answer is that you can’t.  Undeterred, I decided on a  body warmer and  beanie hat. In other words I looked just like Robert de Nero in The Deer Hunter.   No really, I did!

    I pulled up with my son and stared out expectantly at the pitches.  No one was there.  Frozen pitches, the game was off!  I could have cried.  Anther week of not seeing her?  Unbearable.

    One thing I knew for certain. I wasn’t going to wait another week. I had to find her.

  • SongbirdsingsSongbirdsings Posts: 1,290

    My goodness, this is good....you have to continue! Great reading image . I'm a big believer in fate, it happened to me! 

  • PoppinsPoppins Posts: 3,146

    I'm hooked already!!! Love your style of writing! Hurry up back! I prefer the word Serendipity Songbird image Xxx

  • Future MrsCFuture MrsC Posts: 684

    Me too - more please xx

  •  

    What is it about shoes and women?  I have a pair of black shiny shoes for work. In fact I have three pairs.  I also have a pair of brown slip ons that I step into to go to the shops. The back of them are squashed down because sometimes I cant be bothered putting them on properly if I’m say, just putting the bins out.  The trainers I wear to go the gym (I have to drop a dress size for the wedding you see) are so tatty I think even the tramp in the precinct  would turn his nose up at them.  What I’m saying is that the look I strive for daily is shabby chic.  Ok, just shabby then.

    But as I discovered last week, shoes for women, are a completely different kettle of battered cod altogether.   

    If weddings send women funny, then wedding shoes send them to planet Giggley Girly. Because I wanted Sarah’s day to be special, I wanted to make sure that everything was perfect from the ground up. So that meant we started with the shoes.  (The dress comes later.  Wait till I tell you about that....

    So we toddle off into Manchester.  Ok, so how difficult can it be?  You can’t bloomin’ move for shoe shops.  We wouldn’t be long surely?  Sarah had a spring in her step as we marched determinedly past Clarks, footlocker and all the other shoe wear emporiums that I have never seen the inside of.  Then we stopped outside a posh looking outlet calledSelfridges. I think there’s a telly programme about it on at the moment

    We walked into the shoe department.  Some very nice ladies shoes were on display. Casually, I turned over one of the stilettoes.  Oh, I thought to myself, that must be a European size…. 495. I put my glasses on – holy mother of God - 495 quid!?   I looked up to see Sarah deep in conversation with a handsome man who was holding up a pair of sparkly shoes so delicate and strappy that they  were almost invisible to the naked eye. Usually, If I see Sarah giggling and smiling with a good looking guy I get very jealous. But when he stood up and did a little twirl of delight I began to relax. 

    I sat down next to Sarah who misty eyed, held up a shiny pink box and said, “Darling, these are the ones.”

    Do you remember the scene at the end of Pulp fiction when Tim Roth opens the briefcase and a golden light shines out?  A similar thing happened in Selfridges.  The lid fell away and inside I saw them, laying together like two perfect sparkly poodles.

  •  “Hello Tom, we are the Choo twins.  My name is Jimmy and this is my brother -  he’s called Jimmy Choo!”

    Sarah tried them on.  She walked up and down, they did  look fabulous on her. 

    “Can I have them, please?”

    “If it’s what you want darling, ok, you can have them.”

    Sarah hugged me tight. She broke away, I saw tears in her eyes.  The good-looking guy who sold them to her looked like he was also about to sob with joy.  They were wrapped and we took them over to the till and I handed over my card. And then,  when the pretty girl keyed in the price  – I started crying too!

    image

     

     

  • But the Choo twins were a long way far into the future when I was sat parked opposite the frozen football fields ten years ago.  No players, no ref, no Sarah.  My heart was in my boots.  My son looked up at me, “Don’t worry Dad, we will have another game next week.”

    We drove off.  How was I going to find out where she lived?  Then I had an idea.  We stopped at some lights not far from the school.

    I turned to my boy and said, “You know that lad who plays in midfield, Rob is his name? (Sarah’s Son)” I was trying to sound casual.

    “Yeah, the one with the fit Mum? They live over there.”

    I looked down at him.  I don’t know what shocked me more, the pure chance of her living so close to me, or the realisation that boys don’t stay boys for ever.  He pointed to an ordinary looking semi detached on the other side of the road. I strained to get see the number.  Cars beeped behind me as the lights changed.  I had to drive away.

     

    Now I knew where she lived. But how was I going to get to see her.  I couldn’t just turn up on her doorstep like some kind of weirdo. I had to have an excuse.  The excuse came in the form of midweek extra training. 

    All the boys had to meet at the community centre to report for training sessions. The manager wanted to instil some tactics into the team.  I finished early and raced over to the ex’s. She seemed more than happy to let me save her the job of  taking  him to training. 

    A traffic jam meant we were late and Rob and the rest of the boys were  already there.  The car park was empty.  I sat and waited.  When training was nearly over, the car park began to fill once more. I looked up to see if her car was in amongst  the  other parent’s motors. It wasn’t .  Then my lad appeared with another boy at the window.

  • “Dad, can we give Rob a lift home?  He doesn’t live far.”

    “Er, yeah sure.”

    My heart was in my mouth as the front door swung open.  Sarah did a double take when she saw me standing there with the two boys. 

    “Oh Hello.”

    “Hello.  I gave Rob a lift back.”

    “Thanks.”

    “it’s ok.”

    We stood there grinning like a pair of idiots. Rob had walked inside and my lad was leaning against the frame of the door rolling his eyes.  I didn’t want to leave. But I had to. Sarah then said something that made my heart soar.

    “Listen, it’s silly us all driving there and back, we could do with a rota.  Look do you want my number and we can sort out lifts?”

    I patted my jacket, desperately looking for pen and paper.  I shrugged and apologised.

    “You could always, just put the number in your phone?”

    I half laughed. What a dork.

    I went home and started getting my stuff together for work the next day.  Me and Sarah (or Sarah and I) finally stopped texting each other at one o’clock that night.

  • Thank you songbirdsings, poppins and future mrsc for your kind words x

     

  • MrsDenbyMrsDenby Posts: 199

    really enjoying this! looking forward to the next installment! 

    X

  • Jo35Jo35 Posts: 305

    Ooh loving this already ,hurry up I want to read more please imagex

  • Lou85Lou85 Posts: 1,808 New bride

    I love this! Very well written image 

  • RC15RC15 Posts: 235

    This is extremely enjoyable to read! Also loving that it's the groom not the bride writing it! Great to see it from a mans perspective! X

  • HydrogirlHydrogirl Posts: 809

    i love ur writing style! great to have a guys view! cant wait for more!

  • herstoryherstory Posts: 1,268

    Great writing!

    Although if the price of the shoes made you cry, I wonder what the price of the dress will do!

  • the price of the dress is a secret known only to my bride and my bank manager.  I am not be put under more stress! x

     

  • Little JulesLittle Jules Posts: 1,538

    I love your style of writing!

  • thanks little joules very kind of you to comment. x

  • Jules sorry x

  • just watching episode one of Happy Valley on. catch up with w2b. Sarah Lancaster has just started snogging her ex.  right, that's getting turned over straight away!

  • VictoriaoVictoriao Posts: 1,536

    This is a great thread! I've just read the shoe posts to my h2b and his eyes glistened with recognition and a look of understanding!

    love the comment about the price of the dress! Mine is also a secret known only by me, the shop and my credit card provider!

  • Hi VictoriaO.  I share his pain.  everytime I mention the cost of the wedding Sarah gives me this lovely smile, pats my head and tells me not to fret. 

    Nothing to worry about at all then!

  •  

    The problem with wedding guests is that they sometimes decide to marry each other. And as a consequence of these unions children inevitably come along  .  Now I cant really object to this kind of behaviour because I have done the same (As has Sarah – we have four between us.) but the problem arises when they have them later on in life  and want to bring them to a wedding.  And not just any wedding – our wedding.

     

    When I got hitched first time round I was in my late twenties and the demographics of the guest list meant that at times our hotel looked more like a crèche than a wedding venue. One whinging brat in his cream coloured ruffled dress shirt spent most of the day covered in chocolate, screaming for the toilet.  But that’s enough about the best man, let me tell you about the kids.  There were babies, there were toddlers there were wannabe teenagers. There were dozens of the little darlings. My own son (aged 2)  was there, looking gorgeous of course so to me as the groom, not knowing much different,   the terrible racket was just part of the “fun”.  

    Now, nearly twenty years later, wedding number 2 will be thankfully kiddy free.   There will be plenty of young people there, as in our children and their friends. But no actual rug rats – except for maybe one- Ophelia. 

     

    Ophelia is aged two and is the lovely first offspring of a good friend of mine who is  as excited about the wedding as we are.  Unfortunately, as this event is a kid free zone I have to tell him that little Ophelia didn’t make the cut (that’s a golfing expression by the way). But how to tell him and his wife?  Not that Ophelia isn’t delightful, it’s just that she has the lung capacity of  Luciano Pavarotti and when she is tired and grumpy she is likely to drown out the disco.  I was going to ring him but Sarah said the best thing to do is just politely mention it on the invites.  I felt a bit of heel but as the note on the invitations got me out of a very awkward situation it gained my full agreement.

     

    I still don’t know if I’ve done the right thing. Yes it’s my wedding but this couple are a big part of my life and as they might struggle with  babysitters and therefore not come, should I relent? 

     

     

  • Anyway, ten years ago, kids at a wedding was the last thing on my mind. What occupied my every waking thought was the text exchange between me and Sarah the night before.  A more accurate description could be ‘subtexting’,  because the true meanings hidden inside those electronic missives were designed to prolong the contact (from my side at least). But no matter what I wrote (or more importantly, didn’t write on my phone) there was a terrible dilemma faced by all first time texters. How early into text tennis can you type the dreaded ‘X’?

    As my Grandmother once said to my deaf-as-a-post Grandfather as he succumbed to a violent bout of wind sat at the Christmas dinner table – “There is a time and a place for everything.”

    Putting a X in too early smacks of desperation/being too forward. Leaving it too late even after the messages have gone beyond flirty can  come across like someone who is not being genuine.

    Anyway, Sarah sent the first one.  It was five or six messages in.  I cant remember exactly but the text read something like:

    “I don’t know, maybe I will come down and watch you play football.  What do you look like in shorts?x”

    Did you see how she sneaked it in? Almost hidden under the ?  It was like she was texting it by mistake, as in – how did that get there?

    After I got that text,  I didn’t think I was being unreasonable in assuming  that I was in with a chance. How wrong can you be?

    The texting  continued through the week.  With work and kids and life getting in the way the texts became more sporadic.  But because I felt myself becoming more smitten almost by the hour, as the gaps between beeps became longer and longer my heart began to sink

    Sunday arrived.  Robert de Nero was once again stood on the touchline waiting for the game to start.  I was scanning the line of parents waiting for Sarah.  She popped her head forward and gave me a little wave.  Casually, without being noticed, I sprinted through the mud and slid to a stop next to her.

    She looked up at me through a tangled mass of brunette hair. 

    “Hello  again”

    “Hello again”

    What to say next?

    “My mobile phone bill will be in the sky!”

    “Oh. Maybe if you didn’t  text as much then?”

     

  • VictoriaoVictoriao Posts: 1,536

    We explained that we wanted the adults to relax and enjoy the wedding and therefore it wasn't possible for us to invite children. My h2bs sisters each have 2 children aged 10 plus. We have invited those as we didn't want the screams of tears and tantrums to drown out our vows Etc. 

    i told everyone with children in person ahead of the invites going out so there was time for people to make arrangements ahead of the invites and it wasn't such a blow when the invite arrived on the door step. 

  •  

    I stared straight ahead. What possessed me to say such a stupid thing?  The atmosphere dropped another couple of degrees.  Think you idiot, think!

    “What I mean is, that I might have to go onto a different plan. With  Vodafone.”

    As a romantic line it wasn’t quite up there with “Here’s looking at you , kid” but it was all I could think of.  Was she being deliberately cold?  Had I misread the texts? Had I misread the dreaded ‘x’?

    The game was over, and we trudged back to the car park.  My chances were ebbing away, I had to act, and quick.  Well you know what they say – faint heart n’er won fair lady.  Just before she got to the car, I called her name, she stopped and turned expectantly

    “Sarah?

    “Yes?

    “Look, would, do you... fancy going for a drink, sometime? Or a coffee, it doesn’t have to be …er”

    Sarah gave me a pained expression, then delivered the  hammer blow.

    “Tom I’m really sorry, but I’m sort of…. seeing someone?”

    The answer, framed as a question (in other words – of course I’m seeing someone, you dork) hit me like a heavy weight punch in the guts. 

    Well that was that.  Or was it? I got the impression she was apologising for having a boyfriend. Maybe she was desperately trying to extract herself from her relationship with the brainless bald headed fat toothless weirdo.  ( I know,  jealousy is a terrible thing).   I decided to send one more text.  And so it was that the rest of my life came to be  hanging by a thread. Would she reply? And what would she say?  
  • LeaMarieLeaMarie Posts: 723

    Absolutely loving reading this - Thank you for making my Tuesday morning Tom!  image

  • Future MrsCFuture MrsC Posts: 684

    more more more more more ........

  • MrsHod2BMrsHod2B Posts: 9

    Loving this thread! Your style of writing is very engaging and you have quite the knack of leaving us on a cliffhanger and wanting more! 

    More please!!!!!

  • will do MrsHod!  lots to tell so watch this space . many thanks for kind words x

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