As I get closer to my thirties, just a mere 3 years away. My friends are all close to my age and as such, they are starting to do very adult things, like have babies, getting promotions in work and getting married. In the past year, I have been to three weddings, my Sister got married to her partner of over 10 years in January, my friend Lyn married the father of her children last Summer and in March last year, my best friend Michael married his boyfriend and the love of his life Kevin, in what was my first ever gay wedding and without a doubt, one of the greatest days I have ever had the pleasure of sharing.
Next Friday, my very good friend Stacey will be marrying her girlfriend Siobhan. Not only is Stacey one of my oldest friends, she was actually my first ever girlfriend. Let me tell you about the night that we met. When I was 13 years old, I wasn't very popular, I had a close friend Paul but other than him, I wouldn't say I had a close knit group of people. I was also getting to that age, when I wanted to explore. Go to parties, meet new people and have some more grown up fun.
I started working in a bar at that age, which at the time, was very socially acceptable, teenagers were hired in pubs to collect glasses and do the end of night clean up on weekends. I started to meet more people and one of those people was a girl called Jessica, who was having a party at her house to celebrate her birthday. I remember even now, how excited I was to go to this party and to even get an invite. Yes, I was that kid.
The party was very early in January and my fathers house was full of alcohol left over from Christmas. I would stay at his house on weekends and was pretty much left to my own devices, so it was easy for me to take a large 3 litre bottle of cider. That night would end up being the first night I ever got drunk. I brought along Paul and another friend Dean.
When we got there, the house was decorated with your usual teenage party stuff and apart from her liberal mother, Jessica's party was without was adult supervision and everyone there was drinking. The house was actually pretty rammed, with people in the front garden, inside the house and outside in the back garden, which had a bouncy castle in it.
As teenagers do, the boys and girls started to pair up, making out, in any corner they could find and even though I was coming to the realisation I was gay, I was of no exception. Her name was Stacey and she was a class mate of the birthday girl, she was also there with her twin sister Wendy. We did the usual teenage thing, kissing, hand over boob action. Lay together on the bouncy castle. Fun, innocent, childish even.
The rest of the night, is a bit of a blur because true to my plans, I got drunk for the very first time. But the next day, I went on my first ever date. We went to see Crossroads, the film debut of Britney Spears, which remains to this day, a guilty pleasure of mine. We skirted around being boyfriend and girlfriend for a couple of weeks until she sent me the inevitable break up text message, which just happened to be on Valentines Day.
You see, we were never going to be long term, as we were both harbouring some very siginificant secrets. Both of us were gay. We lost contact for a couple of years, until a mutual friend reintroduced us, we have been friends ever since. I work with both the twins, and both were part of my 2006, Dawsons Creek summer. A summer of love, adventures and drama, which I look back on quite fondly.
This coming Friday, Stacey will be marrying her long term girlfriend Siobhan, on what is looking to be a very special day, a lot of friends coming together, old and new, past and present and I am so blessed that I get to be part of it. Since I came back from Manchester last year, I have been recapturing the magic that was our friendship and it works out that as I prepare to return, I have this milestone to enjoy.