I Just Knewbytigerlilyxxxxx©
I always thought when I met the Love Of My Life, it would be in the great tradition of novels and films and I’d “just know”. As it was, I don’t even remember our first meeting, or our second or our third…after that however, I do vaguely recall someone with a very dodgy haircut and a gingery goatee, walking past me in the corridor carrying some boxes. I remember being aware that he was the bloke I’d be working with next term, but really nothing else. I can’t even remember speaking to him, or if I made any contact other than a brief perfunctory smile. Certainly, there were no thunderbolts, flashes of lightning or even a national lotteryesque hand coming from the sky, pointing at him and a booming voice declaring, “it’s him”. So how did I know?
Well, to be honest, it kind of sneaked up on me. The new term started and the dodgy haircut was gone, but alas, the same couldn’t be said for the goatee with more than an auburn hint. We didn’t hate each other on sight, or rub each other up the wrong way (as all Mills and Boon books state is the norm), in fact, it was sickeningly devoid of drama. We hit it off immediately. He was the first man under 40 that I’d spoken to in months that didn’t address any conversation to my nipples. He made me laugh, he didn’t try and chat me up or touch me or make any sexual overtures at all. That was it, I was a goner. I flirted like crazy, I went out of my way to appear to be a sparkling wit – although in truth I ended up doing a great impression of a dizzy mare – I made conversation, I confided in him, I made outrageous comments with a twinkle in my eye, just to make him blush. But still, nothing in return.
This drove me mad, without sounding bigheaded, I wasn’t used to having my best efforts completely but politely ignored. He has told me since that he didn’t want me to know he was interested because I might reject him, he thought I’d be the same with anyone I worked with (!!!!), honestly, men are so THICK sometimes!
Then things changed. It began when the third member of our teaching team went on a school trip with half the year group, leaving us with the other half. I had this great arty project planned which involved paint and general messiness. One of my children needed a shoebox spray painted silver for their project and, as I didn’t want to asphyxiate any of the little loves, I said I’d do it after school. Naturally, being a bit of a dizzy mare at heart, I forgot but rushed in early the next morning to do it. I was so busy concentrating on spraying the damned shoebox I didn’t notice that the paint had not only got the box but had also gone slightly further afield – ALL over the tiled floor in the corridor. My heart sank. Not only was my classroom right next door to that of the Love Of My Life, there was absolutely no way he’d not notice, therefore blowing my cover of sparkling/witty/capable/not-lacking-in-common-sense woman, well out of the water.
I looked at the clock, time was on my side, he was usually considerably later than me, so maybe I could get it cleaned up before he arrived. Quickly, I set to work. I grabbed a cloth from the sink in my classroom and dropped to my knees and started to scrub. Now I don’t know if any of you have ever made a similar mistake to me, but I discovered that when you rub spray paint, the little tiny droplets that individually land, spread and join together, forming a massive smudge. Sigh. I began scrubbing more furiously and in doing so, didn’t notice the doors to the corridor open. The first I became aware that I wasn’t alone, was when I noticed a black pair of size tens stood just ahead of where I was rubbing.
I shut my eyes and prayed that they’d be gone when I opened them again. Sadly, no. A second look revealed the feet to be exactly where I’d left them, my gaze travelled up a pair of familiar, black trouser-clad legs (no I didn’t linger at the crotch, what kind of person do you think I am?), upwards over a very male chest in a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, to a face brimming with barely concealed amusement. At that moment, I’d have sold my mother to have thought to put newspaper down earlier that morning, or better still, to just quietly disappear with a gentle pop, never to be seen again.
I mumbled my explanation of what had happened, my cheeks flaming and my insides dying, then I quietly slunk off to my classroom.
Later on that morning, I noticed a child from the next door class hovering suspiciously outside my classroom door. When I motioned for him to come in, he didn’t and disappeared sharpish back next door. I peered outside but couldn’t see anything other than the silver smudge, ignoring it (praying for it to disappear clearly hadn’t worked), I turned to back to go in the class when a poster caught my eye. It was a confession note to the caretaker, declaring my stupidity for not putting newspaper down when spray-painting and it had been signed by me! Our caretaker, not being known for his love of work, would kill me if he thought it was me. I looked through the door of the LOML’s classroom and there he was, amusedly waiting, my reaction. This was war!
Striding back into my own room, I quickly gave my class a rundown of the morning’s events and next door’s pitiful attempts to get one over on us. Within no time I had a wealth of ideas for revenge (I also made a mental note, never to get on the wrong side of these children). Casually I stepped out into the corridor, LOML’s door was open which meant we had to be extra sneaky. One of my children, bravely crawled commando-style across the floor carrying the can of spray paint in a plastic wallet, along with a new confession note (signed by LOML naturally), in his mouth. He pinned the damning evidence to the door, where, unfortunately, it was found mere minutes later. This war continued all day and my embarrassment had somehow evolved into side-splitting mirth.
A few days later he was off work and I got landed with the teacher from hell covering his class. That night I resorted to emailing him and begging him to come back soon because I missed him (brave of me eh?). The woman was awful, the kids hated her and were naughtier than ever, she hated me and went out of her way to make my life difficult, there was certainly no laughter or joke-telling. I felt thoroughly miserable. Then he came back. I happened to be nosing in his classroom looking for something I needed that morning when I heard the door open. My heart sinking, fully expecting it to be the teacher from hell, I turned around with my excuse ready. But it was him. Without even thinking, I flew towards him and practically crippled him with a massive bear hug, I was so pleased to see him. Then I became aware of my arms around his body, his around mine, that neither of us were pulling away. I could smell him and feel how warm his body was. Pulling away and resisting the temptation to look down and see if my nipples were poking through my top, I casually filled him in on what had been happening.
A few days after that he kissed me for the first time. I knew he was different, I knew how much I liked him, but I still didn’t know about loving him. I remember the exact moment when I realised, I can even remember the decidedly dodgy outfit he was wearing and even then I didn’t get thunderbolts or lightning flashes. It was just like something had clicked into place and made sense. He made my tummy flip over when I saw him unexpectedly, I was like an excited teenager when he was coming over to dinner and I’d be peering out of the window every two minutes trying to spot his car, he genuinely liked my dog (which believe me isn’t as easy as it sounds) and when I put these things and more together, it all made sense. I just knew.
That was nearly two years ago now and it hasn’t been easy and harmonious all the way. We’ve had our crises and blackspots but we’ve also had moments of pure happiness and moments of sheer lust – the radiator in my hall will never be the same again. Even now I still look at him and my tummy tingles, when we catch one another’s eye unexpectedly we share a secret message with our eyes, he makes me smile inside.