We had our first date at the Gardener’s Arms – an exclusively vegetarian pub and Guy’s choice. I bought the cider, and he paid for the food.
I remember being so nervous – because it was so important to me to be “good enough” for him, just like Oxford. I agonised over what to wear, not wanting to look like I was trying too hard, nor be too sloppy and casual. I’d never been like this before – what had happened to me?
When Guy kissed me, he had done something to me – intoxicated and absorbed me so powerfully and unfamiliarly that if it hadn’t happened I wouldn’t’ve believed it could. I thought of him all the time. I yearned to be with him, to speak to him, to see him, to touch him again. It was like a madness. In many ways, it still is…
…In science terms, what happened was a massive hormone rush. If you’re genetically compatible with someone, you’ll like their smell because of the pheromones they release. And kissing Guy was a massive pheromone green light for me.
In the first week of our relationship we were with each other most of the time. He taught me to relax, and helped me sleep. He asked me what I believed about marriage, and whether I wanted children. I taught him some of my own made-up language, Epidict. We punted, pub-crawled and played drinking games with ‘the Cherubs’:
I would come back from lectures at 11, buy muffins from Hall to use up my dinner credit, and then swing by his house (sometimes I would hide chocolate muffins round their kitchen and living room). If he wasn’t at his window I would ring the doorbell, and if he didn’t hear the doorbell I would ring his phone, and if his phone was off because he was still in bed, I would climb up the kitchen extension, squeeze my arm to the shoulder through the small top window, open the big window from inside, climb in over the oven and go up to his bedroom door to knock.
A lot of people would find that creepy, but Guy was pushing the relationship forwards as fast as I was. And we went at breakneck speed.
At the end of the first week he rolled over in bed, looked into my eyes and said very solemnly, “I love you”.
And I knew I loved him too.
But once again, something very strange happened to me – something out of my control: I started shaking. I tried to speak, to say, “I love you too”, but I was shaking so much I couldn’t enunciate it. He held me, and tried to calm me, and eventually I subsided and was able to give him my very important message.