It was love at first sight for me. Well, first memory anyway. Natalie suddenly seemed to appear in my publishing office one day, clutching some sample cover designs for a garden guide. My favourite, and the final cover, was resplendent with red tomatoes and retro-style type. I thought, ‘She’s creative’. Tick. ‘She’s beautiful’. Tick. ‘She’s shy, but kinda intense’. Tick, tick. I liked her. And I needed to find out more.
It didn’t take long to discover she was heterosexual. As a gay person, you tend to take that possibility as your starting point when considering a love interest. Normally, it would be a deterrent, but for some reason I didn’t let it put me off this time. And, anyway, events conspired to throw us together as we were matched on one intensive creative project after another.
After one of our major projects had gone to print, we went out for a celebratory cocktail or two. It was a date, but not a date. ‘Roz, it’s not a date. She’s straight!’, my friends reminded me. But it was a date and we were both nervous. Alcohol blurred the edges of our nerves and lubricated our conversation. Twilight quickly turned to midnight, and the tables were being cleared and wiped around us. It was now or never. I went in for the kiss.
Back at the office, we became more brazen. It was a sizzling hot summer. We’d meet at lunchtime under the gigantic conical office Christmas tree that we’d dubbed the ‘Cone of Silence’. But it wasn’t silent for long. We’d soon be discovered in an uncompromising position at the office Christmas party by a guy from IT. By the following Monday, it has gone off through the office like an errant firework. We’d gone from clandestine to cliché.
Nowadays, Natalie is my life partner, my business partner and mother to our daughter. But she’s not my wife. She’s not a lesbian either, by the way, she’s just ‘in love with one’.