You never forget that moment. That one single moment that changes your life forever.
For me, it was my Father being mowed down by a number 78 bus on his way out from Tuesday night bingo. This weekly trip was his salvation, his escape from a loveless marriage to my Mother – a serial knitter and a crashing bore.
In some small way, I like to think that bingo saved him, and his number had been called.
Soon after the funeral, about an hour to be exact, my Mother found solace in the toilets of the nearby pub with a man named Derek. In the twenty minutes between speeches and sandwiches, she had found her emotional band-aid, while my entire being was an oozing wound, leaking pus-filled heartache.
Mum eventually settled down with Derek, discovered her hitherto buried wild side and moved out of the family home and relocated to Truro. The woman who had brought me, kicking and screaming into this world had made her bed, and she quite enjoyed lying in it. I found a flat above a chip shop, and my life as a single woman continued apace.
I had formed two serious relationships. At University, I had thrown all my eggs into a delicate lesbian-shaped basket. Susan was my everything. She was beautiful, kind and sweet. After four years, she decided to go travelling to find herself. Instead, she found Harry and two years later they married atop a mountain in Peru.
I then met Martin, an emotionally unavailable man with an unhealthy obsession with Britney Spears, but a man who would do anything for me. We moved in together, spoke of children and dogs. He proposed in front of an overexcited American couple in Margate and the date was set. A week before the wedding, he was involved in a cycling accident and suffered almost total memory loss.
My then best friend and bridesmaid, Kelly, suffered no such injury, but married Martin a year later, in the very church we had booked. I was invited, and not wanting to seem bitter, I attended. It was a lovely ceremony, and the whole congregation laughed heartily when Martin accidentally slipped my name into the vows instead of Kelly’s. The reception was a blurry mess of Mum dancing and stolen snogs with the best man’s younger brother. The resulting fight with his fiancé was not a life highlight.
My new-found bitterness took me down self-pity avenue, and after a brief wrong turn into Tinder crescent, I arrived at opportunity lane.
England were playing in the World Cup against a nation I hadn’t realised existed. This seemed like a good time to head to the pub with my friend Marnie. At half-time, 3-0 down and only five pints in, the mood in the pub was equal to that of my Dad’s funeral. The sea of male faces, all wearing the expressions of told off teenagers faced forward towards the over-loud television; all except one.
As our team of overpaid Neanderthals conceded yet another goal, I headed to the bar. By this stage in the evening, Marnie was busy with a man wearing an England flag and little else. I could feel yet another drunken walk home and the obligatory visit to my local fast food establishment for burger and chips.
My heart slid further south as I ordered pint number seven. I turned and there he was, dressed in his England uniform and swaying like a palm tree in a hurricane. I will never forget his opening salvo as the crowd groaned in the background.
“Like footie, d’yer?”
The next thing I recall was the smell of twelve herbs and spices as we fondled behind KFC. Over the course of the tournament, we returned to the same public house and repeated the same performance as actors who knew their lines. Being the romantic type, Mark took me, once again, to the back of KFC. After a smooch, he led me inside for a variety bucket.
My heart filled with a fluttering promise of things to come. Perhaps he was the one, maybe, just maybe I would get what I longed for.
The cruel hand of lady fate pulled down my pants and slapped me firmly on the bottom. On a family trip to the zoo, he was taunting and agitating a group of chimps. One of them decided to take fate, and his faeces, into his own hands. He flung it towards Mark, and the resulting monkey poo facemask blinded him.
The following weeks and months were torture. Mark lost his appetite for life, and I had almost lost my love. We battled through these tough times and took comfort in each other. Mark may have been blind, but it was plain to see that our love could conquer all.
Jason Moody for Pf Magazine