Neil was two years above me at school. When I joined, he was well established at the school bad boy. Always in trouble for something, cool as you like, and everyone fancied him. But being much older, he would never look at a shy first year like me!
My luck soon changed, however, as he decided I looked like one of the teachers (!!) and subsequently gave me a nickname, which he called out if ever I passed him in the corridor / hall etc. I was flattered and excited to be noticed by him. Nothing ever came of my secret admiration for him, and at 16 left to join the Army. This was a big thing for him, as not only did his parents and teachers expect him to drop out, he was also leaving his home island of Guernsey, which is a very small place, with a close community and a feeling of security.
Neil shone in the Army and I didn’t see him again until 1994 – seven years later. He was on leave before a second tour of Northern Island, and I was working behind the bar of a local nightclub. I was so surprised to see him; even more so that he remembered me! He looked fantastic – although rather the worse for wear after a night on the tiles! We got chatting, and I gave him my address so he could write to me when he was away. I never expected to hear from him again, but to my surprise and big pleasure, Neil wrote. We began a daily exchange of letters, which soon developed into love letters and a love affair by post!
I couldn’t call Neil, but whenever he could, he phoned me and we would often chat for hours. I think our record is from 11pm to 7am when I only went, as I had to go straight to work! Eventually, late 1994, Neil left the Army and returned to the island. I collected him from the airport, and we haven’t been apart since.
We moved in together in early 1996, and bought our first house together in December 1997. In February 1999, we went to New York for a weekend. We were both really looking forward to the trip – I had never been to the USA, and the history, sights and shopping that we knew we were going to experience was SO exciting.
Our first day and night in the Big Apple were as perfect as we could have hoped for, and we were busy deciding our plans for the following day. At this point, we headed up to the top of the Empire State Building. The views were fantastic, and the whole thing just blew my mind. I could not believe I was in New York!!
I said to Neil that when we shopped on 5th Avenue the following day, that I would love to mooch in Tiffany & Co. I said that it was far too expensive, but one just had to do it whilst in NY. Suddenly Neil turned me to face him and said that “you never know, we might want to buy something from there”. I looked at him and said “yeah, right”. At that point, Neil went pale and very quiet. It slowly began to dawn on me that he might be trying to tell me something. I asked him what he meant, and he said “we will if you’ll marry me”. I almost fainted and promptly asked him if he was taking the p*ss!! Poor thing, he was upset at this, but I had had no idea what he had been planning and was totally shocked. I soon got over that though, and just grabbed him, kissed him and said yes!!!
The rest of the weekend was even more magical, and we couldn’t wait to get home and tell our friends and family. Neil is everything to me, and I can’t wait to become his wife on 31 August 2001.