As of today, Chris and I have been married for 20 years. We came from very different backgrounds, from two different countries, and we’d lived completely different lives, but we discovered that we had somehow arrived at many of the same conclusions and we had as much in common as if we had been friends all our lives.
On 9 May 1996, we went to the Haringey Civic Centre with Chris’s oldest friend, Dora, as his Best (Wo)Man, John Clute as my Matron Of Honour, and Judith Clute as our wedding photographer. After the ceremony, which wasn’t just civil but warm and friendly (you see what I did there), we all got on a bus and went to Ruby In The Dust in Camden Town for the wedding feast. Ruby in the Dust has since passed into oblivion but it was a special place, partly because they had a dessert called ‘Death By Chocolate’ (which is how I’d like to go).
The wedding was very much us––fun, with people important to us, and easily fitting into the surroundings, in the city that Chris and I love more than any other. The two of us are urban creatures. We like our trees growing up out of the sidewalk like Nature intended, and the music of traffic noise lulling us to sleep at night. We also like our environment diverse and Haringey is most certainly that as it is home to 600 different ethnic groups.
In 20 years, we have been through ups and downs; we’ve had some good luck and some bad luck. But we’ve never been apart, not even when I was travelling and there was an ocean between us. In 20 years, we’ve never had a fight because we’ve never had any problems––only technical difficulties.
That’s what cancer is to us––a technical difficulty. And that’s all it will ever be.