In June 2010 I arrived in The Netherlands with the notion of finally ‘settling down’. Young, in love and still just a little wet behind the ears, my girl and I had all the typical rat race dreams: Get the jobs so we could save money. Save money so we could get the house. Get the house so we could have kids. Have kids so we could be a happy family, a regular functioning cog in this big old machine we call society. What could possibly go wrong?
It was a Saturday morning mid June 2013 when I woke up and instinctively realized it was game over. S was curled up on the far side of the bed, about as far away from me as it was possible to get without falling out. She’d gotten home late the night before, so late in fact that I hadn’t even heard her come in.
Gingerly lifting myself out of bed, I felt my heart beating a million miles a minute. Jesus, this was it wasn’t it? I shuffled off to the toilet for a pee before making my way to the kitchen where I instinctively flicked the switch on the kettle and stood there for a moment shivering. It was the steam of the boiling water in my face that eventually shook me from my coma, forcing me to the fridge. Grabbing the milk, I set the carton down on the counter, popped a teabag into my cup and began pouring the water. Adding the milk, I clutched my brew in both hands and turned to find S framed in the doorway.