My boyfriend and I don't know exactly when we first met. This fact is puzzling. I still find typing "My boyfriend and I" really, really weird. It still feels strange, and also it's an oddly formal phrase, as though we open supermarkets and christen cruise liners together.
Anyway, he arrived in my life one mystery day last October. We do know when our second date was - we bumped into each other at the Trafalgar Square Hate Crimes Vigil. Because what romance really needs is to be surrounded by a lot of gay men trying to look solemn, not check grindr, and not set their hair on fire while wondering if it's rude to slope off before the inevitable Brian Paddick.
So, in the spirit of it being a year and all, we went along to the Trafalgar Square Hate Crimes thing again last night. Now, forgive me if my tone's all wrong. I think hate crime is ridiculous - I can't imagine disliking someone so much that I'd fairly casually murder them. Not even chuggers. And yet, for some peculiar reason, it seems to keep happening to gays. It happens to a lot of other people, but I think it's okay to have one night a year when we feel cross that it's happening to us. Although, frankly, every year the stories get worse. What with a barman being set on fire and America having cornered the market in humiliating students to death... FUN!
Anyway, we went to the vigil. There was the inevitable Long-Speech-By-The-Relative-Of-Harvey-Milk about how we should hate hate and love love and banish dark vibrations with light energy; a wonderful (short) speech by Elly Barnes about how she was actually doing something about it every bloody day; and some dreadful anti-hate-crime rap by what appeared to be a white geography teacher doing the end-of-term party. What began a couple of years ago as a nearly spontaneous outpouring of rage has become as dull as a trip to an airport. Perhaps this is how we show that we're solemn - if we're prepared to stand in the rain for an hour listening to Harvey Milk's interminable nephew then we can't be the careless flibberty-gibbets you think we are. Mind you, if next year we could just have Elly Barnes, that would be very nice, thank you.
We stood and hugged and set our candle holders on fire. Whether it was because I had a terrible cold or I was quietly moved, I appeared to be crying a little. Then, when they announced Brian Paddick, we got the bus home.
"Happy anniversary," said my boyfriend as he put on clown make-up and went out to a Hallowe'en rave. I stayed at home and watched Larry Sanders until I fell asleep, very happy.