Last week I started answering the questions that Shania sent me, and here is the next one, which takes up a whole post on its own:
3. In this post you mention that "it took a slap" for you and your husband to start getting along. Care to offer details?
Ok... TSC and I met during a gap year programme we did at a church in Pretoria. We all (80-something of us) lived in student houses (where I shared a room and a cupboard with five other girls). There were three of these houses: two that were co-ed and one that was all girls. I was in one of the co-ed ones and he was in the other. I can distinctly remember the first time I met him...
The house I was in was the only one with a swimming pool, so we invited the others over for a braai (BBQ) and to cool off in the pool. Of course, a game of water polo / piggy in the middle / stingers started up. We were all playing, and I noticed a gorgeous guy from the other house who was in the thick of things. Just then, someone knocked the ball out of the pool near where I was, so I hopped out to get it. As I came back to the pool, someone grabbed my ankle and tried to pull me back into the water to grab the ball from my clutches.
It was that gorgeous guy, now known as TSC, and he ended up pulling me off balance so I fell into the water, painfully scraping my entire leg against the sharp brick edge in the process. I had a massive scrape on my inside thigh that started bleeding. And he just grabbed the ball and off he went - no apology or anything. "What an arrogant pig!" I remember thinking, not knowing at the time that he could barely speak a word of English and was so embarrassed that he'd hurt me that he'd run away at full speed.
You can imagine my joy (not) when the outreach teams were announced and I discovered I'd be spending hours with this awful person. In fact, I didn't like anyone on my team. Funnily enough, five years down the line, one of them is my husband, another is one of my best friends and another was the best man at our wedding. Shows you that first impressions aren't always that accurate ;-)
TSC and I butted heads frequently during our outreach training. We both have strong personalities and can be EXTREMELY stubborn, and we couldn't bear each other. Eventually, sitting in a cramped minibus for six hours on the way to a town in the middle of nowhere for a one-week outreach, we got to talking. During that week, we chatted a bit more, and I decided that he wasn't so bad. I could just about bear him. Although I still found him chauvinistic and a bit abrasive.
But TSC is the world's worst passenger - if he's not driving a car, you don't want to be in it with him. He fidgets and gets irritable and just can't keep still. On our way back from the town in the middle of nowhere, TSC and I were sitting next to each other and he was quickly driving me insane. He had decided that it would alleviate his boredom if he annoyed me as much as possible, so he kept doing childish things like sticking his finger in my ear or trying to poke me in my neck (I hate, HATE, HATE people touching my neck). Eventually, he picked something up and was dangling it in front of my face, trying to bump me in the forehead and I was fending him off with both hands, when one of them decided to slap him hard across the face.
I maintain that I had no intention of slapping him at all - it just happened. My hand had obviously had enough and decided to let him know. And I felt TERRIBLE about it! I kept trying to apologise to him, but he just turned his back on me and wouldn't talk to me at all.
Three hours in total silence in a cramped minivan is not comfortable, let me tell you. Eventually, when we stopped for a pee break, I got his cell phone number from one of the people on the team. When we were on the road again (I was still sitting next to him), I sent him a text message apologising for the slap. For some reason it worked. And he seemed to respect me a little bit more. As though he'd figured out (took him long enough) that women aren't all docile and simpering.
See... all some men need is a good smack ;-) KIDDING!
Anyway, we became friends after that and often joked about the slap. At the end of the year, I realised that I needed to break up with my boyfriend of the time, although it had nothing to do with TSC who had gone back to Upington. I didn't think I'd see him again and I was really sad at losing someone who had become such a close friend.
But when he rang me up to tell me he was coming back to Pretoria, my heart leapt a mile high and I realised that I felt a lot more than friendship for him.
When he arrived, we discussed the fact that I was fresh out of a relationship and that I was leaving for Cape Town to study for three years and that it didn't make sense for us to start a relationship.
But we got together anyway. He moved down to Cape Town six months later. And just under three years after we started dating, I married the man I had once detested.