Tuesday, 21 June 2011


March 2002. I have been with M for one month. He and (now one of our best friends) T buy tickets for Glastonbury. After one month of seeing each other, he doesn't ask me if I want to go with them, and I don't buy one, not wanting to impose.

June 2002. M and I take the train to his parents and I meet them for the first time. I am wearing flared black cords, a striped shirt, beaded necklace and a band hoody. We take the train further north, to Manchester, to watch Sonic Youth. I drink too many budvar and pass out on a mattress on a bed with no sheets, covered by a duvet without a cover. We arrive back at M's parents, spend his birthday morning with them and then take the train back to university. That night, we go to the university ball. We walk back to M's house as the sun comes up, me still in my long silk dress and high heeled sandals. At M's house, we sleep for a few hours; on waking, he packs his bag for Glastonbury. We part, a quick kiss, for M is not keen on goodbyes. I wander back to my house in the blazing midday sunshine, hungover, blinking back tears, still wearing my dress, this time with a pair of M's flipflops. I wonder when I will see M again. That won't be the first time Glastonbury makes me cry. I get the train home to my parents and attempt to adjust to a summer back home. I sit in front of the TV, switching between Wimbledon in the day time and watching Glastonbury long into the night after my parents go to bed. In tears. Because I am jealous. Because I am Missing M. A few weeks later he comes to see me. My parents are on holiday. We break up. My sister's boyfriend brings me tuna melts and drives me to Cornwall to join my parents.

April 2003. M and I got back together, as soon as we went back to university. He starts his 2nd year again, I begin my 3rd. With pressures of final exams and impending future decisions, M decides to end our relationship. I am devastated. It is the Easter holidays and I return to my parents. Glastonbury tickets go on sale. I don't buy one. 3 days later, M and I get back together. A week after that, he tells me that once again he and some of our friends are off to Glastonbury.

June 2003. We go to my final summer ball. We walk back to M's house as the sun comes up in the midst of a shouting drunken argument. M heads off to Glastonbury. I go out with some of our other friends, back at university. I stay at M's house. He isn't there, so I sleep in one of his flatmates beds. Nothing happens but someone tells M. I head back to my parents house, fighting hard the urge to get off the train at Castle Carey to try and find M, to explain, to work things out. I watch Glastonbury on TV late at night, hoping I haven't effed up my relationship.

April 2004. That September I moved to London. M remained in our university town for his 3rd year. I spend weekends commuting between the two. I sit up late to try and buy Glastonbury tickets. Finally, early the next morning, we get tickets. I do not relish the first time I have sat up all night pressing refresh. It won't be the last.

June 2004. We go to Glastonbury. Together. I don't recall how we got there, nor much of what happened when we were there. Forever more, the smell of wood smoke will take me back to that summer.

April 2005. That past September, M and a whole heap of our friends graduate and we all move to London. We go to an internet cafe early on Saturday morning to buy Glastonbury tickets. We are all successful.

June 2005: We all head to Glastonbury on the train. We have an amazing time. Until, something happens. I can't remember what, but we ended up going home separately. M and I travel home, squashed in the back seat of L's car, moments from tears, knowing that one of us must say something or it will all be over. We arrive back in Greenwich, to L and my flat. I walk with M to the tube, another hot afternoon. He gets on the tube and I wander back home, barely able to see from tiredness and tears, wondering what will happen to our relationship. That summer was the end of law school. I had just finished finals. A few days later, I moved into a new flat, with strangers. M and I started talking again.

Glastonbury took a break in 2006. We haven't been back since. We haven't broken up since, either. I still sit up far too late watching it on TV, blinking back tears and wishing I was there, the nostalgia crippling. For different reasons, now.

Original photos taken back when we used film and printed it out and put it in albums. (which, six/seven years later I photographed using my iphone).


Cate Subrosa said...

I kind of feel like crying at this today.

All the best relationships have long and complicated histories. ;)

Cate Subrosa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marie-Ève said...

Lovely, if very sad, post. I wish I was holding you hand right now. x

Suzie said...

All so familiar! Took me a long time to forgive M for some of the things at the beginning of your relationship. Amazing to thing back now really, considering how perfect the two of you are x x

anna and the ring said...

This may sound wrong but I'm glad you've never been back to Glastonbury.

Anonymous said...

I loved this story, even though it is a bit sad.

I had a similar start with my boyfriend then husband and we have been married 32 years this June.

Sometimes immaturity is to blame.

I don't know a lot about this Glastonbury Festival but it looks crazy!

KS in FL