Lisa and Simon’s Love Story

It’s a proper love story.
At least I think so. Well, it all began in 1985. We got the opportunity to become
penfriends with some Swedish kids. So I did. So I chose a letter from a boy called Victor, who liked Star Wars, Lego and drawing. Because I liked Star Wars, Lego and drawing. Him and my brother had started being penpals. It was one of those where one class writes to another class. About two years later they came to see us, and the year after that we went to see them. And then Simon came to Sweden
for the first time when I was 10. He was 12. And I was… I think I was Rick Astley’s biggest fan… I had all his records, I was in his fan club, I wrote letters to him, knew all his songs by heart. I was a proper anglophile! We turned up in Sweden. Nobody had ever been to Sweden. Nobody even really knew where Sweden was.
Ingen visste riktigt var Sverige låg. And then this Englishman showed up.
Or English boy. He was 12. He came out of Sturup airport in Malmö, out of these doors. And he was so good looking! I have even written in my diary about this. I remember, I wrote that there were all these small boys that came out and I was so uninterested and then wow, all of a sudden, this Simon appears! Yes, it was love at first sight. So I came to the airport, sat in the back seat of a Volvo through the countryside. It was dark, it was windy, it was empty. And cold. And we turned up at this house which happened to be a place called Klinta. And that week, I wrote in my diary that I broke up with… eh. I ended it with my boyfriend. I ended it with the boy in the class that I was with. Because now, now I was gonna have this Simon instead. So he came home with us to Klinta.
He was going to be there for a week. And I tried all week.
I was gonna ask if he wanted to be mine, but… I remember spending loads of time with Victor, having fun with Victor. But I remember that if Victor
wasn’t there then Lisa was there. So wherever I looked if Victor wasn’t there, then there was Lisa. So if I wasn’t talking to Victor, building Lego och watching Star Wars, or drawing something, then I was playing cards with Lisa, or helping Lisa practise her English vocabulary. I didn’t get the opportunity. I was way too shy. Plus, I was gonna have to do it in English! So I… eh…. I chickened out. But of course… She was 10.
And I was 12. So we were children. About the same age that our children are now. Which is funny when you think about it 30 years later. Because it is exactly 30 years later. And then he went home! Oh no, I forgot to tell you that my brother’s class arranged one of those dances, a disco! They arranged a school disco! For both the classes. The English class and the Swedish class. And the siblings were allowed to tag along! Woohoo! So I was super excited! Tagged along. There were loads of older guys but I obviously only had eyes for one. And then there was a dance competition! And I saw Simon, he was sitting over there. And I saw that his other girl, Anna, was on her way over to him… I think they had become a couple that week. And I hurried up and asked if he wanted to dance with me. And he did. And can you guess who won? Guess what we won! A bag of popcorn each. But more so the glory. So there wasn’t any romance in the air yet. That took a few more years to develop. Then Simon went home. A bit disappointing. I didn’t have the time… I had the time. I chickened out didn’t I. I didn’t manage to ask him if he wanted to be a couple or however you say it. But I used the same stationery that he had given me and sent him a letter asking him if he wanted to be my boyfriend. And then I waited. Exciting. What would happen? Two weeks later I got a letter in the post. From Lisa. I think it had been perfumed. In fact I am almost certain it had been sprayed with a bit of perfume. Which was sweet! And then I got a letter back. And it was a love letter from Lisa, where she asks me if I wanted to be her boyfriend, which I politely declined because I had already found a girlfriend in Sweden called Anna. He… I even still have the letter.
Therefore I remember it very well. “Sorry Lisa, I already have a girlfriend in Sweden.” First come first served really. Plus the fact that Lisa was 10. She was of course far far too young for me then. Well well, so I dropped that. But my infatuation was still there. And that stayed through my entire teens. Every time one was… you know, tell each other’s fortune in cards, and you had to choose four Jacks. Then I always took three guys from my class and then Simon. Always Simon. He was Jack of Hearts. Always. During my whole upbringing. Over the years Lisa and I stayed friends. Victor and I stayed friends. Lisa and I stayed friends. When I was 16 she came and stayed a few days with me and my family in London. We went bowling. I thought I was a good bowler but I wasn’t as good as Lisa ’cause she beat me hands down. And we met. Well, we met at least twice, maybe three times a year. When my family was in London we’d see them and when they were in Sweden they’d see us. It was nice. Then when I was 19 I moved to London. When Lisa lived in London we’d go partying together, we’d go to clubs together, we’d go to pubs together. We’d even go on days out together. We just got on well. It was so much fun to be with Simon.He was always so attentive, interested and friendly. So of course, the crush was still there, even though I never actually tried it on in any way. He often had girlfriends too. We had a ton of fun going clubbing, Lisa and I! She’s always really enjoyed going dancing. He was always also a really good friend. If I ever needed anyone Simon was there and his family who also were super nice. If I had problems, as one tends to have
when you’re 19, Simon was there. And that was nice, in a strange country. Once Lisa came to visit me at university.
It was the spring of 1997. It was Eurovision that night! And all my Swedish friends were like “Yeah! Eurovision! Fun, fun, fun!”. I came to the university with all the English students; “Naw, we don’t watch, it’s so bloody boring!”. Quite possibly the last time the UK won Eurovision. It was Katrina & The Waves. I can’t remember the song. Then the British actually won. And everyone was going “Bloody hell! We’re so bloody good! We won Eurovision!” That was hilarious! And then things really warmed up during 2000 and beginning of 2001. I was single. Lisa had just broken up with a boyfriend she had been living with in Västerås. I think it was 2001 and my friend Liselott and I drove down from Västerås to Malmö for the Malmöfestival. My brother was gonna have a party. Simon flew in with a friend from London. We met there, we had a ball. And at one point… I think my love for Simon had calmed down a little bit. Not that I thought about it much but I kinda knew that that wasn’t gonna happen anyway. I think it was about then that I thought,
wow, what a woman! How she’s grown from this 10 year-old that I have known from before, into this incredibly intelligent, funny, honest woman. And I… I just hadn’t met that many girls that was that straight forward and honest and at the same time kind and generous and beautiful.
Everything felt right all at once. But that night… then it happened!
Finally! Thus… if patience is a
virtue then I as virtuous as they come. I went there as Victor’s friend again but had such a nice time with Lisa that evening that I ended up leaving
Malmö telling Lisa that I loved her. And when he then says that he loves me after only a few hours, then it doesn’t feel strange. It actually only feels nice, and true, and just great. But it was interesting because Lisa had just been let down by a boyfriend that she obviously had put a lot of trust in and that she had lived with. And I really really liked her! And I didn’t know…
actually, at this point I think she had given up. Thinking I was gonna be interested in her and I don’t think she ever really trusted me that I’d be interested. So I had just finished a law degree and being a new lawyer I thought the thing I can do is of course I can write her a contract. So I wrote a love contract to her. And sent it to her in the post. Cause that’s what we did cause I didn’t have an email-account then. I had a bit of trouble trusting guys. And I remember that Simon took on the task of making me trust him. I sent it to her. I wrote that as long as it is displayed wherever she was or where we lived then that was my guarantee. That was my promise that I’d be good. And that I loved her. And that she could rely on me. After several discussions we decided that yes, Lisa will move to London. And it worked! Within three weeks of Malmöfestivalen Lisa had moved to England. That was it! She had sold her car, given up her flat. I had picked her up from Heathrow and she moved into my house. I remember when I moved into Simon’s. It was completely new to me. He had his full attention on me. And it was all about us. Not in any way me and him, but us. It was shared accounts from day one. No, it was really… … no, it was really great. Then we had five fantastic years in London. Lisa as an estate agent. I was running businesses. Two years after she moved to England we got married at Klinta,
in the fantastic gardens. Two years after that we had our first child, William, who is 13 now. And a year after William was born we moved to Sweden. 17 years later since I went to live with Simon and yes, he is still the same man. He still has the same genuine care and loves me just the way I am. I feel very fortunate that I have a man like Simon. And I expect that there will be a lot more years to come. I couldn’t be happier. For 30 years I have known this fantastic woman who I started of being childhood friends with, then teenage friends, then party friends, and then we fell in love. Now we are married. Now we share children, we share a home, we share a company. I just couldn’t be happier. It goes beyond all my expectations. Really, I couldn’t have hoped for more. And now? I think it has been fun, fun, fun. To be honest, I think… I just couldn’t have hoped for a bigger adventure. It’s been fun. To say the very least. It is fun! Of course it is. That’s the thing. So what’s gonna happen now? I’ve got no idea and that’s what’s fun. I think whether it’s children, or our own romance, or if it’s the company, having fun with business, developing new products and developing existing children and looking after ourselves. I just think it needs to continue this way. Mmm. We’ve done well. So far so good. So far so good.

Michael Martin

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