July 7th was the twentieth anniversary of this photograph being taken: Helen and me, sitting on the terraces of the old Lansdowne Road, with friends, about to watch a Robbie Williams concert after an all-day drinking session in Dublin.
What Helen doesn’t know at this point is that in the right-hand pocket of my cargo shorts, I have an engagement ring, fully prepared to be deployed during one of the slower numbers.
What I don’t know at this point is that before the main event even begins, Helen and Mel will run off, onto the pitch and disappear into a crowd of tens of thousands. I then have to chase after them and spend the entire gig, on tip-toes, unsuccessfully trying to find them, becoming increasingly disheartened with each passing slow number.
I did eventually manage to pop the question, hours after the gig, in the least romantic way imaginable, involving at least one expletive.
Despite this experience, it’s still the best decision I’ve ever made. We’ve had some amazing times since then, a wonderful son, three dogs and some great friends. I like to think of our engagement ‘misadventure’ as a perfect metaphor for life:
1) Not everything goes as planned.
2) Don’t forget to live in the moment.
3) If you’re not prepared to deal with the unexpected by facing it together, how will you ever know how good it can be?
Oh, and here’s the link to the montage again. #IStillLoveYou