because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Darby & Joan: July 2013

Darby & Joan are the quintessential middle-aged British couple, characterised by knitwear, hours of Scrabble, and a penchant for staying in on Saturday nights. Darby & Joan are, in fact, @calummcswiggan and me. Read the Darby & Joan back catalogue here

Darby,

Shit the motherfuckin’ bed: you’re moving to London!

This is a sweet, beautiful moment. For so long I have wished for us to reside in the same town. For an age I’ve daydreamed. I’ve written letter after letter to the universe, positively visualising our reunited embrace, and now, two years since our last magical time down the road from one another, it’s all coming true. You’re moving here. I could not be happier.

I knew things would be different for you when you got back from Thailand. But, I didn’t know what was appropriate to say. And maybe that sounds douche-y and ridiculous because WE’RE BEST FRIENDS. Nothing should be inappropriate. Otherwise what’s the point?

I know we exist to make each better, and part of that is piping up when the other one might be making decisions that the other thinks isn’t going to be for their best. When you wrote to say you’d signed a lease on a Spanish flat and had accepted a promotion at work, of course my instinct was to celebrate with glee and joy.

YOU’RE DOING IT! YOU’RE BECOMING MORE OF YOU! KICKING ASS! TAKING NAMES!

But… part of me wondered why you were doing it in a small Spanish town when your dreams rest in big city life.

Baby boy, I’m so happy for your success, but… is it really what you want?

I didn’t even know how to begin that conversation. It isn’t my place to judge your decisions or question your choices, it’s my job to make you feel strong enough, brave enough, to execute them. That’s what you do for me. We talk it out, but ultimately the best part of our friendship has always been that unwavering support.

I suppose I worried that if I said to you, Sweetness, are you sure you want to stay in Spain instead of coming here, to London, where dreams really do come true? that I’d sound as if somehow I wasn’t happy for you.

I’ve been so vocal about my wanting you to be here that I was concerned for my own motivation. Could I be sure that if I opened the can of worms labelled “Big Life Choices” that I wouldn’t just be bullying you into what *I* wanted for you?

But then one day, it just kind of slipped out. We were chatting on Facebook and I said in passing you’re complaining about a lack of hot gay men where you are, but you wouldn’t have that problem here in London…

Bam. Within 48 hours you had given up the lease on your flat, asked your boss if you could do your social media job from home- and make London that home- and somehow not had to sacrifice that pay rise you got.

If the ease with which you executed arguably one of the biggest U-turns known to all of campdom then roger me with Daffy Duck I know it not. It was inspired.

Originally I assured you that my sofa was your sofa until you found somewhere to live, and then I went and decided not to have a sofa for six weeks. We’ve joked about how you’re moving to London but it’ll probably be me kipping on your living room floor and yeah, I hear you laughing but urm, seriously now. If I need to, you’ll let me bunk up with you, huh?

I see our life here. I mean, you’ll totally have your own friends and own schedule and I’m not going to make you be with me all the weekday evenings and all the Saturday nights and all the Sunday afternoons nosiree. Because you’re here to carve out your own life, not just do everything I want you do. So let’s just go on ahead now and set the boundaries because sometimes, you’re gonna have to tell me when I’m too much.

Consider this my permission, on the Internet, in front of everyone.

I’ll be tempted to monopolise your time, to have you do your own Life From Scratch in the same way I did, because eff me, the lessons I’ve learnt in the short time that I’ve been building a life for myself here have been some of the hardest I’ve ever had to figure out. And I love you, so probably I’ll try and show you the shortcuts and it will irritate you, because you are you, and I am me, and most of the time we are the same person, but we always have to get to the same conclusions a different way.

Basically, next week cannot come fast enough, and I’ve already got a list of where to take you and what to do and who you should meet and oh God, I’m being pushy again aren’t I?

Welcome.

Joan x
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