“Mark* and I got married in 2007, and we have two beautiful children. But our love story didn’t start out like a normal couple’s. Yes, we dated, and yes, he popped the question. But when we first met, it was in a dark nightclub, I was very drunk, and we somehow ended up in bed.
DAYS OF BEING WILD
It was 2002, and I had just turned 25. My friends threw me a birthday bash at a popular nightspot. I was having a blast, drinking the night away and dancing with everyone. I bumped into Mark on the dance floor as I was weaving my way back to my friends after a toilet break. He caught hold of my arm and asked me to dance. I accepted. I thought I was the luckiest girl that night, as he was easily the most handsome man in the room.
Two songs later, Mark pulled me into a quieter corner and told me he had been watching me party the whole night. He said he found me very attractive and loved how sociable I was. He had been looking for a chance to chat me up and was glad that he’d finally managed to do so. I was flattered and asked him to join my party. I wanted to show him off. We couldn’t keep our hands off each other. I felt uninhibited because of the alcohol.
After my third trip to the bathroom to throw up (following countless tequila shots), Mark suggested that we leave. I nodded and thanked my friends for organising the party. With Mark’s help, I stumbled out of the club and into his car. Only much later did it hit me that he didn’t drink much that night. He said he lived nearby and I could crash at his place if I wanted to. By then, I was suffering from a pounding headache, so I agreed.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED?
Because of the alcohol and the headache, I couldn’t recall much of what happened afterwards, but I was very sure that I wasn’t ready to sleep with Mark. Yet, we did. I woke up the next afternoon in his bed, naked. He’d left me a note, saying he had gone out to buy us lunch. But I didn’t want to wait. I quickly got dressed, hailed a taxi and headedhome.
I was embarrassed, confused and angry with myself for breaking my no-one-night-stand rule. When I got home, I jumped into the shower and scrubbed every inch of myself clean. I was in there for almost an hour. All I could think about was getting rid of his scent on me. I believed that the soap and water would somehow wash my stupidity away.
I kept replaying the night’s events in my head, trying to remember if I’d initiated sex. I remembered us kissing and Mark trying to take my dress off, but didn’t I push his hand away? Or did I give in after he tried several times more? It frustrated me that everything was a blur. I’d also left his apartment in a hurry without taking down his address, so I didn’t even know where he lived.
LIFE AS A SINGLE MUM
About a month after sleeping with Mark, I panicked when I developed morning sickness. A trip to the doctor confirmed that I was pregnant. I was very sure it was Mark’s because I wasn’t in a relationship before I met him, and I hadn’t slept with anyone else since our one-night stand.
I considered terminating the pregnancy, but my strict religious beliefs stopped me from taking that option. My conservative parents were very upset that I was going to become an unwed mother. Thankfully, my friends were there to support me through my pregnancy.
As for Mark, I hadn’t seen him since that night. We hadn’t exchanged phone numbers or e-mail addresses; we didn’t even know each other’s last names or what the other did for a living. I wouldn’t have been able to find him even if I wanted to.
After I gave birth to Toby*, I struggled to look after him while working as an accountant. My swinging single life was officially over. For the first year after my son’s birth, I was extremely emotional. There were moments when I would break down and cry uncontrollably while cradling Toby, but I managed to pull myself together each time. These episodes eventually tailed off after Toby’s first year and as I slowly settled into motherhood. But just as I got used to my life as a single mum, life took another turn.
Three years after our one-night stand, I bumped into Mark again. We were both on our lunch break in a cafe, and he was seated at a table opposite mine. When our eyes met, there was no recognition in his. Indignant that he had forgotten me so easily, I marched over and reminded him of how we first met – only then did his eyes light up. He stood up to give me a friendly hug, and I was shocked that he was genuinely surprised and happy to see me.
He invited me to join him at his table so that we could catch up. Over lunch, he asked me why I’d fled his apartment without saying goodbye or leaving my number. He said he would look for me each time he was at the nightclub where we first met, but I was never there. He also told me he was upset that I had denied him a chance to get to know me better, as he’d really liked me then. He said if I’d waited for him to return with lunch that day, I would have realised that it had been more than a one-night stand for him.
I kept silent throughout, not knowing how to answer or if I should tell him about our son. I decided against giving him all the details that day, but I vowed to do so the next time we met – he’d asked me out for lunch.
WILL YOU MARRY ME?
It took me five lunch dates over a few months before I told Mark the truth. I expected him to be appalled and to walk away. But intead, he asked to see a picture of three-year-old Toby. There was no denying that the child was his – Toby was a spitting image of his father; they both shared the same big brown eyes and cheeky smile.
Mark admitted that he was confused and overwhelmed by the sudden news. He said he needed time to think and promised to get in touch once he’d sorted out his thoughts and emotions. I didn’t have faith in his words, believing that he would be gone from my life again.
But I was wrong. Two weeks later, Mark rang me up and asked to meet Toby. From then on, he spent most of his free time with us, and I found myself falling madly in love with him. I learnt what kind of man he was – responsible, romantic and caring. When he proposed seven months later, I accepted.
It’s been five years since we tied the knot, and we’ve never been happier. I gave birth to our daughter three years ago, and Mark has been the most dutiful father to our two children. I never dreamt that I would have such a loving family, given the unpromising start that Mark and I had. I do regret being so careless and promiscuous, but I don’t regret how my life has turned out.”
This article was originally published in Simply Her March 2013.