It's funny to think that 2007 is (almost) over. It's been quite an eventful twelve months - possibly the hardest months of my life, but also the most enjoyable. This last year has changed me in ways I could never imagine. They've moulded me into a new person, somebody who's better equipped - and more willing - to face the world around him. 2007 has, in my honest opinion, been the best 365 days of my life.
It started with so much promise. I remember sitting down at the tail end of 2006 and thinking up around 30 or so new year resolutions. Things like "watch a film everyday" and "write a blog post every week". Little things like that. I also told myself to "learn more about Katie" my (then) girlfriend. I felt we'd de-railed a little towards the end of 2006, and I wanted to get things back on track. Foreboding perhaps?
Oh, and "Torchwood" and "The Sarah Jane Adventures" too - I watched them on New Years Day, with Katie at my side. Although, to be honest, I didn't really pay Torchwood too much attention at the time - t'was too busy enjoying the company of me girlfriend!
She celebrated her 17th birthday on January 13th, and we ended up going out to this posh restaurante down Simister way to celebrate. I met all of Katie's extended family - I felt special!
I also remember a desperate need to share my thoughts and opinions again; something I'd never properly done on the Film 21 website. So I brought this old blog back, out of exile again to report whatever the damn I wanted it to report. It was the best decision of my life; because writing this thing has taught me so much about myself - who I am, and who I want to be.
That pretty much sums up my January - I spent it trying to change, and trying to bring that change about. I didn't realise at the time just how good I had it back then, and how much (one day) I'd long to have it all back again.
My 18th birthday! Argh!! All I remember is that I had a pretty big workload (5x Drama essays) due in on the actual day, and I hadn't done any of them. So I stayed up all night to get the work done, and didn't get any sleep. Worse still, I was in college the next day and was detirmined nobody should know it was my birthday! I was grumpy and sleepy and all those sort of "-y" type things you become through lack of sleep.
In the evening I went out with all the family to the Beefeater restaurante next to Heaton Park. It was a great night; although I remember snapping at Katie a few times (blame the lack of sleep, and a little frustration because she was being distant with me on my own birthday) and I doubt I showed Mum my full appreciation for all the efforts she went to making the night so special. Sorry Mum; I loved what you did. Every last thing. The balloons. The presents. The meal. The cake. Everything. I may never say it in person, but you made it one of the best days I could possibly ever ask for. And I love you.
I got £250 off of my parents; the first time I'd ever had serious money in my possession. Naturally, I spent most of it pretty quickly! Finally got the Doctor Who series two boxset. And Katie got me "Life on Mars", which I loved, because she'd put proper thought into it. Her parents got me stuff too, which was cool 'cos it was like they were looking out for me, as if I was a proper son or something. How things change!
Of course, I got a little too over excited about "Life on Mars" series two debuting on the telly. I think it's all I talked about for the 9 weeks it was on! I was desperate to know how it all ended - I didn't give a crap about whatever else happened during the second series!
At the same time I was producing my "Self" short, which was a great experience. I got to write, and direct, and edit and lots-of-other-things my film! All of my own!! In total control!!! I'm still immensely proud of what I put together; even if the film does fail in its delivery slightly.
I remember March being the month where it all started going a little pear shaped, for me and Katie at least. We started going the same places on our dates, and became trapped in a seemingly harmless cycle of locations; Manchester City Centre, the Trafford Centre, Bury, the Lowry, her house, my house, etc. It was the point where I started to think seriously about getting a job, just so I'd be able to kick start the relationship, and breathe new life into it.
If I'm being totally honest, it was here that Katie started to act a little distant from me. If I was a betting man I'd say that March was the month she made her mind up, and knew that I wasn't her one. She had decided to end "us" forever, but carried the dead weight for as long as she could.
Finally I pluck up the courage to apply for a job, but I go about it in completely the wrong way. I don't tell Katie what I'm doing, and hide the truth from her until the very last moment. Perhaps it's why I was never truly satisfied when I got the job; I felt a little uneasy. Mum got me a "congratulations" card, and it sent shivers down my spine - because, for the first time, it was all real.
I felt trapped in the middle - between my mum and family who were all clearly happy I'd got a job at last, and Katie who clearly wasn't - because she felt jealous that I was working in a cinema. She was scared she'd lose me to something I'd enjoy doing. And I was scared I'd lose her; that, with a job, my life wouldn't be big enough for her anymore.
It didn't help that my first three shifts at the cinema (beginning May 2nd) were timed uber badly. I hadn't seen Katie in over a week anyways, and I had to cancel our upcoming weekend date in order to start my new job. It didn't have to be that way. I was a coward. If only I'd stuck up for myself and asked not to work that particular weekend so that I could see Kate. But it wasn't to be.
"Spider Man 3" was my first big film at the pictures. It opened the day that I started - so I was thrown a little in the deepend. There were thousands of people in the cinema that weekend, so I had to learn pretty fast. Pick up the skills as best I could, and apply them immediately. All these new folk who've started since don't know the meaning of the phrase "demanding first shifts"!
But I liked it there, and made new friends pretty quickly. I took an instant liking to somebody called Paul Gibbs, and an asian lad called Abbas Ali who'd become my mentor for the first few months of me being there. And Chris Groves too, and his girlfriend Ffion (who people swore blind I fancied; I didn't - guess I just took comfort from her following my break-up). I'd get to know the rest of the people there as the months wore on, but it was these initial bunch that were my friends, and helped me survive.
And then... then...
Katie had been dodging my emails and phone calls for a coupleof days by the time we spoke on Monday 7th May. It wasn't a pleasent phone call; I'd asked her what was up, and she'd lied and said "nothing". So I pressed harder, and she admitted that she didn't feel happy anymore, and I died a little inside. I knew what it meant, and asked her if she wanted to continue dating. "Don't know" was her first responce. Once pushed, that became a "no".
I tried and I tried and I tried to get her to change her mind; by sending texts, emails, trying to meet her in person. Hell I even went round to her house! Her Dad opened the door, with a wee smirk upon his face, and told me to go away because Katie didn't want to talk. Too right she didn't. We never had a proper chat again. And that was that.
Of course I missed her, but life had to continue. I had exams coming up, and was preparing to leave college for good. But nothing meant anything to me anymore. I felt betrayed and a little dead inside. Worse still, nobody understood. Nobody.
Katie tried to pretend like everything was okay. We were friends for a while, but it wasn't meant to be. I found it hard to be her friend; knowing that she was happy and able to live her life without me in it just fine. So I made up an excuse, and said she'd treated me like "dirt" and I cut her out of my life forever, and sent her a text saying so.
Only afterwards, I regretted ever doing that...
I'd officially left college now, and was working more and more hours at the cinema to compensate. I had lots of revision to be getting on with, but frankly I didn't care. Things on my mind, and such. At work everybody got more and more annoyed by how much I talked about Katie - it got so bad I refused to call her an "ex-girlfriend" - as far as I was concerned she was still mine. Although, of course, she wasn't.
She sent me a text at the beginning of the month telling me to stop trying to get in touch with her. She wanted nothing more to do with me. Which was fair, I guess, after the text I sent her. But it still broke my heart (again!) and I broke down in tears infront of my mum.
Mum was good enough to comfort me that night, and listen to what I had to say. I know it broke her heart to see her own son heartbroken, but I thank her for listening. The only regret I have is that after the chat, Mum's opinion of Katie changed forever. Beforehand she's worshipped the ground Katie walked on. Now there was mixed feelings. Possibly a little resentment. And after that, I could tell that my Mum never wanted me to go anywhere near Katie ever again.
Easier said than done in a lot of ways, especially since I was still hung up on her. But my exams were one by one disappearing, and they were all completed by the end of the month, which signified one thing; my time at Holy Cross College was over for good. Perhaps now I could move on from what went on before, and start afresh?
TO BE CONTINUED....