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A Love Story For The Ages

I’ve spoken several times on my blog about how I lost my husband in 2020 and then in 2021 I was lucky enough to find love again, something I never thought I’d find and quite honestly, wasn’t wanting to find again. I had been blessed with one epic love story in my life, which is something that so many people don’t get to experience even once, so I wasn’t going to push my luck in the romance department and ask for a second bite of the love pie. Maybe it was that humility that brought love to my doorstep a second time and some might think it was because I wasn’t searching for it or expecting it, but I know it was actually a baby python that brought love into my life. The groundwork for it was there for many years, just waiting to be activated and woken, but the timing wasn’t right until last year.

I’ve known my boyfriend, Glenn, for 32 years. I know, I know, we don’t look a day over 30 so how is that even possible I hear you ask. But it’s true. Back in 1990, the year my younger brother started high school and joined me on the grounds of Marsden High, he quickly befriended this cute little blonde guy in his class. They bonded over Ninja Turtles I believe it was, but whatever it was, it became a friendship that lasted a lifetime. My brother and I are super close and like the younger sibling so often does, he was soon shadowing me around the school grounds, where my friends adored him and told me how he was such a little cutie. At the same time, his new best mate was admiring me. Glenn put on all his best flirty teenage moves and declared his crush on me, but I assured him that he was like a little brother to me and kept him in that sibling sort of role. We bonded ourselves, over music, especially our mutual love of Janet Jackson. Glenn happily tells the story about how I so painstakingly wrote out the song lyrics to Love Shack (a song that I can’t stand, incidentally), for him on a piece of A4 paper and gave it to him. I used to buy Smash Hits and TV Hits and any other music magazine I could afford and memorised the song lyrics to all the songs they printed in each issue. Who else remembers TV Hits back cover where there would be four song lyrics printed and you could cut them out into small flashcard type cards to study the lyrics? For the younger kids here… this was before Spotify, before the internet took off in a major way and when only the truly best artists included song lyrics inside the sleeve of their albums; so these lyrics in music magazines were a treasure for us music lovers! In hindsight, maybe I already had feelings for Glenn, considering how I was willing to provide him with lyrics that he wanted.

After I graduated in 1991 Glenn left school as well, going into the workforce. For a while there Kevin and him lost contact, so I too didn’t see him for a while. Then one day Kevin came home all excited, declaring, ‘Hey sis, I found Egg!’ (Glenn’s childhood nickname, and what I have never stopped calling him). Turned out Glenn was working as a tyre fitter at a service station not too far from our house. I went in there myself to visit him and catch up, happy to be reunited with someone I had always loved hanging out with and had mad respect for. One thing I do remember noticing that day though: Glenn was no longer the short, little guy I knew from high school. He had shot up and towered over me now and was a lot more grown up. I sat up and noticed, but still nothing happened.

The friendship between Glenn and myself has endured over the years, and as Glenn often says, ‘There is no surprises with us. We’ve read each other’s resumes and were there for it all.’ Which is so true. We’ve been a part of each other’s lives as we’ve both been in and out of relationships, moved houses countless times, seen Glenn’s children come into the world and even had one moment in time where we almost became the ‘us’ we were destined to be. But destiny intervened and we both realise it wasn’t the right time for Glenn and Carol to become Glenn & Carol back then. He still had two more babies to bring into the world and I had to move overseas and find myself, living independently and away from my security: my family. Glenn was there with my brother the night before I flew out to Canada and offered my brother comfort as he said goodbye to the sister who had been his best mate all his life. When I came home I became a stepmum for the first time, a period of my time I wouldn’t undo no matter what, because it gave me the love of my beautiful girl, Ashleigh, and now also her precious baby boy. Sometimes destiny makes us wait because we have other things to do and we’re not ready to be where we’re meant to be. I soon had to meet Jacko, who was my first time having a great love in my life, and Glenn’s two youngest children had to grow into the people they are today, the beautiful son and daughter who I now call one of my own.

Since I became involved with Glenn last year, I’ve had a couple of people make comments about it being soon after Jacko passed away. My response to those people; well quite frankly, it’s been a case of deleting them from my social media or flipping them off in real life. It’s nobodies’ business how soon somebody moves on to a new relationship after losing their partner and there is no right or wrong timeframe to do so. Only the person living the life can know when the right time is for them. I wasn’t looking for love when Glenn and I became a couple, and in fact, it was only friendship between us for a long time. When you find yourself in the hardest times of your life you learn one very valuable lesson – who is going to be there for you. There’ll be the ones you always knew without a doubt, that they would stick by your side and hold you up, and these Earth angels come through. Then there’s the ones who kick you in the heart and abandon the sinking ship that is your life, leaving you more hurt than you already are. And then there’s the ones who take you by surprise and step up like you never quite imagined they would. Glenn fell somewhere in between the first and third of those three. He’s always had my back through life and always been there for the important things. We’ve always been good mates, the type who may not see each other for ages, but we’re there, in the background and we know the other will support us when we need it. Glenn was that consistent friend to me through 2020 and was there for me and my family when we lost first, Mum, then Jacko. Being a part of our family for 30 years, these two people were family to him too. He classed our Mum as a second mother to him and Jacko and him were friends. At parties and celebrations, the two of them always bonded over music and could talk for hours about their different musical tastes, sharing songs with each other and having in depth discussions about music. One of Glenn’s favourite memories is of how a drunk him and Jacko danced together to Polyester Girl at our friend’s wedding, three brief days before Jacko became sick. It’s a happy memory that he treasures because he had nothing but respect and high regard for Jacko.

After the waves of loss recede and you’re left in the muddy waters that remain, trying to salvage your life and find some sort of new solid ground to stand on, you’re often left with not as many people around you as were there not too long ago. As life returned to normal for others, I was trying to find my new normal, a concept that seemed beyond impossible and cruel for me. I was awake all night long, locked away in a world of words and music, writing and pouring my soul out through my words and drowning my sorrows in music. On those late nights Glenn always saw my name pop up on Messenger and would send me a message or sometimes call, checking in to make sure I was okay and engage me in conversation. He was the friend I needed during those long, lonely nights and he recognised that having someone to talk to was what I needed while I was awake and the rest of the world slept, something that I don’t know if I’ve ever expressed just how grateful I was to him.

Glenn had been our family snake catcher for four years at this stage, the person we would call when a snake appeared in any of our properties and the one we’d recommend when others needed help. In March 2021 I was getting my costume ready for a friend’s 50th the next night and as I walked into my studio to grab some pearl necklaces, I froze when a tiny brown head booped up from amongst some Stephen King novels that had belonged to Jacko and I was going to sell. I quickly backed out of the room and ran to my bedroom to get my phone and called Glenn. I told him I had a snake in my house and when he asked what kind I said, ‘I don’t know, I’m naked and I wasn’t going any closer in case it bit me.’ He laughed and said he was already on his way, telling me what to do to ensure the snake didn’t escape from the room. I tucked the towels under the two doorways to the studio, put some clothes on and kept watch until Glenn arrived a short time later. The young snake turned out to be a completely harmless baby python, and we laughed about the prospect of it being a threat to my nakedness earlier. As we caught up for an hour, we made plans to get together the following weekend for some Easter drinks since we hadn’t seen each other for a while because summer is such a busy time for Glenn as a snake catcher. The following weekend Glenn arrived, and we sat on my deck all night, watching the sun rise at the edge of my property as we had some drinks, listened to music and talked all night long about every topic under the sun. It was from this social interaction with an old friend that I became a snake catcher myself. Glenn invited me to join him on some catches over the following week, recognising that some time out of the house and away from the sadness of my grief would be good for me. I found myself enjoying the life of a snake catcher, learning about these reptiles that I had barely known anything about. The unpredictable life of a snake catcher, never knowing when the next call with come in and where it’ll take you was something that appealed to me. I didn’t want to go back into a 9-to-5 job, resenting the idea of having to work for the man once again. I had been thrown the biggest and hardest curveball imaginable and I just couldn’t bring myself to become a part of the conveyor belt world again, needing to be my own person and spend some time actually enjoying my life again. I also needed to follow through with my dreams of becoming a writer and make my life count for me.

I believe that a combination of Destiny and Jacko brought Glenn and me together. As we worked together and I did the course to become a qualified snake catcher and join Glenn in his business, our friendship evolved, and something deeper began to grow from it. Destiny stepped in and saw there was finally an opening for us, a time where we were both single, both in a place in life where our dreams and goals were aligned with each other, and we both needed something good and positive in our lives. I believe Jacko had a hand in us getting together because he wanted me to find love again. He had told me straight up while he was sick that he wanted me to find happiness and love again and follow my dreams. I promised I’d follow my dreams but declined the option of finding love, firmly believing there was nobody else out there good enough for me. I had had the best, so why would I settle for second best? Well, I think my stubborn Taurus knew what I needed was another stubborn Taurus and he knew that Glenn and I had always had a connection. So, I believe he put that python in my house, knowing Glenn was the only person in the world I’d call to remove it. He probably thought for about 5 seconds of putting a spider in my house, knowing Glenn was already labelled my Huntsman Husband, for if a spider ever appeared in my house, but he would have thought better of that, knowing there was a solid chance I’d burn the house down first because the result would be quicker than waiting for Glenn to arrive.

Sometimes life throws some good curveballs at you and finding love with Glenn has most definitely been one of those for me. Our friendship, built over 30-odd years, and solid as a giant oak, laid the foundation for our love story. Sometimes while we’re on snake jobs customers somehow enquire about us and when people hear how we started as friends and have now found love with each other they always respond that they love our love story. I hadn’t thought about it too much until recently when it occurred to me that we really do have a beautiful love story. A second chance at happiness and because of the stars aligning, everything has worked out for us. We’re best friends as well as being crazy in love and that is such an important thing to have with your life partner. When life throws anything at you, it should be within your own home that you find the support you need, with your partner, and I’m blessed to have found that amazing connection for a second time. It’s something that I’ll never take for granted. One of my recently completed final drafts is a love story, one I describe as an epic love story, about a woman’s great love. I was able to revamp the story from a personal perspective when I completed the final draft, adding depth, joy, happiness and heartache to the story, taking those emotions from my own personal experiences. Every woman should be gifted with a great love in her life, and I’m thankful that I’ve found my own love story for the ages with my Snake Man, as my nephew calls him. In my last blog post I spoke about music and the effect it can have on us. Last year, as it dawned on me that I was falling in love with Glenn, I found this amazingly beautiful song and immediately my thoughts went to Glenn, realising he was this role to me. It’s called Better Place by Rachel Platten.

Listen at the link to hear the beautiful words and if you know me and my story, you’ll know why this song to me, is Glenn. Or Egg, as he’s better known to me.

May your heart be full of love too,

Carol xx

Photo of me and Glenn, taken by me at last year's Steve Irwin Gala Dinner: December 2021

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