I first met Ben... or rather saw him when I arrived at Scone Grammar School, class 3B in 1999. Class 3B was having a dress-up day and I was visiting to meet the people that would be in my year 4 class the next year. After being introduced to the class and seated in a room of strangers, I sat there totally overwhelmed by my situation. Everyone was getting on with their business and I was visually surveying the room when a cute little boy with a comb-over and bow tie caught my eye. He was by far the most gorgeous boy I had ever seen! He has gorgeous tanned skin, ashy blond hair, a cheeky smile and these huge brown eyes. He was over the other side of the room and we didn't talk at all during the few hours I was there. I don't even think I remembered his name. It was a few weeks until I started at the school, and all the time I kept remembering that cute boy.
When I started year 4 it took me awhile to adjust. I missed my old friends badly and just wanted to go back to my old school. I didn't want to make new friends and resisted any attempts by my classmates to involve me in their fun. Eventually I banded with a few other girls and we had the best time being the girl nerds of the year! We rode our imaginary horses and brought toys to school which was just unheard of when you were in year 4!
Luckily for me, being a nerd girl had its advantages. The nerd girls always hung out with the nerd boys and one of them was my mystery cute boy. I found out his name (Ben Henry in case you hadn't guessed) and we became friends. In 2000, I found out Ben was leaving to go to boarding school. Naturally I thought I'd never really see him again. On his last day at school, we had a small class farewell. After his mum picked him up from school that day a girlfriend of mine came running to me to tell me a HUGE secret. Upon leaving forever (or so I thought), Ben has confided in my friend that he had a crush on me... and now that he was gone, she’d told me.
In 2002, it was rumored that Benjamin Henry was coming back to Scone Grammar School, and there he was… first day back in year 7. Of course all my romantic ideas of being swept off my feet by this boy that I had had loved for two years now fell flat. Ben certainly didn’t seem to still have his ‘crush’ on me. Unfortunately for me, he was still as adorable and irresistible as ever.
The next few years consisted of Ben and his mates teasing me mercifully, while I pretended that I didn’t feel so crazy about him.
One day I secured his mobile number off a school mate and took the plunge by sending him a text message. There were no declarations of love or even hints at a crush, yet somehow over a few months we became very close through text messages. We never talked on the phone, and at school nothing had changed, but of an evening we would text for hours.
I discovered that this boy had so much more depth than he was given credit for. He was funny, sensitive and we could just chat for ages about nothing or about everything. He was my secret best friend. I kept a diary at around this same time, and would start each entry with Dear B-, (as if I were writing to Ben). After I had finished a whole exercise book and was faced with the dilemma of what to do with it, being my dramatic self I decided to mail the diary to Ben to show him how important he was to me. If he didn’t feel the same, he could just ignore it…right?
So, just like how all good stories end. He felt the same, he eventually admitted it to me, and we have been glued to each other ever since. Yes, we’ve had our disagreements both small and large, but ultimately we keep coming back. I love Ben more than I ever thought was possible. He makes me smile just be being Ben. He is a truly special and unique individual that I am truly blessed to have in my arms. Every time I am with him I can’t believe how lucky I am. We have been through a lot together and made it so far. He has seen me at my best and at my worst and loved me every step of the way. My aim every day is to try as hard as I can to make sure he is happy, loved and looked after so that I am a little bit closer to deserving him.
Ben's Side of the Story...
The first thing I remember about Alison was back in year 4. I sat in the back left row and she sat in the front right. She always had a book bag hanging of the back of her chair and I would always try and catch her eye in class (I’m still not sure what for I was and am a very nervous person). We were never directly friends. We ate lunch in the same group and had the same friends but she was always the girl I didn't quite know.
I remember in the weeks before I left for boarding school one of Alison and my mutual friends was bugging me about who I had a crush on. I eventually told her I would give her one clue every week before I left. Out came the very childish clues, doesn’t have blonde hair etc. It wasn’t until the last day after school I was trying to get in the car with my mother, Jessica came up to me and was begging for the last clue. I eventually gave in and told her that it was Alison who I had a crush on. She ran off, to which I later found out it was to Alison who was also going home.
The next two years were spent at boarding school, which I enjoyed but there was defiantly a lacking presence. I’m not quite sure when it was but on one of the term breaks I was home in Scone and found a copy of our class photo from Scone Grammar School. I actually cut Alison out of the photo to take back with me to boarding school. Mum has never let me live that down.
Alison’s brother and my brother were both rugby players and both a year above us in school. So, very nicely they would tell their respective siblings of the other ones actions and who likes who. I remember many times Matthew (my older brother) would stay at Rowans house (Alison’s brother) then come back to me in term break and tell me how Alison is always talking about me. Thankfully our mothers also became friends through rugby. They would also talk about the happenings of their youngest and crushes on whom. So there has never been that secrecy that you would expect from your parents or siblings. Everything I knew the others family already did before Alison did.
When I came back to SGS in year 7 I recognised faces immediately. And even though I remembered Alison and still liked her I was never really one to approach her. It was that very cliché young love thing going on. I knew what I wanted to say her but I would just walk on by. We eventually got each other’s mobile numbers through friends of a friend and began texting of an evening. I probably could have owned my own house now if I hadn’t bought all the credit I did to text Alison. We spoke for hours on everything. Yet nothing changed at school, we were no closer.
Until I received a package in the mail, it happened to arrive on Valentine’s Day 2004. Before I could read the very intriguing book I received a very awkward phone call from Alison. My brother called me down the hall way and told me that that there was a phone call for me, I sat down and picked up the phone. Then the very stereotypical young couple silence, the awkward ‘hi’ and giant pauses. Alison told me that a friend had sent it to me and that she would like it back tomorrow, also if I would not look inside. I told her that I would give it to her tomorrow and that I wouldn’t read it and we said our goodbyes. I would have read that book cover to cover twice before the next morning.
We ended up starting our own diary and that was our way of talking. Alison would write in it during the day and I would take it home, then I would write in it when I was in Sydney for the week and Alison would write in it over the weekend. Before long it was as if we knew each other better than best friends. Eventually through the diary I asked her out, and it was quite odd. Because of the diary it was if nothing had changed it had just been made official. We knew each other so well, just as we do now.
The rest I suppose is history Alison and I have been through everything together. The highs lows and everything in between. What I feel for Alison I can’t explain in words, she loves me unconditionally and all I feel I can do in return is love her with all that I am. Alison is such a remarkable person; she is comfortable being herself no matter what the situation and deserves so much love. If I was given the option to go back and change something I wouldn’t. There is not a thing I regret about my life or the life that Alison and I have made together. Everything we have done has gotten us to this point. I value every minute I spend with Alison and nothing can get in between what we’ve got together.