March, 2000. Thessaloniki.
We stayed up until four am waiting for the almost-best-friend to come back from work, while the cake my godmother had insisted on making for me was slowly falling apart in the fridge. It didn’t matter, though: it still looked beautiful. We put it down on our new wooden floor and sat in a circle around it, drunk on a bit of wine and a great deal of happiness. I looked up, at their faces illuminated by nothing but nineteen birthday candles and the light in their hearts, and I realised, quite suddenly, that the wishes of the years before had all come true.
You see, when I turned sixteen I’d wished that the world I imagined was actually true. Not in these words exactly, but that’s what I meant. When I turned seventeen, I’d wished that I would one day live with strange people who liked strange music. When I turned eighteen I didn’t wish for anything, because there was no cake, or candles; but had I had a chance, I would have wished for a friend. I hardly had any. And suddenly there I was, turning nineteen between a friend and a boyfriend, both decidedly strange and wonderful, in our very own flat — and none of it would have happened had it not been for a list of words, and the world inside my head.
So I looked up and I wished with all my heart that what we were trying to do would work.
This moment was the basis of my first ever post to the Sinister mailing list (a mailing list centred around the idea of ‘life as a Belle & Sebastian fan,’ for the uninitiated) in June 2001 — which probably deserves a post of its own. I don’t suppose anybody remembers this, but I thought I’d mention it. (And for the very much uninitiated, Belle & Sebastian are a band. But really, it doesn’t matter.)