The moment I knew: I was walking home hoping to bump into him. It’s a really long walk

A brief acquaintance became something more when Catherine McQuade added Brendan on Facebook years later. But she was in a relationship, and he was shy

Brendan and I kept bumping into each other, and bumping up against each other, and it didn’t fly.

I played bass in the 80s in a band called Deckchairs Overboard. Brendan used to come to our gigs when he was at Swinburne High. He bought his vintage clothes from my mum. He knew my sister, Leticia.

When he got into film school in Sydney, I was living in a sharehouse with two of his friends. He’d be over at dinner parties, or getting a lift. He says I ignored him, but when you’re 23, you don’t look at a boy who’s 19.

We connected again in 2008. Facebook was shiny and new, a place to reconnect with people from your past. I thought back to film school and all those interesting characters.

At film school, Brendan was seen as this bad boy creative, pushing against the status quo. His Facebook profile looked OK. Actually, he looked pretty interesting and suave. It made me even more interested to find out what had happened to him.

He accepted my friend request immediately and sent a funny message. He was shooting a documentary in the Philippines, so it took ages to meet up. When we did, the spark was instant.

I was infatuated with Brendan the first time we saw each other again. We got each other’s jokes. We really understood each other. Usually, when you go out with someone, it’s clear you’re on a date and the agenda is: “Will we end up in bed?”.

Brendan and I didn’t have that. I was in a bad relationship. He was gun-shy. It forced us to catch up as mates. But what was bubbling under the surface was not mates at all.

A few months in, I told Brendan about my relationship. It cooled things. I was so distressed. I thought, “I’m drawn to this thing and now it might keel over.”

One night, I convinced myself it would be nice to walk home after playing a gig. But really, I was walking down Sydney’s Parramatta Road hoping to bump into him. It’s a really long way with a darbuka drum on your back!

On that walk, I realised I was prepared to do whatever it took to make it move forward.

A month later, I invited him to my studio. I’d dragged a mattress into the room. It was against the wall. The next minute it was on the floor, and we were kissing. Brendan said afterwards, “You’ve done the impossible. I’m speechless.”

I had always been completely honest with Brendan, and I wanted that to continue. I’d seen too many people break up over lies. My ex was out of town, but the minute he got home, I told him I’d fallen in love with someone else. And that was that.

Brendan and I are each other’s muses – he encouraged me to return to music and record an album. I composed the score and helped produce one of his films – but we also amuse each other. That’s been the basis of our relationship right from the first Facebook message.

Before Brendan, I was seen as a commitment-phobe. People insinuated I was somehow to blame for my bad relationships. I knew that wasn’t true.

It’s incredibly validating when you meet the right person. This notion that you have to work on relationships? You don’t. When you’re with the right person, it’s easy.

  • Catherine McQuade is a singer/songwriter. Her album Kiss Him Goodbye is out now

As told to Belinda Luksic

The GuardianTramp

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