Monday, 8 October 2012
I am so angry! So spitting mad-outright angry! I'm swearing, actually swearing. O.K so not out loud, just in my mind because I can hear my Nan standing behind me saying “you’re not too old to go over my knee young lady”. But if it wasn't for my Nan, parents with children would be giving me a wide birth right now!
But I am so very mad. Hurt too, but right now anger is outweighing the hurt. My brain is kind of spinning and sort of lurching around making it hard to think. I feel dizzy and sit down heavily on a bench I had hardly noticed I was standing in front of. Only then do I notice that my legs are shaking, well actually I think that I am just shaking full stop really. I try to steady my breathing and to calm myself down enough to think, but it’s a struggle frankly.
He dumped me! Just like that. He-just-dumped me! He dumped me! He dumped me-he dumped me! Oh my god he dumped me! O.K, even thinking about it makes me want to spit or maybe vomit. How could he? Why would he? After everything I've done for him. After all these years of being happy together, and we have been happy. Haven’t we? How can he be sure that he is doing the right thing? I don’t think he is, not at all. In fact, I think it’s a rubbish idea. I should call him right now and tell him what a massive mistake he is making. We are good together. We gel. All of our friends-well my friends, say that we are a great couple. My best friend Lily says she’s holding out until she meets her Danny as she is sick of dating idiots and putting up with their rubbish, and since she saw how great Danny treated me she decided that she wanted a boyfriend like that. I'm the lucky one. I'm the one who doesn't have to trawl around looking for Mr Right-I've been there, done that and found him! Or I had. I at least thought I had. No! I really had. Danny is exactly my Mr Right and I am his Ms Right, he has just forgotten how good we are together. This cannot be over. It just can’t be.
Oh no! I don’t want to do all that stressful dating again. I can’t deal with all those rubbish clubs, bars, restaurants and general dating palaver. I can’t do the whole what to wear, what to order, how should we split the bill, to kiss or not, sex or not???!!!! I will die a lonely old woman because I simply do not want to do all of that again. It isn't as though I am afraid of being single, and even in the days before Danny and I got together I had never been single for long. But I have done my Bridget days, and I wasn't exactly sad to see the back of them. I watch my friends date. I see the tears, I listen to the ‘should I call him or wait for him to call me?’ dilemmas. I see strong independent women turning in to insecure mush in the harsh dating world and I can’t deal with it all again! I thought I had done with all that. At my age I thought that I had moved on to the next phase in my life and let’s face it, as my Nan is often mentioning, time is ticking. Only last week I laughed at her when she mentioned that women can’t have babies forever-“Goodness Nan” I exclaimed, "if I stop being able to have babies at forty-five then that only leaves me with thirteen years to try”! It doesn't seem very funny now, not when you have to start all over again.
When Danny said ‘we have to talk’ in the pub I thought he wanted to discuss moving things forward. Marriage! Babies! House hunting! I was so confident that I didn't even consider anything else, not for a single second. I hear a sob escape from somewhere deep inside of me as I remember my heart thumping excitedly as he started talking. A thought flashed in my head that I would have rather we have discussed our future at home, or over dinner at a lovely restaurant instead of a hurried discussion in the pub on our lunch breaks. I almost laugh when I remember feeling a bit disappointed that we were in ‘The Windmill’ which is always pretty empty at lunch time apart from a few male OAP’s having their first Ale of the day. Who would cheer for us and toast us with Champaign if he did ask me to marry him? He was never going to get down on one knee, it just wasn't him, but surely a toast wouldn't be too outrageous? I remember a brief thought about planning some sort of celebration just flicking across my mind (cheekily I already knew what dress I would wear-I had started dress hunting about a year ago, and each new season I select another dress just in case. This season it was a beautiful little white and gold gypsy style dress from Zara, I already own a pair of beautiful gold kitten heal sandals to wear with it. I have never worn them before so they would be so perfect). Instead of rushing out buying a beautiful dress however, I got dumped instead, and even though there were only about five people in the pub (if you count the staff) it still felt like a million eyes were on me, mocking me! The plain mousey slightly chubby woman being dumped by the tall, gorgeous guy! I’ll bet that they saw that one coming. I didn't see it coming, even though I was vaguely aware that I was punching a bit above my weight. I thought that our love was so strong that it countered all that out. That I must be a really special person and it made me look more beautiful than I actually was. Of course my friends thought that Dan was the lucky one in the relationship, but of course they would. That’s what friends do.
Something weird happened when he actually said that it was over-yadder-yadder-blah-blah! It isn't you, its me-blah-de-blah! A strange sense of calm took over me. I didn't actually speak. I just listened to the words falling off his tongue, thinking how coldly he was saying his bit. I listened to his pathetic excuses without uttering a word of protest. That was a big mistake I feel now. I didn't fight for him at all, I just called my Boss right at the table, right in front of his face, and told her that I was dealing with a difficult family situation and would she allow me to take the rest of the week off as emergency Annual Leave? I NEVER go off sick. She agreed immediately. Dan looked bemused. I then ordered another drink from the bar; I didn't get Danny another lager, he was drinking the last drink I ever intended to pay for. He left saying that he had to meet the removal men-but not at our place. He’d already packed up and left as soon as I left for work. He was meeting them at his new flat. I don’t know where, he didn't offer me any information about it at all, and I couldn't speak to ask. As he was leaving I found enough courage to point out that he had made love to me the night before and told me that he loved me. It didn't sound like my voice when I spoke, it sounded like I was being strangled. In a way that was how it felt, as though I was having my life chocked out of me. He apologised but didn't specify what he was actually apologising for, because let’s face it he was compiling quite a list of things to apologise about. Then he was gone. He doesn't want to be with me any more! Just like that.
O.K I'm hyperventilating now. I'm scrabbling around in my stupid oversized handbag trying to find my phone and I can’t find it! I can hardly catch my breath and the tears are starting again. I want to tell him that he has made a mistake and that I am ready to fight for him. I want to remind him that only the night before he told me that he loved me! It’s a mistake. I start taking things out of my bag in order to find the phone but I am so blinded by the tears that are annoyingly streaming down my face that I just simply cannot see what I am doing. I wail in frustration. “This cannot be happening to me”!
“Are you o.k. dear?” I don’t hear the question the first time, but the second time the lady catches my attention and I turn to face her. Somewhere through the fog of tears I gauge that she is an elderly lady. I can’t see enough to see her features to know what she actually looked like thanks to the pools in my eyes, but check- grey hair, check-light blue summer jacket and check-large shopping trolley on wheels! I grab a tissue from my trouser pocket and dab away at my eyes. “Have you been attacked?” she persists concerned.
“Does having your heart ripped out and being slapped in the face with it count as an attack?” I mutter almost to myself, but not quietly enough. “Sorry” I weep shamefully, “It’s been an awful day”. She is nodding away now, “Ahh. Affairs of the heart can be like that. Do you want to talk about it dear?” Usually I would run an absolute mile from any invitation to wash my dirty linen in public, especially after years of living with a Mother who told everyone who would stand still long enough about how my dad had run off with her best friend and how awful it was to be betrayed by the two people she cared most about in the whole wide world. She never thought that I would be sad not to be included in that very short list, even though she did care about me and loved me very much; she never really spoke about it. Mind you I should have known then what an unjust world we live in. It was bad enough what my Dad did to my poor Mum, but she was the one who got all the stick from people for daring to be a single parent. Like as if she wanted my Dad to break her heart and leave her alone with a four year old to feed and clothe. If it wasn't for Nan I don’t know how she would have managed to work two jobs and raise me. My friend Karen doesn't even have her Mum, she died. Sometimes I wonder how she manages. I should do more. I've not been a good enough friend to her I realise sadly.
Today though I feel no shame in telling anyone what has just happened to me, nothing can stop the words streaming out of me! “My partner left me” I wail, “after five years together. I thought we were happy. He has made a huge mistake. He has moved out to a new flat God alone only knows where. He’s taken all of his things. The removal men came and took everything while I was at work this morning. Can you believe that? I mean how did he pack so quickly? He is rubbish at packing” I tell her earnestly, “I always do the packing when we go away. He hates it! I didn't fight to keep him. I didn't try to persuade him to stay. I just let him go and now I need to find my phone and call him, tell him that we need to try again. That we can’t just throw it away after all this time, it’s been five years” I weep, “five years and my bag is so full of rubbish that I can’t find the phone". I am waving my large handbag around in frustration. I am aware that people walking past the bench are staring at me. A teenage girl and her friend laugh nervously. They won’t be laughing in a few years time when it’s their turn I seethe.
Crap! I've started crying again. I must be a pathetic sight, but I can’t care about that right now. Now that the shock and anger are fading a little it’s giving room for the hurt to start setting in. The pain is almost physical. I am sobbing now. Huge body shacking sobs, the type that gives you hiccups. The old lady pats me on the knee very gently. She reminds me of my Nan, that’s how she comforts too.
“Why do you think he made a mistake” she asks simply. What? What? I am incredulous! Is she for real? O.K, she’s old. I’ll give her credit because she might have dementia so perhaps she didn't understand what I said to her. I speak very slowly this time. I want to help her to understand. “We were together for five years” I state in very simple terms, “we were happy together”. I don’t tell her that we slept together the night before but I do tell her that he told me that he loves me only the night before. I also tell her how my friends think we are a great couple, about the barbecue we held only two weeks ago. Lily swore that we’d be married in less than a year. She said we were both glowing together. How did we go from that to him leaving in two short weeks? How could I not have known that he was unhappy? But no one did. No one except for him it seems. “Why didn't he talk to me” I demand, “why?”
“He sounds like a bit of a cad” she informs me.
“Sorry?” I ask bewildered, “he isn't” I defend without giving her time to respond. I think she has the wrong end of the stick so I try to explain better, “he has just made a mistake. He just rushed in to a silly mistake. He isn't thinking” I add almost as a plea. She shakes her head ever so gently but fixes me with her steely eyes-the type of look that warns you that you are not going to like what the person is about to say. For a moment though I am so blinded by the blueness of her eyes-I thought you lose the colour a bit with age, but she hasn't. So I am temporarily off guard when she tells me “This is no whim dear. He has been planning this for a while. He found a flat. He booked the removals van. You don’t do that in five minutes. He should have told you though. That makes him a very weak man. Not the type you want to marry”. I am so stunned that I continue to just sit and stare in to her eyes. I missed that. I was so shocked that I didn't even twig that in the pub. Even last night when we made love, he knew. When he kissed me goodnight and told me that he loved me, he knew, and this morning when he kissed me goodbye! Oh my god! I am a fool. How did I not realise? I am crying again now, ever so silently, more out of shame than out of anything else. I must be a very blind fool I concede. I reflect that it’s just as well that I didn't have a chance to register all of this in the pub though or I would be sitting in a police cell right now!
He isn't a cad though. He is a gutless little shit! Sorry Nan. But what a bastard! I wish I could go back in time. I would have punched him right in his face. Then I would have called my boss. The drink I ordered would have been poured over his head. Then I would have walked out. Me-not him!
“You are better off without him” she states simply. I realise sadly that everyone who loves me is going to feel the same way, say the same things. Apart from Lily, she is a real romantic and is going to be as upset as me I suspect. I shake my head furiously trying to shake the words out of my ears. I don’t want to hear that. I am not better off without Danny. I never will be. Not ever. I love him, and he loves me. Or he did, and so surely he can again. “How do you just stop loving someone?” I ask. My voice is trembling and suddenly my throat feels bone dry. I riffle through my bag in search of my bottle of water. Of course the first thing I find is my phone. I look at it ruefully and put it back. I don’t want to call Danny right now after all I realise, I need to get my head together so that I don’t make a total fool out of myself. I try again for the water. I grab the bottle and practically pour it down my throat. The lady waits until she has my full attention before she informs me that “people just do dear”.
There is apparently no rhyme or reason to emotions. You can’t make someone love you, and somehow or another she blames modern living, T.V, the internet and anything else ‘modern’ she knows the name of. On any other day that would make me smile. I could swear she is my Nan in disguise. Today though, I can’t raise a smile it’s just more than my face can manage. I tell her that I don’t know how I can go home, how I can live in a house with so many memories of Danny. I tell her that I will have to move anyway as I can’t afford the rent by myself. I tell her that I might have to move back home for a bit while I sort myself out. I can’t believe it as I hear myself saying all of these things. How somehow I am logically thinking this all through and planning my future when my brain is still reeling with shock! It’s so crazy how quickly I have managed to get my head, if not my heart, around all of these changes so fast! She doesn't speak, just lets me ramble on and on until I stop.
My brain seems to register that I have been sitting on this bench for a very long time. I check my watch. Actually it has been about an hour and a half, but that is a long time really. Not that I'm in any rush. I sit a while longer, as does the old lady. We are silent and I start to feel embarrassed. I cringe when I realise all of the very personal things I have sat here telling her. I feel so embarrassed and ashamed. “I am so sorry for pouring that all out to you” I offer. I don’t continue as she shakes her head and starts patting my knee again. “You don’t need to be sorry” she tells me. The silence sits between us again and so I choose the moment to slowly get to my feet. I'm not sure where I'm going and sort of hop from foot to foot for a nanosecond. It doesn't go unnoticed. “Go and see your Mum dear” she tells me, “you’ll feel better once you see her”. I nod slowly. Perhaps that’s exactly what I need to do. She will make me tea and call him every name she can think of just like she did after every other break-up I have ever had (even when I was the wrong one). She will huff and puff that he is a fool to lose her lovely beautiful Daughter (my Mum is wonderfully biased) and she will demand to know what is wrong with the male species. We will name a comprehensive list that has grown more colourful as I grew in to a woman and she could really let rip (as could I). “You’ll be alright dear” the old lady offers, “a good looking girl like you, with that lovely hair won’t be single for long”. The compliment is such that it makes me smile. She probably needs stronger lenses in her perfectly round sliver frames but I won’t mention it. I thank her for her time warmly and start the very long walk to my Mums. I cannot face the tube and am quite likely to start crying again any time now, so to avoid the stares I decide that I’ll walk. I'm getting really good at thinking fast I decide, perhaps I just haven’t noticed this about me before. I know I’ll get over him and move on I concede, if I have to, which it seems I do. I also know at some point I will have to face him again, and like it or not he will have to answer my question I decide. He owed me that much. I’ll leave it until I'm ready though. At least that can be on my terms I hope.
I know the girls will want to drag me out on endless nights out in order to ‘cheer me up’, and I will go. I think I’ll wear that while gypsy dress on my first ‘girl’s night out’ I decide. It would be a shame for another beautiful dress to pass me by.
To discuss this story with other readers please visit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ShortStoryBlogging/259171470872936