Monday, August 07, 2006

BACK TO REALITY

BACK TO REALITY
P’s story continued:

It was the end of the holiday – I was due back at hospital and Jamie was meeting up with the Climbing Club in Skye.  That last morning Paul –who had joined Maddie acting as chaperones - brought me up a cup of tea in bed and then I went down and took one up for Jamie.  Mornings were not my best time so this was a measure of my devotion.

We had a last walk over the hills, had lunch, said goodbye to Maddie and Paul and then caught the 4.15pm bus to Manchester.  To take our minds of our sadness we went to the Odeon to see ‘Gatsby’ but Jamie had a headache so we came out and looked for aspirins.  We were trying to cling to the minutes.  The city felt hot and oppressive and there was no place to eat so we took the bus back to the hospital and sat in a field where a house was to be built.  I told Jamie of my fears – working with desperately sick children – what if I made a mistake – it was such a huge responsibility.  He tried to reassure me and we kissed good night.  I promised I would get the morning off next day so I could meet him at the bus station and wave him off to Scotland.

The first thing I did was look at the notice board to see I was on Borchardt Ward – the most harrowing ward – as relief nurse – and next day I was relief baby-nurse.  My heart sank, baby nurses could never have the morning off, with six babies to bath and feed there was just too much to do.  I couldn’t meet Jamie and had no means of letting him know.
Next day the frustration was awful as I pictured Jamie waiting fruitlessly.

Diary entry July 26 1949

Oh the agony of not being able to reach Jamie when I knew he was in Manchester.  Had evening off so at 5pm rang Andrew and told him to come as I wanted to talk.  We met at 6.45pm and he knew at 7pm.  He said he guessed something was up from the sound of my voice.  Walked, said not very much.  He behaved perfectly.  I had to accept chocolates and perfume.  Came in for eight pm after saying goodbye.  Feel quite sure in my mind and feel that the path is clear now.  Wrote to Jamie.

Jamie and I had discussed how I should tell Andrew.  Jamie was quite specific:  I should keep it brief – not go for a drink – not kiss him and so I was behaving like an automaton.  When I got back to the hospital I bumped into Nurse Mitchell who had passed us in the road.  She said we both looked terrible – as if someone had died.

I was really sad to lose someone with whom I had shared such light-hearted, happy times.  I love perfume but to this day I can’t use Chanel no 5.

14 comments:

Life of a Banana said...

I don't remember the comment I left. It didn't get forwarded to you because I mistyped the bloody word verification.

PI said...

LoaB: I know - read it again and it will come back to you.
What I think is pants is that one has to do word verification on one's own site!

Life of a Banana said...

I remember now.

"I guess you wear pjs to bed".

PI said...

LoaB: nope!

Sim H-D said...

Breaking-up with people you truly like because they are wrong for you, is hard. Then the little things you associate with them brings the hurt from the break-up back - smells, sounds, places. I haven't listened to certain music for several years now after parting ways with my first boyfriend.

Thankfully, he had bad taste, although I no longer enjoy walking through the London parks.

Z said...

I had to turn off word verification for that reason. It doesn't annoy me on other sites, but it did on mine.

But I digress - what a poignant piece of writing. It left me swallowing hard. Poor you, and poor Andrew too.

kenju said...

Sorry about the perfume. It is still one of my very favorites!

PI said...

sim: I didn't really feel Andrew was wrong for me - just I couldn't have both. I remember him with great fondness and he can never grow old in my mind.

z: my comment box is out of sync so I didn't get yours till today.
I suppose one has to experience ending an affair and having it ended for you to have some perception of life. Painful though.


judy: it is a classic. when I came to live with my present husband, guess what I found in one of the drawers - an unopened box of Chanel no 5. It was very quickly given away.

Sim H-D said...

Oh no! That's even sadder. Watch it young lady - you're making me cry :(

PI said...

Sim: I love the 'young lady'!

FOUR DINNERS said...

I remember a girlfriend dumping me. I was very gallant about it. I gave her a mars bar. Well we were only 6.

PI said...

4d: what a sweetie!

Guyana-Gyal said...

Well, you know I can't wait to see how Andrew takes it...

PI said...

GG: he took it like a gentleman.