Sunday, August 27, 2006

VALE OF TEARS

The Christmas Ball was looming. I had always loved our dances and the Christmas Ball was the highlight of the year. Jamie said he was definitely coming and I looked forward to showing him off – I was so proud of him. Then he didn’t think he could make it; he had so much work to catch up on. By now I really hoped he wouldn’t but then at the last moment he said he was coming but would only stay for one night and could we stay with the Millers? I didn’t feel I could ask them at this late date so I ignored his request.

As soon as he arrived – resplendent in his DJ, I knew it wasn’t going to be a happy evening. There seemed to be a great wall between us and I felt sick in my stomach with a feeling of foreboding. Over supper he said that my projected visit to Oxbridge for my holiday wasn’t perhaps a good idea as he was so busy revising and catching up on practical work. If I were there, he said, he wouldn’t get anything done.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse he rocked me on my feet by saying

‘I might go abroad. No-one would miss me.’

It felt like I had been stabbed in the heart and I was so choked with emotion I couldn’t speak for fear of screaming at him. Looking back I realise that he was far more needy than I had ever imagined. Maybe he also had heard whispers and had doubts and uncertainties. I had told him that one night – fed up with having none of my set around I went to see the film ‘The Third Man’ with a junior houseman. It was totally innocent – like going to the flicks with my brother. Surely he trusted me?

Ginny was on night duty and I had promised to take Jamie round just to say hello. We had to be discreet and met her on the ward balcony. I was thankful it was dark because she said,

‘It won’t be long now before Pat comes down to Oxbridge and then you’ll have two whole weeks together.’

Neither of us said anything.

When we got home everybody was in bed and I suddenly felt deathly tired.

‘Jamie – do you mind if I don’t get up in the morning?

His face crumpled and I moved towards him.

‘Please come and see me off,’ he said.

He put his arms around me and clasped me close and I could feel his hands pressing my body closer and closer until I could hardly breathe.

‘Yes alright then Jamie I will. Let me go please. I’ll see you in the morning.’

For once I was grateful for Gran’s snoring which drowned my stifled sobs.

Mum was just leaving for work when I got up in the morning. She took one look at my ravaged face and said.

‘What’s the matter Pat?’

I shook my head – afraid to start speaking and she said,

‘If he’s hurt you your Daddy will kill him.’

That’s when I realised that despite family and friends, ultimately we are all alone. This was my mess and I had to deal with it. The journey to Manchester was a blur and at the Bus Station there was an undergrad he knew and Jamie told me not to bother to wait. As I walked away from him – I’m sorry there is no other way I can describe this – I felt my heart break.

I didn’t know what to do. The thought of going home or to hospital was unbearable so I phoned Mrs Miller and she invited me round. During the day, with the children I was fine but after they had gone to bed we were listening to some music – I think it was Mahler’s Fifth and the tears started flowing and I had to tell them what had happened. Maria told me afterwards that Hector had been very upset and I realised that I had to get a grip or I would drive everyone mad – including myself

I wrote to Jamie and told him that I still cared for him but felt if it wasn’t the same for both of us it wasn’t going to work. I had a letter back reluctantly accepting this. I experienced the length, breadth and depth of misery. The worst part was the awful guilt I felt. Most of us have been dumped at some stage in our lives but there was this feeling that I had been given something precious and through my selfishness and bad behaviour I had ruined it.

Typically as my friends came off night duty, I went on and the moment came when I -in charge of the poison cupboard keys- had a bottle of phenobarbitone in my hand and for a nano-second wondered how many it would take. Then I thought of Mum and Dad and put the bottle back.

Around about this time there was an outbreak of typhoid as a result of a large firm’s dinner where the food had been infected. The Fever Hospital was in desperate straits and I went to Matron and volunteered to go and work there until the crisis was over. She was very sweet but would not allow me to go.

Jamie had loved my hair long so I chopped it off. And then I heard some shocking news that gave me the kick up the back-side that I needed.

23 comments:

Sim said...

I don't know whether it's the G&T making me cry or the breakup. You poor thing! I want to reach back through the years and guve you a bug hug and an even huge-er double.

PI said...

Sim: thanks for the hug. It's years since I had a G&T - make mine a Horse's Neck please. Cheers!

Larraine said...

You CAN'T leave it there!!!!!! You just CAN'T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PI said...

Larraine: sorry - next on Wednesday - promise!

Shyha said...

No way! Wednesday? No...

PI said...

Hi Shyha! see you on Wednesday!

fjl said...

Why didn't you talk to each other??

Womens lib!

( and it's Oxford... ;-) )

PI said...

Felicity: you had to be there:(.
You know it's -----d - I know it's -----d but we don't want the whole world to know necessarily.

FOUR DINNERS said...

Writing a letter to end it is as nice a way as there is though. Long as I've been around it's been "On yer bike mate" (or maybe I saw the wrong sort of girls?)

PI said...

4d: maybe I should have said that!

apprentice said...

It must be horrible that feeling of being ill at ease around someone you care for.

Look forward to finding out what the kick up the bum was.

PI said...

apprentice: that was my original expression 'kutb' but I knew MTL would look askance and thought backside might be less graphic. I should have left it. BUM BUM BUM BUM!

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

It's like Henry James in Lancashire. Vivacious girl, things unspoken, things over-said and all moving in and out of bright rooms and all lipstick and pipes and so much of the time and place.

It must all have felt so sad.

You look gorgeous in that picture. You know what they say - a haircut's as good as a rest.

kenju said...

What a cliff-hangar, Pat. Tell us the rest, please!

Your hair looked great either way, and Jamie was an ass to give you up.

PI said...

Sam; I love Henry James. 'Portrait of a Lady ' and 'Washington Square' have a great resonance with me. Oh to be able to write like him.

Kenju: I intend to tell the rest. Thankfully my life wasn't just a 'Waiting for Godot (Jamie)'and the years between were just as valid and important to me.

Life of a Banana said...

is that a pic from your modelling hey days?

fjl said...

So why pull a face? I have enough to go through with people who are cyberbullying without my blogmates being snooty.

PI said...

LoaB: no that was taken whilst i was still a student nurse - long before I knew anything about modelling.

felicity: sorry! The face was meant to express my misery and dismay at having been there myself. Nothing directed at you.

PI said...

LoaB: no that was taken whilst I was a student nurse - long before I knew anything about modelling.

felicity: sorry to have misled you. The face was supposed to express my misery at being there myself.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Will you make up with Jamie later? If you do, will he be better for you then? Did you ever tell Andrew you're not interested?

Pat, you say "through my selfishness and bad behaviour I had ruined it" but I don't get the sense of you behaving selfish and bad. If things didn't feel right with Jamie, how was it your fault? I'm puzzled.

PI said...

GG: yes and yes.
As far as Andrew is concerned - when I was having such a bad time with Jamie and Andrew asked me on the phone if I had changed my mind - part of me wanted to tell him what I was going through. But I felt that would be totally unfair- to involve him again and then perhaps break up with him again.
Searching for a reason why it had all gone wrong I blamed it on my selfishness - insisting on going home when Jamie would have preferred to stay in Manchester. Bad behaviour when I lost my temper with Maddie when she went back on our bargain to swap suits.
In the next episode you'll see how far off the mark I was.

Dr Maroon said...

I'm just sitting here quiet as a mouse ready for the next bit.

PI said...

Doc: if only all the boys were as good as you!