Friday, February 01, 2008

Tim

Story contd.

Both William and I derived much happiness from our children. We had great family holidays and at week-ends visited local sights and fairs and from an early age encouraged them to walk fair distances. During sea-side holidays I would be the envy of all the other mothers as William plunged into the sea like a great seal and endlessly encouraged the boys to do the same, regardless of the temperamental British summers. They fished, sailed, climbed, skied on water and snow, swam, did archery, cross country and drove go- carts. I took them to the theatre club and they joined in the children’s entertainments besides playing the parts of aristocratic children in a public production. ‘Dreadfully boring’ the elder would say – in character, to be echoed by the younger in his piping little voice. They were so funny; blonde –haired boys in beautiful costumes, angelic in appearance and a handful to control backstage. The little hams started to time their applause.

When there were just the two of us- and as the boys grew older this was more often the case - things were not so satisfactory. William worked hard in a demanding job and when he was home and the boys weren’t around he was happy to hole up in his study with his books and music. I had plenty to keep me occupied with the theatre club and the shop. We were not your average married couple and at times I felt a failure. It was probably William’s brother Wallace, who suggested that we should spend more time together – that William should take me out - so we started meeting in town, having dinner and going to a concert at the Festival Hall. After a number of sessions at the same uninspiring (to me) venue I began to long for a visit to some of the wonderful London theatres but this didn’t appeal to William. So Wallace’s idea had limited success. However one of my girl friends had gone to live in town so we used to meet up and saw some great plays together.

When I first saw Tim it was at a public meeting and I became aware of this unusual looking young man giving me piercing stares. He was actually short- sighted without his glasses – thought I looked interesting, and was trying to get a better look.

He was tall but slight, with his shoulders hunched in a porridge textured, short overcoat. His severe, crew-cut hair was already flecked with grey and his baseball boots completed an unusual appearance. He had a squinting scowl – partly due to his eye- sight and partly due to the ever present cigarette clamped in his mouth. He had a gritty look such as a very young Tommy Lee Jones may have had, although Tim’s ears didn’t stick out. He looked bookish and introspective.

Later when I spoke to him I realised that, not only was he very shy but he had been damaged in some way and my compassion was aroused. I was at the age when I really felt for people who were worse off than I was and wanted to do something about it- which was why I eventually became a Samaritan. At the time I had a few lame ducks and was prepared to take Tim under my wing – I was about ten years older and he regarded me for a time as a mentor, which helped my somewhat battered self esteem a great deal.

When I look back it’s as if we were two weak swimmers who had got into difficulties, and managed to prop each other up until they reached the shore. As our friendship grew we confided in each other. Tim was brought up by very strict, puritanical parents; he was sent away to school and did well academically. He then went to medical school and went completely off the rails, rebelling against his parents. He chucked medical school, made a disastrous marriage which broke up almost immediately and had a rift with his family. He had also started to drink more than was healthy. When I met him he was in a dead end job which earned him enough money for bed and board and for fags and beer.

Underneath all this rough exterior was an artistic, poetic, damaged young man crying out for a bit of morale boosting and encouragement. As our friendship continued he began to blossom and people took the trouble to get to know him and to like him. We talked about his future and I was delighted when he decided to take an external degree which meant working long hours and travelling up to town after work. He also renewed contact with his parents and would visit them from time to time. With each achievement I felt proud as if he were a son.

Our friend ship continued for four years and during this time Tim completed his degree and was awarded first class honours. He was given a prize and insisted on choosing three books he knew I would like and presented them to me. He said I had earned the degree. Very soon he was offered a very good position which meant his leaving the area and of course I encouraged him to take it. I also encouraged him to meet other people; we were both afraid of how the other would cope in the end. Tim thought we could be friends for life but I felt that once he had left the area we should both get on with our lives.

He continued to phone and tell me what he was up to and eventually he met a girl he thought he could be serious about. I was happy for him and said this was time to say goodbye. I knew he was going to be fine and I had plenty to keep me occupied. For a start the shop had outgrown its surroundings and we had to start looking for new premises. Life goes on.

48 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

It is such a pleasure to read about you. You are so matter of fact about it.

I like the way you describe things.

I suppose Michele too loves reading your posts..

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

There are so many possible shapes for friendships, aren't there? I'd be interested to know, though, given that you felt your friendship with Tim was helpful to you too, why you felt as if it had to end.

R. Sherman said...

I've found the friendships which truly last are those that are founded upon equality between the friends. That is, where one is, in part, a mother or father figure, eventually life intervenes and one or both move on. The memories remain, of course.

Cheers.

PI said...

Gautami: with all the reading you do that is a compliment. Thank you:)

Zinnia: there was a great deal of emotion and dependence - on both sides. It took a long time to finally end it but when he was about to start a serious relationship with someone else, it seemed only fair to back right off and also get myself back on track. It wasn't easy. I suppose I have always been one for a clean break. I could make a list.

PI said...

Randall: there is lot of truth in that. Maybe it's when the mother or father image becomes less distinct.

TLP said...

I'm intrigued by this story. I hope you're going to post again soon.

White rabbit, white rabbit!

carli said...

This reminds me a little of Tea and Sympathy. Thanks for sharing, and for being such a positive influence in this young man's life.
Here from M.

michelle said...

I'm sad you guys are no longer friends. I have friends that I knew it was time to say goodbye to and in the end I was okay with it. thanks for sharing.
here via michele

Sam, Problemchildbride said...

You've done such a lot of good in your life, Pat. It sounds like you turned this young man right around so he could realise his potential. Who knows how he might have declined if you hadn't come along?

It all reads to me like you were a passionate young woman with a lot to give but that William was too self-contained to notice or need it.

PI said...

Carli: I had to remind myself of the plot. That's quite perceptive.

Michelle: I really hope he found the happiness that I have.

Sam: it really was a two way affair. The sadness I felt at the end was assuaged by knowing how he had turned out.

sablonneuse said...

Ah, so Tim wasn't a lover but a bit of mutual moral support. But I'm not disappointed because it's such a lovely true story.

Catherine said...

Pat, I left a comment before and got a pop-up box that told me I couldn't because I had done it already !?!
As far as I can see, coming back to check, I haven't.
Anyway it was to the effect that you have had a very rich and full life. and that Michele sent me.

PI said...

Sablonneuse: whatever I say someone will be disappointed. Better the reader decides for himself.

PI said...

Catherine: I don't understand it either but your comment got through this time:)

kenju said...

Aw, you were so nice to him Pat. I hope he appreciated you.

PI said...

Judy: he really did.

oranginadreams said...

That's a wonderful story, both sad and hopeful at the same time. I'm sorry to see your friendship had to end though.
Michele sent me

Leslie

R. Sherman said...

I saw you at Michele's. Your up past your bedtime, dear.

Cheers.

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Ah, yer a woman after me own heart so y'are. You will go to Heaven for Tim and the Samaritans. You obviously got something out of it too. There's nothing quite like the feeling that you have turned somebody's life around.

November Rain said...

Michelle sent me over+t o read

I love reading your life memories and stories

PI said...

Hi Leslie - welcome!

Randall: we must stop meeting like this:)

Daphne: not many of us left:)

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Well written, Pat. A fine story. Michele sent me here.

PI said...

Hi Novy! Are you settled in now?

Jean-luc: thank you sir. I appreciate that.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I visited this lovely post. Michele returned me here.

PI said...

Jean-luc: thanks for calling again. Don't be afraid to scroll down:)

kenju said...

Michele sent me back, Pat. I am glad to know he did appreciate you!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

No problem on visiting again. Michele returned me here.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a lovely story and such a lovely friendship....You helped him so very much Pat..Do you feel that this friendship with Tim helped you, too? I too feel it sad that you felt so strongly about a 'clean break'...It makes me think this was a more intinate relationship than you have chosen to share with us....Whatever, my dear...It was obviously very important to both of you.

PI said...

Naomi: thank you and understanding as ever. You are right of course.

sage said...

An interesting story Pat, thanks for sharing. Here via Michele's

kenju said...

Michele sent me back, Pat, to read again. I cann't figure out why your self-esteem was damaged. You were so gorgeous and obviously capable.

PI said...

Judy: it was mainly because I felt I hadn't made a success of my marriage. Some people find it difficult to show love and affection and without it one tends to wither. Well I do. Not anymore I'm happy to say:)

Begered said...

Amazing how much friendships change our lives...I sorry your frienship came to an end.

Shephard said...

You're a very poignant writer. I really felt what you were writing about, the depth and sincerity of your relationship, as well as an balacned incredibly wise approach to the situation. Thanks for sharing that.

Michele says hello today!
~S

PI said...

Begered: thank you.

Shephard: words I shall treasure. Thank you.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Michele sent me back to visit you, my dear....! You are ptobably in Dreamland by now....I just wanted to say I love that you answer all your visitors...It truly does make it more like a conversation...I have to give this some thought...
Again, I so feel that depth of this friendship, Pat...and given what you said to me, understand now why you had to end it when you did....!Life certainly often brings us things that we need right as we need them, don't you think?

PI said...

Naomi: we were having this discussion on Zinnia's blog the other day; whether things happen randomly or whether they are pre-ordained. They say one door closes, another opens. It's a comforting thought.

Omykiss said...

lovely story ... thanks pi ... i'm here (a bit late I know) from michele. I, like zinnia, am sorry that you felt the friendship had to end ......

Dandelion said...

Oh yes, I did read this! That chap reminded me of me. And a happy ending, so maybe there's hope for me yet :-)
Thank you dear pi

PI said...

Dandelion: you've got a crew cut and an ever present fag in your mouth?

Dandelion said...

I used to have, in my younger days :-)

PI said...

Dandelion: hence your blog name then?

Eryl Shields said...

Swoon! your story just keeps on getting better and is so inspirational.

Tim sounds like my dream man. What did he study I wonder.

PI said...

Eryl:psychology and related subjects as far as I can remember. I tried very hard to put him out of my mind and after I was reunited with MTL I succeeded. The Tim I first met was very different to the Tim six years later. I wonder which one you would have gone for?

Dandelion said...

No, that was a random, meaningless, and somewhat uninspired choice of word I'm afraid.

PI said...

Dandelion: I really like it anyway; and it's easy to remember.

Dandelion said...

Thank you, pi. Sometimes I wish I'd picked a name that referred to something that I really like, you know, something that means something to me.

PI said...

Dandelion: dandy: excellent thing - lion: person of literary celebrity. Not bad to be going on with:)