Sunday, January 11, 2009

Eryl’s Questions.

‘I'm blubbing, and so full of questions: what were the first words you (both) spoke when he looked up from his paper, and what did you talk about for the rest of the day? What did he illustrate in his notebook, and what size, colour, shape was it, did he keep it on the table or have to keep pulling it out of his pocket? What was it about the man you met that told you he knew your rapture? How, and when, did you arrange to meet again? What were your parting words? When you got on that last train did you know you were going to end your marriage or did that come later?’

Neither of us can remember our first words – the predominant senses were sight, smell and touch – all highly pleasing. A smiley ‘Hello’ would be a safe bet. It was an icy January – lots of snow up in Cheshire from whence he had travelled – and it was comforting to settle in a nice warm bar.

The rest of the day we covered 30 years happenings at random: we talked about our five children and how lucky we were to each have close loving relations with them. He told me about being in the RAF and I told him about nursing. He had seen some of my modelling photos and we talked about my sister and his brother who were old friends and lived in the same NY state. We discovered that I went to live in the south and he went to live in the north and kept a cottage in Yorkshire – just over the border from my parent’s home and I visited New York just after he had been.. Once we had been to the same children’s hotel in Bournemouth - the Broughty Ferry – the same year. We had both taken our children on holidays to the Lake District and to Wales. I told him that since the boys left home William and I were considering separate establishments. He asked me if there was anyone else and I told him no, which was the truth.

Eventually I told him about every relationship I had had with the opposite sex as I didn’t want any secrets between us; he realised that the only serious one had been with Tim.

We talked about our break- up all those years ago and I said neither of us had tried hard enough to save our relationship. He remembered this and in the following difficult months was constantly reassuring, protective and supportive.

The notebook was one of those oblong, soft covered lined ones which easily fit in a breast pocket,if you are a pocket man which MTL certainly is. It was mostly used in the bar when he was explaining the hierarchy in his work place. His job was as important and responsible as William’s but more business orientated. Our politics had come closer over the years based on the thesis ‘if you don’t vote labour under 30 you haven’t got a heart and if you do over 30 you haven’t got a head. Loosely speaking.

What was it about the man you met that told you he knew your rapture?

It wasn’t rapture then – that came later.

I think we left it that he would get in touch when he was coming to London again,
As for our parting words – like the beginning it was sight touch and smell and we were both a bit overwhelmed by our goodbye hug.

When I got on the last train I slowly came down to earth. It had been a long, intensive, emotional day and I started to panic. After 28 years of marriage I was looking forward to being free – not jumping straight into a relationship with anyone, let alone someone so vulnerable. I couldn’t bear the thought of possibly hurting him. I must have written to Jamie and tried to slow things down, because he wrote that he fully accepted and agreed that further meetings should be understood to be on the basis of unqualified, relaxed (and perhaps hopefully increasing) friendship.

With each meeting I got a little more confident and we became closer and then at our fifth meeting in April, I was to visit my parents stopping off at Jamie’s house on the way there and on the way back. I felt it wasn’t fair to involve my parents at this stage so told them I was seeing a friend in Manchester who would drop me off. I was absolutely flabbergasted when Mum greeted me with:

‘Oh isn’t Jamie coming in?’ I think Maddie had been at work but it was a blessed relief and they met him when he picked me up on the Sunday.

My great sadness when I was younger was that we had never been lovers – that’s just how it was then. After this week-end our fate was sealed - there was rapture and total commitment. Our plan was to be together forever – and to Jamie this meant getting married as soon as possible. Both of us wanted to accomplish this causing as little hurt and upset to other people as possible. William said he wouldn’t be happy about us living in the same area so when Jamie took early retirement and we travelled to the places we loved in England, deciding where to settle - we eschewed Kent and Sussex -in spite of my friends and business in the area.

Eryl: I’ve gone on a bit – but you did ask.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for that - it answered a lot of questions, and you were so open about all of this.

Just want to wish you and MTL all the very best; as I too am back with someone 30 years on, what more can I say?

Love your blog, and all the best for the book.


Kim Ayres said...

But it does enrich the story :)

kenju said...

WOW! A dream come true, huh? I can't wait to read the book, Pat.

PI said...

Jan: thank you and I hope your reunion is as happy as ours. It isn't always easy but nothing worthwhile is.

Kim: I'm glad you think so:)

Judy: but you'll know what's coming:)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh this is WONDERFUL Pat...I'm so glad someone asked you these very pertinant questions and sensitive onees, too...And I LOVE your answers, Pat....This is such a great great Love Story, my dear....!
I look forward to your book more than I can say.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

And it should be a movie, too! BBC, anyone?

Eryl Shields said...

I have this fantastic picture now of the two of you meeting and being slightly overcome with it all. Taking each other in with eyes, smell, and tentative touch, and being rendered speechless. You in your mink, his curls. Then a walk to the bar, where you gradually open up and tell all, and Jamie pulling his notebook from his pocket to explain his business. Later, back in the train station words being replaced again by those senses, and then the lonely journey back home and a burgeoning sense of realisation. It's really quite filmic. Great stuff! Thanks for that Pat. X

Anonymous said...

I love how your mother made it easy for you! They don't miss much, do they?!


Zed said...

That post has left me smiling like a cheshire cat. How absolutely lovely.

phoenix said...

Wow! That was beautiful
*Phoenix gently brushes away the tear running down her cheek *

The Preacherman said...

Please not the BBC!!! Sky Movies at least!!!

Lump in the eye and tear in the throat babe x

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

That quote about voting Labour has been attributed to just about everyone: see here. It goes hand in hand with what M.Thatcher allegedly said: "any man over 40 travelling on public transport can consider himself a failure". She was all heart wasn't she?

I'm in touch with a few old boyfriends after a 30 year gap. Sadly, they're all happily married!

PI said...

Naomi: yes Eryl's questions really got me thinking. She's a writer and thinks like one. A film would be lovely - dream away - but you know MTL and I are so dated, I can't think of actors who could really be of the last century.

Eryl: I'm so glad you started this - you could have been there - absolutely spot on. I dream of having an editor who thinks like that.

PI said...

Belleek: I still smile when I remember - with her Lancashire accent. That's my Mum for you - no flies on her:)

Zed: I'm glad you liked it:)

Phoenix: welcome! I'm glad you dropped in at a happy part of the story:)

Anonymous said...

The truest love stories are often the best. Beautifully remembered, Pat.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I think Kate Winslet can do anything....Kristen Scott Thomas, too.....The man is a bit harder....How about Clive Owen?
Does any of this sound good?
I don't think your story is dated at all! It is as current as love is....and always will be.
Daniel Craig ain't bad either....But I have no idea if either of these two men fit the bill....

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

awwwwwwwwww that's soooooooo looooooooovelyyyyyyyyyy...

Pat, I like it when you go on a bit.

OldOldLady: Kate Winslet is a terrific actress, for sure, but nowhere NEAR pretty enough to play our Pat.

PI said...

Manic: OK - just for you - no BBC:)

PI said...

Daphne: how interesting! I wonder who was the very first? Maggie said 'I could do business with him' (Russian leader of the day) but I'm sure I read Victoria said it first.
Re the old boy friends - would you want to be married to any of them?
I know for a fact that one of them admits to being a grumpy old man, and comes on telly to prove it:)

PI said...

Miss D: thank you. I enjoyed sharing it with such appreciative bloggers.

Naomi:the best one could hope for would be someone like the late Anthony Mingella who could so brilliantly capture the spirit of it. I'd be very happy with Kristen Scott Thomas as the mature Pat. The man would have to have a touch of the Celt about him. NOT Sean Connery- at any age but something like a detoxed, shy, diffident Colin Farrell/James McKavoy. Pipe dreams:)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh Pat....I LOVE these kinds of Pipe Dreams...And, you never know, my dear....CRAIG FERGESON??(My spelling is not right...) He is a brilliant performer and a Scottsman....
I LOVE trying to cast movies...especially when it is based on a true story....!

Eryl Shields said...

I'm glad I started it too! Yours is such a lovely story, and this part in particular has such emotional impact: it's the defining moment in the whole sixty years. The point on which your whole life, let alone story, turns.

Have you thought of sending an outline and a few chapters to a film company, there are lots of independents in search of the script that will make their name, but even people like the BBC and Channel 4 make films and, I believe, accept unsolicited manuscripts? Worth checking out a few websites.

I'm so excited, you'd think it was my story!

PI said...

Zinnia: Kate is a consummate actress but her bazoomahs are bigger then mine ever were.

Naomi: if I had any say I'd be sure to consult you:)

Eryl: thanks for the ideas - now I have a working printer again I can start over and re what you said I will expand the ending.

Kanani said...

Ah... so glad you answered this. These my questions too, when I read the first part!

PI said...

Kanani:time and again I find myself being grateful for commenters - it makes writing so much less a solitary ocupation.