Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Odessa Wharf

Its strange how a person can have constant pin prick of niggling doubts, seeds planted yet with amazing strength one pushes it away and cast it aside, brush it aside, chalking it up to nothing but one's own peculiarity. Yet all it took was a random comment and that was the defining moment. It turned out to be the comment that broke me.

I sat on the bench with the winking lights overlooking Canary Wharf in the middle of the night. I saw a lady, she came out of her house to smoke and we exchanged glances. I must have looked strange; sat there on the bench, freezing in the middle of winter with tears streaming down my eyes. Tears of recognition, sorrow, shroud of sadness that has descended. I knew then that this could not go on. I could no longer keep giving, keep making execuses for him in my own head as well as in front of my friends from home that knows him. After sitting there for hours, it dawned on him that it was quite late, he called frantically and he sent me endless text messages, all of which I ignored. I went back to the apartment when I finally regained my composure.

That was the begining of the end. That began my easing out campaign. Strange, I came back into the flat, he hugged me but I felt as if it was gone already. He never brought up that evening and neither did I, until today. Today I brought it up. Today, I text him and left him a message on FB to call me. I felt that after 14months, its time to face it head on. I needed to close a door and open a new one.

Chinese New Year is afterall 2 days away. This time last year, was my first proper family holiday- going back home, for a long time. It was also the most difficult trip too. Before I went home, he called me to inform me that he no longer wants to have all my phone numbers or email addresses and will accordingly delete all of them. The only avenue left was FB, that was his wish, unless I initiated the contact. Imagine that, a week prior to my holiday, this bombshell. Fine. Its not as if I had a choice in the matter, the man doesn't want to contact me.

I had a lot of hand holding during that holiday, friends came to my rescue. There were places that I went to before and the memories came flooding back. Unfortunately for me I have a reasonable recollection. A ray of sunshine amongst the clouds, I found myself begining to re-emerge from the shadows of him and the relationship. I relearnt the art of family holiday and I quickly learnt to relax and enjoy myself. I was able to be me, when was the last time I could be just me, a long long time, I always had to watch myself because criticism are always flying across the world - too fat, what are you wearing, too high a pair of heels, too outspoken, too opinionated, the list is endless.

I came back from that holiday, with colour on my cheeks knowing that a dawn of a new day isn't that far away from my grasp. Even then, I no longer have my mobile phone tied to my hip at all times. I was not governed by the time zone + 10hours GMT, no longer having to exist only between the hours of 8.30-10.30pm during those times. After all Operation Easing Away was already making strides. It was amazing how much time I found that I had once I was no longer tied to those hours and the mobile phones. I began to reconnect with my friends, here in London or back home. I travelled for work again, networked, rejoin and show my face again amongst the people of my profession.

On Christmas Day 2009, Chris took me aside and told me that this would be Douglas's last Christmas. He was right, I have to admit it was not something that I dwelled upon as I had always thought that Douglas would still be here when Isabella graduates from university, he comes from the old school after all. The  fun and games began after Boxing Day, the constant chasing of lab results to consultant visits and chemo sessions. Gamesmanship, like a card game was to be played out with the Margaret and us and a bewildered Phillipa. Daily visits after work, all the days seemed to roll into one. Weekends with the family were replaced with spending entire days at the hospital, including Isabella. Poor girl, she's young yet she was so devoted to her grandfather. She sat there in the chair, with her diary and her books and with the sweets that she bought for him or some sweet dessert to tempt him into eating. I would always caught him staring at her, with love tinge with regret. Regret that he didn't spend more time with her, regret that he didn't treat her better when she was younger.

There were evenings after the hospital visits that I found myself walking aimlessly through Marylebone, sometimes with Chris. There had been times when I called up F and asked if I could come over and then told Chris that I couldn't go home yet. She understood. Flora did. She enveloped me in a hug when I walked through her doors. She said that I was shivering, I couldn't stop. The sicker Douglas got, the more manipulative games Margaret played, the cards were dealt with rapid pace. I have to admit, I have yet to see how shallow and cold a human behaviour, it certainly shook my faith in humanity. For what? Money? There weren't much, this was a man that was in his 80s, supported his daughter's family- educated, clothed and fed them. He wasn't an endless well to be tap by all, Chris and I were the only ones that never asked for money from him. We lived our lives under our own terms

Douglas passed away late May, he died under his own terms and I, for one was relieved that he passed away under those circumstances before it got any worse. The games didn't stop there. The games if anything intensified. Phillipa crumpled and each time she fell, I picked her up, prepared her for her next battle ahead. Where were her family?

During all those months, when I wanted and needed the one person to just be there for me, where was he. I did what my friends recommended, shelve him for the time being, concentrate on my family and healing. Those were wise words indeed. All these were little pebbles of realities, realities that couldn't be ignored, it now make itself known and will not be ignored.

It would have been too easy after the chips had all been dusted and collected to just pack up and gone east, home to recover. Instead Chris, Isabella and I sat down and decided to go and be together as a family, to reconnect, regather our thoughts and just be together, so we chose somewhere entirely different and what we thought would be outside of our comfort zones. Kenya. Kenya turned out to be godsend, it turned out to be an enriching experience for all of us in really different ways. We talked, we laughed and we cried. I bought a diary at the begining of my trip, there were two sections to my diary - (a) Kenya (b)me. As I sat on the plane heading home, back to London, I reread the entire diary and wrote an ending. It was an ending in a thousand ways, it had been a journey for me, in more ways than one.

New York, wow. I had an amazing time. All of us had such a great laugh. It was a trip to reward Isabella for doing ever so well in her SATs. We walked, we took the subway, we took the hop on hop off bus, except that we were so tired that we didn't hop off. We shopped at 11pm, we gorged ourselves with food; Japanese food which we love. The dancing M&M. I posted our photos and a friend came back and said that all of looked happy, especially me, I look happier with Chris. And know what? He was right. I was happier. I was calmer. I was more collected. And so the months passed.

I came to awful realisation that I will always be the person that love him with my entire being but it will be forever unrequited. I have reconciled myself to this fact, I no longer hide from it because it truly doesn't matter anymore. I tried my best, gave it my all and thats all that I can do. I gave an awful lot more than I ever gotten back. I was never seeking for monetary compensation or a life in luxury. All I wanted from him was a committment and for him to love me. His constant criticism drained on me, he was always picking - too fat, too arrogant, too opininated, such a bad lawyer, constantly chipping away. Finally, the illusion that was him shattered and I saw. If it had been just one or two friends that had advised me of this ending, I would have rubbished it away, in actual fact I did. I rubbished away my friends advise and despite it all they stood by me. One told me - I looked happier now that I had been for years, I was never happy with him. Another said and this is a friend of his strangely enough - he could never ever give me what I want and need, because he doesn't have it to give away, it was given away 25years ago and he never recovered from it. Another said yesterday - that he was not worthy of me. My Welsh friend said - he's selfish and disrespectful.

It had been coming and I, of course finally took the initiative yesterday and asked him to call me. I tried to get him to admit that he never did love me and never could but him, being him became cagey. He needed a Plan B, just in case he couldn't find someone else. He turned the table on me as I expected - it became that he wants someone there with him, someone to share his life, someone to share his day. How I would never be there for him. How I would not moved for him. How pathetic. This was what I had wanted from him for years and he refused. And still he said that I was nagging and being long winded. He disappointed me. I thought that he would at last be honest, with himself and with me. Instead its more about what he wants, more of me, myself and I.

I am calmer. I am happier. I cut my hair short. I wear heels. I wear a lot of dresses. I go out with friends. I travel more for work. I rediscovered the pleasure of travelling other than trips back east. I no longer have to apologise for what I like and what I dislike. I rediscovered my strutt. I will buy a pair of Louboutins this year or Choos, it doesn't matter if I don't wear it. Its my resolve, my new year resolution.

That was the finality of 14months struggle with myself. I closed that chapter yesterday. With that, I sent what I thought was a final email to his friend. I didn't expect a reply but I did and the contents was equally as shocking. And that was a lesson that took me 5years to learn.

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