Tuesday 10th April 2007
I couldn’t believe Rich didn’t come back; Den came back to the house without him and told me how he had tried to persuade Rich to come back but said that Rich was too afraid to face me; then ‘She’ had walked past them and Rich had followed ‘Her’.
I couldn’t believe that Rich had not come back to comfort me, I went down to the seafront to see if I could see him. I did not believe for one minute that Rich would have gone with ‘Her’ and had convinced myself that he would have been so distraught, because he loved me so much, that he might have tried to commit suicide because he thought he had lost me. I really thought that he had thrown himself in the sea because he was so upset!
I must have looked like a mad woman, walking up and down the seafront calling for Rich. I just didn’t believe he would throw it all away. I came back to the house in the hope that he would be there, but he wasn’t so I called his mobile a hundred times, but it just went to voicemail; I left messages in them I begged him to come home, told him we could work it out; but he never answered and he never called me back.
By five in the morning I was so afraid that he had done something stupid, I called the police. When they arrived I could see the pity in their eyes, here was this overweight woman, with a bloated tear stained face whose husband had clearly been playing away behind her back. They looked at me with sadness (they must have seen it so many times before) and said that there was nothing they could do; Rich had chosen to leave and that they did not think he was missing.
I’ll never forget the look in their eyes, even now I can see them standing there, two young men who look so sad that they cannot help me; because they are seeing something that they must see over and over again, people destroying each others lives.
I didn’t sleep all night. I looked out at the debris from the BBQ, sausages and burgers burnt to a crisp, paper napkins strewn across the garden, plates and serviettes piled high; I could not bring myself to go out there, to go into my own garden.
I was going mad with not knowing where Rich was, not knowing if he was with ‘Her’, not understanding how my life had gone from holding hands with my husband yesterday morning to him being with someone else today.
I needed to make sense of it but didn’t know who I could turn to, the people that Rich and I relied on, since moving to the coast four years before, had been each other; and now he wasn’t here!
I went across to a friend Della’s house, and just broke down in tears for me. She hugged me and said that she would go out in her car and look for Rich; she could not believe that Rich had done what he had done, did not believe that he would go off with ‘Her’. She said ’She’ was no comparison to me and surely Rich knew that!
Della drove all around the town but could not find him. I could see that she just did not know what to do to help me; she just stood in front of me not knowing what to say; the pain that I felt at that time was so palpable that others could actually feel it.
I went back to my house in turmoil, I had no idea what to say to Tom who seemed to be swinging between anger and denial at what Rich had done. So I did the only thing I could do and I started to load the dishwasher; it was a simple, normal thing to do in the world of madness I had now been thrown into.
At ten o clock Rich called me from ‘Her’ mobile. He said that did not have his mobile with him, that it had been on silent which is why I hadn’t heard it ringing; and I realised that I had not heard his phone for weeks now, it had clearly been on silent for weeks, if not months now to ensure that I did not know when she had been texting him.
I could not believe that he was with ‘Her’, I asked him what he was doing, was he with her (a stupid question when he had called from her phone, but I just didn’t want to believe it.) He said that he was with her and coming to pick up his stuff. My heart came into my mouth, I could feel it beating so hard that I thought it would burst; I felt physically sick. I couldn’t believe what he was saying, why was he coming to pick up his stuff? I asked him what did he mean and Rich said that he was leaving with ‘Her’.
I started to cry, and Rich hung up on me, he did not want to discuss it. I hated that they were both together, laughing about me, the stupid fat lump who could not see what was in front of her eyes. I hated them for it, but most of all I hated myself for it, for what I had allowed myself to become, someone so caught up in love that they could not see how vulnerable they had become.
When Rich came to the house he knocked on the door, he did not use his key. When I opened the door he would not look at me and he was cold towards me, I didn’t recognise this man, he was not the kind and loving man that I had just spent the last nine years of my life with.
I was crying as I begged and pleaded with him to stay, but he would not listen, he started to cry and said that because of what he had done he knew that I would do it back to him, that I had told him that at the Halloween party ( The Background story – Making a new life and there are clouds on the horizon…) and that he would not be able to bear me being with someone else, that he was so afraid of that. Oh the irony!! I just looked at him in disbelief, he was telling me that he was going to leave because he could not bear the thought of me doing to him what he had done to me!!
I was so fucking angry that I just flew at him, and punched the shit out of him, I just kept punching and punching, and Rich let me.
I rang Rich’s mum and she asked him to think about what he was doing, he was crying but just kept saying that he had to leave, that he couldn’t stay.
He went upstairs and I heard him moving about packing some things. When he came down the stairs he told me that he was meeting ‘Her’ in the park and leaving with ‘Her’. I asked him why and he said because it was best to go with her than stay with me waiting for me to get my revenge.
I heard myself begging, promising that I wouldn’t make him pay, promising him anything; and then I suddenly heard myself, begging, and I stopped. I wasn’t going to do this; I was worth more than this, I was not going to beg. I was pleased that I he had the start of a black eye, good he could look ugly when he met ‘Her’.
Rich was sitting in the chair, crying; Snowy the dog jumped on his lap, as if to say ‘please stay, please don’t do this’ but he pushed him off, and made his way to the door. He looked at me and I said “just go; I am not begging you to stay”, and I walked away from him and went upstairs.
I really thought at that point Rich would stay, that he would come after me and say it was all a terrible mistake; So I couldn’t believe it when I heard the door close and his car start up, heard his car pull away.What the fuck had happened?! How did we go from being so happy to this? How could it be the end; the end of something so beautiful?
I stood there in shock, and something within me told me to get it together, I had to survive for me and for Tom. It was as if a fire had been lit and little did I know then, but I was getting back the person that I used to be before my mum died, and that the fire inside me would never be put out again.
I called my friend Toni in Cornwall, she had always been there for me when I needed her; she couldn’t believe it, said that it couldn’t be happening and that she would come straight away, drive through the night if she had to and be with me the next day.
Tom rang my sister, who I had not spoken to for six years, and she was immediately there for me, told me to go to her in Essex, but I knew that there was something I had to do first:I had a shower and washed my hair! Made sure I looked my best …. for me.
I checked our bank account on line and could see that Rich had already drawn out his daily limit of two hundred pounds; I was so angry, I knew then that he didn’t give a shit about us, and now he was taking our money! And I knew for Tom and I to survive I needed to fight back and the only way we would do that was for me to stay strong and to move fast.
I went to the bank and opened my own bank account, I then went home and transferred all our savings that we had saved for our holiday from our savings account into it. We had our joint current account and I transferred all of the money from that into it as well. Rich had only been paid the Friday before and virtually all of his salary was in the joint account that we had together, so I knew that they were well and truly fucked because Rich had no control over my account in just my name that I had opened.
I then called the bank’s general line and told them that we had split up and could they freeze the joint account. Tom and I needed money to survive and it wasn’t going to happen on a part time secretary’s salary! And that was it done! I had left Rich or ‘Her’ without any money.
How I kept it together whilst I sat in that bank I don’t know. I never let it show that anything was wrong, or that I was upset in any way, I knew what I had to do, and that kept me going.
Whilst I was in town I realised that I could not wear my wedding or engagement ring anymore, so I bought myself a commitment ring, a huge cubic zirconia, a commitment to Tom and I, because this was all I had now. All the time my eyes were brimming with tears.
I also called Rich’s car insurance and told them that he didn’t live at our address anymore; they said that it made his insurance null and void if they did not have an address for him, and that it would be cancelled straight away. I hoped that they had a fucking accident! The lady on the phone must have had something similar happen to her because she said ‘let’s cancel the insurance, let’s make him pay!’
My friend from work, Sherri, called and said that all of the girls in the office were worried about me, what could she do? I was just crying and talking gibberish and she said that she would come to my house that evening. I asked if she could come the next day as my sister had told me to go to her for the night.
I went upstairs to our bedroom, and looked at the bed; I felt as if I was in a nightmare that I was going to wake up from if I tried hard enough, but I couldn’t make it happen because what was happening to me was real. I went out onto the balcony and looked down at the empty space where Rich’s car had been parked and reality hit me like a wave, he was gone, he wasn’t coming back.
I changed the bedding, I could not bear to lie in a bed where Rich had lay with me, all the time making a fool of me. Only this time the tears brimmed over and I could not stop them I sobbed, and sobbed, great big howling sobs, I was gulping for air because I could not stop crying for long enough to be able to take a breath.
‘Her’ partner, came over, said that ‘He’ had put a trace on their phones and ‘He’ knew that they had been to the shopping outlet nearby and been shopping, that they were somewhere in a nearbye seaside town.
When her partner left I just sat there in a state of shock; shopping was one of ‘Her’ favourite pastimes, ‘She’ loved the shopping centre near to us, went there at least twice a week; and now ‘She’ was there with my husband. My husband was shopping with another woman, how could that be?
Tom went to his friend’s house, I don’t think that he could bear to be in the house, it felt so sad, in fact there was just a stunned silence in the air.
I could feel the strength throbbing through my veins, actually hear it pounding in my ears. I knew that I had to survive, so I got into my car and drove to Essex to be with my sister, and sobbed, and sobbed, and sobbed whilst I drove the car down the motorway. I didn’t care who saw me; as I sat in the queue for the Dartford crossing I knew that people were staring at me, let them stare, my fucking heart was broken.
When I got to my sisters the first thing she did was hug me, even though I had not seen her for six years; whilst I just sobbed in her arms.
Rich’s sister called my mobile; she was crying and saying that she could not believe Rich had done this, saying that she would call me the next day, come down to see me to make sure that I was alright. I was grateful that she had called, I hoped that if Rich saw how upset she was it might make him see sense.
My sister asked me to go through what had happened, tell her about our life over the last six years. She said that she was surprised that Rich had left me, because she always thought that it would be me who left Rich.
But when I explained to her that I worked part-time whilst Rich worked every hour he could; that in the past two months he had worked for eighteen days without a break, all different shifts, sometimes finishing work at six in the morning, coming home and going to bed, and then going back to work at ten at night, she looked at me and said “Who are you? Princess Fucking Tippy Toes?! You need to get off your arse and go back to work full-time! No wonder ‘She’ was able to use things against you!!” And I knew at that moment that she was right.
My sister and her partner gave me some wine, and some “paracetamol” for the headache that was competing with the pounding in my heart; it felt as if they were trying to see which one of them could cause me the most pain. I knew it had been caused by the floods of tears that I had cried since the night before, and took it gratefully. But in fact it wasn’t paracetamol my sister had given me something to knock me out and help me sleep. I had not slept in nearly forty eight hours; and my sister knew that I was going to need all my strength to get through this.
I woke up at one o clock in the morning; I could hear my mobile phone bleeping, alerting me that there had been a missed call and when I checked it was from an unknown number. I knew it had to be Rich because I could not forget the look on his face when he knew I had found out. I knew that despite the way he was behaving he was heartbroken; I can honestly say that I could feel his pain. But I could not face calling his mobile only for him to ignore it, because, although I knew in my heart of hearts it was him that had called I could not face that humiliation again. I told myself that I wanted to believe it was Rich, but to face reality, he had left me, made it clear that he did not love me, so just let it go.
“………People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone who fulfil my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me
I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I’ll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity…………”
The greatest love of all – George Benson
Written by Linda Creed, Michael Masser