April 2008 – The road trip to Dieppe.
We left for Dieppe on Thursday 10th April. We took the boat and for the hour and a half journey we had arranged to spend it in the Club Class Lounge, with champagne and crosisants, reading the newspapers. It was all about making those new memories.
But as I sat in that lounge I thought back to where I was the year before at exactly that hour: I had just received a text from my husband telling me that he was coming to collect his stuff, after spending the night away with his mistress. I thought back to that day, as I had stood in my kitchen in disbelief, as I had tried to get back some normality by unloading the dishwasher. Day one – (Tuesday) War is declared…
The little demon started to spin me a story of how much I had been betrayed, I told it to shut up. I closed my eyes and I reminded myself of where I was now, and I reminded myself that the person who had just gone up to the deck for a cigarette was not the person who left me last year. He was different and I had to focus on that. I can remember that when Rich came back he had bought me a bottle of perfume. I can smile about that now because he was trying so hard.
When we arrived in France the first stop was the pretty port town of Boulogne sur Mer. We had stayed here the first time we had come to France, ( to just escape just after Rich came back and it had started our journey to healing. ) So we stayed in the same hotel, Le Metropol, a small select hotel and we ate in the same restaurant that we had eaten in, we ordered the same food; because everything in France was new and it had not been contaminated we could relive memories of what we had done here with no worries of any triggers. Reliving what had been times of rebuilding in what was mostly a time of despair. May 2007 – Fighting for everything including for my dignity..
The next day Friday 11th, we left for Le Touquet, the bustling town where we had spent so many weekends since ‘The War”, a place where we had made friends with the French. Here there were memories, of me walking off and leaving Rich mainly, but there was no contamination. We visited our dear friend Stephan and met up with Ludo another dear friend who contributed greatly to keeping me with Rich (he is another story to tell); and we had a lovely time. But I when I had woken that morning in the metropol I had immediately thought back to the year before: when I had woken at my sister’s house to a missed call from Rich, I thought back to how I had come home to clear all of Rich’s stuff out of our house, I thought back to being on my own. Day 2 – (Wednesday) Hostilities begin
I would actually would actually think back to each hour of each of these days and think ‘this time last year I was with Jacqui, this time last year I threw Rich’s stuff out, this time last year Rich came home and collected his stuff and left, this time last year I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. And then I would think ‘this time last year I was alone, but I’m not now; this time last year I didn’t know how Tom and I were going to survive, but I do now, this time last year I worked part time, I was fat, I was broken hearted; I am not any of those things now – well still broken hearted but stronger now and my own person; and yes everytime I thought back to those days I could feel the anger back inside me for what Rich had done to me. It was like picking at a scab and I just couldn’t stop myself.
We left for Dieppe on Saturday 12th April and when I awoke that morning I thought back to the day a year ago when Rich had finally returned my call, and laughed at me, asked me how I was ever going to keep the house, told me that he loved ‘her’. read it here
On the journey down I was outwardly happy and smiling, but inside I was dying: thinking about the year before. I knew that Rich was terrified because I was quiet, and anyone who knows me knows that when I am quiet then that is when I am at my most deadly. But I had to process it, I had no choice, I knew even then that if I faced up to it then one day it would not be able to bite me on the arse any more.
So I focused on the French countryside, on where we were going, and reminded myself again of where I was now, not then, now; and then I ruminated about where I was at this time the year before: Sitting on my back step crying, sitting in the snug in my house, crying, crying, crying, crying.
When we arrived at the flat it was in the centre square of Dieppe with all the shops and cafes and bars close by. The flat was small but more than we needed, and Rich was so nervous that I wouldn’t like it. But it was perfect for us, because it just wasn’t our home!
During those three weeks we shagged like rabbits, I know now that this is actually natural because you are trying to rebuild the connection. It was strange how I could fuck the arse off Rich and not care about what he had done with ‘her’, but if I was honest a that time I was not ‘making love with him.’ Rich was to me, but I wasn’t to him.
This was the thing you see: although I was with Rich, although I wanted us to work; I was still keeping a part of me back, keeping a part of me safe. I could not trust Rich with all of me any more, and so I had a barrier up. I was with Rich, I was married to Rich, I loved Rich, I shagged Rich but I was my own person all the time, that was the barrier – I was the barrier. I would listen to music on my own, I would insist that I did some things on my own: simple things like going to the Boulangerie. I stepped (yes I took my stepper it still kept me sane) I read copious amounts of books whilst we were away because I could exclude Rich from those activities. By doing this it enabled me to keep my distance and allow me to keep one foot out of the door ready to run.
The weather was warm and we travelled out to pretty little towns, we did lots of activities together: cooked food in the small galley kitchen, played music, visited the markets, we had aperitifs in the little tabac just on the corner, and I made sure I looked good all the time; to make myself feel better, and to remind Rich of what he might lose.
Little did I know that this trip was actually going to be a major turning point for me because as the weeks went by I started to see the damage that had actually been done to my husband…….