Small things: The things we do not to see. …
After the old man had left we stayed in the hotel bar and as the night wore on we got chatting to the barmaid; she was telling us all about her life and her boyfriend and kids. When Rich went to the toilet she turned to me and said “He fucking loves you, don’t he, you’re husband?” (She had a Wiltshire accent so she talked like a pirate!)
I was surprised that she thought that: given everything that had happened and I said “Really? Do you think so?”
She just looked at me and said “I fucking know so! The way he looks at you, I would give anything for a man to look at me like that!”
I looked at her and said “Well he fucked off with the neighbour last year and set up home with her for three weeks!”
She looked shocked and taken aback, but then she thought about it and said “I don’t fucking care! I wouldn’t care what he’d done. I have never had a man look at me like that in my life; and would give anything for someone to look at me and to love me the way that he loves you!”
That said it all! I suddenly realised that here I was with someone who loved me so much that other people could see it on his face, in the way he looked at me; and I was so caught up in what had happened to me (not us, remember it was all about me!) that I could not see what I actually had in front of me at that moment.
I shut up! What could I say? I sounded so spoilt, like a narcissistic woman who just took things for granted because it was all about her, what had happened to her; and she did not think twice about poor Rich!
I cannot begin to tell you what a massive impact this had on me, and our relationship; these two encounters with two people in the same place on the same day: and the messages they delivered were paramount in us being here today. Perhaps they were sent to us because of what had happened the week before; as they say where there is bad there is good, everything goes in a circle.
I listened. I realised that I was throwing away what I had got: something that people search for all their life and never find, because of my ego, because of my pride. I had something with Rich that I would never find with someone else; because he still loved me so much because of what we had been through, yes ‘We’.
I understood that Rich had lost things as well, because of the mistake he had made; I did not have to make him pay, he was paying every day because he had lost that unconditional love that I had for him.
But more importantly I was taking for granted what I had: letting each day slip away when in fact that is all any of us ever have, that particular day; and I was not appreciating or enjoying the unconditional love that Rich had for me now.
One of the mantras that I now live my life by is that ‘Life shows you the way.’ I learnt that fact by what happened to us and how we both listened to all the people that we met along the way on this journey: really listened to some of the things they said. I do believe that ‘Life’ sent those two people our way that day because, as my journal entry shows, I was struggling to stay. So life sent me two messages and thank God I listened.
So I would ask the person reading this, who is probably going through what we went through, are you listening to the small messages that life sends you? They will be there to help you if you just listen; and if you want to survive this you need to listen to them; life will show you the way.
August 2008 was a big month for us. We learnt that we did not want to split up; we learnt that we had too much to lose, and we learnt to start to look forwards and not backwards all the time – still did some of the time, but this was a start.