Day 22 – Tuesday 1st May
After speaking to Rich on the phone ( Day 22 The Surrender Part 1 ) I had called Mary; she had been with me through all of this, listening to my never ending tears and madness whilst I tried to make sense of what had happened. At the time she was over an hours drive away but she made the journey back and arrived at my home that evening, just to give me moral support.
We chatted as I got ready to meet Rich; I knew that I look good, I have lost over two stone and am more toned than I have been in years, thanks to all of the hours I have spent on the stepper.
Mary says that she always knew that Rich would come back, because things just did not add up, that you only had to look at his face when he looked at me to know that he loved me. It made me think back to the evening I was told what was going on; of Rich’s face as he was watching ‘Her’ partner whispering in my ear. That is an image I have constantly thought of in the last three weeks, because it was the thing that gave me the most hope. The first shot is fired….
After Mary leaves I wander around the house trying to occupy my mind. I cannot even have a drink because I have to drive; I can hear my heart beating in my chest again, that terrible feeling that my heart is going to burst is back. It is nearly an hour before I am due to meet Rich but I just cannot stay in the house a minute longer so I go to Mary’s house, for more moral support because I know that this is it, if this meeting does not work out then we are lost forever.
When I get to the car park where we have arranged to meet, Rich is already there, and I am surprised to see that he has lost as much weight as me. I refuse to get into Rich’s car, it is contaminated by ‘Her’ now, so Rich gets in my car and after a long silence I ask him what he wants to tell me and he starts to tell me what had happened over the last few months:
It had started in July the previous year when they had kissed at one of ‘Her’ parties, the very party where I had pulled Rich away from her when I found them dancing together on the dance floor. After that Rich had looked for her number on my phone and had made contact with her, supposedly to say that the kiss should not have happened and he wanted to forget it all. The Background story – Making a new life and there are clouds on the horizon
I didn’t for one minute this is why Rich had contacted her, by doing that she had his number and he knew that she would pursue him; and that is exactly what she did: bombarding him with texts and calling him as he drove to work.
Rich then went on to tell me that he had met ‘her’ at her brother’s house in Essex in the October of the year before, in the month leading up to our Halloween party. Rich was supposed to be on a nights overtime but instead he signed out of work and went to meet ‘her.’ I feel sick as he tells me that they had a fumble but that he could not perform and that they did not have sex. All that time they had been laughing at me, lying to me; I think of the Halloween party and how I found ‘her’ sitting on Rich’s lap, of how upset I was, and of how Rich did not follow me when I walked out. Now I know why, because he had already fucked ‘her’! The fact that he could not get ‘it’ up is neither here nor there.
Rich tells me that after their meeting he had stopped at a service station on the way home and thrown up, because he knew that if I ever found out he would lose me forever. ‘She’ had him trapped now, because ‘She’ had something that could be used to blackmail him; and that is what ‘She’ did. If ‘She’ text him and he did not reply ‘She’ would make a pretense to come to our house and then threaten him saying that ‘She’ was going to tell me. (This was unlikely because I would have fucking punched ‘Her’ in the face!) But Rich believed her.
The whole time he is telling me his story I am just sitting there looking out to sea with my eyes brimming with tears struggling to understand how my life has changed. We are sitting in a car park, by the beach, people are walking past with their dogs, something we used to do; people are on the beach because it is a hot sunny evening, people are going to the pub behind us, these are all things we used to do; and now? Now we’re sitting here in a car surrounded by the debris of our lives, and I am wondering what the fuck has happened.
Rich says that he tried to stop things, had stopped texting ‘Her’ or answering ‘Her’ texts for months, and that it had only started up again in March of this year. I think back to that month, I had been really ill with a chest infection, in fact I could not shake it and they were worried that I was going to develop pneumonia. As I sit there I realise why I had become so ill, because I had been ignoring the very things that were under my nose. More than anything I could not understand why Rich had gone back to texting ‘Her’ again, Why? For fucks sake why!!
After that they had then started to meet up in the next town along the coast. a pretty small seaside town called Tankerton. They would both drive there separately and sit in Rich’s car kissing. I could not understand how he had been able to meet ‘Her’ when he was always at work, and I ask him how and when because he would always call me when he was leaving work. Rich said that it was when I was at work, he would meet ‘Her’ before leaving for his shift, or after his shift had finished and he would lie to me and tell me he had been held up.
It all seems to make sense now, the text to our house in March, the times ‘She’ came over to see us because ‘She’ needed someone to speak to, the time when ‘She’ told me that one day I would hate her.
I asked Rich what he wants to do, does he want to come home? I cannot believe it when Rich says he is not sure that he can do that to ‘Her’, that he cannot leave her in a mess!
I could have punched him in the mouth! I started to shout at him so he got out of the car, then I got out of the car, all of the people enjoying the sunny evening are looking at us now and I don’t care! I am so fucking angry with him, he left Tom and I without a second thought and now, after the conversation that we had that morning on the phone when he said that he had never loved ‘Her’ and had always loved me, now he is saying that he is concerned for ‘Her’. I lose it and I punch him round the head, forgetting that I have the car keys in my hand, I punched him four or five times, with everyone watching, and I didn’t fucking care! Rich just stood there and let me.
I’d had enough, really had enough of being in a soap opera with a bunch of skanks, Rich included! I walked back to my car and get in and just before I drive away I open the window and say “if you’re not back home before midnight tonight, don’t ever fucking contact me again.” With that I drove away.
I went straight back to Mary’s and as I talk to her I realise that I am worth more than the treatment that I have received, worth more than Rich for what he has put me through; when I say that to her she agrees with me.
I am suddenly no longer afraid to go home, it is my house now, I no longer see it as a home that belonged to Rich and I. When I got in I opened a bottle of wine and call my sister; I tell her what has happened and that I really feel that I never knew Rich at all, and that he was beneath me, the Counsellor was right.
At that moment in time I have decided that actually I don’t want Rich back. My sister then calmly asked me “So what will you do if he walks down the path later? You have asked him to come back, and give up his home I think you should consider that, because although he did not consider you, that does not mean that you have to stoop to his level.” That stopped me in my tracks and I have to think about it. I have given him an ultimatum so I decide that I will have to let him sleep in the spare bedroom until he finds somewhere.
For the first time in a long time I was tired and go to bed at ten, I am not thinking about Rich anymore, neither am I going to wait up for to see if he calls or comes back; I have done too much waiting for him already and I am not doing any more. I need sleep, and for the first time in three weeks I fall asleep quickly.
At ten past eleven my mobile rings and it is Rich calling. When I answered the phone he explains that he has left ‘Her’ and wants to come home. He has parked in the next road and when I ask why he has parked his car around the corner and he says that he does not want it to be seen.
So I get up and wait for him to arrive, he has no key now, I had the locks changed within three days of him leaving; he has to ring the doorbell – how apt! I am in my pyjamas and I don’t care how I look, because I don’t care about Rich any more. I know that even though he is standing on the doorstep I am still on my own.
When Rich walked in it all seemed really strange because he looks uncomfortable in what was his home. It is as if we are two strangers, Rich sitting on the edge of the sofa and me sitting comfortably in my pyjamas on the other sofa, as far away from him as I can get.
Rich then suddenly asked me if I had an affair with my old boss, James. I am incredulous where the hell did that came from! Rich explains that ‘She’ told him that I had confessed to ‘Her’ that I had an affair with James all those years ago. I just looked at Rich in disbelief, as if he had grown another head, and said ‘No’, and with that Rich started to cry; because he realised that he may have lost everything because of all he has done over the past three weeks, actions that had taken place because of his own insecurities and this lie.
I asked Rich to be honest with me and tell me if it was him that had called me the night he left, and he said it was. He explained that they had been in a crummy bed and breakfast place with a payphone in the hall, and when ‘She’ had fallen asleep he had crept down and tried to call me from the payphone. I asked him why he had not called from his mobile, and he said he was afraid to because ‘She’ checked it all the time and would have noticed if he had taken it.
I asked him why he had called and he said it was because he was worried about me, had found himself in an awful place and just wanted to come home; but when I didn’t answer he thought that he had lost me and that ‘She’ had been right when ‘She’ had told him that I had not wanted him all along
I just didn’t know whether to believe him; if Rich felt that way why did he not just get in the car and come home? Why did he put me through three weeks of hell? Why did he let us get to this place we were in now? I just didn’t understand none of it made any sense.
I don’t ask him if he had sex with her, he had already told me he had in one of our conversations we had when he was being a cunt.
I tell Rich that if he wants to be with me there are two conditions, he has to step up to the plate and face his fears about whether he is good enough for me, and he has to change his phone, number, everything. Rich gives me his mobile and says that he knows she will just keep sending him texts until he answers, because this is what she always did. I turned the phone off because that will fuck ‘Her’ right up!!
I told Rich that he had to sleep in the spare room; but really I don’t want him to, I want him to sleep with me and I feel so exhausted, as if all of the fight has gone out of me so I decide to just let him.
As we lay in bed we just talked and talkedand suddenly Rich kissed me, not a full on kiss, a tentative kiss as if he was waiting for me to smash him in the face! But do you know what it told me so much: of how much he has missed me; and how much he has wanted to do that, and it tells me he is afraid of me. I kissed him back because I was too exhausted to feel angry.
We then started to kiss passionately and was clear that Rich had an erection; but I just can’t do it, I can’t have sex with him. I have worked too hard to get my self-respect back and I am not giving myself away again that easily.
I pushed Rich away and started to cry, I cannot do it and he understood.
I think for the first time in a long time we both slept.
In the day
In the night
Say it right
Say it all
You either got it
Or you don’t
You either stand or you fall
When your will is broken
When it slips from your hand
When there’s no time for joking
There’s a hole in the plan
Oh, you don’t mean nothing at all to me
No, you don’t mean nothing at all to me
But you got what it takes to set me free
Oh, you could mean everything to me
Say It Right –Nelly Furtado
Written by Nelly Furtado, Nate Hills, Timothy Mosley