Life can so easily become a roller coaster of emotion. When my virtual world crashed into my real world it set about a chain of events from which there was no returning. I had forgotten what it was to be loved, to be wanted, to be cherished. I had forgotten how good it felt to be held and kissed and caressed. A walk in the park was a distant memory in my real life. A drive to the country side and a picnic were things stories were made of but it was happening to me, in my real life and I was loving it. It made my relationship with my partner seem even more dismal. I hated the time I had to be at home and spent most of it chatting with my lover on the phone or text or on the computer. It wasnt enough. We wanted to be together.
Christmas that first year was a nightmare. We could not see each other Christmas eve or Christmas Day due to family and friends. My partner was drunk by 8pm and I was very unhappy and depressed.
"I need to see you" I told him in a hushed phone call
"How" he replied
"I have the keys to my neighbours house. She is away on holiday, can we meet"
"Of course" he whispered "I need to be with you too"
When the house was quiet and my daughter was sleeping I crept next door and waited for him. We lay on the setee in the darkness just holding each other closely whispering words of love and desire and hopes and promises for the future.
"You have to leave" he urged me
"I know" I sighed "Dont know how my daughter will take it when she hears about us let alone when I tell her I am planning to leave and take her with me"
"She will be fine" he assured me "I will look after you both "
I believed that he would and for a while he did. Over the next couple of months I told my family about my new relationship and that we were planning on moving in together as soon as we found somewhere suitable. I told my sons and while they admitted that they knew how unhappy I had been for such a long time they thought it was a mstake to begin a new relationship so quickly. They thought it would be very difficult for my daughter to adjust to a new father figure and that I had not been with, lets call him "Jim" long enough to know him well enough to live together. Lastly I told my daughter, lets call her "Meg". She cried but I honestly think even at her young age she knew that our leaving was inevitable. Our lives were becoming consumed by alcoholism and it was time to go.
We found a house to rent fairly quickly and I introduced Jim to my family. He assured them that he loved me and would take very good care of both of us and they seemed to believe him. Meg met his daughters and grand daughter and suddenly it seemed like it was going to be ok. She got on very well with them and liked him more than I could have hoped she would. It was now time to tell my partner that we were leaving. I was not looking forward to doing that. We had been together a very long time and while we had fallen out of love with each other I never stopped caring for him. He was the man I had fallen in love with and had spent the greater part of my life with and the father of my children and while I hated his illness I would and never could hate him. I didnt want to hurt him but it had to be done. At first he didnt believe me and when he finally realised that I was serious he did as he always did, he got terribly drunk. Meggie and I left our home on a beautiful Spring morning. I was filled with hope as the car pulled up outside our new home and Jim was standing on the doorstep waiting for us with a huge smile on his face.
I think I knew within days that I had made a mistake. My sons in their youthful wisdom had been so right. It was impossible to know somebody through a few dates over a few months. I noticed the change in Jim almost instantly. The energy I had seen during the time we spent together needed to be topped up regularly with endless naps and snoozes. He started tasks that never got finished. He became quiet and withdrawn and a cloud of dispair seemed to be falling all around him. He smoked non stop even in the house which is something he said he would never do. His appetite diminished and he eventually took to bed.
"Are you ill" I asked time after time to which he would reply
I found his medication by chance one morning as I put away the laundry.
"What are these" I questioned holding out the brown pill box
"Anti depressants" He said quietly "I have been taking them on and off for a number of years"
I was shocked. I was hurt and I was very angry
"Why didnt you tell me" I asked "If you have an illness you should have told me"
"I was afraid" He sighed. "I knew if I told you, you would not come and I honestly thought I would be alright once we were together, but as you can see, I am not"
I watched in horror as the tears began to pour down his face before he buried his head into the pillow and wept silently.
I sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee. My head was spinning. What was I going to do. I had left my home and my partner because he had a problem that was out of control. Here I was with my new partner, the man I had placed all my hope in and he too was totally out of control, lying in bed crying like a baby. I had made a terrible choice and I knew it. I would have to make it work. He loved me and if I really tried I could make this work. I painted on my smile and it stayed there for the next two years while depression replaced alcohol in my life.
Many times over the course of our relationship I could not help asking myself if I was the one with the problem, the addiction an addiction to pain and when would enough ever be enough.