During the last three or so years of marriage with Brian, I was friends with Troy. He worked in the Newbury office while I worked in the Godalming office. We only talked on the phone, and getting to know him was a slow process but I was attracted to him. While on the phone with me he would say things that turned me into a liquid and I melted into the floor. I didn’t dare dream that he would be attracted to me…
We met for the first time in person at Guildford Train Station before the last visit my mother would make to England – in 2006. I had arranged for him to bring me some artisan chocolate that could only be found near his office.
Here was a man who, the more I got to know him, the more I wanted to know him. He had served in the RAF. He was a trained first-aider who had had a couple of serious experiences in saving lives. Brian measured the worth of a man by the amount of money he made. Troy’s ultimate goal was, to quote Billy Connolly, to be “windswept and interesting”. Being friends with Troy gave me an interest in living life again…
And then it all hit the fan when Mom and Louise came to visit. By this point Troy and I had expressed an interest in one another – physically. I had lost weight and was obsessed with feeling alive – something that I had lacked for so long that Mom and Louise could see a difference in my clothes (decidedly baggy) and a nervousness that Louise kept pointing to. It was difficult to keep the light of my soul, so long hidden, under wraps. Something was different. Louise made comment after comment… Brian did some checking and, although he didn’t see all the comments that had taken place between me and Troy, he saw enough to pull me aside and ask me WTF? At that point, and since my mom and sister were still in the UK, I didn’t want to put them through the gory details of the end of my relationship with Brian. So I was frog-marched downstairs to sit, as if for interrogation, in front of my mom and sister and I was made to reveal my horrific transgression. I endured it, but instead of feeling beaten, I was angry. How dare he treat me like some felon after everything he had done to me?
Unlike with DJ, Brian and I sought counselling and talked about what had gone wrong, the things he said, the things he did to hurt me, the ways in which I should have talked to him. I encouraged him to continue counselling and he did. I got counselling for myself and worked to leave my relationship with Brian on amicable terms. If I spent 10 years with him, I didn’t want it all to be for nothing. I moved out and into a miniscule flat on the other side of the village. Brian and I came to a financial settlement reasonably and quickly. If I’m honest, from a financial perspective I probably should have stuck with it to get what I was fully entitled to, but I was so keen to get away that I would have taken less.
And then I was officially alone. Troy was talking about leaving his wife, but men don’t always leave wives. I didn’t pressure Troy because I wanted to enjoy the relief of being away from Brian. Finally I made my own decisions! Without bullying from Brian nor his mother! I had a bed, a chest of drawers, a chest, a fully-stocked kitchen and some blankets. I loved the freedom of having nothing.
Although I did feel guilty for hurting Brian (by leaving), I know that it was the right decision. When I left, I felt as though the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. Although I had romantic feelings for Troy, I lived alone for a number of months and didn’t get my hopes up for a future with him. My first priority was taking care of me and getting away from Brian. I will note here that Mom was very disappointed in me for remaining in England after I divorced Brian. Mom blamed Troy but the fact was that, after three miscarriages, one laparoscopic surgery, a significant weight loss and approximately 6 or 7 prescriptions daily, I knew what I needed was some stability in order to get to grips with all the changes that had taken place. I didn’t want to go to live in the US again only to find that I might not be covered for one or more of my existing conditions. If I gave up living in England, I was unsure how I would go about coming back if I found that I was not covered by US health insurance.