Part 7 – Family, Friends And Affairs.

Saturdays were usually days running around with kids. Max’s football, Jamie’s swimming and David’s guitar lessons. Occasionally I’d share the taxi service with other mums but most of the time we were pushed for time ourselves.

Picking up and dropping off and the younger two complaining about waiting in the car and not being allowed to stay at home like David, while he learned the latest riff from The Vaccines or some other indie band. They’d got used to bringing their DS’s along but you’d think it was my fault if they’d forgot to charge them.

David my eldest likes to think he’s man of the house. He does try, going round the house at night and making sure the doors and windows are locked. He even does the bins without asking, the things his dad did, not much really. He wouldn’t think of making a dinner or putting a washing on. Hopefully he’ll learn.

I know he misses his dad and puts him on a pedestal but I wonder if he remembers about the darker times when his dad lost his temper usually when he was drunk and his bitterness and resentment came to the surface. I know that David saw Andy hit me on at least one occasion. it was the time that my mum who was baby sitting called the police as he’d dragged me through the house by the hair all because some guy had spoke to me while he was at the bar.

The irony in this being that it was Andy who’d actually had an affair, Some barmaid from his club, blonde hair, big boobs and a backside to match. He swore it was meaningless, just attention and sex and that he never stopped loving me. But I’m sure that he would have felt differently if I’d been lying through my teeth just to get the odd night of fun away from home.

To be fair, most of the time he was a good dad, but his insecurities showed through when he was drinking heavily and it wasn’t the first time he’d started an argument just because some guy looked at me. Even getting himself thrown out of his favourite ACDC concert at hampden. Leaving me and the kids inside just because a guy with his wife and kids across the aisle gave me the odd glance.

I would never have cheated on him, I loved him and wouldn’t even so much as think about another man but isn’t it funny how the sinner always seems to judge you by their standards?

Of course, in a small town like ours, were there’s only one school and people still treat incomers like us as outsiders, people talk and that talk doesn’t take long before it comes home. Particularly with “friends” like Annette who’d never lived or worked anywhere else and her idea of exotic was her annual week in Benidorm.

When she’d told me that Andy was maybe up to no good, I wasn’t sure whether to confront him right away or bite my tongue and look for the signs. It didn’t take long before I noticed the small things, going out to fill the car up with petrol the night before to saving him going in the morning and it taking 20 minutes rather than 10. I even checked one morning afterwards and there was no fuel in the car. That and his mobile phone now being mysteriously locked. I even remembered the couple of nights were he came home later than usual and I wondered if he’d really just not been able to get a taxi.

Putting it altogether, it was too much just to let it go and I kicked myself for not noticing the signs sooner.

I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer and that night after the boys were in bed confronted him. Initially he denied everyting. brazen faced and lied, I asked him to show me his phone and he refused, accusing me of being paranoid. Even attempting to throw counter accusations about me even although he had no reason to doubt me. That was until I told him I was going to speak to the barmaid, his face went ashen and he confessed all, well probably all that he felt he could tell, enough to pacify but not all teh details, sobbing and crying the whole time and promising that it meant nothing.

But it was enough for me, I asked him to sleep in the spare room for a few weeks and he then moved out to his dads.

Over the 18 months, from the incident where the police where called and he was charged with assualt and until discovering the affair and its implications. I’d spoke to Lynn about leaving him at various times, both of us in tears, her telling me her doubts about Alan, she’d been a voice of reason, telling me he loved me and that he’d learned his lesson, but I wasn’t so sure.

But time heals, you delude yourself, you convince yourself that it was nothing and that he never stopped loving you. So after a month at his dads and he pleaded and begged me to let him come home. I agreed as long as we took things slowly and built trust again. He swore that it would never happen again, he even showed me that his phone was unlocked, was home early and stopped disappearing at night.

Everything seemed opkay for a few months, But the boys told me that he’d met her and her kids at the local swing park on a couple of occasions since he’d came home. They’d even told me that he’d asked them not to tell me. That did it for me as trust was gone and I couldn’t live with the feeling of deceit and I knew I had to get out of the relationship.

But that was before events overtook us and his health started to deteriorate.

If it hadn’t been for Andy taking suddenly ill and feeling duty bound to be there for him through the testing, the treatments and the major surgery which turned out to be futile then I’m sure we would have split up sooner.

Instead, we spent the August to January going through treatments and chemo, the surgery in March where they removed his lymph nodes and the majority of his esophagus, stretching his stomach through his gullet to form a replacement. They told us that he’d be on constant medication to conteract the effects of the normal digestive acids and that he would never be able to play rugby or go running again. But we took that in our stride, anything was better than nothing and all that mattered now was staying alive and being a family for the boys.

That was in January, my work were fantastic, I could take as much time off on full pay as necessary and I nursed him myself until the february, until the follow-up tests told us that there was nothing they could do and he had a month at most. Earth shattering as it was, it was hard to believe this news as apart from the after effects of the operation. He seemed to be functioning normally, even going out in the garden for a short kick-about with the boys.

But the doctors were right, by the beginning of March he was skin was yellow and jaundiced. He was visibly losing weight and became bed-bound as his system fell apart. The hospital organised pallative care with Marie-Curire, who’s nurses were fantastic and became part of the family for the final weeks.

By the middle of the March he was gone, a house full of friends and the three boys and I in bed beside him.

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