Chapter 11 : The Wish
This week I went to church with my mum again. I didn’t think he would even go this week knowing that my mum would be there, but I know that if he did choose to turn up, he wouldn’t approach us if I was there. The police have not contacted him yet. They are collating information first. They have statements to collect from two important people. One is Super Ex, and the other is Jackie. Super Ex can confirm that this is by no means a story that I have plucked out of the air during this visit, and also testify to the effect it has had on my life and our relationship. Jackie was my closest friend when I was in the RAF. She was the person that convinced me to confront him 20 years ago, and looked after my baby son when I made a long call to him from her house. I told him how he had affected me up to that point, thinking at the time that it couldn't actually get any worse. I believed that it may help telling him, and also voicing my fears that he may have done it to someone else. (He assured me that he hadn't, but I will never really know.). It did for a while, but it didn't last, and as time went on, and more of my life was affected, the relief from the initial call wore off.
Mum is so angry and upset, that even if he does try to apologies, as he said he would, she isn't ready to hear it yet. He also said his wife knew, but I’m not sure I believe that now. The word on the street; and I mean that literally, not figuratively – like I said, a small community, but word is, she can’t know. She really wouldn’t still act like all is well would she? Would she be able to look my mum in the eye all these years, hold on to her arm to steady herself when walking if she knew what her husband had done? Most people say she can’t, if she did, then surely she would stay away… but then most people wouldn’t stay and forgive their husband if he admitted that to them would they?
I know she has been with him a long time, I know they have children and grandchildren, and I know that the thought of loneliness must have been a big factor in her decision to stay, but I have been lonely. It’s usually been through choice though as it is easier for me than having a man in my home or my bed that makes my heart heavy. Loneliness is the least of the two evils, and even though there are some times in life that all I want is a big hug and a cuddle, I have my friends and family that fill the void. Relationships that don’t last are easier. If there are little feelings involved, then I feel under no obligation to do my duty as a woman, but when there are feelings, I feel like I should, then the pressure becomes too much, and the relationship becomes difficult. She’s had it easy hasn’t she? Took the easy way out? Forgive him… easier than starting again and explaining why when you’re in your twilight years I guess.
Anyway, as it happens, but unsurprisingly, he didn’t show up. Again, I feel good that he has the decency to stay away whilst I am home. He can have his Wednesday service, as long as my mum keeps her Sunday. I wonder if he will still go when the police have finished their investigation. I wonder if he will make it easy for everyone and admit it. After saying it out loud to me on so many occasions that he is sorry, after coming clean to the ball and chain, I wonder if he will have the courage to admit what he did and risk swapping her for another ball and chain? I have been told that due to his age and health, a custodial sentence would be unlikely, even if we are successful in the prosecution, but I don’t mind. It isn't about him going to jail now. I don’t even think that it would do anyone any good. Just admitting it, and taking responsibility for the damage he has done is enough for now, and then maybe if, and god forbid there are, but should there be anyone else who has suffered at his hands, they will be able to come forward, knowing that they would be taken seriously. He did piano lessons, that makes me sad, and makes me worry, but one step at a time, lets deal with this stage first, and then we can deal with anyone else that needs help.
I think my dad worries that he will be in church too, not just my mum. He worries about how we will feel running in to him I would imagine. He doesn’t say, but you can see it in his face. That’s another reason I go, not just for mum, but for dad too.
When we returned, we had the Sunday roast. There is nothing in the world that beats a home cooked, and mostly home grown Sunday dinner. It is comforting, we eat together, we talk, we laugh, and we share. It is a tradition that all families should partake in, it should be every week, at the table, not on a tray, and no TV on in the background. Talk, and really listen!!
This week, it was roast chicken, and with the chicken comes the wish bone. When dishing up the dinner, my mum had given me the wish bone. I don’t know if it was intentional, I didn’t ask as it didn’t seem important, but pulling it is. As my dad was sat next to me, I asked if he would like to pull it with me. Of course he agreed, I mean who wouldn’t want the chance of a wish coming true!
So, we closed our eyes, and made a wish. I won.
I said to dad, “I bet we wished for the same thing”, he nodded, and said “I’m sure we did darling”, to which I replied, “Good, because I wished that the tree behind our garden would get hit by lightning.”
That tree is the bain of their life. It is my dad’s biggest regret. It was once on waste land, and was a very small tree, but as they say, ‘from small acorns grow mighty oaks’, and this one is now mighty as hell. It blocks out all of the light in the garden when the leaves come, the garden doesn’t thrive, and the house is darker than it should be, but now it isn't on wasteland, it is now someone’s garden, and they won’t cut it down because the ‘the misses likes it’, how selfish is that??? It doesn’t block their sun due to the position; she can’t even see most of it due to the height. Some people are just wicked, and very self-involved.
Everyone laughed, and then agreed that it was a good job that I had won the wish, as he would have totally wasted it. We didn’t need a wish to get through this, we were already doing that.
We are already stronger than ever, closer than ever, and for the first time in nearly 30 years, I am happy to be here, and not looking for any excuse, however flimsy, to leave and go as far away as possible.
I have just spent two days away, and I missed it, but mostly them. Not having secrets from them, and being able to be open and honest with them has been so liberating. I should have done this years ago.