The story of my misfortunes 2
Let's see if I can do this...
The counter offer I made was accepted but I was being told by those who spoke to us both that she was saying I couldn't afford it. Quite how she was supposed to know my finances is not clear. She couldn't add up two cups of tea. I could and did.
I had done the household accounts for years, giving her the money and she paid the bills because everything was in her name. It was childishly trusting of me.
When we split I refused to go on bailing her out as I had in the past. She would be hundreds of pounds short at the end of the month though we were paid well and the mortgage was low. But she had lots of nice clothes. In that year she borrowed money. (Sometimes I would be sitting quietly upstairs writing, as is my way on my own, and she'd crash in, call out asking if I was in – to which I rarely made reply after she insulted me as a matter of course – and went on the phone to sister or friends, telling them, and me, many things I would not have known.
It was tempting to say I had heard; but I never did; and she never seems to have suspected. It was childishly trusting of her.
Other times, she would phone me up and moan about money and how I was costing her money, how I had always cheated her. If I didn't answer she would just keep ringing. It was an oldfashioned phone you couldn't switch off. Her daughter, who was as barking as she, by this time would phone every 15 minutes in the middle of the night some times. It's strange what you can get used to.
The daughter had been looking for free lodgings. Our break up threatened to wreck that.
The daughter turned up one day with a bloke I'd never seen in toe to get some stuff, unquote. Inside the house she announced “this is my house”. I said not in law it wasn't and she said “fuck the law” and that she was coming back with ten people to stay and party. She went away and I have never seen her since though I believe she has been in the house since.
And her son... Both the kids had left home. Early on in the breakup she told me, as she often did, that everyone agreed with her, no one liked me and so on. Even her son didnt like me now, she said.
I checked that out and we spent the evening in the pub, he and I.
I don't know what he got out of it. I wasn't in a good frame of mind; but he was a kind-hearted person. We were going to meet again.
A few days later, she told me again that no one liked me, including her son. Foolishly, I let slip that I had seen him and a look that would sink a thousand ships went across her face. She put a stop to that.
She was a powerful person.
Therapy cost her. Solicitors cost her. But she needed them for fantasy. She had done marriage and when I first knew her she would begin sentences “when I had my breakdown”. Then she did divorce and introduced herself as a single parent. Now she had moved on to being a battered woman. That no one had battered her was a small point which she made up for by invention. She wanted a full life.
I should also say that she was intelligent, funny... and attractive. Very attractive. Just self-centered, rapacious and barking.
It turned out that she was inviting herself to see or stay with various people I knew to some extent and telling them the story of her sufferings at my hands. Somehow she managed to get them to say nothing to me. The gist of it, that I know, was that I could not handle her leaving me and she was kind of desperate to be free of my clutches
Meanwhile, I was asking her why we couldn't settle and complete the separation
Occasionally, there would be a gleeful phone call saying “I have just spent the weekend with NAME and now they know all about you.
She would yell at anyone thinking of booking me to read, tell them my supposed crimes and demand that poets stand up for battered women.
And so we trundled along.
In the summer of 1992, she got wind that I was not in the house. I heard later that she rang someone she thought would know where I was and said “No water has come out of the waste pipe for three days” and he later reflected what that piece of knowledge indicated of her state of mind. I had locked the front door so that it could not be opened from outside and put a new lock on the garden door to enable me to leave that way.
She later complained I had changed the lock. There never had been a lock there; but she was that inattentive.
He told her he knew I was away and not in the house. She seems to have got out of him that I was not alone and that knowledge and the jealousy it seems to have induced pushed her over an edge. She rang the police and said she feared that in my grief at her leaving me I must have killed myself.
They broke in and of course did not find me. She knew they would not. But it was a new experience for her at public expense.
They left her there.
I had left a pile of clean clothes on the ironing board, ready for my first week's teaching. She rearranged them much more neatly than I had made them, with little pieces of the glass from the police break in, folded in among each item. Two of my suits she stained with tea and threw in the dustbin. She poured oil and sauces over the kitchen counter with a note saying “This is dirty. Clean it up.” It was in the form of a memorandum: From, with initials; to, with my initials.
I came back to that from a week away.
I went to work the next morning from where I phoned her and demanded she arrange for a glazier to fix the window. To my astonishment, she did.
The harassment continued.
I tried to take on the mortgage and increase it to cover what I was going to pay. A form was sent to her because the mortgage was in her name.
She rang them up and said that we had changed our minds. She did not tell me. She complained that I did not seem to be doing anything to raise the money. I wasn't serious.
When I chased the company and they told me, I assured the company that I was serious and wanted the money. A form was sent to her. She scrawled across it, “my name is” and her name, but nothing else. It was not a signed agreement; more a baby's self-expression.
The company basically told me to go to hell after that.
Imagine a few more examples like that.
Then I got a personal financial advisor or some such and she arranged a mortgage about 50 miles away. That company wrote to me at work and to my solicitor. My solicitor assured her solicitor that I had a mortgage but would not say where.
She wasn't having that. She didn't believe it. Et cetera.
By now the people who were putting her up had clearly had enough. She was up in the middle of the night, banging on the window at me when I went in or out, if I didn't do it very quietly, and yelling down the phone if I made the mistake of answering her calls – no caller ID then.
I also had her sister and various of her hangers on telling me over the phone to be reasonable.
I'll skip quite a bit.
Comes a night she is asked to leave her shelter within days and faces selling the house a few weeks later. She can hardly come back, though in law she had the right; she had to stick with her story of mortal terror.
It occurred to me later that she had left home at 19 to get married and had never actually kept house on her own. By now, the man she had arranged to substitute for me, as she had once substituted me for her husband, had largely given up on her.
A phone call to her sister had given me the information that she and he were in his car one night when his wife appeared and lay on the road in front, rolling around, screaming Come back to me! Leave that protestant whore.
Of course she may have been inventing that.
Otherwise that convincing argument won him over.
So she was more or less alone and possibly terrified.
She turned up at the door and said “I have come to tell you how evil you are.”
I had been told not to refuse her entry.
She did the evil routine for a while while I asked her to go away and then she changed utterly and said it was such a pity after so much time together to end that way. She hoped we could be friends. She was so happy that I quote found someone new. That had been the problem. I shouldn't be alone; no one should. Perhaps now I could forget her.
I assured her that I wanted to forget her and maybe if she just went away I would manage it.
She invited me upstairs for old times' sake. Unquote.
It only occurred to me later that this was to provide evidence of rape. At the time I found her so repulsive, overwhelmingly so, that I pushed her away. Again and again for a very long time. I left the kitchen and went into the dining room. She tried to barge in.
That went on.
It went quiet. I worried she was going to try to lay claim to the house. I came out. She reappeared like Alien.
At some point we were in the living room and she's just chanting evil evil...
Then if I didn't do exactly as she wanted then she would tell the police I had beaten her up...
I suspect that this was to intimidate me. She knew I did not think highly of the police, shall we say, and it offended her Surrey suburban sensibilities.
The threat struck me as outrageous.
I did not know that she had been popping round to the local copshop for around 5 years telling them I beat her up but no she couldnt face me being prosecuted. Well, it helped her pass the time in between telling me how much she loved me. Assuming it is true she she had been doing that.
So I said go to hell.
She grabbed her stomach and said Oh dear, he's hit me. Oh – and fell on the floor. I stepped over her and went into the dining room to update the diary of these events that I had been keeping.
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