|Overcoming the Law of Straightness
Author: MrsD PM
When 23 year old Kate Howard's husband announces that he is leaving her to 'find himself' it seems as if her world has fallen apart. But could it be that, rather than being the disaster she thought it was, losing Dan might actually open a door to a whole new world? Join the hard-working mother of two on her journey through life, love and a catalogue of random events.Rated: Fiction T - English - Family/Romance - Chapters: 2 - Words: 1,739 - Published: 06-24-12 - id: 3035511
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So it was that – in a few short moments, I went from being a happy housewife and mother, to being another statistic – a single parent, and a broken home.
Friends and family rallied round – Dan appeared to have vanished from the face of the earth, but within 6 months, I was forced to sell the house. Once my savings were gone, with only my childcare-friendly part time work to support us, I had no way of affording the mortgage repayments, and the building society threatened repossession.
With the small amount of money released from the sale, I paid off my debts and reluctantly moved my little family into the first council house we were offered.
At this point, I must stress that I am no snob, but God help me, those 18 months opened my eyes! It wasn't quite the 'knives and needles' area I had been afraid of, but it certainly wasn't my neat suburban terrace.
The house, a 2 bedroom semi, was bearable, and I could just about afford the rent on 30 hours waitressing a week, thanks to helpful babysitting friends and relatives.
However, the neighbours were another matter entirely. A tour of Nightingale Close (we never saw or heard a nightingale!) took in the following attractions –
Number 2 – Claire – peroxide blonde party girl. It took me, in my total ignorance , 6 months to work out that she was not 'popular' – the stream of 'visitors' were clients, and that she was, in fact, a bona fide hooker. She was friendly enough, always saying hello across the front lawn whilst going to the post-box in her black negligee (yeah, I should have suspected sooner!)I was always wary of getting too friendly in case she tried to 'recruit' me!
Number 4 – Scary Mary. Indeterminate age, permanently pregnant, with, at any one point, up to 8 children at home (the eldest of which was generally pregnant as well) Only ever seen in grey towelling dressing gown or pink velour tracksuit. Children's names were never ascertained, but seemed to include 'y'bastard' and y'lazy fecker'. I was petrified of her, having made eye contact with her once, earning me the response of 'What you gawping at, yer snotty bitch!'
Number 6 – Iris and Bill. Sweet, batty elderly couple next door who used to bring me unidentifiable baked produce, including the infamous 'chocolate chip and broccoli muffins'
Number 8 – us. Me, by now 24, exhausted, permanently worried about money, and a little bit tougher than I ever wished to be, running around after a hyperactive 3 year old and his quiet, contemplative brother – wondering if their father would ever return. To make up for our far from ideal surroundings, I embraced the life of the obsessive compulsive and kept our little house spotless and orderly. "A place for everything and everything in its place" my Grandma used to say. It became my mantra. The continuous cleaning, tidying and organising helped control the underlying panic I felt at the uncertainty in our lives - but I was physically and emotionally shattered.
Number 10 – various. The doomed house. Nobody ever stayed there longer than a few months. Three of the four tenants absconded during the night owing rent. I am not responsible for this.
Number 12 – The Reilly's. Large, loud Irish parent and four seemingly identical, loud ginger children, whose favourite past-times included
• Swearing at strangers. I believe it was an actual game with proper rules and points. From what I gleaned, the word 'cock' scored 15 points, whereas the word 'arse' scored only 10.
• Peeing up against walls (boys only, for obvious physical reasons)
• A ball game called 'Kerby', which involved standing on either side of the road, bouncing a ball against the kerb, apparently trying to hit passing cars whilst swearing and spitting at each other.
• Hitting things with sticks (fences, cars, each other)
One or more of the children were generally returned home in a police car most weekends (cheaper than taxis, I guess)
Finally, at Number 14 – Rob and Mrs Rob. So called because they robbed things. During the day, vans would turn up outside the house; boxes would be ferried inside, and other boxes would be brought back out and loaded into the vans. Sometimes the police would arrive, however, miraculously, whatever time they turned up at, there were neither vans nor boxes, and Rob would have been conveniently working on his car all day with a dozen witnesses. I have no idea how this worked, but they had several holidays, and Mrs Rob definitely had a boob job whilst I was living there.
So, that was it – where we lived. I worked, I paid the bills, I worked a bit more, and we survived. The boys grew and I adored them nearly all the time.
After a year in our new home, I received a thick brown envelope from a solicitor asking me to sign divorce paperwork on the grounds of 'irreconcilable differences'. The envelope also contained a hastily scribbled note from the man himself. It transpired that Dan did, after all, wish to be married – sadly just not to me. Whilst travelling and 'finding himself' what he had actually found was a blonde Swede called Inge who was his soul mate, and whilst he apologised for not having enough money to help support his sons, he was sure I would understand. He didn't apologise for not having the balls to tell me to my face.
So that was it. It was truly over. I suddenly realised that, somewhere in the back of my mind, I had honestly thought he would come back, that he would see that he had made a horrible mistake and we were destined to be together forever. Dan - the man I had adored since I was 16, who had taught me how to laugh, love and drink beer from the bottle, did not want me any more. More to the point, he didn't want our sons.
I saw no point in contesting. I signed the forms, picked up the wreckage of my life and carried on.