1994: In which she chucks her man and finds her feet
And so we come quite neatly to the subject of David, which I cannot avoid although I’ve been trying like hell to think of a way. It’s hard to talk about, because those were difficult days and I know they weren’t my most shining moments.
We must go back a few weeks to when I first found out. As I said, David wasn’t with me when I found out I was pregnant. When I gave him the news over the phone, I told him I’d be breaking the news to my parents that night, and that he should do the same.
Soon after that, a meeting was arranged between his mother and my parents. We were all going to sit down together and discuss The Situation. Nobody was looking forward to it. Everybody was stressed out and distracted, and nobody was thinking clearly. It’s no surprise, then, that things went so wrong that night. A comedy of errors, you might call it, if you were feeling jovial and didn’t mind being coshed over the head with an ornamental table lamp.
What happened was this. You see, they thought we were meeting at our house, and we thought we were meeting at theirs. So while they were waiting in the car outside our house, we were waiting in the car outside theirs. Their house was in darkness, so obviously nobody was at home, unless they were hiding behind the couch. The thought did cross my mind. It soon became clear that they weren’t coming back –nobody wanted to say it, but we were all thinking they’d made a duck. We drove home in silence. I sat in the back seat and entertained evil thoughts. I was furious with David. I thought he’d let me down on purpose, and I hated him for making me look stupid.
Imagine our embarrassment when we arrived home to find them sitting in their car outside our house. Somehow we’d gotten our wires crossed, each thinking the other lot were a bunch of inconsiderate twits, spineless jellyfish who couldn’t or wouldn’t keep a simple appointment. There was some awkward small talk about the amusing mistake, with fake-jolly comments along the lines of “Ho, ho, some miscommunication there, somewhere.” And then much glaring at the other side because of course, we didn’t miscommunicate anything – no, it must have been them. We said we’d meet at their place, you know. It was all arranged.
This sort of thing never happens in real life. Just as you’re starting to think you had the date or time wrong, your friend or your train or your interviewer will saunter up nonchalantly as if you hadn’t been waiting forty minutes at all. And you still don’t know, do you, if they were late or you were early. And you never will. However, this time it did happen, and it happened in real life.
We all sat down in the lounge drinking the terrible, weak coffee I’d made, and the adults spoke about what was to be done. There was no overt unpleasantness, but if looks could kill, determining who dunnit would have proved a forensic challenge, what with all those tiny daggers sticking out of everybody’s backs.
We spoke about The Plan and they said they’d do their bit. Dad said he wasn’t concerned about What People Would Say, he and Mom just wanted the best for me. My father, the hero. I wonder whether he knows how proudly I remember this. It meant a lot to hear him say it. In the end, not much was resolved that night at all. It was just a preliminary meeting in a spirit of general politeness and saying the correct things. A meeting to discuss the possibility of future meetings.
Then they went home and we sat and drank more coffee and spoke about how that wasn’t so bad, how it could have been worse, and aren’t they a bunch of wallies for going to the wrong house? I’m quite sure they sat in their lounge saying exactly the same things about us. Comedy of errors, see?
So David and I were still together, after a fashion. I found myself increasingly irritated by him, by his crying and his need for support and direction and his “yes-man” personality. He said the things I wanted to hear, but with no idea of the implications. People have said he was too young; he wasn’t ready for the responsibility. People have told me I shouldn’t be too hard on him.
Fine, then. Maybe he wasn’t ready and maybe he was too young. But how does that explain me? I was four years younger and I was doing okay. As scared as I was, I was taking responsibility for my child and our future. If I could do it, surely so could he? But, then again, I do have that mule-headed resolve you can bounce rocks off. Maybe I was expecting too much from him. I don’t know. I just don’t have an answer for that one.
Our relationship hobbled along on two broken legs for a few more weeks, but I knew it wouldn’t last. I needed support, somebody to lean on, and I knew he couldn’t give me that. We broke up. It was difficult and I felt guilty and mean. Hormones being the way they were, I may have been a bit nasty to him. Everybody seemed to think I was punishing him. He may have thought so, too. My friends were angry with me for breaking up with him. They thought I was cruel and unfair. But I still think it was the only thing I could have done.