MY JOURNEY TO LESBIANISM
It’s a horrible feeling to be betrayed by someone you thought you could completely trust. When I caught my husband…but I’m running ahead of myself.
I’m Lizz, formerly Mrs Brian. Brian and I met when we were both 23, and on the rebound from other relationships. We married at 25, and spent 13 years together, as far as I knew happy and in love. Of course we irritated each other at times, what couple doesn’t, and we had rows, but I assumed we were, well, at least comfortable with our marriage. His teaching career prospered, my Civil Service career rather stalled; shortly after I met him I had an opportunity to join a fast-track scheme that night have seen me shoot up the ladder, but I turned it down because I thought it was more important to be supportive to my then fiancé. We never had children — we were both a bit diffident about the idea, and although we made a few token efforts it never really took. Perhaps if we had, things would have turned out differently. Probably not. Well, anyway.
I started to suspect something at a party we went to, thrown by friends. One of the women at the party was a decorator who’d done some work at our house a few months earlier. I’d got on well with her at the time. Naturally we chatted with her, and she and brian seemed to have a sort of sparky humour between them. There were also tiny glances between them that I picked up, the sort of momentary look you give someone when you want to share a secret with them, but you can’t because someone else is there. Later, I went to look for him because I was ready to leave, and I saw them standing in a little house, holding each other’s hands, their heads very close as they talked quietly. They didn’t see me. Brian broke away — reluctantly it seemed to me — and I scuttled away to let him find me.
When we got home, he could tell there was something wrong, and asked me what it was. I shrugged, and asked, “How long has it been going on?” You and lydiah?” He dredged up a bewildered look, and pretended he had no idea what I meant. That angered me. “Oh come on brian, I’m not a complete fool. I saw the looks between you. And I saw you in the house opp ours. Please at least show me enough respect to be honest with me.”
The look on his face at that comment made me wonder what I might have seen if I’d got to that house a few minutes earlier. But he sank into a chair, gave me an earnest look, and said, “Lizz, I’m sorry. I’ll end it, I promise. I know it’s a terrible cliché, but it doesn’t mean anything to me, I don’t know why I let her start it. I love you sweetheart, you know that.” I spent a couple of nights in the spare room, thinking about the position. Then he told me he’d finished it with Lydiah, and, well, we ended up making love that night, for the first time in weeks. I lay awake for hours afterwards though, wondering if I could ever really trust him again.
A few nights later I found out. On Mondays brian went to a regular pub along 44 road with a number of work colleagues. He’d originally asked me to be a member of the team but I’m not into booze — as far as I’m concerned I get asked quite enough stupid questions at work which make me really high. Normally he took a taxi home, so he could drink, but that night I decided to go and pick him up. God knows why I chose that night, maybe I felt guilty about not having faith in him, or perhaps it was my subconscious talking to me. Whatever; anyway, I turned up at the pub, and there were the team, sitting laughing and boozing, except that one chair was empty. When they saw me they immediately went quiet and a bit shifty, and I knew something was up. I asked where brian was, and one of the guys, probably a bit too pissed to be sensible, said, “He’s just gone out the back for a moment.” Then he winced as another one kicked him under the table. He called to my retreating back, “Lizzy, hang on, I meant he’s out the back at the loo”
I had trouble driving home. At one point I shot a red light and had to pull over to calm down, swiping angry tears from my face, before I finished the journey slowly and carefully. He arrived home about 20 minutes later, and his friends had clearly told him I’d rushed back through the pub and screamed that they were bastards. He stood across the room to me, shrugged, and said simply, “liz, I’m sorry.”
I clenched my hands, determined not to cry. I replied, “For what? For lying to me and not really breaking it off? Or about me finding out?”
He stepped closer to me and reached a hand out to me. Then he spoke to me as if I was a petulant child — I always used to hate it when he patronised me like that. “Look, we’re both a bit overwrought tonight. Let’s just go to bed, and we can talk about this tomorrow, when we’re less tired.”
I stared at him in total disbelief. Then I hurled myself at him, fists flailing, and screaming, “You fucking, fucking bastard, how dare you!” I think the suddenness of my attack caught him off-guard, and he staggered back. I saw a trickle of blood from his lower lip, and realised I’d really connected. He looked furious for a moment, then turned on his heel and strode out of the room.
The next morning he tried to speak to me, but I’d locked the door to the spare room. I waited until he’d left for job, then threw as many clothes as I could into our biggest suitcase, phoned in sick to work and wheeled the case down to the nearest shop. The house belonged to brian, inherited from his grandparents, so there was no question of him moving out. It was as I was in a bus along thika rd, wondering which stop I was getting off at, that I realised I didn’t have the slightest idea where I was going to sleep that night. I went to a guest house past rosters,I thought it would do for a night or two until I sorted myself out. After I’d checked in I stood and stared at myself in the full length mirror on the wall in my room. So this was me — 38, pale, shoulder-length hair a bit bedraggled from the drizzle which had been falling outside, at least half a stone overweight, separated — permanently — from my cheating shit of a husband — and homeless. I’m five-feet-four, with boobs that strain a B-cup and wide hips, and any amount of extra weight looks terrible on me. I hadn’t been to a gym for about three years, but I decided that was one of the first things that was going to change.
The next few days were some of the worst of my life. With no cooking facilities I was eating at homelands for my supper, and the guest room was tiny and a bit smelly, with nothing to sit on but the bed.
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