Having recently posted about my travels with BFJ, (Best Friend J) I was reminded of our single days, & how we viewed the couples we met.
Our Fate was still to overtake us, & we went to a lot of parties, & sporting events, involving married, or almost married, couples.
It was so interesting to study these couples, & watch the play of their relationships. There was one couple known as "The Happy Couple". They were deemed to be the perfect couple, by all their friends. They were not Mr & Mrs Raving Handsome or Beautiful. In fact they were rather the opposite, & Mr & Mrs
"Look at her!" we would say. "How could anyone choose to marry her!"
Then we would add, "Yes, but look at him, who would want him!" We would conclude that they perhaps were the perfect match, after all.
Mr & Mrs Happy Couple seemed the most boring people we knew. Imagine our surprise when they later split up, Mrs running off with some stranger, & the Mr having wild affairs with anything that moved!
Then there was the Alcoholic Couple, who lived from drink to drink. The wife, I will call Stevie, was never without a cigarette hanging from her drunken mouth, ash would cascade down the front of her clothes, her red eyes often filled with tears over some imagined, or perhaps real, cause for sadness. Her face would melt & sag as her drunkenness progressed, & she seemed the ulimate warning of what could happen if alcohol got you into it's clutches. He, Jimmy, held down a job, I am not sure what it was, but he seemed to earn enough to feed their enormous appetite for the hops, or the whisky. They lived in a rented flat, above some shops, in a main street, & would hold noisy drunken parties, at the weekend, when no shops were open. Bear in mind, this was in the days before Sunday Trading, or even full Saturdays, in New Zealand. It is true, it used to be 'closed for the weekend', back in those distant days.
Stevie was actually a rather gifted dressmaker, & she would make herself some nice outfits for various social outings. The fact that they usually ended up beer stained, & perhaps cigarette burnt didn't seem to stop her from creating them.
We looked at them with a kind of shocked horror, & felt they were on a path of no redemption. However, Stevie fell in love with a very wealthy man, -or it may have been that he fell in love with her,- she left Jimmy, she married the man of money & became a reformed character of charm & taste, who was kept in a manner which it seemed should have always been her custom. I don't think she ever drank again. I don't remember what became of Jimmy.
As a teenager, I had watched in fascination, a couple who were part of the Hunting scene. They both rode in the hunts, & would always be at the after Hunt parties, & social gatherings. She was slight, fluffy & blonde, with a little girl voice. I will call her Fay. He was a large darkhaired, ruddy man, rather in the mold of George Clooney, in the facial features, so he can be George. They both rode rather large horses, & Fay looked extremely fragile on her huge horse. They had one thin, extremely unhappy, spoilt, little girl-child, who was never not whining or crying. We young ones never cared for her, & she was always on the fringe whining, poor thing.
George was insanely jealous of his fluffy wife. She was well aware of his jealousy, & she used to flirt madly with every man she could see. Including the young teenagers who were just joining the Hunt, for perhaps their first time.
George would watch her every move, & Fay would dance about in her jodhpurs & shirt, drinking all the wine she could get. George would steadily sock back the whiskies. Assembled friends would try to intervene. They all knew what was coming.
It was like some ritual dance they did, which always followed the same pattern. George would finally snap, rush over & grab Fay by the arm, & sometimes by the hair. He would drag her off to the car, the poor little crying child slipping along behind. George would roar off in the car, with a laughing defiant Fay sitting in the front seat, taunting him.
There would be reports of Fay's black eyes. Her bruised arms. It seems extraordinary now, to realise that everyone knew what went on, but no one did anything to intervene.
From the distance of time & perhaps wisdom, I can see why some felt Fay got what she deserved. She knew what the result was going to be, if she behaved in such a way, flaunting her body, & thrusting herself at every man she caught. She knew that George was jealous, & that she was driving him crazy with her actions. It seemed, from my young vantage point, that she loved the effect she had on George.
It was almost as if Fay despised herself to such an extent that she would drive George to punish her, & perhaps she felt she deserved it. Why else would she have deliberately provoked it week after week. Why did George attend such gatherings, where he must have known as well as Fay did, what the outcome would be.
I do believe she finally left him. I often think about the poor child, & wonder what became of her. Would she choose a man like her father?
Who can say what dynamics drive relationships?
Gom does some very odd things, which leave me either stressed or angry.
One such action, is taking silly risks with ladders, & flimsy fence tops. I plead with him not to be so foolish. He then asks me to fetch him this or that.
I have learnt the best way to deal with this is to come inside, & just pretend it is not happening. Then, when he accuses me of leaving him- "What if I fell?" "What if I had an accident?"
I calmly reply, I would deal with it if & when, & I dont need the added stress of worrying about what if!
Randy Crawford, One Day I'll Fly Away.