Mr M and I had had an interesting relationship – not interesting in an exciting way, but interesting in that we were both very young when we met – just 18 and in that sense we were both growing up and finding out who we were.
When you go to uni you have a chance to completely reinvent yourself, to become the person you’ve always dreamt of being, after all no one knows who you are. You can tell people anything and they have absolutely no way of proving you wrong – you only have your conscience to answer to.
Most people are happy enough with their lot to embellish only a few things – I for example was desperate for people to believe that I was far cleverer, cooler and sophisticated than I really was (this didn’t last long – I couldn’t keep my inner geek down). Other people embraced drugs, weird music or sports in an effort to leave their old selves behind.
Mr M went for total reinvention. I hesitate to write this because I actually think it reflects quite badly on me – you see Mr M felt the need to fib about his family background, his life and even his A level results to impress me. He told me that his mum was an A Level English Teacher, his dad was a stock broker, that he got As and Bs in his A levels, he lived in a grand house and frequented posh places.
He was fairly charming and as I’ve said before I was flattered by the attention. He hooked me in with stories and the fact that I could bend him to my will. But as we got to know each other cracks started to show in his stories. Shortly before I was to visit his family for the first time he had a kind of break down and came clean. His mum worked with children with special needs, his dad was an accountant and his lifestyle really wasn’t as grand (I didn’t find out about the A level results until later). That first visit we stayed with is grandma because he was still too embarrassed to take me to his parents home - I found out later he lived in a bungalow - why he should be ashamed of that I have no idea - after all he was from norfolk where most people live in bungalows!
I was shocked that he’d felt the need to lie to me – especially about his parent’s jobs – what on earth is wrong with helping kids with special needs? We argued and I felt betrayed, but I didn’t leave. I felt sorry for him. I thought it was sad that here was a person so embarrassed and ashamed of who he was and his background that he’d thought he needed to invent a whole new one.
I told him he didn’t ever need to lie to me and that being honest is one of the most important things you can do in a relationship. I made him promise never to lie to me again and reassured him that I would always be totally honest with him. A promise, that, I’m sorry to say I didn’t keep.
Once we were back at Hull it didn’t take long for things to take a turn for the worse. Mr M arrived back from inter semester break and I offered to help him unload his stuff from the car. He’d been quite convivial but on my third trip back from his beloved Fiat Punto laden with boxes he suddenly seemed really agitated.
“Are you seeing someone else,” he demanded.
My heart started racing and my stomach turned over. I put the box down and said casually, “No”, and then laughed weakly – why is it that you always laugh when you’re nervous even though it’s totally inappropriate?
“Don’t lie to me, I know you are, you’re seeing Mr Jones”
Oh, god, my brain went into overdrive, what was I supposed to say? How did he know? What should I do? I stood dumbfounded while he seethed with anger in front of me.
“I know something’s going on because I just read your text messages”
I was torn – terrified that my secret had been found out and enraged that he’d invaded my privacy and been through my messages. I racked my brains trying to remember just what texts were there and what they’d said, wondering if there was anyway I could talk my way out of this.
Then I remembered, I’d kept a treasured message from Mr Jones that read “I miss waking up with you”. Every time I read it I got a warm feeling in my stomach as I remembered our lazy days together. But it was my undoing – there was no going back now.
“How dare you check my phone?” I shouted.
“How dare you lie to me – how long has this been going on” he spat back
I took a deep breath and explained that Mr Jones had had absolutely nothing to do with my decision to end our relationship. I told him I’d known that it had been over for a while but that the kiss with Mr Jones at New Year had just confirmed it. I tried to make him understand that nothing more than one kiss had happened before we’d split up. That I hadn’t been cheating on him and that I understood that he’d find it hard to accept that I’d found someone new.
He stood and listened, a look of disbelief on his face. All he could say was “I can’t believe you’ve lied to me”. It was the lie that hit him hardest – he seemed more upset now than he had when I told him I didn’t want to be with him anymore. The guilt churned up my stomach.
“Everyone said there would be someone else, but I always said that you wouldn’t do that to me – you wouldn’t lie – now I look like an idiot because they were right and you’re a liar – you of all people are a liar. Does Miss B know?” he demanded.
“No,” I said. “And it’s not your place to tell her”
“Oh don’t worry I won’t – she should hear it from you two not from me,” and with that he turned and left.
I retrieved my phone and sent Mr Jones a text – “Mr M knows!”
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