Friday, 26 March 2010

Snake bite and slushes - a love story - part 6

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!”

Monday, 22 March 2010

Growth spurt

28 weeks

20 weeks

More bump pics were taken this week - and Baby J has definitely grown - I was suprised at how much in just eight weeks. I also had my 28 week scan (Mum came with me and was beside herself with excitement). We could see the heart beating and a little hand with five tiny fingers and I'm very happy to report that Baby J is growing well - he has short legs and a big tummy (just like his daddy!). I kept my eyes closed and made mum look at the floor while the sonographer measured Baby J's legs - so unless mum peeped we still don't know the sex of the baby.

We don't have to have anymore scans, which is brilliant and everything should, all being well, move ahead as normal now. Just 11 weeks to go and six more weeks of work - yay.

Back off .... please

There's something about being pregnant that suddenly makes you public property. Things that people would never dare do or say in any other circumstance seem to become permissable over night - it's very odd.

I have never in all my life been touched by so many people. Veritable strangers feel the need to stroke my stomach or pat my bump - which quite frankly is just odd. The polite ones ask if it's ok - which I suppose is better than just running over and giving me a good rub as if I was some kind of Buddha, but actually it puts me in a really awkward situation. If I say no, (which to be perfectly honest is my preferred response), that person will then feel embarrassed, so invariably I'm forced to say yes and endure the ensuing invasion of my and baby J's personal space. This happened on a shoot last week when a model I'd met only once before asked to feel my bump. The baby wasn't kicking at the time so it seemed really odd to me. I said yes because I didn't want her to feel bad - but really what was the point? If I suddenly asked her if I could rub her tummy she'd probably think I was a complete freak.

It doesn't stop with the touching either - suddenly your health, appetite and general behaviour is put on trial. I've lost count of the number of times people have commented on what I'm eating. I've been told off for not eating enough, then tutted at for eating a biscuit and warned that I'd give my baby a sweet tooth. I've had people comment on the fact that I'm eating at all "I thought you couldn't keep anything down - are you going to be seeing that again soon." Hmmmmm "I don't know - but actually I'd rather not think about being sick when I'm trying to eat - ta v much."

Then people seem to delight in telling you just how rough you look. The other day I was having what for me was a very good day. I didn't feel sick or tired, I felt somewhere nearing normal - hurrah. However according to the woman in question "I looked like I was going to be ill." When I protested and said I felt fine - she said: "No I think you're feeling sick, go and sit down."

Apparently this doesn't stop when you have the baby either - instead of invading your space they invade your baby's. Asking to pick it up for a cuddle, waving things in its little face and generally making a nuisance of themselves. I never ask to hold a baby - I wait until its mother offers me a cuddle - I want to know she's comfortable with me being in charge of her baby and I don't want her to feel that she has to hand over her child. I think I might just get a bit more stroppy with stangers and my baby - I certainly won't be handing it out willy nilly for cuddles to anyone who asks.

The moral of this rant? Do spare a thought for any pregnant women you know - if you wouldn't be happy having them rub your stomach don't ask to rub theirs, or get them to show you their belly button or demonstate whether or not they have stretch marks. It's just a bit weird! (Close friends and family feel free to rub away - but don't be surprised if I give your tummy a squeeze back).

Monday, 15 March 2010

Come Dine With Me - Episodes 4 and 5 dinners with Mr Jones and Mrs Medd

I've just realised that I forgot to tell you all about the latest Come Dine With Me installments. Two weeks ago we were treated to Dinner a la Mr Jones. Obviously this is something I enjoy regularly - especially at the moment because I am pregnant and therefore very lazy in the kitchen! But although I'm used to his cooking it was lovely to be treated to three courses and cocktails (non-alcoholic for me of course). We tucked into roasted peppers on sour dough toast, steak with cannelini beans and homemade banoffee pie. The boys washed it all down with enough mojitos to consume a bottle of rum and three bottles of wine! Mr Jones was sick and Mr Medd couldn't remember who his wife was.

This weekend was Mrs Medd's turn - we were spoilt with a delicious starter of caramelised onion and goat's cheese tart, followed by a Portugese salt cod bake and a chocolate brownie raspberry cheesecake for pudding. The portions were so so generous that we were sent home with copious amounts of left over dessert - yum. The boys managed to just get slightly tipsy this time, which meant harmony in all households the following day.

There's just one more dinner party to go before the scores are revealed - this should be amusing given the drunkness of the male contingent at pretty much every party and the inability of the girls to work the video camera.

In other news - a man came today to look at our oven, which is broken. He's coming back in a week to fit the required part. In the meantime he very kindly showed me how to remove the door of the oven to make cleaning it easier and suggested that I put the shevles in a big bucket with some washing powder. I tried my best to look appreciative and not to smack him across the back of the head with said oven shelf - cheeky git.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The countdown - 13 weeks to go

Whoooo hooo - third trimester! There are just 13 weeks to go until Baby J is due to make his appearance. This does not terrify me in the slightest - something that makes me some what of an oddity in the world of pregnant people. Ok it's going to be painful and probably long and probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life - but giving birth for me spells the end of this damn sicky feeling. It will hopefully mean that I can eat garlic again, and chicken, and spicy things and brown bread, and it means that hopefully I won't have to worry that every time I eat something just a tiny bit different that I might just see it again an hour later. After nigh on 20 weeks of feeling ill (so far) almost every single day, giving birth will come as a welcome relief - and best of all I get to be a mummy at the end of it.

Baby J is apparently 24 cm long from crown to bottom, 34cm if you uncurl his legs, weighs approximately 2lbs, can open his eyes, suck his thumb and dream. He kicks a lot and has what I have discovered is hiccoughs every now and again (yesterday I thought he/she was having a fit there was that much flayling about going on - but a bit of hypochonria induced googling has led me to the conclusion that it was just hiccoughs - phew!)

Baby J can also hear us talking. I keep trying to coerce Mr Jones into reading stories to the bump or at least engaging it in conversation but he steadfastly refuses to say anything other than "hiya" in an incredibly gay voice. Hmmm. I of course prattle on to it all the time - happy to have a captive audience for my usually internal monologue. Suffice to say it'll probably pop out and tell me to shut it.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Snake bite and slushes - a love story - part 5

One of the great things about Hull University is inter-semester break. A lovely period of one or two weeks in between exams and the spring/summer term. Luckily for me I only had one more exam to get through before I could run away from Mr M and head for the safety of home for almost two weeks.

We spent the next few days tip toeing around each other. We moved Mr M into the spare room – thank god for two bedrooms! We had endless conversations in which Mr M tried to convince me that our relationship was worth saving and I tried desperately to memorise line after line of romantic poetry for my English exam.

But before long I was on the train home, winding my way back to Mum and Dad and relative safety. It was good to escape. I drowned my sorrows in the pub with Mum and Dad and one Sunday afternoon was so merry that I found myself behind the bar in an afro wig singing a Supreme’s Medley – to the amusement of half the village.

Mr Jones at this time was back at home dealing with the reality of Miss B. I had no idea what was happening until he text me to say that he’d ended it. I was excited, but at the same time filled with guilt. She was my friend and her relationship was over – and in some part that was down to me.

The next day I received a text – You’ve started the rot – Mr Jones has just dumped me! How was I supposed to reply to that – if I ignored her she’d be suspicious – but if I replied what was I supposed to say?

Before I had chance to reply my phone started ringing – it was Miss B. My heart started to thud, a lump rose in the my throat and then slammed back down into my stomach sending waves of nausea rolling through my body. I answered.

I know you two are close,” she said. “So has he said anything to you, he can’t seem to tell me why he doesn’t want to be with me anymore.”

“He hasn’t told me anything I’m sorry,” I lied. “I just know that I felt that Mr M and I weren’t working anymore, I didn’t feel happy and I thought we’d be better off apart. Maybe he feels the same…”

She started to cry and I did my best to comfort her – all the while burning with guilt. It wasn’t as if Mr Jones and I had been having a full blown affair – we’d had maybe two kisses, a few hugs and a lot, lot, lot of conversations – all about how we didn’t want to hurt anyone. But still I felt awful. I felt worse about Miss B than I did about Mr M – after all she hadn’t done anything to me.

When I put the phone down I sat and cried until my face was red and my eyes were puffy. I called Mr Jones and told him what had happened. He was en route to his aunt and uncles to escape home and Miss B. We both felt like cowards. Still we didn’t talk about being together. Neither of us wanted to jump from one relationship to another – but at the same time I missed him terribly.

A few days later I was house sitting for my uncle and brazenly invited Mr Jones to come and stay. I thought some time on our own would give us chance to decide what we were doing. To my surprise he came.

We spent our nights awake talking into the small hours of the morning and our days wrapped in each others arms watching daytime tv and snoozing. We didn’t make any plans, we ate takeaway and agreed to be friends – who kissed a lot. We knew when the time came to go back to uni that we’d have to keep things quiet for Mr M’s sake – but at that moment we just enjoyed being together. It felt easy, natural and right. I could be myself.

On our last day together Mr Jones drove me home. He stopped to use the phone to call his mum and it was at that moment that I think I first knew we were destined to be together.

At the time I had a very old and very wise Tabby cat – aptly named Tabby. She had been my best friend since I was about eight, she slept on my bed, gave the very best cuddles and was the most affectionate creature ever. She was friendly to everyone, but there were a select few people outside our immediately family that she really, really adored.

As Mr Jones stood in the hall on the phone to his mum, Tabby jumped from the floor onto the phone table. She then physically climbed, paw by paw, up Mr Jones’ body to get to his neck, she put a paw on each shoulder and proceeded to nuzzle and dribble all over him, purring and kissing him and generally telling me – “this one is a keeper”. She died a few years later, breaking a little piece of my heart when she went - but to this day I thank her for showing me the one person I should be with.

As I waved goodbye to Mr Jones that day I think in my heart of hearts that I knew that we would be together – I just wasn’t ready to admit it.
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