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.