Life changing phone calls can hit you at any moment in life. No matter the time of day or night and regardless of whatever day of the week it just so happens to be.
One thing which a majority of those calls have in common however is their ability to leave a distinct imprint in your mind of every single detail that was conveyed within the space of that phone call.
Not only are the details of the call unforgettable, but somehow, for me personally at least, I remember exactly where I was in the room, what I was doing prior, even down to what I was wearing when I received ‘the call’.
This isn’t something which many people will be able to relate to. In fact as I write this I am preparing myself for all the backlash it will receive if it is ever published anywhere.
In fact the only reason I am writing about it is because I need to help myself to move forward and to try and forget the entire event. In an odd way I perhaps even look forward to any “backlash” which this may bring about, because in reading the opinions of other people it may help me to see reason.
I am a wife. A mother. We have four perfect children together. So far so good.
We have known each other for almost our entire lives, my husband and I. We even went to the same primary school. That was almost three decades ago now.
Although it feels as though we have been together forever, there was a time, albeit brief, when we were free. And even though that time was so long ago now, I recall every blissful moment of it.
During that period in my life I was dating my ex. And everything was going perfectly. Until of course my mother found out and destroyed the entire thing. Which she regrets doing to this day.
We were too young she said. I had just started high school and she wanted me to focus on studying. She went as far as contacting the parents of my ex. We were never even given the opportunity to say goodbye. Phone numbers were changed immediately. There was no possibility of seeing one another again. It was painful and there just wasn’t any closure to the situation.
My husband was incredibly supportive throughout that time in my life. He was my best friend. And because our families were friends when we were kids it was easy to maintain a friendship with him, without my mother overreacting.
It wasn’t until university that I saw my ex again. By chance I was at work one day when his Dad walked in. After introducing myself nervously he greeted me with such warmth and told me he would send his son over to see me.
Of course by this time it was far too late. I was already in a long term relationship with my husband (then ‘boyfriend’). Yet that did nothing to stop my heart from skipping a beat the day my ex walked in to work to see me.
Remembering that moment still gives me butterflies. We exchanged numbers. Promised to keep in touch. And kept that promise.
He knew I had moved on. I think that fact killed us both a little. Knowing how we both still felt we kept our distance as best as we could. Not that distance really changed our feelings.
In hindsight I believe I should have just ended the relationship I was in, regardless of the number of years my husband and I had been together. He was my best friend though and he hadn’t done anything to deserve a breakup over my confused feelings.
More years passed. My ex would keep in touch. Occasionally even visiting me at home, uni or work. Patiently waiting for a change in relationship status, which just never came.
I couldn’t bring myself to tell him when I was getting married. I knew how devastating it would be for me to ever hear him utter those words. And so I kept it to myself. Besides by that stage we had limited contact with one another anyway.
The next time I heard from my ex was during labour with my first child. When I called him back he said that he was only calling because he could feel that something was wrong. Almost as though he could sense the pain I was in.
I couldn’t do this anymore. I had a baby now. And so I said the words which I felt would make him run a mile. “I have a son”. He was shocked. “I need time to think about this” he said and his calls ended there.
When he called me whilst I was in labour with my second child I thought it was a freak coincidence. When he called during my third labour I convinced myself that he was my soulmate.
All three times he felt that something was wrong.
With my fourth labour, when no call came, it really hurt me because I took it to mean that he had moved on. He no longer loved me so much that he could feel when I was in pain.
I have never missed anyone as much as I miss him.
As long as no one confirmed for me that my ex was in a relationship I thought that I would be fine. I just never wanted to know. In fact when I would bump into our old friends I would always remind them never to let me know once my ex had settled down as it would surly kill me.
I know how selfish that sounds. Even though I am married with four little ones, I just didn’t want to ever know that he had moved on. The mere thought of him with someone else was something I just can’t deal with.
We even promised one another that we were going to get it right in our next lives and that we would not make the same mistakes next time. We were certain that we would be together then.
“Elephant Shoe” was our code words for “I love you”. The words “I love you” just never sound the same to me.
When my ex called me six days ago I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. However I braced myself for the worse. “You’re getting married or you are pregnant” I said to him, doing my best to compose myself.
“The first one” he replied. I thought I was going to be sick all over the living room floor. I grabbed my keys and headed outside where I knelt in the backyard trying my hardest to hold back the heaving as well as the tears which I simply could not stop from rolling down my face.
I pretend to be happy for him. I couldn’t really congratulate him for fear that those words if uttered would truly make me vomit.
He may as well have stabbed me. My chest hurt so badly. I just had to get him off the phone because I didn’t want him to hear me crying.
All I wanted to tell him was that his fiancé is never going to love him as much as what I do. Luckily I stopped myself before I said something I couldn’t unsay.
As I hung up the call I wept. I couldn’t stop. My husband returned home. I was still weeping.
My husband has never seen me in such a distressed state.
For days I mourned for my ex as though the man had died. I could not stop crying. I couldn’t eat. Nor could I sleep. And my husband still can’t work out what had put me in such a state.
What could be worse to hear than those words uttered from my ex… Well, for me it was the words uttered from my children’s doctor yesterday.
“Your 6 and 4.5 year old have autism”, there is a chance that because the 4.5 year old has severe autism that he may never speak.
Finding this out really put things into perspective for me. My children need and depend on me.
Autism is not the end of the world. Never being able to hear my second born say “Mum or Dad” isn’t either really. I mean at least it is not as bad as a parent finding out their child has a terminal illness.
I consider myself lucky.
Perspective is perhaps the thing I have been lacking for all these years.
I don’t know whether this article will ever be published anywhere, and even if it is I don’t know whether my ex would ever come across it. And even if he did, how could he ever be certain that this was about him…
If you are reading this, and your surname begins with the letter ‘P’ and ends with the letter ‘i’, and if the life events retold sound ever so familiar to you, then please always remember “Elephant Shoe” and best wishes to you.
Posted by someonesmother, 1st January 2015