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Life Is Too Short To Drink Bad Wine: 45 - Apart

“I was distraught as I hugged him goodbye. I had not imagined that we would ever be away from each other for long. Six weeks seemed like a lifetime to me. I sobbed uncontrollably…’’ Gayle Woodward is distraught when her husband Woody flies off to attend a course in England.

After the holidays, the time for Woody’s departure grew quickly closer. He was borrowing warm jackets and gloves from English friends who told him it would still be cold there even though it was almost springtime in England.

I gritted my teeth and started driving lessons again. This time I had more success; although I was never a very good driver, I could do enough to pass the driving test. I could not parallel park but it did not stop me getting licensed. I did not feel competent enough to drive us home from the airport when Woody left so his parents drove us all there and back.

I was distraught as I hugged him goodbye. I had not imagined that we would ever be away from each other for long. Six weeks seemed like a lifetime to me. I sobbed uncontrollably. Jeff and Mark watched me with worried faces. Jeff looked really anxious. I tried to pull myself together and show a brave face to my sons and never again in the six weeks did I show them how sad and lonely I was.

I did feel proud of myself when I drove Mark and me to the supermarket. I had to park well away from the building as I didn’t trust my parking ability and the station wagon seemed very long to me. However Mark’s car seat was installed in there and we could travel.

I had to get myself to the clinic at the Mater Maternity for a check up. I was six months pregnant and feeling well. Mr Dunn, the specialist who was caring for me, did the perfunctorily listening and feeling of my belly and then casually touched a spot on my leg. He said nothing and I did not know what he had touched till I sat up to get down off the bed. He had touched a mole on my inner right calf. I had noticed it but had freckles and moles all over my body and this seemed no different to them. This seemed darker than the others but that meant nothing to me. I was concentrating on my pregnancy.

I was invited to go with Carol and Owen and some other friends of theirs to see Neil Diamond in concert at Western Springs. I was quite big in the belly but did not want to miss this. Woody had known about it and knowing he would miss it, he urged me to attend. I arranged for Woody’s parents to watch the boys and Owen collected me.

When we reached the park there were no seats close to the stage left on the concrete terracing but there were good spots, with a good view, up amongst the trees on the hill above. We clambered up among the roots of the trees and got ourselves as comfortable as we could. The show was wonderful, we sang and cheered and clapped. We could see the stage in the distance and a sea of people below us. But the entire time I was clinging on precariously to a tree trunk and felt if I let go, I would slide down, way down the hill, so off balance was I with my large belly.

I relayed the whole saga to Woody when he phoned us from London. He seemed rather vacant and offhand and talked in a rather formal manner. I let Jeff speak to him although Mark would not, as he had not said a single word since his Daddy had left. I felt that my tattle about the goings on with the boys and the household was of no interest to him and felt rather let down after I hung up. I went to bed sad.

We at home were getting on fine. There had been no dramas and the boys were happy. Jeff had settled down at school and had made some friends who he would play with after school and on weekends. Mark would play for hours with spades and toy trucks moving them and dirt around. He was silent but he understood what I said to him. He just was not the happy talkative little boy he had been. The Plunket Nurse tested his hearing and found that all was OK. She determined that if he still did not talk when his Daddy returned in a few weeks, we would do further investigation.

The boys got postcards and treasured them. Jeff took his to school for Morning Show and Tell and Mark took his to bed. I got a letter which I reread again and again. It ended:
Well my Hon, as far as I am concerned I have only six more days in this godforsaken hole and then I can spread my wings and fly back to you! I hope you are looking forward to that as much as I am! I love you! I love you!! I love you!

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