Dear Diary Some Days in my Life A Tapestry is all that Matters
That old saying; Love Hurts is so true, whether you're the one doing the breaking up, or you're the one having your heart broken...believe me, I've been on the receiving end of both many times since that day.
There couldn't have been a moment in time that seemed to go so slow in the silence of that hallway, neither of us knowing quite what to say in those few fleeting moments, but one decision I had decided upon, was that if I could have feelings for Chris, then I couldn't be in love enough to get married to Geoff.
This was it...the end of a beautiful romance that never quite got off the ground. Taking my engagement ring off my finger, I held it up to him. “Geoff – I'm really sorry, but!” Here we go the big But! “I can't marry you.” There I'd done it...I'd said it and suddenly I felt like a great weight had been lifted off my shoulders, though I can't say the same about Geoff, who stood there stunned.
“What do you mean – you can't marry me? We only got engaged last week.” His face became angry, his forehead wrinkling.
I felt really bad, but knew I'd made the right decision, though I often wonder now, how we'd have got on if we'd stayed together, and what our children would have looked like.
I told him there was nothing else I could say, I didn't tell him about Chris, though I suspect he found out later. To be honest I didn't have a clue what my future would hold, or even if I wanted to be with Chris, jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire, was not on my agenda, but at least Chris stopped me from doing something I might regret later. I was sure that changes were coming and soon.
I could tell Geoff didn't want to hear any more, he just said, “look...I haven't got a clue what I've done wrong, but I'm not going to beg you to marry me, it's just not in me to beg.”
“You haven't done anything wrong,” I said trapped in the moment. “It's me – not you.” I realised what a cliché that sounded like and stared down at the carpet, the knots in my stomach becoming tighter, before finishing what I had to say. “Look, I just feel we're still so young and need to experience a little more before we embark on marriage.”
Geoff had enough, he stormed out the front door not looking back, leaving me feeling awful, but I deserved it so accepted the consequences, but felt slightly lost. I knew that one day he'd find a nice woman to settle down with, he was a kind, caring, good looking guy that had the world at his feet. That was the last I saw of him as he drove off down the road.
On hearing the door close, Mum came out in to the hallway wanting to know what was going on. “Where's Geoff gone? Why are you crying?” She questioned in an anxious manner.
“Not now...I don't want to talk about it,” was my reply. “If anyone phones for me, tell them I'm not feeling well.” I ran upstairs, slamming my bedroom door behind me.
I couldn't face going out now even if I wanted to, my head was spinning as to what my next move would be. I didn't want to be confronted with all the questions from my parents, even though I knew they'd be concerned.
In my room, I found solace in music. Mum and Dad clearly deciding that it was none of their business, knowing I would talk eventually. Oh! How well they knew me.
Taking out my diary, I decided to write about my day. Then I remembered there was an entry in my journal from a couple of days ago. “It was so hot, went swimming in out door pool at Portishead with Geoff after work, had a great time. We stopped off for a drink on the way home.” This started me off, tears began to well up in my eyes, my heart sank at the realisation that I wouldn't see him again sunk in.
Crying had made me extremely tired, so I lay back on the bed, headphones on listening to my all time favourite vinyl, Carol King's Tapestry, over and over again and staring at the cover, till finally I fell asleep. In fact I loved that album so much, previously I'd decided to get my Dad to take a photo of me, posing in my own version of Carol Kings picture on the cover, I was quite pleased with how it turned out.
That weekend after a good nights sleep, gave me a lot of thinking time. Getting up early on Saturday morning, I was starving and so made myself some breakfast and fed the dog. The house was quiet as Mum and Dad were still sleeping, 'thank goodness I'd not disturbed them!'
I decided to take the dog for a walk up in the woods, it was a bright sunny morning and hopefully there wouldn't be too many people around at this time. Luckily I was alone with my thoughts, sitting down on Penpole Point looking out over Avonmouth, all the smoke surrounded the factories, snaking its way across the sky, then disappearing into the atmosphere, leaving a trail of pollution in its path. Trixi sniffed around for a while, but then barked desperate to be off and running in the woods, and probably wondering why I was so still and quiet. You could see for miles up here and many memories still lingered of picnics and nature rambles, leaving me in a reflective mood. Realising how lucky I was to have all this on my doorstep, I knew it wouldn't last, as I had it in my mind to be leaving it all behind pretty soon.
There wasn't a single person that could help, it was all down to me, and by Sunday I'd made the next big decision...to pack my job of three years in. Enough was enough, office work sucked and I'd always fancied being a nanny, living by the sea, there seemed so much freedom in the job.
I'd taken a Pitman's shorthand and typing class when I left school, though it hadn't really been what I'd wanted. My real dream had been to go to Art College, but that wasn't to be, due to my financial situation. So working in an office by day for a car assessment company in 1969, when I left school, I took the Pitman's classes in the evening, though my shorthand was okay, I just couldn't pick up the speed, that I managed to attain with typing, so after a two year course, I gave up the shorthand, but continued with the typing...so glad I did to this day, because it helps with my story writing now in 2015.
My present work in 1975 was as a receptionist, typist for an animal feed company. It was a small building and I was placed in the reception, where I'd meet and greet clients and answer the switchboard in a cheery manner, even if I wasn't in the best of moods. I had a window that overlooked the road, where all the hitch hikers would walk past in order to get to the motorway, in fact a lot of truck drivers would stop and give them lifts, I envied their freedom to go where they wanted without a care. Being cooped up in an office for eight hours, five days a week was taking its toll, the air was filthy from the Smelting Company, that seemed to leave black specks everywhere in the air. Now there was nothing to keep me hanging around. My boss was really nice, but his secretary would annoy me, by spending a lot of time chatting to the other staff, and leaving me to type her letters. It was always the same. “Jenny! Be a dear and type these letters for me.”
She knew I wouldn't say no, because I'd already told the boss I didn't like having nothing to do but answer the phones, I just had to get out of that situation, before I exploded. One guy who worked in our office was very strange indeed, he was in his fifties and lived with his mum, nothing strange about that, I hear you say, but every lunch break he'd lock himself in the storage room and wouldn't let anyone in till break was over, this went on for years. We found chocolate wrappers and empty crisp packets hidden behind shelves, goodness knows what he did in there for an hour...the mind definitely boggles.
Within a few weeks of handing my notice in, my Dad hardly spoke to me he was so angry, but eventually he came around asking me, what I was going to do with my life now? that I needed to get a job pretty quick...there was no way I was living at home rent free.
I had a friend who was working at a motel in Tenby, she was working the bar at night with another girl, then as a chamber maid during the day. If they finished early enough they'd normally have the afternoons off, or start later and have the mornings to lie in...it seemed like a good number.
Anyway, after speaking on the phone to her, my friend said the woman who owned the Motel was looking for a nanny for her eighteen month old son while she was busy. It seemed like a great occupation, even though I'd no experience of looking after babies, I was trusting and reliable, anyway how hard could it be to look after a baby? I had visions of long walks, all that sea air...so healthy and I would get a chalet all of my own...yes my own room and I'd be with my friend, we'd have some good times I was sure.
To be continued...