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Monday, July 12, 2004

Disturbing (long post alert)


If not disturbing, then this could be downright scary.

When I was 15, I met a boy who was 2 years older than me. Not especially bright, but hey, I was very young and impressionable. I went out with him for almost 3 years - we split up when I left home to go to Poly. Alarm bells should have been ringing then - went I left to go to Poly, he actually asked me to marry him. Well, what he actually said was he had been speaking with him mother, and she had suggested if we were still together at Christmas, we should get engaged. I was ever the realist then - I told him if we were still going out when I graduated, we would get engaged.

X gave him the name Looney Richard.

At the start of the second term, I started going out with Andy.

At Easter, when I next saw Looney Richard, I finished it. Maybe a bit cruel to have two-timed him for so long, but I felt it better to do it face to face than my the phone - or even worse, by letter (I think the current fad is by text message - can you imagine?).

I didn't see much of him for the next few years, but we had mutual friends, so I used to know what was going on. I know 3 months after we split up he was with someone else, which lasted about 6 months. Then he went out with M, who he was with for quite some time.

I knew he used to turn up at my parents once in a while - usually when he had a new car, to show off to my dad. His dad had left the family at a very young age, and I know he thought a lot of my dad. My mom too.

It used to disturb me a bit - especially as my mom made it perfectly clear she couldn't stand Andy when I was going out with him (which lasted about 9 months) and that what she had really expected me to do when I went to Poly was get a degree, then come back home, marry the boy next door (or in this case, Looney Richard) and in between providing her with grandkids get a part-time job at Safeways (where I could use the valuable maths skills I had learnt while studying for my degree).

Two years after me and Looney Richard split up, I got together with X. Parents approved of X (to this day, I am not sure if he was 'better' than Looney Richard or not), so I didn't hear about Looney Richard turning up every now and then.

One year after this, just after I had graduated, I was home for the summer before starting my first 'grown-up' job. I had been round to my sisters for the evening, and when I drove home, there was a strange car parked outside my parents. As I got out of my car, so my parents come out of the gate, with Looney Richard. He had got a new car - his 'excuse' for going to see them. He offered me a drive in his car so he could show it off.

I hadn't seen him since we'd split over 3 years previously, so it was a bit strange. We drove a short way, and we ended up parked in a car park in the middle of Cannock Chase. He was telling me what he had been up to, about him and M. Every time I mentioned X (who I had been with now for a year, so was a permanent feature in my life) he refused to talk about it, and changed the subject. He also kept saying very strange things - like when I would talk about my nights out clubbing in Brighton, or the parties I had been to, he would say, "But you don't drink". Not a question. A statement. When I contradicted him, he was adamant. "You do not drink, you don't get drunk".

Then biggest of biggest alarm bells. He tells me him and M were thinking of getting engaged. I was really pleased for him - and told him so, and wished him well. His response was, "Yeah, but she's not you".

Eek.

Actually, Looney Richard, I have news for you. I am not the me you so obviously have placed on a pedestal.

I managed to escape from this, he took me home, and I never saw him for years.

I would hear things now and then, from my mother (who he would ring every New Year's Eve, to wish her happy birthday) and other mutual friends. Him and M got married, then split up a few years later. Then he met another woman, who he had a little girl with.

Then, my mother's 60th birthday. New Year's Eve 1997. He rings to wish her happy birthday as usual (he was a waiter, so always worked New Year's Eve, and would ring after he had finished work and the restaurant was closed), and my mom tells him it's her 60th.

About 3 hours later I was in the kitchen, chatting to one of my mothers friends, when there is a knock at the back door. I open it, throw it wide, declare whoever you are, you are welcome and happy new year. This bloke standing there with a young girl of around 3 in his arms, acts in a very strange way, like I am joking, of course I know who he was. I didn't have a clue. Not a clue. He had changed quite a bit - but he obviously recognised me.

Then behind him appears this very petite woman, walking in a rather strange manner.

Turns out, it is Looney Richard, who has gone home after work (at 2 in the morning), woken his wife and 3 year old, and driven the 25 miles to my parents house. His wife has a bad back and can hardly walk, is obviously in great pain.

Lots of people at the party remember him, and are hugging him (and pulling faces at me over his shoulder asking me what he is doing there). His daughter is getting in the way of the hugs, so he just hands her to me.

Not one single person at that party held this little girl but me and him. His wife seemed disturbed that I hadn't known who he was. X was somewhat disturbed (this is where he gained the name Looney Richard), and when Looney Richard was introduced to him, Looney Richard just pretended he didn't exist. My niece couldn't handle it - after asking my sister who he was, and why he was staring at me so much, and Sis explained he was an old boyfriend of mine, she got super-possessive of X, and would not leave his side.

Anyway, to leave a long story long, he rang my mother again last night. Apparently he hasn't been well - at the age of 38 he had a heart attack, and can't work and it is pretty awful.

However, it is on no interest to my family.

It is even less interest to me - so why my mother felt the need to get off the phone and tell me straight away I have no idea.

Actually, I do. It might be because she is finally coming to realise me and X are not getting back together. So she thinks Looney Richard is my fallback.

This is one reason for me to keep my married name - he doesn't know it, and can never find me.....

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