Most of my marital memories are deeply unhappy, and I’m sure I will get to these in due time. A couple of lovely moments stick out like diamonds in a dung heap. Here’s one of them:
I came home late from work. Nothing unusual about this, but at the time I was quite ill with what, after many months and numerous hospitalisations, turned out to be Crohn’s disease. My now ex-husband had been home for some hours by the time I arrived at the flat and, unusually, greeted me at the door.
“You must be exhausted,” he said, ushering me into the bedroom where I found a fire blazing and the bed already stocked with hot water bottles. He’d even moved the television into the room, so I did my best to ignore the wealth of unsightly flexes making their way across the floor from the sitting room.
“Hop in and relax. I’ll bring you something to eat,” he said.
What a superstar, I thought, crawling between the covers and assembling the cats around me for welcome home cuddles. In no time I was cosy as toast, feeling exceptionally pampered, to boot.
It was a lovely night, one that glows in memory as brightly as the fire in the grate. What made it lovelier still was this: As he got in to bed with me later my ex said, “I have something to tell you.”
Ah, I thought, the other shoe drops at last, and braced myself for a hideous revelation. What had he done now? (Let’s face it, he had form.)
“The thing is, Sweetheart,” he said, “the boiler’s broken. There’s no heat or hot water. I didn’t want you to be upset, not while you’re feeling so ill.”
Whenever I revisit this memory it’s a potent reminder that although I was foolish to marry that man, I wasn’t entirely insane.