And so it has arrived.
The relief. The overwhelming unadulterated release.
After 10 months and 4 days of unemployment, Mr C has finally been offered a job.
He got the phone call. I heard him talking. I knew it was THE call. After three interviews, we hoped it would be what we wanted to hear.
I pretended to be on my computer, I’m not sure why. Perhaps I didn’t want to appear like I was hovering, eagerly anticipating the news. Perhaps I was afraid. Afraid that it would be yet another disappointment.
And so I looked at my screen, with my back to the door, holding my breath.
“I got it. I got the job.”
I jumped up, I screamed, I embraced him. He had been waiting so long to hear those two words “You’re hired”. So much meaning in them – you’re valued, you’re not washed up, you’re not too old, you still have much to offer this world of ours, you can still provide for your family as you have done so well in the past.
And yet, as I hugged him, kissing his face, the sheer relief visible, palpable, a strange feeling came over me.
I looked into his eyes, and I realised, I am going to miss him so much.
When the redundancy first came I worried that my time would not be my own. I am pretty much a loner and I do tend to live my life to the beat of my own drum. I spend an awful lot of time at my computer, feeding my insatiable thirst for knowledge. To most, it must seem like I am just wasting my time, but to me, it has meaning and I draw on my knowledge a lot in the day to day living of my life. The internet, for all its foibles, has been a god send for someone with a brain like mine.
And so, when Mr C was made redundant, I worried, somewhat selfishly I confess, about the interruption he would bring in how I had come to live my life in amongst the bringing up of our children and my lack of career.
It did not occur to me that we would be like an old pair of socks, treading a path together, individual, but a team. As we quickly settled into a routine, both of us at our work desks, or going for walks, or doing school runs, or doing the shopping, or the laundry, or any number of activities I normally did on my own, I began to feel a connection and belonging that I had not had with this man for the twenty years we have been married.
A rhythm emerged that I absolutely adored.
We would wake up in the morning together, not rushed. Whereas for the majority of our marriage he was long gone to beat the city traffic by the time I raised my head off the pillow, now he was there, breathing slowly, right next to me. I cannot begin to tell you what a gift that is, to be able to wake up every morning without something bearing down on you, rushing you, urging you to get on with the day long before your body is ready. I cannot tell you the gift it is reaching out and feeling a warm, cosy body next to you every single morning, where no such body was there before. It is also a gift, a rare gift, that you look forward to spending the entire day with that warm, cosy body.
10 months and 4 days after that horrible day, I have settled into a new routine of warmth, and comfort, and predictability. Where once I had come to love being on my own, doing everything solo, I now loved being part of a team. And as I looked into the relief that was painted across his face, I felt a tinge of sadness, and guilt for my selfishness. I was going to lose my companion, my lover, my very very best friend, my team player. I was going to be solo once more.
I realised in that moment, that all the stresses of the last 10 months of unemployment had also brought with it an incredible gift. We lived in a complete bubble. We got to experience what life might be like if we weren’t dependent on money to exist. We got to experience what it is like to be with someone whose company you utterly enjoy. We got to be together without rushing, without encumbrances. We got to laugh and love, and just be.
Mr C, I am so fucking proud of you. Your strength in these past 10 months has been nothing short of phenomenal. I have been in awe how you have managed to steer this good ship that is our life through the stormy seas of a system that cast you aside. And now, as you embark on another ship, in another exciting direction, I realise, as I stand on the pier that is our home, waving good bye and hoping like hell you enjoy your new adventure, I am tinged with sadness. I am going to miss you so very very much.
Oh, I know you will be coming home every day and our love will be as strong as ever, but having you home all day every day has made me realise that we are so fucking lucky. As frustrated as we made each other from time to time, I realise now that what we share is an incredible gift. What frightened me then, I embrace now, and I don’t want to give that up. I reluctantly, with a heavy selfish heart, have to let the bubble go.
But know this, Mr C, I am so excited for you as you embark on this new journey. You absolutely deserve this.
And you know what, retirement is going to be a blast.