London, England, 2009
It hadnâ€™t been easy to turn her back on six years of life with Nicky.
She had always taken the position that pride is an ugly sentiment that can cause you to lose out by not compromising, but she had been a doormat for long enough. For years she had overlooked his hurtful criticisms; she had wiped away the surreptitious tear and continued to do all she could to please himâ€” because she loved him. It was as simple as that.
The time had come, however, when she found herself reassessing their relationship after an unmerited, belittling remark made in front of friends. It had taken her five years of coming second place to his drinking with mates, to hours spent overhauling his car or to him playing tennis at his club, for her to finally see the light. She was only a convenience to him. He probably quite liked her (except when she beat him at chess), because she was his ego booster. Of course, he was only too happy for her to shop, cook, wash clothes and to keep his place tidy for him. As a â€˜within handâ€™s reachâ€™ bed partner whenever the urge grabbed his balls, she was, no doubt, the cherry on the cake. But he had worn the doormat thin and with it her love for him. It had taken five of the six years, but it had happened.
The annual business conference had suddenly seemed the perfect time to take action.
Nicky usually left on the Saturday morning and returned on the Sunday evening, but this time the organisers had decided Scotland was to be the venue, which meant getting a Friday night train up to Inverness. Sheâ€™d seen him go to work on Friday with an â€˜over-nightâ€™ case, and it left her free to her thoughts.
All day sheâ€™d mulled over the idea of leaving him as sheâ€™d registered books in and out of the library. That afternoon, sheâ€™d covered books with a protective film, and if anyone had asked her how many sheâ€™d done, she would have been incapable of saying, as her gestures had been automatic while her mind had wandered. It was as though she was trying on the idea for size, seeing if it felt comfortable enough to accept. The aspect that actually excited her was imagining Nickyâ€™s reaction when he came home to an empty flat and realised all the benefits he had lost. She now felt bitter enough to leave him with no explanation and no forwarding address.
London, England, 2009