Lines in the Sand

I’ve decided to have my ring finger removed by elective surgery.

No, it’s not infected with gangrene. Nor do I have skin cancer. There has been no injury. But logic tells me that once I book the surgery, things will happen.

Like, a ring will magically appear upon it.

The one I didn’t get seven years ago when I agreed to marry my husband.

The one I didn’t get the Christmas after, or for my following birthday, or the one after that and so on.

The one I wasn’t wearing the day I found out he’d tried to start an affair.

The one I still wasn’t wearing a whole year later, when he still couldn’t tell me he loved me.  When, after twelve months of counselling, coaching, heart ache, depression and a whole lot of soul searching I was just starting to think I might be able to trust him again, I found, among others, that email he’d sent to that same female while on our family holiday just the month before, and the e-receipt for the Christmas present he’d got her.

The ring I still am not wearing.

The fourth finger of my left hand isn’t needed, it seems.  So away with it.

A month ago I told my husband (the one who still couldn’t tell me he loved me, after a year of hard bloody work) that time was up, he had four weeks from that moment to prove he cared or we would separate. Much as I loved him. Much as I wanted our family together, I deserved better.

Within days I was worthy.  He told me he loved me.  He started looking me in the eye. He became spontaneously tender.

I went into shock.

I really, honestly, didn’t know what to think.

Through all this we’ve been talking about moving overseas. Back when it all blew up the first time, a year or so ago, he told me wanted to move in six months’ time. To go back to the UK. Fine, I said, I can do that.  I might even like to do that – to be near my family again.  Especially with all the marriage trouble. But six months was too soon. Too soon, too cold (Southern winter to northern winter? No thanks.), too rushed. No, I said.  If we go, we go into summer.  He had to agree. April sounded good.  Early southern autumn into early northern spring.  Good. I looked into schools.  Our eldest would need to start school in September.  You can’t get a place in a school in the UK until you have an address.  I didn’t have an address.  Yet.  April would give me time – to find a house and and school.  To settle in.  To get used to things.  The long school holidays are July to the end of August in the UK.  April to July and then the summer.  I could do that.

Sometimes I’ve pictured the move as just me and the children. Starting my life as a single mum.  I’ve got my head around that. I’ve come to terms with it. I’ve found the positives. Other times I’ve pictured it as all four of us. I’m ready – either way.

The ‘early April’ move date moved to late April, and then to early May.  Early May turned to June and I started to feel that I was dangling at the end of another long string. When July was mentioned I said ‘enough’.  I drew a line in the sand and said that I would move to the UK with the girls before the end of June, and he could follow when the things we needed to sort for our business were done.  I couldn’t wait any more.  That day I found flights for late June – not easy a month out from the Olympics. I was ready to book.

Suddenly I was taken seriously, it seemed. Phone calls were made. Things started to be organised. He had a motorbike to sell. It wasn’t exactly news that he’d have to sell it, he’d been muttering about it for ages. Now he was driving it to the place to get it thoroughly cleaned so he could photograph and sell it. Suddenly the cogs were oiled.

Lines in the sand are clearly needed to get my husband to act.

A few months ago, before he decided I was worth loving, before I knew that he’d still been in touch with The Female, he’d said one day that he wanted to buy me an engagement ring. I was moved. He’d never said that before. It was amazing.

Three days later I told him I couldn’t accept a ring from a man who couldn’t tell me he loved me… now that’s a subject for another post! And then when I found out….well… But now he does. He loves me.  Of course he loves me.  Why would be still be here if he didn’t?  But the point is he recognises it.  He feels it.  He says it – or has done anyway. I’ve been without those words for so long I could happily hear them from my man morning, noon and night just now.

Perhaps I have unrealistic romantic notions.  Fact is I long for romantic gestures.  You know the type of thing… You arrive at the hotel and he’s swapped you to a posh suite. You get on the plane and he’s arranged for you to be served champagne.  He takes you out for dinner and whips out a ring…

He’s trying pretty hard, my husband, he really is. And he has been doing things to get this move going, to be honest and fair about it.  He has.  But I’m demanding. And I like lines in the sand – like plane tickets that tell me what day and time my life is changing. And I dream of romance and my man wooing me, winning me back, showing me how much I’m worth to him.

So perhaps it’s line in the sand time.  If I book the operation to have the finger removed, perhaps… perhaps…

For other posts on marriage, relationships and love see my posts “Writing My Heart” and “I Am No-one’s Wife”

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(c) Naomi Madelin

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