Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Part 5 - From the ashes – arose a phoenix!

Well hardly a phoenix really; more a sort of scorched and blackened budgie or perhaps a one legged knackered old buzzard kind of look. It was hardly surprising I didn’t look my best; after all I had spent two weeks on the old razzle dazzle without any kind of appetite to speak of and I was weary and worn out – there are only so many times you can dance around your handbag bladdered and singing ‘I will survive’ before Gloria gets on your tits and you fall exhausted to the floor cursing the blasted song and yours and her heartache.

I was sorely tempted to get onto cheapo-outofseasonholidays-forskivinggits.com and scarper to somewhere warm and nurturing to recharge my soul for a week or two. I seriously thought about it – even signed onto the site for a nosey at what was going for a song in Ayah Napa or wherever the hell skiving gits went to top up their mahogany coloured tans. An image loomed large of those work-shy malingerers that I so despised for frequently dropping us in the lurch. I was damned if the action of a man leaving me would lead to me filling in an application form to join those losers in their ‘lets brass neck it and see if we can get this years sick leave figure increased to six weeks’ club. I couldn’t bear to be associated with a bunch of people who had a hide as thick as a rhino when it came to telling porky pies about how many times they had contracted a terminal disease this year so they could get away to top up their tan that was the wrong side of David Dickinson or George Hamilton. So, back to the grindstone it was then.

In all reality the only thing that had died was my relationship and in the great big scheme of things that was bugger all in comparison to what I had been through in the past. Yes it was a shock and yes my heart was broken. But despite my best efforts at killing myself off through alcohol poisoning and adopting a near starvation routine that would have impressed a gaggle of Catholic nuns on a fast for lent, I had done what Gloria extolled and survived to fight another day. And fight I just might because believe me, when I got a hold of him, it would probably degenerate into a bare knuckle fist fight if I had my way. I had lost count of how many times I had pictured me chasing him down a road with a large knife in hand watching him beat the Olympic sprinting and long distance records. This would have been exceptional for two reasons; 1) his only real exercise was frequently jumping to conclusions and 2) I once saw a pensioner with a Zimmer frame overtake him when he ventured out to take some air and “get a bit of exercise in” such was his commitment to exercise and such was his level of fitness.

Walking through my office door I could see my P.C screen and desk decked out with a mass of yellow post-it notes. ‘Oh, for feck’s sake’ I muttered through clenched teeth. I had been away for two weeks and the place looked like it had been hit by a mercenary squad of post-it pixies hell bent on ruining my life. I got myself a steaming cup of office coffee and wished I hadn’t bothered – hot Camel piss with an aroma of three day old sweat about it – but at least it was caffeine loaded and that was what I needed just to attack the highly decorative post-it explosion in my office. Slowly I unpeeled each yellow sticker and arranged them into various categories and priorities to be dealt with as the mood took me. It was hardly a demanding task but at least it helped exercise my brain, acted as a diversion from my pathetic domestic situation and I was glad of its simplicity.

I looked up startled as Amy, my P.A, bowled into my office, dumped her coat and sunk into the chair across the desk from me. ‘Welcome back boss, good holiday?’ she asked with a huge grin, expecting at least one tale of misadventure that had befallen me, due to one too many aperitifs of a night. She was the best P.A. that a boss could wish for and a real pleasure to work with. I had rescued her from the drudgery of being what was termed a ‘floater’ – an ugly name for what was deemed a secretary destined to roam each department filling in for every secretary and P.A. that was on vacation or had phoned in sick. It was the career equivalent of being a drifter and she was much too bright and enthusiastic to be wasted in such undemanding roles. Through time she had become my right arm and if truth be told, sometimes she managed me more than I managed her. One good turn had deserved another and she frequently rescued me, admin wise, by way of a thank you.

Such was the nature of our work and the almost symbiotic working relationship we had, it was better that we synchronised our vacation weeks; she too had just returned from a two week vacation and was completely unaware of the demise of my home life. I had debated whether or not to tell her what was happening. I wasn’t really ready for anyone outside of my social situation to know that I had gone from happy smug secure couple like domesticity with enviable lifestyle to a pitiable forty one year old singleton that had been unceremoniously dumped with a fairly bleak future romance wise. But hell, if I couldn’t tell her then I couldn’t tell anyone and so I asked her to close the office door. I was calm and measured in my delivery of the story, trying hard but failing not to, completely ruin his reputation and paint him as a narcissistic swine with a swinging brick for a heart. I told her enough to get the picture and left out the bit that her boss and mentor had taken leave of her senses for two weeks and pickled just about every major internal organ she possessed. My self imposed exile coupled with the emotional first aid delivered by my close friends meant there was no need for me to be seen falling apart at the office. One face for the office, another for home and that was how I maintained it. Never allowing one world to cross-pollinate or contaminate the other. I was employed for my professionalism, skills, knowledge and experience – not to sit around bemoaning my lot like a lovesick teenager mourning her first love.

Her sympathy and empathy I expected but her anger was a revelation to me. She used profanity that I hadn’t even considered she knew at such a tender age – swearing like a docker didn’t do her narrative justice at all. My it was a joy to watch her go off like a top – it was a “light blue touch paper and retire” kind of moment that had me laughing so hard I almost fell off my chair. My God, it was just the tonic I needed and we were laughing so loudly that we nearly didn’t hear the phone ringing. I picked up the receiver and tried hard to compose myself but had to manhandle Amy out of the office and close the door before I could hear what the caller had to say.

‘Sorry’, was all I heard, ‘I’m sorry’, he said before the line quit and I was left with a dead tone on the line and a cold dead feeling in my heart.

41 comments:

Breezy said...

MOB I have been waiting with bated breath for the next installment. I know what you mean about one face for work and one for home. However now I would have to be classed with your malingerers as I decided to stick with the face I liked best. This blog is just so well written. Thank you for sharing your story

belle said...

Breezy isn't the only one who's been waiting with bated breath. Such a bastard!

Stinking Billy said...

I may be finished with addressing you as 'wee' mob. There is nothing wee about your heart or your honesty.

But, of course, you are writing in the past-tense, and presumably resuming your story of that arsehole who simply walked out one day and broke your heart.

It's moving stuff, and I can't help wondering whether you are working on a book, like wifeinthenorth and a few others. But I am not prying and not asking you.

Like the first two commenters, I am curious as to whether you are going to run with this?

Tina said...

MOB, that was a fine post. I laughed so hard at the exercise of jumping to conclusions, but am bereft at the end.

Good lord woman, you can write.

Manic Mother Of Five said...

Phew, I kept popping back hoping for a new post - the last one was just so sad.......... You write sooooooo well. Love it - and doesn't support in times of crisis come from the most unexpected of places.

Don't think I will ever get my head around men's ability to be complete and utter bastards. Wo betide any of my beautiful sons should they treat the ladies in their lives with anything other than respect.....

Don't leave it so long next time

laurie said...

ha! good for the assistant!
that kind of loyal anger is great for the soul.

Valleys Mam said...

this has to be expanded into a novel and a film.
Whens the next bit --- VM waiting and ready
You really are a talented woman - your not JK Rowling are you lolol

Lane said...

ooh I've been waiting for the next installment and by god you don't disappoint do you:-) Totally fab and I love your assistant's anger.

I'm positively itching for the next bit now the bastard has actually made 'one word contact'.

Swearing Mother said...

Bloody Norah MOB, I want MORE NOW.

Can't wait, may have to skive the day off work tomorrow just in case you post.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Breezy - I doubt very much you are a malingerer! You seem much too nice to be one. However, there's nothing wrong with taking a sickie now and again - especially if you work long hours and overtime is not an option.

I always played fair by the company and by the people that reported to me and let them have time off when their curcumstances dictated it even if thy had used all of their holiday entitlement.

It's only the regular chancers that I take exception too. Thanks for such nice feedback.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Thanks Belle, I'll be over to see what you are up to as I haven't had time to get around to looking at my favourite sites for a week or so.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

SB - yes I will be taking the story further. It's just a question of writing it down that I have to address first! I started blogging with no plan except to see if I would like it and if it would be something I might have a flair for. You are seeing an organic process unfolding in that I am taking each post as it comes and who knows where that will lead.

I think there is a lot of chick lit out there for people up to 35 or so but I don't see too much about those of us who are older and considered past it just because we are of a meopausal age.

You are of course generous in your feedback as ever and thank you for that dear man.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Tina thank you for such lovely feedback. I am astonished really that anyone is reading this stuff and that they think it is worth a visit and taking the trouble to feedback too.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

MMOF thank you again for such lovely feedback. I can only say that I took time writing the last post because I was deeply upset at writing the previous two posts. I didn't have a clue that dredging up such stuff would make me so very tearful and sad and I couldn't bring myself to go near blogger for a while. My lovely husband took me away to the Peak district for a long weekend last weekend and it was just the right thing to do. It allowed me time get a fresh perspective and to bury it once and for all.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Laurie - that assistant is a girl that is going places. She now runs her own very large department and is a complete credit to the organisation. She never manages by fear or intimidation but by example. She is patient, clever, resourceful and a very nice person to know. We remain close friends to this day and I've returned the favour when she scraped her knees on the old emotional front too.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Ok Valleys Mam - you are hired you got the job as agent extraordinaire! My God woman - what a really fantastic thing to say but alas I am no multi billionare nor a writer of her calibre! If I was I would bung you a backhander just for saying that!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Lane - again all I can say is that I am humbled by all the postive feedback that you guys are giving me. It spurns one onwards and upwards!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Swearing Mother - as usual you leave a crack that has me laughing away. You can't skive off as you will be tarred and feathered for being a slacker! Get to work woman - they need you! Otherwise the department will be left in the incapable hands of that numpty you wrote about and it will all go to rat!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

No wonder you're taking a break. This is heavy duty. And I've been through it too. Divorce is never easy.

Debra in France said...

Hi MOB, you write brilliantly, you blog is a joy to read even given the sad nature of the recent posts. I too have been waiting for the next installment. Well done you on coping so well with everything, and having the strength to write about it. :-)

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Coffee - had the break and am emotionally fit and healthy to get on with the story! There was a lot more involved with the story that made it hard to reproduce without it having some kind of fallout. Very cathartic.

Debra - as usual you are generous in your comments. Thank you. Loved your blog entries too about Christmas and ageing!

LittleBrownDog said...

MOB - you write so brilliantly! Just loved this from beginning to end (especially the reminder about Gaynor and the handbags and bloke with a swinging brick for a heart - he so doesn't deserve you). Now, if you're going to give him a chance to explain and come skulking back, I for one will be very disappointed, not to mention Gloria.
And may I add (as someone who's a tad - just a TAD, mind!) older than you, we are hardly menopausal old bags yet. I was at my doctor's only this morning, as he was explaining how some horrid symptoms I am having would probably all vanish by the time I hit the menopause at about 50, and I thought, "yes - to be replaced by what?"
Also we have a tree in our village with a hairstyle just like Sideshow Bob's.
Can't wait for the next instalment (and you must definitely do something with your writing - it's great).

Debra in France said...

Hi again, on re-reading the very end of your post it reminded me of when my 1st husband left me after 8months. Once he had left and we had split all our stuff and I went back to my parents for a while, I had no contact with him. Then, on what wouldhave been our 1st anniversary I received a card with the words 'sorry, this should and could have been a happier day'. I was gutted. Then following year I was living in Durham and my mum forwarded me a birthday card. It was from 'him' with a address and phone number on it. I phoned the number and it was answered by a very drippy sounding girl,(on what sounded like one of those loud-speaker phones), who said he wasn't in. I asked if he would be in later and a male voice in the background in a very sharp, harsh tone (typically his) said 'you have been told he is not here'. I just ok, and put the phone down. I laughed out loud thinking how glad I was not to put up with his cr*p anymore, and how i didn't have to listen to that voice ever again. I was over him at long last.

ChrisH said...

Sheesh! Looks as if I called in at a bad time! But brilliantly conveyed.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

LBD - thanks for such great feedback. Can't imagine a tree that looks like sideshow Bob - I must have it for my front garden!

Debra - you sound like you got away from a real peice of work and had a lucky escape. I would imagine the cards could have been his way of turning the screw on you and controlling you from afar. He was probably playing games to see if he could get a reaction just for kicks.

When we marry or live with guys like this, it makes it so much nicer when the good ones come along and we appreciate them so much more. God help the poor girl that ended up with your ex. And thank goodness you and I found good blokes after the dross we had before!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Chrish - thanks for dropping by. Twas a long time ago!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Thanks for a really good laugh - not at your expense however. Men, I suppose, might realise their purpose in life one of these days; to please a woman in a way in which WE choose. End of.

Thanks for popping over my blog today, great to meet you!

Crystal xx

softinthehead said...

MOB, I have just come to your blog by way if Breezy (where I vicariously live a life in Limousin!) and I got full whack all in one go, all I can say is wonderfully (and wittily) written, I'm glad I did not have to wait ...but an looking forward to more.

softinthehead said...

I was so excited to have my new blog I forget to do a spellcheck!

Willowtree said...

Ok, this feels like I've just turned the TV on and and the show is halfway through. At first I thought this was a real time post but I'm now assuming it's more of a memoir.

The writing kept me interested enough to read it all thought, so now over the next few days I'll read it from the start (it would be a bit clearer if you numbered the parts, that way I'd have known straight away that it was part of a series).

And yes, 'floater' is an awful term seeing as it's another word for a Bondi Cigar.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Crystal Jigsaw - I'm glad it made you laugh. That was my intention besides retelling a sad old story! Glad you dropped by.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Softinthehead - brilliant blog name. Thank you for such nice feedback. Men huh?!

I am looking forward to hearing more about your renovation work in France. Welcome to blogger world.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Willowtree - yes I agree numbering the posts would be a good idea. I'll get right onto it old bean! It hadn't occurred to me to do that what with me being new to this blogging and writing lark.

Glad it kept you interested enough to read and comment - that is very much appreciated. Feedback is the only way I'm going to learn what works and what doesn't. I like to answer each person if I can as I think it is terribly nice of people to take the time out to feedback. Thanks for popping by.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Oh and yes willowtree it is a retrospective piece

belle said...

There's an award with your name on it over at mine :o)

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Belle - chuffed to bits or what? I've added my very first award to my screen. Thank you so much.

aims said...

MOB I have been reading along without posting a comment - and feel terribly bad about that. Knowing people are reading what you are agonizing over really helps.

I too am a fan - your writing is outstanding and I also say if you turn it into a book - it won't be hard to sell it to a publisher.

The act of putting the hurt into words is probably the best therapy anyone can have. I'm sure now that you've had your (recent) cry and anguish over it all again - that it will be so much more diminished in your mind.

What a wonderful thing time is - isn't it?

Casdok said...

Also cant wait for the next installment!!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Aims - I'm glad you are enjoying it and that you took the time to comment. I am astonished that people are making the comments that they are and that everyone is waiting for the next instalment - no pressure there then!

Casdoc - thank you to for commenting too. I guess I had better get on writing the next bit then!

Thanks guys for popping in. I'll have a wee look at your sites too.

LittleBrownDog said...

Come on, MOB - I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the next instalment! I've been over twice now...

By the way, word seems to be spreading about your excellent writing. I've heard several blogging friends comment that they've been over to your page and how impressed they are.

LBD xx

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

LBD - oh jeeze! Soon, soon I promise! My real life has intervened and dragged me kicking and screaming back to reality and the present day. Work and family commitments unavoidable little crisis with a client - drat!