This date 20th Jan is indelibly printed on my mind it is both the anniversary of the day my’ divorce absolute’ landed on my doormat and crushed me for years. But it is also the birthday of a woman who I subsequently fell in love with and helped me to recover from that and indeed in so many other ways too. I think of her often and especially on this day. It is with both yearning for what might have been and with shame for my behaviour during that time.
It’s not for me to clearly identify her but those who knew me back in the days of publishing and drinking will probably realise who she is. Both of us had names then, mine for the wrong reasons, and hers for her business acumen and tempestuous nature. She is hugely successful and as such is naturally both admired and maybe even disliked at times, the latter usually boiling down to sour grapes and envy rather than legitimate gripes or annoyance about employers. However, I like to know how she and her company is doing as I admire and respect her strengths immensely and of course was party to her vulnerabilities too. Probably adding a few unintentionally into the equation, such was the old life back then.
I am home in Ireland these days, a scenario that is without doubt due to the intervention of that woman. She and I came over on a trip many years ago with the sole intention of me making up with my now deceased father. We stayed several days in a hotel nearby but could not persuade him to see me. I was all ‘Fu*it I don’t care (although I very much did) but she persevered on the phone to them and with me and on the night before we were due to return both my parents joined us for dinner. She was beautiful, charming, diplomatic and supportive. Her actions subsequently repaired and set matters on a good footing for the future. One that clearly benefits me today.
Unfortunately I was simultaneously messing up our relationship. My fault at least on the important issues. ( Hindsight.. tsk) I know too of so many other instances where she had bestowed huge kindnesses on her staff and friends. Not for any return, but simply because she wanted to help and so did.
There is so much that I can say about this powerhouse of a female. Passionate, bothersome, witty, acerbic and great fun…but often disquietingly profound too. She once said to me ‘Brian, I know you love me, but you love drink more’ She was wrong. I did love her but not more than drink, it was sadly that drink compelled me more. Hindsight again.. to this day I love her, I always will, that much I do know. It is the shape and use only of that which is changed.
Recently we have communicated.. a call out of the blue to say ‘well done’ (on taking control of my drinking). Astonishing. From a woman who had suffered far more from it than anyone else. That is undoubtedly a genuinely, sweet and kind- hearted woman.
So to her if she happens to read this. I wish her A very Happy Birthday indeed and add my sincere apologies for not being what she truly deserved.