Greg had been through some sad times in his life, as many of us have, you know, when things start to go wrong for whatever reason, be it your fault or someone else’s.
It was at such a time as this, when Greg’s marriage went awry for want of a better word, it doesn’t matter how you dress it up, the end result remains the same, it was well and truly done and dusted, well as far as his wife Alison was concerned anyway, although I could tell that Greg was hurting inside and still loved Alison very much.
I am going to tell this story as it was relayed to me by Greg himself, as we sat together that evening drinking cheap Spanish plonk.
Greg went back to live with his mother and father, which he hated.
Somehow it had the stench of defeat about it, a man thirty something having to go back and live with his mum and dad again, through what he considered to be no fault of his own.
Greg’s parents were very supportive of their eldest son, as indeed most parents are. They would take Greg’s side on all things regardless of blame, which is usually the case with parents in a family break up.
I knew Greg when he met and married Alison his ex wife, she was olive skinned with almost jet black hair she had beautiful big brown eyes and a personality to match.
If any bloke had a type, Alison was his she was a bit of a stunner.
Alison was 22 when they first met, just a few years younger than Greg, I always thought how lucky he was, they seemed a perfect match, but who knows what goes on behind closed doors, obviously something wasn’t quite right between them.
Greg did tell me that Alison had no desire to have children of her own she was given up for adoption as a baby herself, and in a way that’s what first led them to meet.
I don’t know if the baby thing was anything to do with their split up, Greg never said.
He did say that Alison was obsessed in tracking down her birth mother, and it was that topic of conversation that first drew them together.
Greg and Alison were at a mutual friend’s party and she overheard Greg saying he wanted to track down his ancestors, he found the idea a challenge, she told him she was going to search for her family as well, and the rest as they say is history, the spark had lit the flame, they had a common goal.
Alison new very little about her real mother but had been told by her adopted parents Helen and Tom, that she had been through a terrible time, having a complete breakdown after giving birth to her.
There was talk of mental illness, and Alison being taken away from her for her own protection, she was unable to cope with life and was sent to an institution, or so they say, nobody was really sure of the truth.
Many years later, Tom and Helen were contacted by a solicitor enquiring after Alison’s well being.
The solicitor’s letter said that her mother had spent a long time trying to trace where her daughter was and who she was with, she realized that she was a young woman by now, and just wanted to know if they still had contact with her, and that her daughter was happy and healthy, but did not seek contact, did not want to meet with her at all.
Helen and Tom thought it best to keep this from Alison; they felt that telling her would
serve no purpose but did send back a reply saying that she was in good health and very happy.
Then came a shock, a second letter arrived some six months later which changed everything.
Alison’s mother had died of cancer, and the solicitor had been instructed to let her adopted parents know of this, Alison’s mother wrote an accompanying letter saying, By the time you receive this letter I will have gone to meet my maker, it is up to you whether you tell my daughter or not, then thanked them and added, if you do decide to tell her, will you please also say that she was loved very much.
After giving it lots of thought Helen and Tom decided to show Alison the letter, they thought that she had the right to know.
Greg said, she never did get over that, and what made it worse, she never went to the funeral, and never did try to find out where her mother was, and then regretted it.
I asked Greg where the funeral had been, and he said it was in Fife in Scotland, apparently that’s where she must have spent her latter years.
Greg and I sat and drank another bottle of cheap Spanish plonk, the third I think? He was sad and yet happy all at the same time.
In all the years I’ve known Greg, I’ve never heard him rubbish anybody, well nobody who didn’t deserve it.
He never said anything bad about Alison on that day either, just that it was a sad end to a wonderful relationship, perhaps it was the wine talking , I don’t know?
Greg and Alison had only been officially over for about a month and already he was waffling on about the new lady in his life, I thought I wish I could attract women as easily as he could, but I knew deep down that his break with Alison had hurt him more than he wanted me to know.
Greg gulped his wine back and undid another bottle of red, we both agreed that these screw top bottles on wine were crap; it makes them seem less special somehow, although it’s far easier to open them when you’ve had a few.
It was then Greg pulled out his wallet and gestured to a passport size photograph of the new love of his life, as he referred to her.
He passed his wallet over for me to look at and I placed it into the palm of my hand,
the photo was placed inside one of those little plastic picture windows that most wallets have these days, I had to look at it twice, I thought you silly sod, you haven’t taken Alison’s photograph out of your wallet, it’s a picture of your ex.
I said to him, I think you’ve had one too many Greg; this is a picture of Alison?
He said, that’s what mum and dad said when they first saw it, but it’s not, honestly it’s not, it’s my Amy.
I looked at the image again squinting, trying to focus on the tiny picture.
I said are you sure you haven’t put the wrong photo in here?
He said no, it’s my Amy.
By now he was swigging his wine like it was water; he was obviously out to get completely off his head.
Did you know he said, she was fostered, she’s been pushed from one foster home to another all her life, she only moved here six weeks ago.
She told me that her mother had abandoned her at the age of one, and her baby sister whom she’d never met was abandoned too.
I asked her if she knew what had happened to her mother.
She said she was led to believe that she had died of cancer in a Hospice in Fife Scotland but wasn’t sure.
I unscrewed another bottle of wine………….
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Ray Boorman.
Published on e-Stories.org on 16.03.2011.