Rite of Passage Fourteen –A Journey Resumed–
1959. I am twenty-five years old.
Q: Hope Dashed? Hope is a fine thing…until it is “dashed” suddenly leaving a sense of despair…even anger? Did this ever happen to you…and how did you deal with it?
I had spent six months apart from Treena and Tessa and had spent much of that time imagining how it would be the day we were re-united.
I planned and allowed for every eventuality; I have always been good at fixing things by looking ahead.
They came down the gangway from the S.S. Athenic looking radiant from spending at least four of the six-week trip in the sun.
Compared to her slim-tan I was pudgy-white with all the indoor struggles to be accepted coupled with Army food and my added 30lbs…not that appealing!
I was convinced that I had done everything I could to provide for them. I had saved six hundred NZ pounds -about seven hundred US dollars, with which I’d purchased the bare bones furniture we needed for our small apartment.
At first, because of all the apparent (to me) sacrifices that I had made I couldn’t understand her ‘cool’ reception to all my ’worthy of praise’ efforts.
“Yes but,” she explained, in a very quiet and controlled voice. “You didn’t write…just six letters in six months?” –she left the question hanging for me to…consider.
I sort of got it but my mind buzzed with very logical self-serving excuses that I never had the opportunity to deliver.
“Because I didn’t know if you still loved…us (she hugged our tiny golden haired daughter). I had an affair of the heart with the first officer on our ship.”
So, there it was, I had sown a seed of perceived indifference even though I didn’t see it as such, and reaped…what could I call it?
So…what about now?
Treena gave me three months in which to reassure her that I was not in the least indifferent!
I must admit that mine was a mix of shock, anger and jealousy mixed into a desperate desire to win back her love and affection. In a word, I was preoccupied with our fractured relationship and so wanting everything to be fine…as it had been?
They had arrived in the New Zealand Fall in 1959, around April. Our son Andy was born on 7 January 1960 and if you can count nine backwards that brings you to…May. Our relationship now had a lovechild to grow up alongside our three year old.
As it happened I had nothing with which to woo Treena. I couldn’t afford flowers or perfume; I walked to work, we had no bike or car. Life was absolutely wonderfully basic –where love can blossom all on its own without being ‘bought’.
I did come to completely understand why she had felt so “left out” and how I was the responsible party…and yet, there was still a small seed of jealousy that is so hard to completely smother. Only absolute forgiveness can do that and so the seed remained dormant for a season yet far off.
P.S This week I read Treena’s poem Warmth of Love