For Marty, it was really simple. He wanted to be with me, If Suzanne was part of the package it didn’t phase him at all. For me, on the other hand, I had to learn to trust, to believe that this was the genuine, I kept thinking that one day like all the others he would just not come back. Marty was a little worried about my neediness, but once I realised he was here to stay, I settled down. Of course he didn’t tell me about his concerns at the time. That would have made things so much harder for me.
This was during the oil crisis. Petrol sales were restricted, and everyone with a car had to nominate a day that they would not use their car and the car had a sticker to say it wasn’t to be driven on that day, To drive would mean an instant fine.
Marty choose Friday which meant I would see him Thursday night and then I would have to wait late on Sunday to see him again. Marty went pistol shooting on Saturdays and on Sunday he saw his girls. He hated using the phone so he wouldn’t even ring me, so those days passed excruciatingly slowly for me. It was almost half the week.
Another thing I had to think about was Social Welfare. They had very strict rules about single mothers and their boyfriends. I asked my social worker how many times a man could stay before you could be considered living together. She said you can have a different man every night but as soon as one stays two nights in a row, you are living together. It was crazy.
I was also a little suspicious because I had never been to his flat. Did he have some deep dark secret, I got my answer on Valentines Day, I found a baby sitter for Suzanne and I went to his place for the night. It was a week night so I cooked for us, Coq au Vin which I had made a few times and Spotted Dick. It was a classic British pudding, that I found in my Cordon Bleu cookbook.It was my first and last attempt.
We went to his flat. I found out why I had never been there, It was above a very grubby burger joint, it was full of bad smells and cockroaches.. The toilet was outside half way down the stairs on it’s own little landing.
He brought me red roses. I still have some of them, one pressed in a book and the others in little shot glasses. We ate the coq au vin, it was perfect. The spotted dick was a disaster but Marty didn’t mind. It was lovely to have some time to ourselves. We drank wine and talked about the future.
The think the best thing about Marty is, how comfortable I felt and still feel with him. How right it is, and looking back despite my reservations, that is the way it always was.
The only drawback was that he didn’t like Barry Manilow but I can forgive him for that, No body’s perfect after all. And we had so much other music to explore. We both loved the Beatles, though he preferred their early albums and I loved their later ones.
Marty is 12 years older than me. At first he was worried about the age gap until he talked to his boss, Don Stewart. Don’s wife was 30 years his junior so he put his mind at rest.
Of course, now we were a couple there were people we needed to meet. My mother moved to Christchurch in the January after we met. I had a farewell dinner for her and she got to meet Marty. She liked him. I think she was happy to see I wasn’t on my own any more especially since she would be so far away.. And my friends thought he was lovely.
The next step was to meet Marty’s children and parents. And I wasn’t looking forward to that at all.
© Barbara Hart 2014