“I have been foolish– Fairground Attraction
too many times
Now I’m determined
I’m gunna get it right!”
Mum came home a couple of days before I had to go back to Sydney. She had met Jeremy a couple of times and knew that he had come to visit me in Bathurst while she had been away. And of course, I had been talking about him non-stop for five months, so I guessed she’d knew my depth of feeling for him by that stage.
What she didn’t know was what had happened when he had come to visit or my plans to move to Canberra the next year. On one hand I wanted to tell her how excited I was to be making this major life decision and I wanted her to be happy for me that I had met such a special guy. But on the other I worried that mum might think that I was neglecting my study for some boy. I had to admit that that was true. I would be deferring my study for a time but reasoned that it wouldn’t derail my career for more than six months and if Jeremy was the one, which knew he was, then I didn’t want to let him get away.
Mum did have mixed feelings when I told her what I was planning to do. I sensed that she wanted to be happy for me but hadn’t wanted me to grow up so fast. She did question my decision to pause my study for six months while I went to Canberra. It was a small risk, but I had plenty of time left to complete my degree and still keep my options open for further education.
I laid out my plan for her and I think she wanted to convince me that I should risk my relationship and not my education. But as I’ve said, I am quite logical and stubborn so she must have realised that I was going to get my way, especially if she tried to push her will on me. In the end, mum told me that she wanted the best for me but that I should be the one who determined my own future.
We cried a lot that day, but they were happy tears.
The whole time I had been dating Liz I had been going through the motions of love. I happily admit that we had had some good times but never any “floating on cloud nine” times of euphoria. I had eventually fallen into the trap of assuming that we would be together forever and that the kind of monotony of existence I was living would be my future.
It is hard to break out of a doomed relationship the longer it goes on. After a year you have kind of signed an unwritten agreement that you will stay with that person forever and after two years, by law, you are unofficially married. If one party wished to seek financial rectitude after two years of living together, they could. Luckily for me, Liz had not taken that option, though she did threaten it. What she hoped to take from me I don’t know but she still didn’t make things easy for me financially or emotionally. But if we had been in love then none of that would have happened because we wouldn’t have broken up. The problem was that we never really were.
In retrospect, at some point I realised that I was never going to happy with Liz and to stay beyond that was unfair to both of us. It was probably early on, I can’t remember when, but I should have broken it off then. It would have been painful, but it would have been better than dragging it out for five years.
I came to understand that if, after six months, I was still waiting to commit then it would likely never come. By then I had enough information to decide one way or the other. Based on that idea I also determined that, if after the same time, I was still in love with someone (Alison) then she was the one. And if she was the one then what was I waiting for?
So, it was with that in mind that I found myself driving back to Bathurst just two weeks later. Unbeknownst to Alison, I had called her mother and asked if I could come and visit her that weekend to talk to her about Alison. She was little taken aback but not dismissive or defensive. She must have guessed my intent and she had few days to think about her response.
I gave myself plenty of time to get there and prepare myself for the meeting. I wore my best suit and rehearsed my speech a hundred times the week before and, on the journey, up, my stomach churning violently the closer I came to Bathurst and my meeting with destiny.
I was invited into that house where only two weeks earlier I had worried so much about the wooden floorboards – yes there was a stain now – and we sat down and made nervous small talk. When I got my chance, I told her that I was very much in love with Alison and that I would, with her permission, ask Alison to marry me. I was hoping for the best but expecting the worst, not really knowing what I would do if she said no.
But to my surprise she took an altogether unexpected option. She said that Alison had spoken to her about me and our plans, so she wasn’t entirely unprepared for my visit. She said that Alison was an adult so she could make her own decisions but thanked me all the same for asking her permission first.
However, by asking her permission, she now hoped that I would abide by her wishes. She said that she would bless the marriage only after Alison had completed her study. If Alison intended to go through with postponing her study to move to Canberra, then that would postpone her blessing.
I thanked her for being so honest and said that I would respect her wishes. I knew that I had wanted her just to yes, but she’d hadn’t said no.
There was hope.