Sometime later, after the wedding and the honeymoon, when we were settled into our new home and I was about to suggest we bought a dog, she started talking about herself. I know you are going to say, “Shouldn’t you have that conversation before the wedding?” but we didn’t. “Silly” isn’t really the right word, but it will do for now.
Our courtship was built on a meeting in Hawaii where we where both on holiday, and we discovered we both lived in the same city. “Is this fate?” she asked, and I just nodded my head and leant to kiss her: our first kiss. I called her my ‘Guardian Angel,’ sent to save me from myself, as a joke, and she sort of laughed in that indulgent way people do when they think you get them.
Sunsets, starlight, euphoria: those things have got a lot to answer for, because that is not where marriages find out if they will work, but none the less that is where we decided we were made for each other and we got married, just at the end of our vacation and a day before we were due to fly back to London.
She was the answer to my prayers I told myself. A beautiful girl, but homely and able to laugh at herself, but with just that edge of magic which keeps you guessing and lets you swallow the hook so deep that when she tugs the rod you feel the pull from the centre of your being and the miracle is, she doesn’t even know she’s fishing. I found out later that she does it anyway, to any man she meets, but perhaps the extra magic of the Island made her think this was the real deal. It was for me and I have the certificate to prove it. A fact I reflected on when she began to talk about herself.
“As a young girl” she said, “I learnt about terror. I mean really learnt. The knowledge you are at the mercy of something pitiless and dark for whom your cries are the icing on the cake. My uncle would threaten me but never touch me, so there was nothing to see if anyone asked, but his look alone could burn me.” It seemed a bit indistinct, but her tears were real enough and of course I went and put my arms round her and she looked up at me and said, “You make me feel safe” and what man wouldn’t melt under that statement; except later on I learnt she had a way with creating dramas and didn’t actually have an uncle: three aunts and a vivid imagination but no uncle.
Those people who can be anyone you want are the most dangerous people you can meet because they don’t know who they are themselves, but just that you are a stage on which they might play a part. She could do lots of things well, but not for themselves but just because they made the current “Her” more convincing.
I kept her this side of sane by taking everything she told me to be real and the truth, and thus I never threatened her, and in protecting her found I must love her because without someone like me she really would be lost. She was, in more ways than I can ever describe, my own creation, and protecting her fragile entity became my whole life’s work. I’m not saying she was faithful, but she was loyal in her way and always seemed well-meaning. None of us are entirely real are we? We are all partly a figment of someone’s imagination and sometimes of our own. I think my darling just took that to extremes and I rescued her. I think that’s what it was.