The boys are out for a morning bike run. Fife’s hoping to get the boys trained so that when they’re a bit older they can come for morning runs with him. He joked that maybe he should start training me. I promptly told him that I do not run. Even when chased, I don’t run.
The Rangers were playing Motherwell yesterday, so Fife called Brad and Angelina to come around and watch the match on telly. Fife BBQd – despite the grey sides – and as soon as the match started it all became very 1950s domestic. The boys watching the footie while the women chatted over wine in the kitchen.
It kind of reminded me of going to my Gran’s, which in turn reminds me of LadyBohemia. I’m glad we went away for the weekend, get my mind off it. But every once in a while, I get a flash of her lying in bed in the dark. I wish I could just wipe that memory and only picture her in the garden in her red cape. That lovely worn red cape with the paint flecks on it. I guess I can get flashes of the nice stuff too. I hope they get more frequent.
LadyBohemia reminds me of my Gran a little. They were both the same sort of social. Fun, friendly and up for a chat with anyone. Gran always kept the door to her garden unlocked, and throughout the day friends would pop around. She’d make a pot of tea and they’d gossip and chat at the kitchen table until the pot was finished. My Gran called them her ‘back door friends’. When I became a teenager, the possible euphemisms of that phrase made me laugh like crazy, until one day she realised I was being a pervy teenager and she started saying it with emphasis just to get me to laugh even more.
I wish things were still this way, and my generation had ‘back door friends’. Friends dropping over for tea around the kitchen table. These days we all meet at the pub or out for a coffee. Except for PoshPhD, who does turn up in my kitchen on occasion, so I guess she’s a backdoor friend. I just wish I could keep wine in the house without worrying about her knicking it.
Angelina and I sat at the kitchen table, and I asked how long she’d known Fife, and I was surprised to find that she and her husband were friends with Fife and Helen back in Uni. In fact, Fife’s parents found the cottage because Brad and Angelina knew the sellers. I had no idea; I thought they just knew each other from the cottage and the village.
It’s weird though, because they don’t act like old friend. You know, like when I talk to D or B, we don’t need to finish our sentences, because the other person knows what’s about to be said. Plus, we talk to each other like sisters, being frank and open. Whereas there seems to be a bit of reticence between Fife and BraAngelina. I wonder if this has to do with Helen? When the couple split, did they split their friends? Or is everything just diplomatic now and nothing more? But she said that I made Fife happy, so she can’t be too bias towards Helen? Could she?
Here sitting in front of me, Angelina was my chance to find out more about Fife and Helen’s relationship. He’s been quite stoic about the divorce, but I don’t think it’s going well. I wanted to ask Angelina if she still talks to Helen, and what her side of things were, but I didn’t know how to do it tactfully. Do I drop hints? Do I make a sly comment about Helen, then see Angelina’s reaction? Or, do I tactlessly blurt out my question?
I opted to the latter.
‘[Fife] doesn’t talk about these things much, but what happened between Fife and Helen? Is this divorce amicable?’
‘Oh god. They should have NEVER gotten together. You couldn’t ask for two different people,’ she said in a bit of a gossipy tone. She said that while Fife would happily spend his entire life in the woods or the library, Helen relishes a party and the city. Fife loves building things and doing stuff with his hands, plus he adores being part of a family, while she’s more into her career and socialising. Her job is very important to her. Angelina then added, ‘Don’t get me wrong. She loves the boys. But I think if it were up to her, she’d be raising them in London as part of theChelsea set.’
I know it’s a cliché to assume that women who want a career don’t want kids (I want both kids and a career, and I can respect Helen as my career is very important to me as well), but it does seem strange that a woman who was so obsessed with having children that she went through years of infertility, and stayed in a bad marriage just to get pregnant, was then willing to be away from her children four days a week.
When I asked Angelina about this, she laughed, leaned in close like she was going to tell me a secret, then said, ‘The whole fertility treatment thing was Fife. He pushed that. To be honest, I think [Helen] wanted out of the marriage twenty years ago when she miscarried the first time. It was [Fife] that pushed for them to keep trying for children.’
First off, holy fuck! Twenty years. They’ve been married for twenty years? I think Angelina said ‘twenty years’ as a round number, but right let me count this out, if they met in their first year of Uni, then they will have known each other for twenty two years. Wow, this really puts our age differences in perspective.
Okay, okay, putting aside the fact that he met his wife around the same time I was born, this was nothing like the story Fife told me. He said that she was baby obsessed, and he only went along with it to support her.
Angelina must have read my confused expression because she made an addendum to her previous statement, ‘Of course, she wouldn’t have gone through all that if she hadn’t wanted children. But I always felt that it was Fife pushing for them to stay together, or she would have left long ago. All they ever do, all they’ve ever done, is fight.’
I told her point blank that this didn’t make any sense. He told me that she was the one who wanted kids, that she even pushed for having a third child, hoping for a girl after LittleOne was born. That’s why Fife got a vasectomy.
Angelina took a sip of her wine and leaned in again. She was loving this gossip session. She said that it turns out Fife got his vasectomy around the time they all reconnected. Brad and Angelina kept in touch with Fife and Helen after Uni, but, as often happens, they didn’t see each other too much. She said they reunited on Facebook several years back, and she started talking to Helen again. According to Angelina, the big issue with the vasectomy wasn’t that Fife had one, but that he had one in secret AFTER making such a stink about wanting a little girl.
Angelina said that Helen was more than happy to stop after their second son, but it was Fife who kept pushing for a third. She said that Fife and Helen got in a massive row about it, then suddenly things calmed down. It wasn’t until some time later that Helen found out about Fife’s vasectomy. (She’d been traveling a lot by this point and he did it while she was away.) She didn’t want a separation because he had been steralised, but because he did it without telling her.
Angelina then added, ‘We never figured out why he got one.’
I was totally flabbergasted. She’d just painted a completely different portrait of Fife and Helen’s relationship than anythingFife’s ever told me. I told Angelina I didn’t understand. Why would he lie to me?
She said that she doesn’t think he has been lying to me, but that people have different perceptions of the same situation. She said that Fife is definitely NOT the lying type. However, he is a typical guy: irrational and unexplainable — to the point where sometimes they can’t even explain things themselves.
We had a bit more wine before she added, ‘The last time I saw you, I said I’ve never, and I mean never, seen him this happy. I still mean that. I think you’re good for him. So, don’t let his past get in the way.’
I think she’s right, and I can’t let he and his ex-wife’s past effect what I have with Fife. Memories change and we all do silly things. Plus, Angelina was only telling me one side of the story. I’m sure Brad would tell me a different angle, as would Helen. The only person I can trust is Fife, and if he believes what he told me is true, then I have to go with that.