I didn’t believe her when she said that she was leaving. She had been telling me this many times before, but knowing her – a lot of words and no action – I took it with a pinch of salt. However when I returned from work on Friday afternoon, I caught her packing her things up in boxes. “What are you doing?” I said. “I’ve told you that I’m leaving,” she replied. There were several boxes lying about in the room, some closed and taped, others still open being filled up.
We’ve had our tiffs sometimes . These were nothing of a serious nature really, just what two different characters living together normally argue about. We always made up almost immediately, apologised, shared a hug and continued our life together, although
the situation appeared to be serious today. She was definitely leaving. Her mind was made up. There was no turning back. I would have to adjust to living in this house without her. She was throwing discarded clothes in a corner. “Don’t throw that out,” I told her. “That dress had always been one of my favourites”. “You’ve never told me that before Jimmy,” she responded. It was a simple cotton dress, old fashioned really, but it had looked nice on her.
We’ve always been sensible and practical, so I helped her choose and pack. “Are you sure you’d be happy with him? I asked. Despite her decision to leave, I still felt responsible for her in a way. “Of course I’d be happy! It’s not as if I’ve just met him, I’ve known Ben for six whole months now,” she replied exuberantly. And so we continued packing. “Keep looking after the garden,” she said. The garden was always her favourite place. She’d go out on the patio early in the morning, wrapped up in her dressing-gown, and drink her hot mug of coffee. “I’ve never been much of a gardener, but I’ll do my best,” I said, not looking forward to the task that now fell on me.
It broke my heart when she first told me that she was leaving. We had talked about it for a long time. She told me that it was time to leave, but that she would keep in touch. I would certainly miss her warm soft hands, her gentle words, her happy disposition, her breakfast in the morning, her calls of “Jimmy, are you there?” as she entered the house. Oh! I’ll miss so many things about her. I’ll certainly have to adjust my life now. It was a big decision for her to make. I understand that. At first I didn’t make it easy for her. You see, I loved her, loved her with all my heart. But I had to accept it. We are both mature adults and know that things have to move on. In truth, I hold nothing against her. I wish her happiness in her new life with her Ben. To be honest, he’s a good man and I have no doubt that he’ll treat her well.
When the day of her move arrived, I had some time off from work as I could not let her leave without saying goodbye. It was not something I was looking for. I would have preferred had she decided to remain with me. But, yes, life has to go on. He had arrived on time to pick her up, and her things, in a small black car. “You all right Jimmy?” he called as soon as he came out of the car. Ben was a small man but with a large smile on his face.
Together we loaded the boxes in the car boot and inside on the back passenger seat. “You had better look after her,” I said sounding jealous but wasn’t. “Don’t worry Jim,” he replied, “I love her dearly and she’ll lack for nothing”.
“What are you two talking about?” she said as she saw us together. “Just chatting,” said Ben, smiling, as we continued packing the boxes.
“I’ll just have a last look inside,” she said as Ben started the car. She and I went inside. “I have something for you,” I said. “Don’t make this difficult for me,” she replied. She opened the wrapping. It was a red scarf. I knew she liked scarfs and that red was her favourite colour. “Thank you,” she said as tears rolled down her cheeks.
“I love Ben,” she exclaimed. “After your father passed away, I thought that I would never love anyone else.” She kissed me on the cheek as we hugged each other tightly. We held each other’s hands as we went out to the car. Ben and I shook hands. “Drive carefully and phone back when you arrive home,” I said.
“Take care son,” Mum said, “Don’t forget to look after my garden.” I waved to them both as they drove off. I knew that Mum would be happy with Ben. He was a good man.