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CHAPTER 5

Digs

It wasn’t long after Jon decided to contact all of the local double-glazing companies that I was at my wit’s end. I had phoned yet another psychic hotline and the woman on the other end of the phone told me that I should move out of the house. She told me that I could rent a room, but it was important to get out. Even I knew that I needed to leave for my sanity because I was just getting sicker and sicker every day that I stayed with Jon and his mother.

When I told Jon that I was moving out of the house, his comment to me was, ‘Yeah, yeah, you just go on and go.’ Jon didn’t believe that I would actually leave.

I looked through the free ads and found a room that was available to rent. I phoned the number, and just by chance, the woman renting the room had taken the day off and was available to show me the room.

Even though Glennys was getting me out of the house and exactly what she wanted, it wasn’t enough for her. She took it upon herself to walk into the living room where I was sitting in a daze, trying to come to grips with what was happening between Jon and me.

‘Why, whatever in the world is wrong with you?’, Glennys asked in her sweetest tone.

‘Nothing is wrong with me,’ was my reply. I didn’t see the point of elaborating to Glennys why I was leaving.

‘Oh, something’s wrong. I know it is, ‘ was Glennys’es smarmy reply.

‘Oh no, everything is fine,’ I answered, not wanting to reveal to her my misery.

At that, Glennys took my face between her hands, looked me straight in the eyes, smiled, and said, ‘I’m such a bitch!’

Before I could even get my thoughts together, Glennys skipped out of the room in a joyous gait, laughing all the way.

Glennys said it herself. She was a bitch. I don’t know how anyone could be proud to be a bitch, but Glennys was quite pleased with herself for all the harm that she had done. I honestly couldn’t believe that this woman, who went to church every day and even read the Bible to the congregation, could take such sadistic pleasure in hurting another being. Glennys may very well have been a Christian, but she was one of the most evil, wicked people who had ever had the displeasure to meet.

Naturally, I told Jon what Glennys had done, and naturally, I was wasting my time. Jon believed that I was just making it all up and refused to discuss the matter. To add insult to injury, Jon told me that Glennys had come to him on several occasions and told him about things that I had supposedly said and done. I considered his assertions to be complete nonsense because I had long since abandoned trying to communicate with Glennys and avoided her at all costs.

Jon took me to see the room and was amazed when I took it. We agreed that I would move in the following day because I needed to go home and pack. When I got home, I started packing my things and saying how happy I was that I would not have to spend another day with Glennys. I also said what had been on my mind for quite some time. I told her that I thought she was a slag and that she didn’t even know who the fathers of her many children were. At that, a huge row ensued and I ended up moving into the rented room that evening instead of the next morning.

Wendy was the owner of the house that I had moved into. The place was a tip and needed a great deal of work just to make it habitable, but at least it was away from Glennys. At least at Wendy’s I had some breathing space. I had some time to figure out what I wanted to do.

Even though I had moved out of the house, I saw Jon virtually every day. I saw him in the evenings, that is. I don’t know what he did the rest of the time.

My leaving the house did have the effect of shaking Jon up and getting him started on sorting out the situation with his mother and finding a job.

The first thing that Jon did was to ring the council and tell them that the situation at home was so bad that I had to move out. The woman at the council said that she didn’t think that renting rooms in the house would be a very good idea because Glennys would probably behave so badly that Jon would not be able to keep any lodgers. The woman did say that Jon could rent a house for Glennys and the council would pay the rent for her. It just so happened that there was a bungalow becoming available in the next three months, thus solving the problem of how to handle Glennys.

When Jon informed Glennys that he had in fact found another place for her to live and that he would top up the money that she was getting from the government, she calmed down. She did, however, have some kind of hold over Jon because she was able to behave in any kind of appalling way that she pleased, and Jon was powerless to do anything about it.

One day Glennys came home from church and declared that she had asked her priest to perform a funeral ceremony for Jon because as far as she was concerned, he was already dead. Looking for any and every excuse to try to emotionally blackmail Jon, Glennys even went so far as to say that she would have her dogs put down, which was an absolutely awful thing to say.

Needless to say, Glennys would not be attending the wedding and that was fine with me because I didn’t want her there anyway. It must have been particularly humiliating for Jon to have to listen to his mother say such awful things to him and I cannot understand why he never told his mother that he plain and simply didn’t want to hear her say such hateful things. The only reason that I can come up with for Jon allowing his mother to verbally abuse him so was because she was blackmailing him in some way.

There is no doubt in my mind that what Glennys said and did to harm Jon had a detrimental effect on his psyche, not to mention our relationship. It would take me several years, however, to discover the full extent of the damage that had been done.

Because I was living in a dump with a woman with a drink/drug problem, I was wondering what in the world I had got myself into. With nothing to do all day long but think about my problems, I would spend it ringing psychic hotlines, looking for any kind of confirmation that an end to my misery was in sight.

I would lay in bed until sometimes 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon because I was so depressed. I spent a vast amount of time in retrospection, thinking about all the mistakes I had made. I focused on all the bitchy, shitty things I had said and done to hurt other people when I should have been much happier if I had just concentrated on improving my own lot in life. It was a time of deep reflection, a time when I had to come to terms with the decisions that I had made, decisions that had ultimately brought me to such a point of despair.

Shortly after I moved into Wendy’s place, she informed me that she would be going away for two weeks with the Territorial Army. That, of course, meant that Jon would be able to spend more time with me.

The first weekend that Jon came over, he fixed a breakfast of bacon that had been purchased from the local M& W. Unknown to both of us, the bacon that he cooked had gone off and by the end of the day, both of us had come down with a nasty case of food poisoning. Because I had never had food poisoning before, I really didn’t know what to expect. I was vomiting and had diarrhoea for two days straight. Every bone and muscle in my body seared with pain, and I honestly didn’t know if I would be able to live through it. Jon decided that he would sleep downstairs in the living room while I stayed upstairs in my bedroom.

I was dehydrated and thirsty. When I asked Jon if I could have something to drink, he refused. I was too weak to get out of bed and wasn’t able to put any liquids in my body until the following day. When I was able to stand, I walked to the basin in the bathroom, poured some water into my cupped hands, and drank. I was still too ill to even go downstairs to get a glass of water on my own. I later learned a nurse that it is essential to put fluids in the body when one is ill, so I don’t understand why Jon would refuse to give me anything to drink when he knew how desperately I needed it. I can only assume that it was just another of the many sadistic mind games that he played with me throughout our whole relationship.

I was so angry that I had been given tainted food that I thought we should report M & W to the authorities. Jon didn’t want to do any such thing, which is so typical of him. He didn’t see why we should notify the authorities of our case of a potentially fatal food poisoning.

I bore no grudge to Jon for not taking me to a doctor when I was so ill. I didn’t know that I was entitled to free medical care on the National Health Service (NHS) and all Jon had to do was to take me there and register me as a visitor. I hadn’t yet realised that, unlike America, England is a more socialistic country and everyone is given free medical care. Even when I was so ill and could very well have died, Jon would still not take me to see a doctor. I hadn’t yet realised the implications of getting involved with a man who, just like my mother, had neglected my medical needs.

* * *

My nasty case of food poisoning was reminiscent of my highly neglected childhood, where my guardJons couldn’t be asked to take are of my medical needs, as it would pose too much of an inconvenience. As a child, I stopped telling my family when I didn’t feel well at a very early age. If I didn’t feel well, the standard remedy was to make me stay in bed, which is something that I hated. From a very early age I was plagued with what I thought was sleep paralysis. I would wake up and not be able to open my eyes or move my body. I would eventually be able to wake, but was shaken from the experience. I also learned that I was more prone to sleep paralysis if I wasn’t that tired when I went to sleep, and for that reason didn’t take naps during the day and ensured that my limbs were outside of the bedcovers for ease of movement, just in case.

As a child I was plagued with sore throats and blocked sinuses, which were caused primarily by allergies to dust and smoke. Instead of cleaning the house properly, my grandfather would swab my throat with an antiseptic, which was orange in colour and tasted absolutely putrid. I have no idea whether the medication helped, but I do know that I would lose my voice, and I would never receive any professional medical attention for it.

One day when I was at my grandmother’s house, a wooden swing-set collapsed with me in it. One of the logs fell on my arm, which resulted in severe bruising and my inability to move my elbow for some months. Since my guardJons never saw fit to take me to a doctor, I will never know whether or not my arm was broken or not. I do know, however, that to this day I am not able to move the arm that was injured with the same amount of dexterity as the one that wasn’t.

* * *

Money was constantly on my mind. Although I wasn’t earning anything, I still had to spend money to buy food, take the bus, or purchase other necessities. It is for that reason that when I saw a card in the local M & W asking for someone to clean computers, I phoned and made an appointment to speak to the woman who owned the company.

This was the first proper interview that I had ever been to and if it had been a job worth having, I would have totally blown it. I spent the most part of the hour telling this woman all of my personal problems, instead of convincing her that I would be an asset to her company.

To my amazement, I was actually invited back for a second interview. During the second interview, the woman told me that the only way that I would be able to work for her would be if she first advertised the job and was unable to find anyone else to fill the vacancy.

At the end of the second interview, I excitedly told Jon all about the meeting. I happened to be happy about the fact that I might be getting a job and earning some money. It didn’t matter to me how menial the job was because all I wanted to do was to earn some money of my own.

I suppose that Jon couldn’t stand the fact that I was actually excited about a really minor instance in what had become my dismal, pathetic little existence.

Jon’s response to me was, ‘It seems to me like a waste of a degree!’

Well, what could I say to that? Here I was, living in a foreign country, getting by the best that I possibly could. I was prepared to do just about any job to make some extra money, but Jon made me feel ashamed of wanting to take a job cleaning computers. At least I was doing something. Jon had done nothing but sit on his backside for the last year. Because of what Jon said to me, I turned down one of the few opportunities that I had to earn some money.

One morning I was reading Marie Claire and came across an article about a woman who worked as a colour analyst for Color Me Beautiful. The woman had a master’s degree and seemed to be earning a decent living as an image consultant. Because I wasn’t making any money selling cosmetics, I thought that I could improve my money making prospects if I received more training. I therefore decided upon a colour analysis class offered by The Colour Company, based in a small village in Kent.

When I phoned Susie, the owner of the company, she seemed to be quite abrupt with me when I was trying to speak to her about the training. She didn’t accept credit cards and would not schedule me for a class until my cheque had been received and cleared.

Susie’s parting shot to me was, ‘You seem awfully nice on the phone, but I don’t know you.’

Amazingly, my self-esteem was so low that even after such a negative interchange, I nonetheless sent Susie a cheque for £600 so that I could attend her course. Even though I was taken aback by her crassness, I had such a long history of abuse that I had become anaesthetised to all of the bitchy, little comments that somehow came my way. I naturally assumed that Susie’s rudeness on the phone was prompted by my naiveté with regard to how to negotiate business deals, and didn’t stop to think that it may have been a failing on her part.

When I arrived at The Colour Company for my course, I learned that colour analysis was merely a high-class method of selling cosmetics. I had done everything I was supposed to do with regard to marketing and selling my services, but the simple fact of the matter was that people in Basingstoke were not interested in buying expensive cosmetics, and they certainly were not going to fork out £45 for a colour analysis session.

I wasn’t any more successful at colour analysis than I was selling cosmetics. Not one to give up, I decided to obtain yet more training in the form of the image consultancy phase of the package. Again, I did absolutely everything that I could have done to market and sell my services, but the people in Basingstoke were not interested in image consultancy.

Having never worked in an English business environment, I didn’t yet understand just how competitive the world of business is. Because every nice job has literally scores, if not hundreds, of applicants, employers can pick and choose each candidate. If a person does not project the right image at the interview phase of the recruitment process, their name is simply crossed off the shortlist. Most women who wish to excel in business, therefore, learn early on the mimic the appearance and mannerisms of other successful businesswomen.

If an image consultant wants to make any kind of living plying her trade, it is most advantageous for her to break into the corporate sector. Individual people may not want to use their already stretched resources to pay for an image consultancy session, but big businesses will pay for such services. But of course, I didn’t know any of that while I was embarking upon my short-lived career as an image consultant. And of course, Susie and all of the other women in the beauty business were not going to let me in on that little secret because there wasn’t enough work to go around amongst the existing image consultants, much less any new ones.

I wanted to be a success in the beauty business and decided to take driving lessons. While I was serving in the armed forces, I was able to drive using my military driving licence. My American driving licence had long since expired. A little known military regulation meant that my American driver's licence would be valid while I was in the military. When I left the military, however, both of my licences became obsolete. Therefore, if I wanted to drive in England, I had to take the same lessons and exams that an English person would have to take.

After 24 driving lessons, I took my test and passed, which was an achievement in and of itself. I would not, however, be allowed to drive to keep my newly acquired skills up to date. The reason for this was because Jon made it perfectly clear to me that he didn’t want me driving his car. After passing my test, Jon behaved so badly the one time he went out with me that I wasn’t able to focus on what I was doing. I therefore abandoned any attempts to drive Jon’s car and eventually lost all confidence to drive on my own.

While I was staying at Wendy’s, Jon decided that we would go with a friend to see a Reggie concert. The night turned out to be a total disaster from beginning to end. Jon and I had spent so much time fighting fires, first with Kim and then with Glennys, that we never had a chance to find out what types of things we liked.

For starters, I don’t like Reggie and never have. I wanted to go to the concert because it was one of the few social events that we had been to since arriving in England, and for once, I wanted to be normal. I wanted to go out with my boyfriend to see a concert like everybody else. When the music started playing, however, I couldn’t cope because it just grated on my nerves. Although Reggie is popular to some, on that particular evening it had to have been the worst music that I had ever heard in my life. The more I listened, the worse it became. The sensation I received was very similar to having to listen to a person scrape their fingernails across a chalkboard.

I tried to be polite about the whole thing and told Jon that I would meet him and his friend downstairs in the bar.

‘No, you stay here!’, Jon said to me as I tried to politely extricate myself from a situation that was actually physically painful to me.

Jon wasn’t particularly concerned about whether or not I was enjoying myself. Just so long as he was okay, that is all that mattered. I stayed, but each moment that the man played, I went deeper and deeper into a state of excruciating pain. It would be several years before I would learn that people who are depressed have an acute sense of hearing, hence the reason for my agony.

At the end of the show, much to Jon’s embarrassment, I said that it had to have been the worst music that I had ever heard in my life. Naturally, an argument ensured and Jon told me that I was embarrassing him in front of his friend. Jon then decided to take me home because I had ruined the evening.

When we got to the door of Wendy’s house, I broke down in tears and cried with my eyes out. Jon changed his mind and took me to dinner with his unsympathetic friend who, incidentally, had agreed to be a witness in our wedding.

That evening, when Jon dropped me off at my rented room, his friend spent the rest of the evening maligning my character and doing his best to try to talk Jon out of marrying me. I have no doubt that Glennys piped in with her two-cents worth, which is what she did every time the opportunity arose. I do not know exactly what was said, but Jon’s friend said that I wasn’t the sort of person he wanted to socialise with. Evidently what Jon’s friend said was so harsh that a couple of weeks later Jon confided to me that he didn’t think that his friend would be going to the wedding. Jon would not tell me what his friend, Martin, really thought of me for several years, so I had no idea that he was opposed to the wedding because he didn’t like me.

Jon explained to Martin that the reason why I had behaved so badly was because of all that I had been through, but he didn’t appear to be very understanding. This was pretty much a standard response considering the fact that Jon’s friend was still in the army, and by vocation, not particularly equipped with the skills necessary to have empathy for other people.

The military is not particularly tolerant of psychological problems and prefers to exclude people enduring difficulties. Perhaps this is why Jon went to such lengths to cover up his inadequacies. Jon couldn’t tell his peers about his appalling childhood, so he made up a fabulous love story about how his parents met, fell in love and married. He scathed over the fact that Glennys had been divorced on the grounds of her adultery and focused on the myth that his mother loved his father, so much so that she was willing to leave her husband for him. In order to make his family appear more respectable, he told people that his father had owned how own construction business and that his mother was a nurse. Both stories were partially true, as his father had owned his own business for a brief time until he had a heart attack, and is mother had worked in a hospital in a caring capacity.

A little white lie here, a little white lie there, and Jon was able to create a family that appeared to people who didn’t know them to be socially unacceptable. In addition to the lies, Jon perfected the look of innocence. If he ever did happen to be caught performing some unacceptable act, the innocent look would cause individuals to question their perceptions.

Jon didn’t like Wendy, the owner of the house that I lived in. Although I was quite often hurt by many of the insensitive comments she directed toward me, I tried to get on with her. I have always tried to get on with everyone.

Wendy decided that she was going to have a party at her house and I was more than happy to oblige her. Wendy was very excited about the party and I naturally assumed that I would be going. Jon, however had other ideas. On the day of Wendy’s party, Jon took me out. He took me to a psychic fayre were I was get a reading, and then booked a room in the Ringway Hotel. Jon had plenty of money to spend on what he wanted. While he didn’t want to spend his money on a home for the two of us, he did want to spend it on a room in a hotel on the night of Wendy’s party, thereby alienating me from her even further.

The psychic reading I received was very interesting.

The reader looked at my hands through a magnifying glass and said, ‘Well, you have a long lifeline, so you will live well into your eighties. When you are in your fifties, however, you will have some female problems and need to go into hospital to have an operation.’

I said there and said nothing. I did not want to give too much away about myself.

‘In three years’ time, you will meet the love of your life,’ the reader went on.

I didn’t know how the reader could say something like that because I was due to be married in only a few weeks’ time. The reader wasn’t incredibly impressed by what I had told her.

Since there seemed to be so much confusion, she performed a tarot reading. She laid out the cards in the Celtic Cross fashion and pointed to The Moon in the Self position.

‘The Moon shows your depression,’ the reader declared.

Well, I didn’t think I was depressed. I had never heard the term ‘depression’ before in context to my state of health, but here I was, being told that I was depressed.

Because I was in such a complex situation, the reader continued to deal each card until she had completed the entire 78-card deck.

‘You will never forgive him for what he did, but you will forget. He will never hurt you again.’ was another comment that came from the reader. I took the woman’s words as a positive sign that Jon and I would be able to put this nasty mess behind us, and ultimately, live happily ever after.

The reader wasn’t particularly impressed when I told her about Jon’s mother and all of the problems that she had caused.

The reader donned a look of distaste and simply stated, ‘I think that she is very afraid.’

I didn’t know whatever in the world would make Glennys live in fear, and got the distinct impression that the reader blamed me in some way for Glennys’es anxiety. I didn’t think that it was fair that people should blame me for the mess that Jon and Glennys had created. I wasn’t around when Jon’s father had brought about his own demise by smoking 80 cigarettes a day, and developed lung cancer and died. I wasn’t around when Jon seized upon the opportunity to purchase his father's home at a rock bottom price because his mother had been left with nothing but bills. I wasn’t around when Glennys had spent the last several years, if not decades, bombarding Jon with emotional blackmail to the point where he had become an emotional paralytic. I had only come onto the scene in the last year, and Glennys had behaved in such an appalling fashion that Jon had been left with no other alternative but to exclude her from our lives. If all this was the case, why then, was I being held responsible for all that had happened?

It wasn’t long after Wendy’s party that I decided that I wanted to give up on Jon and go back to the states. Even I knew when a situation was hopeless and it was time to throw in the towel. Just when I was on the verge of packing my bags and saying good riddance to Jon and his horrible family forever, Jon gave me the slightest glimmer of hope that he really did want me after all. He suggested that maybe I could make some friends by doing some charity work, and he honestly seemed like he didn’t want me to go.

I was well used to being rejected and put last, and never once questioned whether I might be worth more. I never once thought that I might be worthy of love because deep down inside, I didn’t see myself as a loveable person. Therefore, the few shreds of hope that Jon sent my way by weakly telling me that he didn’t want me to leave was all that I needed to change my mind and stay in the UK.

* * *

Being an unwanted child, conceived three months before the birth control pill was made available to the public, I had grown accustomed to being last on everyone’s list of priorities. I was always expected to fit in with what everyone else wanted, and as a result, had become a very neurotic adult.

In order to survive in the cold cruel world that I had been born into, I had developed several coping mechanisms. As babies and infants, my sister and I would rock ourselves to sleep. When in the first grade, our teachers who had no idea of the family that we had been born into, decided that they knew what was best for us and separated us, we developed even more extreme coping mechanisms. Instead of rocking each other, as had previously been the case, we resorted to individually rocking in our bed, both in our own little worlds, which protected us from the horrors of our reality. As preteens, confronted with the prospect of living with a mother and a stepfather who made it perfectly clear that we were not wanted, my sister and I compulsively ate while our brother wet the bed. As a teenager trying to cope with a mother who went out night-clubbing every night of the week because she had ‘given up her childhood’ to have children that she never wanted, I became somewhat of a kleptomaniac. At the age of 16, when my brother was lying in a hospital close to death, my mother started a rumour that I was on drugs and shipped me off to live with my grandmother. At the age of 18 I joined the military, which is male dominated and does not necessarily want women among its ranks, thereby enabling me to re-experience the rejection that I felt as a child on a daily basis. At the age of 19 I married a man who enabled me to relive with clarity the humiliation and rejection that I had been accustomed to as a child. At the age of 24 my husband took my child away from me only because he wanted to get revenge on me for leaving.

* * *

It seemed that finally, after almost a year of being unemployed, Jon got a three-month contract working for Mercury Communications. I felt that our lives were on the verge of becoming normal. Jon had a job, we were getting married, and we were going to be living on our own without his mother interfering in our lives. Things seemed to be looking up and I was beginning not to feel so much like a freak.

One evening shortly after Jon began working for Mercury, I noticed that I had accidentally left my handbag in Jon’s car. As soon as I realised what I had done, I phoned his house to let him know. When I phoned the house, no one answered, so I left a message on the machine. Since it took on average ten minutes to get from Popley, where I was staying, to South Ham, where Jon lived, I allowed plenty of time for Jon to get home. When he didn’t answer, I waited five minutes and rang again.

I phoned again and again and again, and finally Glennys picked up the phone and said, ‘Mr Reynolds is not home!’, before slamming the phone down.

‘What a bitch!’, I thought. ‘How could she be so spiteful as to say something like that?’

Of course Jon was home. He was just not able to hear the phone because he wasn’t within hearing range. That is what I thought, anyway. I thought that it was cruel of Glennys to pick up the phone and say something like that to me.

Finally, after almost two hours, Jon picked up the phone. I told him that I had forgotten my handbag and would he please bring it to me on his way to work in the morning.

When I told Jon what Glennys had said to me, his response was, ‘I had just fallen asleep.’

I had every reason to believe Jon and no reason to believe Glennys. I accepted Jon’s excuse because I at that time I would never in my wildest dreams be able to guess what the man who I was about to marry might be doing, roaming the streets late at night.

When I moved in to Wendy’s house, she made it her business to get to know me, which is generally what most landlords do when a new person moves into their home. During one of our intimate conversations, I expressed my concerns about my relationship with Jon. I told Wendy that we had had problems with Kim and when those problems were resolved, his mother began interfering.

‘Do you think it will ever be just the two of us?’, I asked Wendy, referring to Jon. I needed a friend so desperately and hoped that Wendy was up to it.

‘No. A little voice is whispering in my ear that there will always be someone or something in the way,’ was all that Wendy could say. Of course, I didn’t want to hear it. She was telling me in the nicest possible way her assessment of the situation. I thanked Wendy for her opinion but hoped to God that her dire prediction would not come to fruition.

The first week of August 1994, Glennys moved into her own bungalow. Jon gave me a blow by blow account of all that it entailed, as well as letting me know in explicit detail how much it was costing him to get her out of the house.

Prior to the big day, Jon had taken me around to the various shops because he wanted her to have new carpets, new curtains, and an newly decorated home. I didn’t understand why Jon wanted to spend so much money on fixing the rented bungalow up because Glennys certainly didn’t mind living in filth before Jon began his massive home improvement campaign. In addition, since the property that Glennys was going to be living in was only rented accommodation, he would not personally benefit from any of the home improvements that he planned on making.

Although Glennys was going to be much better off living in her new bungalow, she carried on as if she was the one who was being hard done by. Glennys didn’t have to pay one penny towards the house move, yet she was getting a two-bedroom home that she would have the run of. The Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council would be paying her rent, council tax and a weekly pension because she had no income, and Jon would be fraudulently topping up the benefit that she was receiving by giving her well over £110 each month.

And of course, I was made to feel responsible for the fact that Glennys had to leave. Never mind the fact that her behaviour was so atrocious that Jon would never be able to introduce her to any of his lady-friends, I was still made to feel as if it was all my fault. Jon related me every single penny that he had spent on Glennys, and since he loved money so much, I could hear the pain in his voice.

Even after Glennys moved out of the house, she phoned Jon about every little thing. The calls became so incessant that Jon finally had to tell her that she wasn’t coming back, so she had better get used to it.

With Glennys was out of the house, I was free to move back in. I was happy to be leaving Wendy’s house because the company was unsuitable. Except for the cleaning that I did, her house was in a perpetual state of squalor. After I had left Wendy’s house, I had plenty of time to reflect on how rude Wendy had been to me and I was filled with anger towards my former housemate. It is worth noting that my living circumstances where so bad that even in the darkest days of my marriage, all I had to do was to think back on the frosty reception I received from Wendy to decide to stay where I was. As unhappy I was in my marriage, I wasn’t prepared to go back to living in decrepit houses, with people like Wendy, in any big hurry.

Jon had never liked Wendy. Although Wendy had a drink and drug problem, and lived in one of the largest council housing estates in the U K, she still managed to carry an air of superiority. Jon, ever so self-conscious about his own inadequate upbringing, took Wendy’s haughtiness defensively. Instead of being proud of himself for having made something of himself, Jon felt threatened by this young woman who had a significantly nicer upbringing but chose to ruin her own life by falling prey to substance abuse.

Although Wendy was in fact an illegitimate child, she had many more opportunities that Jon, which incensed him. Because of this, Jon made no secret of his dislike for Wendy and would have been pleased to see her demise. It is for that reason that when people would express concern about Wendy’s drinking, Jon’s standard reply was, ‘Wendy’s young. Her body can recover. She has plenty of years before she needs to start worrying about her drinking, smoking and drug taking.’

Other people may not have known what Jon was up to, but I certainly did. The fact that he would encourage a woman who he didn’t care for to do things that were damaging to her health and well being is a testament to his rather sinister psychological make-up. Even though I knew that Jon wished ill of Wendy and others, never in my wildest dreams did I suspect that he had similar feelings toward me. Regardless of the fact that Jon had yet to act in a manner that would show a reasonable person that he cared, I still thought he was concerned about my well-being.