How did I meet my second husband? Well, there’s a story and a half.
As you know, Ted and I spilt up what, ten-fifteen years ago, around the time Simon left home for Uni. It wasn’t really anybody’s fault. We just grew up and grew apart. We were both so focused on work and our own interests that, without Simon, we found we had nothing to hold us together anymore.
For a long time, I really was okay on my own. Simon was always popping home to fill the freezer and get his washing done and my Mum was quite unwell for the last few years so, I suppose, I was busy and my life was full.
The change from being alone and being lonely didn’t really hit me until I turned fifty. Mum passed away and Simon emigrated to Australia. With time on my hands it finally hit me like a slap in the face with a damp kipper. A voice in my head started shouting, ‘wake up, is this what you want? do you plan to be alone for the next forty years of your life?’
I decided to be brave and dropped into a conversation at work that I might like to meet someone but didn’t know how. The youngsters thought it was a hoot. Well, they actually said it was sick which, at first, I took to mean they were revolted, but apparently it means it’s cool, especially considering my great age and obvious impending death.
They fell about laughing at the thought of me on Tinder, no not Grinder – apparently that’s something quite different. But then they suggested I register with dating sites called Plenty of Fish, My Best Friend and Find a Sugar Daddy. How old a sugar daddy would have to be for a crone like me, was discussed in hushed tones!
During a lunch break they set me up on a reputable dating site, rewrote my profile, skimmed ten years off my age, ten pounds off my weight and rejected the nice photo of me with Simon at Mums funeral for a photoshopped selfie. When I saw my entry, I didn’t recognize myself. I was quite fanciable! I didn’t know that I ran marathons and regularly worked out at the gym.
Volunteering at the charity shop was replaced with a fundraising walk along the Great Wall of China with accompanying photos. It was so convincing I began to believe it despite the fact the closest I’d been to China was the local take away. I swear to God, their talents were wasted in that call centre.
I was warned off using my real name, so I assumed what they described as my Porn Star name. That’s the name of my pet and the first word in my street.
Pixie Willow went live on the site that weekend, not resembling me at all. She was obviously quite a catch and soon attracted a lot of attention. The kids at work whittled out the time-wasters and weirdos and left me with a chap who called himself ETB123. His profile picture was of a boarder terrier. His profile said he had returned to the UK after working abroad a year ago. He had two children, a dog and was recently divorced.
We emailed a couple of times, he seemed nice, but reserved. The kids at work told me to skip to the meet up quickly, don’t let him string out the messaging and certainly don’t meet anyone who sends a picture of their… I took their advice and bit the bullet. In the third message I asked if he wanted to meet up. He did! He lived fairly close so we arranged that I’d book a table at my favourite restaurant, Kismet, which thankfully he was familiar with.
I walked into the bar feeling like a cross between a right twit and a right tart. A couple of the girls in the office had taken me clothes shopping and had dumped me in the beauty salon. I felt a little bit more like Pixie Willow, but the gaps in the story still worried me. They said don’t worry, everyone tells a few porkies on their profile. I felt we were pushing the boundaries of what a few porkies were to the limit.
I gave my real name to the barman for the table booking. A chap standing at the bar with his back towards me turned around and, blow me down… I couldn’t believe it, there stood my ex-husband, Ted. I prayed that the ground would open and swallow me up. After an initial awkward greeting I explained I was on a date and he told me he was waiting for a friend. I felt like a complete idiot, as if I had been caught cheating, even though we’d split up a lifetime ago. There was nothing else to do but chat whilst we waited for our respective companions. Simon had kept our lives with him very separate – I hadn’t realised how much so – and we soon talked easily about him, his new life in Melbourne and what had happened to each of us over the years.
It was only when I finished my glass of wine that I realised my date hadn’t turned up. I excused myself to powder my nose and check my phone. The last message from ETB123 said he was looking forward to seeing me at 7:30. Bastard! He’d probably got a better offer from a real forty-one year old with a real twenty-eight inch waist.
I went back out. Ted was standing by the bar looking at his phone. ‘It looks like my date’s not coming,’ I announced. It was lovely seeing you again.’
‘Hang on,’ he interrupted, ‘my friends late or got caught up or something. Did you say you had a table booked? I don’t know about you but I’m starving. It would be a shame to waste it… if you want?’
‘Yes, yes it’s been great and I would love to have dinner, if you want to, if you are sure your friend isn’t coming.’
It was true, I was having fun. It was just like the best of old times. I’d forgotten how much I liked him.
His hand felt familiar in the small of my back as he guided me towards the table. ‘I won’t be a minute.’ He smiled. ‘I’d better let my friend know I got a better offer.’ He winked at me in the way that always made me smile and walked back towards the bar.
As the waiter brought the menus my phone pinged. The message read, ‘Hi, Pixie, sorry to let you down but I just re-met the girl of my dreams!’
When you look at a quilt what do you see?
A rug, a blanket, a cover, a throw?
Three layers of fabric secured with thread.
Pretty cloth stitched together for warmth.
Hold it close. Feel the magic that’s woven through.
Fabrics marked with the makers hands
Admire their craft, their skill, their art
The riches of generations handed down.
A quilt is not just an heirloom, a treasure from the past.
Its hidden messages and secret cyphers.
Changing fashions, innovations and technologies
Are stitched within the fabric of time.
A quilt is more than bright new fabric, crisp and starched
Its washed and worn, recycled, repurposed,
Cut and sewn. Positioned, re-cut, re-sewn
Stashed, slashed and sashed. Sewn and sewn and sewn.
A quilt is more than just a gift
It’s a welcome to the world; a sorry you’re not well,
Congratulations on your special day
A memory of a loved one’s life
A quilt is more than just a blanket to warm your toes
Its anything an imagination can summon
A tent, a fort, an island in stormy seas
A dragon, outer space, a place for afternoon tea
The purpose of a quilt is to be used, used and abused
Transformed beyond fine fabrics and stitch
Every fibre’s been strengthened, reinforced,
Imbibed and enriched with my love for you.