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Courtship advice second time round.

(72 Posts)
DeanMartinx Tue 18-Dec-12 12:41:31

I am a Male seeking the female perspective.
I came here by a very circuitous route.

Originally, I posted on the Dating thread. There are some very nice people there, but tbh, that thread is focussed totally on the vagaries of On-Line Dating, and my story is only remotely connected to OD.

As briefly as I can:

I lost my wife three years ago, to too short an illness.
Up to early Summer this year, I operated basically as a automaton, keeping up the facade of normality.

My daughters are grown up, one married in the other side of the world, and the other, unmarried here. I am 59, nearly 60.

During the two and a half period, while I was in a fug, I had what was the equivalent of a wet, heavy, grey concrete block lodged in my chest acting as a block to my normal way of operating with the world. Inherited from my father, I am of a very lighthearted disposition and I am blessed with his ready wit. But the "concrete block" just blocked all that.

Bad golfer that I am, I had a flukey hole-in-one while on a trip with a bunch of mates in early Summer. They made the usual fuss, but they did not realise that my wife and I had a running joke for years about a hole-in-one. The whole thing just caught me, and right there on the green, I literally broke down. I convulsed to such an extent that they thought I was having some kind of stroke. Could not continue the round.

But that night, for the first time since my wife, I drank pint for pint with the best of them. The following morning, I woke a little seedy - but, the "concrete block" was gone. Kaput. Vanished.

Since then, I miss my wife every day, miss all the little things and most of all, the laughs - because that was our lingua franca. But, my wit and drollery are back, despite the hole in my life.

In September, I went on holiday to Italy. Day 2, I decided to go on a full-day excursion to a number of tourist sites. Completely fortuitously, I sat next to a lady, at whom I hardly even glanced. A few desultory words grew into an easy conversation, to the extent that neither of us noticed when we had arrived at out first stop, two hours later.

It transpired that the lady had lost her husband four years ago, after a very long illness.

She was travelling with her Daughter, Niece and Pal of the niece. They were all in the their late 20's and great fun and really nice. Widow (to give her that name) lived back on her own back in the UK and was, best guess, 6/7 years younger than me. We all clicked immediately and we had really great fun all day. Throughout the day, Widow and I had great conversations - everything very easy and natural. We swapped experiences about being bereaved etc., hugged and had a tear or two, but mostly it was laughs and banter all the way.

At some point, she asked if I had ever tried OD. She told me about some of the ways she was messed about in that jungle - frankly, I thought she had to be exaggerating. At the time, I had no awareness of the crassness of some of the people inhabiting the OD world.

On the way back, and as they were in a villa an hour up the coast from me, I suggested to her, that I would take them for Dinner the following evening and asked for her number. She demurred, saying something to the effect that she did not give out her number anymore. She said "lets not spoil it", pecked me on the cheek and said I was a "charming man" and wished me "a lovely life". I told her that "charming" to me denoted a bit of a chancer and when I pressed her a little, she said that if I was genuine, that I would find her.

Earlier that day, I had given my number to Daughter. Niece was having no luck in getting interviews to get into a particular sector in which she wanted to work. I happened to have senior contacts in that sector in U.S. and promised I would make some calls - but not to tell Niece until I come up with something concrete.

Overnight, I got the promise of an interview for Niece.

Next morning, armed with the knowledge that they had not yet "hit the shops" in the resort town near where they were staying - I set out ready to "stalk my prey". As it happened, Widow rang from her Daughter's phone. Daughter had berated her for the way we had parted the previous evening. Told her I had some good news for Niece and they all came and joined me.

We spent the next four days talking and laughing and generally taking the piss, interspersed with long conversations about my wife and about her husband. Even though, we hung around as a group, the younger lot used to take off and leave us to our own devices.

Conscious that I was monopolising her time with her Daughter and the others, I said I would get out of their hair and took off on a three day trek. I was out of phone reception for a while and when I got back to base, I found a text from Daughter saying that they had had a change of plan. A friend of her Dad's had arrived with his "boat" and that he taken them off to Elba (there is a family connection) - thanking me for everything and hoping we would all meet again, etc., etc..

It was only then that I realised that I had not got Widow's number - when she had called me on the second day, it was from her Daughter's phone. So I was back to square one.

I did not know whether to be just sad, aggrieved or perplexed. But,I was devastated.

SEQUEL:

I actually managed to get three interviews for Niece, from which she got two job offers. She was extremely grateful and emailed me with progress steps all the way. She is a smashing girl.

Daughter has emailed me four times with bright, breezy messages and is talking about a career change, bouncing ideas off me. I have a very easy relationship with her - and the correspondence has all the hallmarks of continuing into the future.

From the Widow - not a word.
I sometimes feel that she could easily get my contact information from her Daughter. They are very close.
While Widow is very vivacious and great fun, there is a reserve about her.

After two months of failing to get her out of my mind, I called Daughter ostensibly to speak to her about her career plans. Mentioned that I had no number for her Mom. Daughter said it may not be a good idea if she gave me the number, but that she had a load of photographs from the holiday which she would circulate and that way, by default,I would get her Mom's email address.

By probing obliquely, I discovered that the guy with the "boat" was a co-executor of her Dad's will and that her Mom (who is not business-oriented) was a bit dependent on him. Despite being sick for many years, her Dad had remained a major shareholder in his business and that the business had been sold around the time her Dad had died. Together with some other companies, the company was being sued in relation to some contract and the sale proceeds had been frozen by the Court, pending the outcome of the case. In the meantime, Widow is reliant on this guy making claims for ongoing release of monies from the Court.

(Independently, I have since found out that this guy is a bit of a Flash Harry and is not, at all, the man of substance the Daughter described to me. He is divorced and unattached and when I asked Daughter if he and her Mom were a bit of an item, she no, but that "he used her" as a partner for some functions and stuff.)

The photographs were circulated to us. Daughter was cute and used the header "Guess who does all the talking in our family?". All the photographs were of Widow (talking) and a big number of them feature just the two of us. There was a bit of ribbing by the girls about me - Widow joined in the banter but never referenced me in any way.

Daughter had told me two things: "Mom is the straightest person I know - maybe too straight" - and - "Mom still carries a big torch for Dad".

So I emailed Widow. Very lighthearted in tone, I gave her an update on lots of stuff we had spoken about. Had been given advice in RL, to get the message across that I was not going to be hassling her - and to that end, I rather exaggerated how much time I was going to be away for over the next few months. I put in three "hooks" which should give her the opportunity to reply in a non-agenda kind of way. No kisses, no hugs, no flirty comments, no over-familiarity and no smileys. But, I felt the tone was nice and warm and easy.

That was six days ago.
No reponse.
Am I completely wasting my time?
I know she would not want to lead me on - but, I am very deflated in the sense that I thought her innate good manners and courteousness would have ensured a reply of some sort.

I know this is a total contradiction in terms - but, this is where I miss my wife the most. That is why I am looking for the female perspective.

I would be grateful for any insights. Instinct tells me that I have messed up somewhere. I might be the classic "no fool like an old fool" - but, I am no teenager either, and I can recognise when there is genuine rapport and spark as there was in this case. Maybe I am fooling myself!!!!!!!.

blueshoes Sun 06-Jan-13 20:26:35

Ah a comedy of errors. It totally makes sense now. You are back in the game. Hopefully one day you will look back on this together and laugh. Wishing you and your lady friend all the best!

DeanMartinx Sun 06-Jan-13 19:27:48

Thanks very much for your good wishes.

MsArsebiscuit and OWW, you have been very kind.

I'll keep taking your advice OWW - you can invoice me for your consultancy fee!!.

MsArsebiscuit Sun 06-Jan-13 10:17:37

That's so lovely, Dean, I'm really pleased for you. Have fun.

Horsemad Sun 06-Jan-13 10:13:38

I've just read this thread and am thrilled!

Good Luck with your new friendship Dean.

OhWesternWind Sat 05-Jan-13 20:51:47

Dean what wonderful news. I am so glad that things have got straightened out and that the connection is genuine. I wish you smooth sailing from now on. Do let us know how things go.

DeanMartinx Sat 05-Jan-13 16:21:05

Yesterday went so well - and, incredibly, the missing jigsaw pieces all fitted together.

I had arranged to meet them close to where they were shopping. Apart from the warm greeting, my friend was quite quiet. The main reason being that her neighbour/friend decided to run the show. Formidable and doughty, I could see how she would have been a rock for my friend - but, she obviously believed that age gave her licence to speak her mind very forthrightly. She made it very clear that Widow was her honorary daughter. Also there was no doubt but that she was putting me through my paces, e.g. "So, what is it exactly that you do" to questions about my family etc., etc.. I think I passed!!!!!

Very early on, she announced that she was only staying for starter and coffee as she wanted to catch an early train. My friend was staying overnight with her sister - so I knew from early on, that we had loads of time to play with.

With neighbour gone, my friend relaxed into the day. Swapping blue Mediterranean skies for grey winter skies did not change her ability to tell a story, embellished with her low key mimickry skills. Conversation with her is just easy.

Then the jigsaw pieces started to fit into place. I joked that I had been 45 minutes early at the restaurant because I could not take the risk of being late - given that I had no number for her. She said "But you have my number on your phone". I said I had her daughter's number but never had her's. She said "But you have it since I texted you after the holiday". It transpired that she got my number from her daughter and she sent me "a long text" at the end of her holiday. My first guess was that she had the wrong number - but she showed me my number on her phone. She could not believe that I never got her text and got quite upset about it. She got a new iphone at Christmas and is only yet using as a basic phone. The answer as to what happened to the text probably lies in her old phone - she is going to get her nephew to look at it.

Even though I was so relieved, as I could see immediately what had happened, she was really upset - kept saying "What must you have thought of me". I tried to downplay the whole thing. In a piecemeal fashion, I figured out how she had seen things unfold (or not unfold).

She thought that when I took off on the three day trek, I did so very abruptly (it was at short notice ok) and later rationalised it as my way of moving on, having spent enough time with them. Her daughter and the others wanted to take off on the boat and she did not want to spoil the party - even though it is not her thing. When she did not get a response from me to her text, she assumed that I had moved on to meet some other people further up the coast (which I had mentioned). As time elapsed, she assumed that I gotten busy on my return.

Then when I responded to her niece and not to her, she assumed that I had moved on (although she must have thought I was pretty mean to not at least respond).

She planned to text me at Christmas time to jolt my memory. Then the holiday photographs emerged and I did not refer to her or acknowledge her at all. My contribution to the email banter was "I'm glad to see you are all as noisy as ever". She interpreted that as a distant wave from someone who sees people he has met on holiday - but cannot remember when or where. After that, she figured it would not be appropriate to text me for Christmas.
So when she found my email she could scarcely believe it.

The story emerged in a much more incoherent form than that. I really did not want her to dwell any further on it - and as we were rather overstaying our stay at the table, I suggested that we take a ten minute walk across to a hotel bar where I was going to meet my nephew at 7pm.

The walk across diverted her and we settled back down into a new conversation. In similar fashion to myself, this had been the first Christmas for her in her own house since husband had passed away. So we swapped experiences which were quite similar in many ways. Then she started to speak about the last Christmas before her husband passed away - when they both knew it would be his last and how she tried to keep the facade up for her daughters. There is no doubt but that she doing a download or an offload (don't know which is the correct term) - and possibly may not have spoken about it before at that length. I felt comfortable that she trusted me enough to expose all the conflicting emotions she was faced with that Christmas. Very quickly it was time for her to head to her sister's. The doorman called a cab and we had a good warm hug. I put her bags in the cab and then she hugged me tightly around the neck. I could feel she was gripped with emotion and she just headed straight into the cab and took off without even a glance. Most likely it was a mix of the day and the churning up of memories of that last Christmas and some other stuff that she had dredged up just before she headed off.

She texted me an hour later, obviously back to her usual self, wondering if this particular text would arrive. She had arrived at her sister's and followed up with a sentence that was most warm and complimentary and I won't make any more of it than that.

She texted again early this morning and said that having slept on it, she is now even more "horrified" that I must have thought that she just sailed off into the sunset without a word. She said she had remembered something else that only makes sense now - and could she call me this evening when she gets home. I think she is now running her own mental video of the holiday and it's aftermath.

Overall, I am just so relieved that everything was ok all the time. Even though I did not accept some of the more lurid suggestions made, I still had residual doubts that somebody else's perception of my manner may be different to mine. It had begun to affect my self-confidence. I could not believe that I could get things so wrong. Either there was something so wrong in my manner, that she "disappeared" as soon as she got the chance, or, she simply was not the person I took her to be. I am just so relieved.

Apart from the relief, yesterday was lovely. We connect very easily and we have a lot in common. I hope that we can continue on to get to know each other over time. Now that I've found her and the missing jigsaw pieces are in place, I can relax and go with the flow - which, in this case, will be to go at her speed.

DeanMartinx Thu 03-Jan-13 16:40:38

I really shouldn't have written that last post at all.
If there was a way to delete, I would have done it immediately.

Having been so delighted to be meeting her again, it was a disappointment to then find that she was bringing somebody else - because that obviously changes the dynamic of the day.

likeatonneofbricks - I take all your points. I am taking it very cool and the interchange of emails is mostly about her "project" etc. I am extremely sensitive about how the loss of her husband is such a big factor for her in anything she does. The question of getting clarification about how we might go forward was very clumsy wording on my part. What I meant was that if it was just the two of us, it would be far easier to discern where she might be in her thinking. Anyway, I agree with the thrust of your points and appreciate your advice.

And you are so right, OWW about not expecting, at Christmas time, to be having lunch with her tomorrow. Don't worry - I intend to enjoy myself and to keep everything light. On the ground, I am very easy going and don't push things - but I am one of those people who consults widely about solving issues and that is not possible in this case. Hence the reason why I'm using this board as my feedback wall. In the meantime, I'll go the old hippy route and go with the flow. Thanks again.

OhLittleTownofWesternWind Thu 03-Jan-13 09:50:16

Dean Things seem to be going well, you're meeting for lunch albeit with someone else there, and it's moving in the right direction. Over Christmas I bet you'd never have thought that you'd be having lunch this week.

Take things very slowly, keep it light and who knows what could happen? It's so easy to get caught up with analysing each conversation and email, and over-thinking things, and I think you're in danger of doing that here. At the risk if sounding like an old hippy, just go with the flow, enjoy your lunch and the time spent in her company and see what transpires.

Thanks for your good wishes - things are continuing to be wonderful in my love life at the moment. smile

likeatonneofbricks Thu 03-Jan-13 01:37:41

sorry for typos, 'tis late grin

likeatonneofbricks Thu 03-Jan-13 01:36:45

OP, just let her take the lead now, if this is not inpossible for you! she sounds like someone who wants things on her terns for now while she is still finding her feet after her husband's death, and you neeed to let her be and not press your agebda, i.e. clarifying already 'how you may move forward if at all' - she obviously is astute and has geussed that her emails are making you very happy and hopeful BUT she is only considering it all and is NOT ready for any talks and clarifications that she rightly sensed you are about to launch into on the first meeting after the long break! so she is bringong someone - why not relax and accept the fact that all you are doing is getting to know her still (and her friends) , not dating or even discussing dating.

freeandhappy Thu 03-Jan-13 01:14:33

Well no you don't know. The way you describe this woman is as if you know her intimately. You don't. You know very little about her and it seems to me you are projecting what you've decided you like her to be. It's creepy IMHO. Plus you are setting yourself up for being angry and disappointed. How on earth do you know she is a woman of the highest integrity and that her tone I back to her normal chatty self in her emails. You DON'T know her! She probably thinks you are madly full on and if she has any sense she doesn't believe in soulmates. Why don't you try to get to know her and if she has a friend there it's no harm. I can't put my finger on it but I bet you are a dominator dressed up as I'll do anything for you. Maybe I'm wrong.

DeanMartinx Wed 02-Jan-13 19:28:58

Just when I felt everything was motoring along ok, I appear to have come up against a set of traffic lights - and I can't decide whether they are green, amber or red.

We have been emailing each other over the past few days. Everything absolutely fine. She mentioned that she had an appointment on Friday morning in (city) and was very specific about time and place. It is convenient to me (and I do know what the appointment is about) - so I asked if she would have time to meet up for lunch. She responded immediately to the effect that would be lovely and that she would have "loads of time". I suggested a time and place to meet - no problem.

I've just now got an email from her saying that she had already promised to bring her neighbour/friend with her to bring her to shop for a Wedding Present. She says that she cannot really disappoint her and would I really mind. Sorry etc.. Also if I wouldn't mind putting the meeting time back about 30 minutes, because her friend doesn't move as fast anymore.

I do know that this friend and her husband were her bulwark and rock all through her husband's illness (and after).

Just don't know if this friend/neighbour is being used as some form of human shield. I was really looking forward to having a good conversation and maybe getting some some clarity about how we might go forward (if at all).

I've just re-looked at the various email messages - for the life of me, I cannot see anything that would cause her to need a shield. And all her messages are bang on in terms of being her authentic voice - humorous and chatty.

It is entirely possible that all this is completely straightforward and that she doesn't feel it possible to let the friend down. I do know that the lady in question is older - but not sure if that means some way infirm, where she would not come to town without a "helper".

I just don't know anymore.

DeanMartinx Wed 02-Jan-13 17:30:21

Ok, thanks - appreciate the gentle bit.

Just feel a bit restricted by obviously not being able to use her name. Maybe it would have been better to have given her a "stage name". Hate referring to her as Widow, as well. It doesn't describe her very well - just as I would not like being referred to as a widower, although that is what we are. Thanks anyway.

duffybeatmetoit Wed 02-Jan-13 11:14:05

OP - a gentle word of advice. Perhaps you could lay off using the word "lady" quite so much. You are still relatively young and in men of your age this can have the effect of making you come across as a Terry Thomas clone which won't improve your chances of finding someone new. Good luck.

DeanMartinx Wed 02-Jan-13 09:23:35

freeandhappy - to answer your query: it was purely by happenstance. A guy who used to work with us and who dabbled in boats, took early retirement and went to live in this guy's neck of the woods. He actually knows the boat and it's ownership structure very well.

When I hear somebody described as a Flash Harry, my antenna goes up immediately. It's just a hobby horse of mine - I just feel that they always bring trouble in the end.

As to your other comment - I don't have any claim on this lady's affections and will just have to see how it evolves. I'm just glad to be back in contact.

blueshoes Tue 01-Jan-13 14:59:14

That is very encouraging indeed smile. I wish you all your hopes and dreams for 2013.

freeandhappy Tue 01-Jan-13 11:58:07

I wonder if she has been shagging the flash Harry guy so was keeping you on the back burner? How did you find out about him independently by the way? Anyway looks like your turn has come. Enjoy!

DeanMartinx Tue 01-Jan-13 11:26:31

Well I got my New Year present, yesterday afternoon, in the form of a really long chatty email from my friend.

It sounded just like I remembered her and covered a load of stuff.
She is very excited about a new "project" she is trying to pull together. The field she worked in before she left to care for her husband has moved on at speed, and she doesn't feel she can get back in at this stage. Certainly not in a conventional way - so she has come up with a way of reinventing herself.

Her memories of our time during the holiday certainly all seem to be all very sunlit. I could not discern any hint as to how or why she disappeared off the radar - but, it is only of minor interest now.

I have a very good friend and former colleague who did a load of research in the area into which my widow friend is delving. Conscious of the admonishments earlier of being "interfering", I emailed her later telling her about my colleague and the work that she had done. Just asked her to expand on her "project" and would she like me to approach my colleague for any pointers etc.

She emailed later last night saying she would be thrilled to get anything that would be relevant. Wished me a Happy New Year saying that "I never thought on Christmas Eve that I would be wishing you a Happy New Year".

Overall, I am really thrilled with the tone and warmth of her email(s).

DeanMartinx Mon 31-Dec-12 14:30:52

blueshoes
Sorry for not acknowledging your thoughtful post earlier - but I got kidnapped.

I understand the points you are making - but I am happy enough with the situation. To be honest, the only thing I felt she owed me was the courtesy to not just disappear into radio silence, with not a word, good or bad.

Given my daughter's hurt over the Christmas period, I was in the mood to be a bit bitter and it was in that frame of mind that I told her of my experience with the widow. Now that she has answered, and things have returned to normal, all that bitterness (which was only an overnight self pity thing) has been swept away.

I do belief that she is a very straight person and I am pretty confident that she will come back to me as she indicated. In fairness, I have to point out that there has been nothing of a romantic nature between us - except that, for my money, we were very close and there was a definite bond between us. The next step might be tricky - she does have a certain reserve about her, a kind of shield of some sort. And I don't think it is specifically a shield against me.

Ironically, the brief conversation about OD came about when she was talking about the lack of normal courtesy in so many situations. I thought she was exaggerating about her experiences, which I gather were very much of the dip your toe in the water variety.

I think while she may be open to dipping the toe in a casual way in the OD world, she may not be ready to for any real involvement. At the risk of flattering myself, I think that from a romantic point of view, she might see such an involvement with me as getting into the water further down the pool - we did share a lot of very personal feeling stuff. ~But that is purely guess work on my part.

I'll just wait and hope to be able to read her mindset when (if) she comes back to me.

In the meantime, many thanks again.

DeanMartinx Mon 31-Dec-12 14:04:09

MsArsebiscuit - thanks for your good wishes. Less of the "old school" bit though - should be using a smiley here, just don't know how they work (too old school!!!).

OhLittleTownWW - Thanks again. I remember when you had your nail-biting experience and it is great that everything is moving along for you. Really delighted.
I came here because I thought I might get responses from ladies who had lost their partner. As it is, I did get some very thoughtful advice from a few people by way of private message and some good stuff from posters here as well.
Hope everything keeps moving on it's current curve for you.

blueshoes Sun 30-Dec-12 13:17:06

Dean, this is indeed progress, it is great that she is replying because this is the first time since the holiday (I think) that she has contacted you. I think you are taking the right approach in still being on guard.

She implied it was not her main email address and so gave herself a readymade excuse if she decided not to respond to any future emails. She did not offer to give you her main email address. This is in line with her not giving you her phone number.

If she is OD (and hence putting herself out there) and she is interested in you, I don't see why she would not have already taken the bait by now. Either way she sounds complex and, if I may say, a head fuck. If I were her (one woman's perspective here), I don't see why she should not give you a clearer indication by now that she is or is not interested.

You think her courteous and well mannered but to me, if she does not follow up her email within a reasonable time as she promised, I would be ashamed of her gameplaying. The only reason I see her as doing that is if she thought she would jeopardise her dd/niece's career by turning you down. If so, she is using you. It should cost her nothing to lay her cards down. She never has to see you again. She should not keep you on a string.

Maybe she thinks it is kinder to not hurt a 'lonely' widower with a direct refusal. But she is wrong. It is far kinder to you to be clear if she is not interested. Surely, her experience at OD would have taught her that.

I hope for you that she just had too much going on over this period to get back to you or that she is interested but waiting for something to clear up at her end. Otherwise, you sound like a true gentlemen and you deserve to sweep someone else off her feet.

OhLittleTownofWesternWind Sun 30-Dec-12 12:58:48

I'm very happy for you, Dean, and it sounds like she is pleased to hear from you. What a lovely thing to happen after all the upset with your daughter.

Please feel free to come back to the dating thread any time you want to talk things over or get some gentler opinions! You've had an undeserved hard time on this thread.

MsArsebiscuit Sun 30-Dec-12 12:44:12

I first read your posts on the dating thread, Dean, I just want to say that I'm pleased that the Widow has replied to you, you sound like a courteous, old-school gentleman and I wish you a new year full of happiness and even more pleasant surprises.

DeanMartinx Sun 30-Dec-12 12:27:55

Out of the blue, on Friday, I got a response to my email from my widow friend. It caught me completely off guard and it took me a while to process my thoughts.

Basically, it said that she had only just found my email, really sorry etc. that she hadn't found it earlier. It is like a holding memo and I think she is saying that she will be writing later.

Christmas had been a bit more of a roller coaster than we had expected. My daughter and myself decided to have Christmas in our house for the first time since her Mom had passed away. We wanted to return Christmas hospitality of the last few years and we invited four of my in-laws to stay and two more for Christmas Dinner. Our plan was to fill the space with people and talk. But what we did not bargain for was for my daughter's boyfriend of over two years standing to do a runner on the Friday before Christmas. She never saw it coming and was devastated. It was not so much the split itself, or the awful timing but the sheer crudity with which he did it. I was never a fan, but even I was astounded by the cold blooded manner in which he acted.

She wanted privacy on the matter and she did not share it with her pals or with our guests over Christmas. Only for my other daughter, who is on the other side of the world, I may not have heard it either. In any event, it was a huge relief when our guests departed on Thursday morning, because both my daughter and myself were exhausted.

By now, my daughter had reached the stage of berating herself for her lack of judgement in investing so much of herself in her ex-boyfriend. In a vague hope of ameliorating her hurt I gave her an abridged version of how I met my widow friend. I presented it in bitter enough terms that just basic good manners would have sufficed. I just wanted her to feel that she was not the only person to make faulty judgement calls.

So when the email plopped into my Inbox the next day, I nearly regarded it as an intrusion. Because of the way my daughter was hurting over the Christmas, my wife's absence was more palpable than ever - and a sense of maintaining solidarity with my daughter prevented any feeling of elation in hearing from my friend. As my daughter's friends began to hear her news, they began to congregate and "rescue" her - and I faded into the background. As things began to return to normal, I began to feel very good about the email.

It is short and breezy. It is not immediately clear why she only found my email now - she refers to "this address", which maybe suggests that it is some kind of secondary address. Says she was looking for a recipe which her sister was supposed to have sent to her - says I "could have been there until next Easter". Goes on to say why she is rushing about and finishes "When I get rid of all that stuff, I must sit down and read all your news properly. I have some bits and pieces going on as well but they wont be as entertaining as yours. You still have the gift of the gab. Really have to fly. W".

Now that my head is cleared, I am really delighted to have heard from her. I am assuming from her last bit, that she plans to write later and I will just wait to see if she will follow through.

antonym Fri 21-Dec-12 16:37:08

Mmmm it's rare in this depressingly cynical age to come across such a shining example of self-certified, unselfish selflessness.

I liked the box room gag though.

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