In Another Life

In my other life I might be living in London.

It’s a kind of sliding door scenario.

I was engaged once. Before. So young.

The proposal came not long after my dad died. So I was bruised. Lost. At sea. Looking for anchors. I’d only been in London for four months when the call came. Your dad’s had an accident. Is he OK (it never occurred to me he wouldn’t be). No. He’s dead. I was just 19.

D asked me to marry him barely six months later. And I said yes.

He was a broker at Lloyds. Suits by Gieves and Hawkes (whoever they were). A flat in Clapham. He’d only ever lived in big cities: London, New York, Chicago. I’d only just moved to my first.

When I wonder backwards I cannot fathom what we might have had in common? Perhaps each thought the other exotic? Perhaps each needed a person just then and we happened to be where the other looked? Perhaps he felt sorry for me?

He bought me a dainty solitaire in Mappin and Webb. I ordered a taffeta dress at Tatters on the King’s Road, a veritable meringue in ivory silk. Nothing about anything I was doing was normal-for-me.

It ended. Inevitably. Two very different creatures had bumped up against one another briefly and then realized, in time happily, that they were never going to fit the other’s world.

Ant wandered back into my life by accident – we’d been friends years before; he needed a place to stay whilst passing through London. He might have made the call to somebody else. I may not have got to the phone in time.

We were married 18 months later. I wear an engagement ring which we carefully designed together, set with a deep green Tsavorite, mined from the harsh, arid scrubcountry not far from where I grew up. Mum made my wedding dress, beautiful almostrose silk dupion from Liberty.

Home-grown; home-made. Auspicious beginnings; that’s much more like me.

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16 Responses to “In Another Life”

  1. inthewronggear Says:

    …for home really is where the heart is

  2. carol Says:

    so glad you are back blogging… i’m enjoying catching up … and so glad you married Ant and not D! I was going to have to wear a pink/white striped sailor dress … do you remember!

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      thank you little sis! you as a sailor girl and me as a meringue. Gawd. thank god we avoided those looks! indeed i do remember X

  3. Marianne Says:

    Life is like that – sliding doors. I did live in London, I did marry someone in the City – we’re not married now, my life is more real now. And so is yours…

  4. Mama D Says:

    Ah, the what might have beens…sometimes I think about the other lives I might be leading had I made different choices as well. For the most part, with great relief that I chose as I did!

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      the only real ‘what ifs’ i battle with Mama D are those ant and I fret over together. We do alot of ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ now about the last two very difficult years.

  5. Addy Says:

    I too look back and wonder where I’d be now, if I had chosen the other one. From what you say, you didn’t sound like two kindred spirits and you are much happier with the choice you made.

  6. iotamanhattan Says:

    I love that film “Sliding Doors”, don’t you?

  7. iotamanhattan Says:

    Having said that, I used to spend far too much time pondering “what if?” – both the positives and the negatives – about all kinds of situations. It’s really not very helpful, so I just decided one day not to do it any more. As Husband had always pointed out, it takes enough emotional and mental energy to live one life, without taking on various imaginary other ones.

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      Your husband is very wise Iota. pondering the what ifs and regretting the if onlys over choices ant and i have made in the last two years leave us both feeling unhinged and unhappy. better to focus on this life. the here and now. x

  8. nappyvalleygirl Says:

    Ah, there are so many what if’s? in life. It sounds like you had a homing instinct though, and maybe that would have brought you back to Africa eventually.

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      I think it would have done nappyvalleygirl. in fact, i know it would have done. difficult bug to get shot of … when Africa bites …

  9. Kit Says:

    London was a fleeting stop for me too and I’m so happy I didn’t marry into it. The other what ifs in my life are too bizarre to contemplate, tho’ I never got as far as picking out a meringue luckily. Home designed ring and home-made dress sound absolutely perfect.

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