I get out and about to the most glamorous of places. Yesterday I took poor old Dot to the chiropodist to have her toenails sanded down (you think I’m joking, don’t you?). In order to get her there we now have to have a specially adapted van to accommodate her wheelchair, as she is virtually immobile. While the mini sander does its thing, Stevie sits in the waiting room with the driver of the van, a middle aged man of about 50 -55 called Frank. So here’s the gist of part of the conversation between Frank and Stevie.
- Stevie (picks up magazine): “Mum won’t be long; about ten to fifteen minutes. You won’t be late home for your tea.”
- Frank: “That’s alright, I live alone now. I’m one of the happy divorced.”
- Stevie: “Oh.”
- Frank: “Well, you get married because it’s the usual thing to do isn’t it? You’re young, you know nothing, so you get married. I wasn’t in love when I got married though, only after I got divorced.”
- Stevie: “So you fell in love with your ex-wife after you were divorced?”
- Frank: “Nah, I found somebody else; never loved anyone as much as I loved her. If only I’d met her first!”
- Stevie (gives up reading magazine): “Life doesn’t always pan out the way we hope.”
- Frank: “I wish I was seventeen again and know what I know now.”
- Stevie: “I think we all wish that.”
- Frank: “I had four kids with the first wife, but I never loved her. She married somebody else a few years after we were divorced”.
So my question is, even though you’re young and silly, why get married in the first place to somebody you don’t love? Perhaps the first wife was pregnant and he wanted to do the right thing? I don’t know; he didn’t say, but it doesn’t take rocket science to foresee the outcome. Ultimately to marry somebody you do not love must eventually lead to heartache and unhappiness, not only for the wife, who probably realised early on that her husband didn’t love her, but also for the four children growing up with just a weekend father. A long conversation with Frank until Mum appeared again only confirmed to me that his love life must be somewhat complicated, with women appearing and disappearing at regular intervals, all of whom he had fallen in love with at some point or other. I have that ‘listening’ face, and Frank suddenly wanted to get it all off his chest.
So now Frank’s alone and drives a Dial-a-Ride bus. He does what he wants, when he wants, but is he one of the happy divorced? He didn’t appear very happy to me, but then I only met him for half an hour or so. It’s usually elderly women who witter on about their life stories, but I got a potted version of Frank’s in the time it took to sand down Dot’s toenails. If you ask me, Frank would really, really like somebody to love…
Today it’s a visit to the doctor with Dot. The surgery is just around the corner from her care home so I don’t need to call upon Frank’s services, but who knows – I might get to sit next to somebody interesting while she’s in the consultation room!