Here is my facebook status from Saturday.
“Going to brave the Trafford Cente today…huge shopping “mall”/temple to consumerism. Built like a Greek palace. No windows anywhere so you lose track of space and time. just to get you to spend your money. Send out a rescue party if I am not back by 5pm!”
I had gone to the Trafford centre to go to see the film, Madagascar 3, with my grandson who was celebrating his third birthday. After the film and obligatory Mcdo’s., I wandered off on my own to “window shop”.
It was not me who got lost, but a middle aged man who as wandering around trying to find the exits, which are cleverly hidden to keep you there longer, so you can succumb to temptation and spend more money.
As I escorted the man, who told me he was called Harry, to the exit, we struck up one of those easy conversations, you sometimes get with a stranger. He recognised my Bolton accent and asked me about the surrounding areas, as he was moving back to the north west and had been sent property details for some of the outskirts of Bolton.
We discussed the areas concerned and then somehow our conversation got deeper as Harry told me he was a writer, moving back up north to research his third book. . We somehow got onto discussing relationships, as Harry told me all about how his marriage had broken down because his wife did not want to leave her life in London to follow his dreams with him.
Harry asked me what I thought was the secret of a good relationship and I laughed as I told him I was no expert, as I had been married three times. I told him that I think everybody on their wedding day thinks it will last forever, as I did, but sadly it was not to be.
I told Harry I really had to think about this. If you had given me a tick list at 35, of what I looked for in a partner, my husband would not fit the bill.
He is older, different generation, different religion, different culture, different value system. We have different interests, different musical tastes and in that Mars and Venus way, he doesn’t understand a word I say! LOL!.
. I am a dreamer he lives for today. I am messy, he is tidy, I accumulate “stuff” he owns very little. I am a proactive and a planner. He procrastinates and reacts to thing as they happen.. Yet these differences seem to be what keeps the relationship interesting…
……he is Yin to my Yang I suppose.
……… but we do have passion ( sometimes in loud disagreements!) he makes me laugh and it is never boring!
Because of this, I told Harry, we are two individuals living life together, not joined at the hip. Not that there is anything wrong with being joined at the hip, if that is what makes you happy, but maybe I didn’t know, when I was young, that being joined at the hip made me feel claustrophobic and bored.. and maybe what I really needed all along was diversity and freedom.
Strangely enough this individuality seems to be the reason maybe why our relationship has lasted so long, this plus absolute and total trust and security in ourselves and each other. Which is something that has come with maturity and experience. I don’t think it would ever occur to Michael I might be attracted to anybody else! and for me, well, this was the last chance saloon, I just could not be bothered with all that palava again. Jealousy, insecurity, infidelity, such a waste of time. What will be will be ….and all the insecurity in the world changes nothing.
Harry shared his sadness that his wife chose to stay with her life in London rather than come with him on this new adventure, but explained that compromise eventually became too much for him and he had become depressed. Since their divorce his wife and he had remained friends and he was happier now that he could continue to do what felt he needed to do
All this shared in a short walk to the exit in the Trafford centre!
As Harry and I eventual parted, we laughed as we realised we had shared so much to each other and would never see each other again. A bit like the scenario of strangers on a train, who share their innermost secrets, exactly because they don’t know each other and therefore do not judge.
I wished him good luck with his book and move back home and he wished me good luck with my life and travelling and then we both went our separate ways..
So I browsed around the shopping centre, enthralled by all the shiny windows and tempting displays of skinny models wearing lovely clothes.
..and what was the damage? this unstructured berry/ black spot jacket, a pale salmon coloured silk blouse to add to my capsule wardrobe. ….and a bargain bag.
..all of which are returnable!
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You are amazing! Apart from my mum I've never met anyone who could find out so much information from a complete stranger in such a short time. You obviously have a natural empathy that makes people open up to you. Fascinating!
I never thought of it that way Janet…..not so much empathy as curiosity ( noseyness?) LOL! just think how I had to go over with the people with the dolls at The Richmond tea rooms.
Please don't return the blouse and jacket. They go perfectly with your wardrobe!What I'm curious about is that Harry recognized that you have a Bolton accent. Are the accents that different from one town to the next? And while I feel sorry for Harry that his wife didn't want to join him on his adventure, perhaps she had dreams of her own that she wanted to pursue. He reminds me of some of our friends who have recently divorced because the husbands didn't a clue that their wives weren't happy always following them.
Hi Mary Kay, yes the accents vary from one town to the next, in fact a good ear can hear differences between one area of a town and another, but probably only a local could tell the difference. Harry was originally from Manchester I could tell that from HIS accent, so that is how he recognised my accent. Having said that the Bolton accent is quite distinctive.Yes maybe people should have more discussions about their dreams. Love Denise
Being able to relate to people so easily is a gift. Harry realized he could pour his heart out to you for a reason.Life does change us and different things are important to us at different times in our lives. You and Michael are so obviously made for each other at this point in time, it's lovely to read how important he is to you and for what reasons.Another thoughtful, moving post…..I am in awe of your insights.Jo