She’d thought he was completely devoted to her at first, because he was so kind and caring. They met in February 1960, in church, where she was the Sunday School Superintendent, and he gave her a lift home afterwards in his car and they sat outside her Aunty Lily’s house talking. He told her that he wanted to become a priest, and so she felt that he was somebody she could trust, and told him all her problems.
When she told him how deprived of affection she had been by her father as a child, he was so upset that he seemed to want to make it up to her for the love she’d lost, by showering her with love and affection himself, and she was quite overcome. She’d never met anybody before, who’d shown her so much affection, concern and consideration, and then when her 21st birthday came along a few weeks later on the 3rd March, she thought he was even more devoted.
She’d invited him to join her at her Birthday Party in the evening at The Vine Inn at Ower near Romsey, at a Dinner-Dance with her brother , his girl-friend and Vic and when they arrived, he asked her what her favourite song was and she told him, with a laugh that it was “The Night They Invented Champagne” from her favourite musical “Gigi”, and then, a little while later, whilst they were eating their meal, she was astonished to see the band leader come to the front of the stage and pick up the microphone and announce that there was a young lady in the room who was celebrating her 21st birthday, and announce her name and ask everybody to give her a round of applause, and she was completely staggered. Nothing so exciting had ever happened to her before, and then, before she was able to get over that shock, she got an even bigger one, as the band suddenly struck up to the rousing strains of “The Night They Invented Champagne” and the waiter came to their table with a bottle of Moet and Chandon, and filled their glasses, and her husband-to-be proposed a toast, to her “Long Life and Happiness” and everybody said “To Jill!” and she was absolutely stunned. She’d never been so overwhelmed with excitement and delight in the whole of her life and knew that it was a moment she would never forget.
At first, they were only able to see each other at weekends because he was in the army finishing his tour of duty as a National Serviceman, which all young men had to do in the 1950’s, in Britain, but they soon became deeply attached, and two months later, he asked her to marry him, and she was delighted to accept, and he arranged for her to move out of her cramped living quarters at her Aunty Lily’s house and move in and live with his parents and his 13 year old sister, with a large bedroom of her own, at 25 Locksley Road, Eastleigh, just up the road from where her father lived at her erstwhile home at 80 Magpie Lane, on the other side of Fleming Park, and they set the date of their wedding for the 27th of August, just after he was due to be demobbed.
And then the week before they got married, she felt that she had even more reason to think he was completely devoted, because, despite the fact that he was devoutly religious and knew it to be a sin, he asked her if they could have sex. She was quite shocked for knowing it to be a sin, too, for having had the fact drummed into her head all her life, on account of what had happened to her grandmother and her mother when they’d had sex before marriage, but he was so desperate, that she felt sorry for him, and let him have it, and found it most reassuring to think that he was more interested in having sex with her, than he was in his religious beliefs, although he tried to pretend that he wasn’t.
He tried to pretend that it wasn’t a sin to have sex before marriage, because having sex was making love and making love was a religious sacrament: the outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible love, and if you were in love, then you should make love, and you should be in love before you got married, and so you should make love, before you got married, but she wasn’t convinced, because her Aunty Lily had already told her how completely pathetic men were on the subject of sex and how helplessly husbands craved after their wives for it, which her Aunty had always thought was a big joke where her husband was concerned, and so she’d thought that this was just an example of it, but a week later, she wasn’t so sure.
It was her Wedding Day and her husband and she were on the train, heading off down the tracks for their happy honeymoon, in Torquay, in Devon, sitting opposite each other, in the intimate confines of their empty railway compartment, in the days when compartments were separate and self-contained, and she thought she would start her married life as she meant to go on by letting her new husband know who was boss in a subtle sort of way, by letting him know that she knew how helplessly he craved after her for sex, and looked across at him, and gave him a suggestive, provocative, inviting, saucy, little smile and said in a teasing, seductive tone of voice.
'You just can't wait to get your hands on me, can you?' expecting him to become overwhelmed with lust and shoot across the carriage like a rocket and try to get his hands all over her, as he had in his bedroom, the week before, so that she would be able to playfully resist, and laugh at him and chide him for being so craving, but it didn’t work, because he didn’t become overwhelmed with lust and shoot across the carriage like a rocket and try to get his hands all over her, at all, but, just remained sitting exactly where he was, giving her a funny look, and changing the subject and starting to talk about something else, with no sign of his craving helplessly after her for sex, at all, and she couldn’t believe it.
Why didn’t her new husband crave helplessly after her for sex, like everybody else’s new husbands craved helplessly after them?
She didn't know, but it wasn’t a good sign and she couldn't help worrying about it. It wasn’t very reassuring and she hoped things would improve with time, but they didn’t. He never became her doting slave, like Vic. He never became completely besotted. He never became totally obsessed. In fact, he hardly seemed to know what total obsession was. There was only one time, in the whole of her married life when she felt that he got close to it, and that was two years later, in the September of 1962, when he went down to Devon to start his degree course at the University of Exeter and she was unable to join him for four months, because he couldn’t find any decent married accommodation.
She wanted a nice flat but all he was able to find were poky, little bed-sits, and so when she went down to see him every other weekend, to see the latest thing he’d managed to come up with, she had to turn them down, and after only a few weeks, she found that when she left him on St David's railway station to go back home on the train, on Sunday nights, he was in tears, and she was quite touched, and thought he might have become totally obsessed with her, after all, but it didn’t last.
Once she joined him in the January, in the very nice top-floor flat, he’d finally managed to find for them, at 43 Haldon Road in the parish of St Davids, he quickly reverted back to his old self, and hardly showed any interest in her at all, for becoming obsessed with his studies, again, as he had the year before, when he’d enrolled at Southampton Technical College for two full-time GCE “A” level courses and had spent all his time studying at the Southampton Central Reference Library, until it closed at 9 o’clock in the evenings, and she hardly saw anything of him, and so it went on for another three years when spending all his time at the Southampton Reference Library, was replaced with spending all his time at the University Reference Library, until he finally finished his degree course in 1965, when his obsession with his studies was replaced with his obsession with his work as a Liberal Studies and Sociology lecturer at Crawley College of Further education, which post he’d had to take as the result of the vicar at St. Davids turning him down as a candidate for ordination, much to his disappointment and so it went on for another two years, until in the February of 1967, the ultimate nightmare descended and he told her that he was no longer interested in her at all, but, wanted somebody else, instead.
It was while they were watching a football match on TV in the lounge of their very smart, modern, first-floor flat at 19 Windyridge in Crawley, Sussex. He got up at half-time, to go out into the kitchen to make a pot of tea and as he passed her chair, turned to her and with a funny, little laugh, said.
'Do you know, when I have sex with you, I find it so hard to come, I have to think about other women?' and walked out of the room.
She couldn’t believe it. How could anybody say anything so depraved? She didn’t know. How could anybody even think it? She had no idea. It was horrendous. She felt totally betrayed. Her husband didn’t want her anymore. He wanted other women. He’d even thought about another woman, whilst having sex with her. He’d used her like an object. She was utterly defiled. It was appalling. Her marriage was over. Her husband didn’t want her anymore; he wanted somebody else, but who?
She could only think of one person, Geri, one of his doting "A" level sociology students from the college. She was an attractive, nineteen-year-old redhead. He'd brought her home just a few weeks earlier for a cup of tea and a chat, and after she'd gone, had had the cheek to ask, if they could put her up as a lodger because her dope-smoking husband was abusing her and she wanted to leave him.
She hadn't been able to believe it. Her husband actually thought she was going to be stupid enough to let him bring his teenage tart into her house so that he could carry on with her, behind her back, under her own roof in her own home. He had to be completely mad.
She soon hit that idea on the head and the next thing she heard: Geri had dropped out of his class, in the middle of term and he was most upset to think how badly it reflected on the standing of his lectures, but she could have given him a different interpretation. She’d never been interested in his lectures in the first place. All she'd been interested in was him, but having found that she couldn't get into his house as a predatory lodger, she'd given up and moved on to find easier fish to fry, and after that, she'd heard no more about Geri, but now she could see that although he’d stopped talking about her, he hadn't stopped thinking about her, and was doing it now, whilst having sex with her.
She felt utterly sick, but as sick as she felt, she started to feel a whole lot worse, as the full horror of what he'd said suddenly sank in. He hadn't just told her that he found Geri more attractive than her; he'd told her that he no longer found her attractive at all. He'd told her that when he had sex with her, he found her so unattractive that he couldn't even come. He hadn't just told her that Geri was wonderful. He'd told her that she was rubbish. He needn't have done that. That was utterly cruel and as if that wasn't bad enough there was worse. He’d even laughed when he’d said it, as if he thought she was a joke. Why had he done that? That was really evil. He needn’t have done that. He needn’t have derided her as well as degraded her.
There could be only one reason, because he wanted to demoralise and destroy her, but she couldn’t let him. She had to defend herself. She had to save herself. She had to survive, but she couldn’t do it on her own. She needed help, but who was there who could help her? Who was there she could turn to? Who was there who cared? Was there anybody? And she couldn't help thinking herself lucky, that there was. She didn’t know what she would have done if there hadn’t been. She would have died, but she wasn’t going to die because there was somebody.
There was Martin. Martin cared. Martin would help her. Martin would save her. Martin thought she was worthwhile. Martin thought she was eminently worthwhile. Martin was the deputy manager at the bank where she worked. He'd been kind and helpful to her from the day she’d first started in September 1965.
She’d had an upsetting phone call on her first day, and he’d been most kind and considerate in helping her to deal with it. He’d let her go home early and had even given her a lift, and they’d started to chat on the way, and had hit it off immediately. They seemed to talk the same language.
After a couple of weeks he’d invited her to join him at lunch-times for a meal, at the local pub, and they started to become quite friendly, and then, a few weeks later, he’d asked her if he could see her after work sometimes as well, and she hadn’t seen anything wrong in it.
She hardly saw anything of her husband. He spent all his time at the college with his female "A" level sociology evening class students and so she thought what was sauce for the goose was sauce for the gander and if her husband could spend all his time at the college chatting up his admirers, then she could spend some of hers, staying at home, chatting innocently to one of hers, and Martin and she started to become quite close, but after a while she became nervous that people might talk, and thought she’d better set up a smokescreen so that people would think Martin was her husband's friend, and not her boyfriend and asked Martin if he wouldn’t mind playing on her husband’s love of sport and ask him to join him for a round of golf on Saturday mornings so that they could be seen going around together, and he agreed, and so, when she got home, she told her husband that a colleague at work had invited them round for a meal on the following Friday evening, if he would like to go and was relieved to hear him say that he would be delighted, and when they turned up at Martin’s house for dinner, and met his wife Barbara, who worked as a clerk at the local council Housing Department, she was pleased to see that when Martin issued his invitation to her husband to play golf , he accepted it most readily, and they started to play together the very next day, as a result of which, she’d felt able to see even more of Martin and they’d become closer still.
And so now that her husband had treated her so badly, she was able to turn to Martin for help and found that when she told him what her husband had done, he was absolutely outraged, and told her that he ought to be shot and that she should leave him immediately so that they could go off together, so that he would be able to shower her with love and affection and make it up to her for the obscene way her depraved and treacherous husband had treated her, and she was quite touched and said that she would think about it, but the following week she heard some terrible news which spoilt her plans completely and gave her a very nasty sense of "déjà vu".
When her husband came home from the college, he told her that they were going to have to move back to Eastleigh to live in the September because he’d had to get a new job at a school in Portsmouth, and she was horrified.
That meant she would no longer be able to see Martin. Eastleigh was sixty miles away. It was unbelievable. They’d never be able to keep in touch over that distance. It was appalling. She couldn’t believe it. It was history repeating itself. The very same thing had happened to her, only two years before, when they’d left Exeter. A colleague at the bank at Exeter had fallen in love with her and asked her to marry him, too, and she’d lost him as the result of her having to move, as well.
It was utterly heart-breaking. No sooner did she find somebody who really loved her, than she lost them, and when she saw Martin the next day, and told him the terrible news, she thought he would be utterly heart-broken too, but found to her surprise that he wasn't, but came up with an amazing solution, instead. He said that if she was going to leave Crawley and go back to Eastleigh to live, then he would leave Crawley and go to Eastleigh to live too, and she couldn’t believe it.
The deputy manager at Lloyds bank in Crawley was going to uproot his wife and himself, and change jobs and move house sixty miles across the country, and leave all their friends and family behind, just so that he could continue to see her. She hadn't realized that he loved her so much. He had to be utterly devoted, and she felt even more touched.
When it came to Martin trying to work out what he could say to his wife to convince her that he had a genuine reason for moving to Eastleigh, he thought that the best thing would be to say that he’d been promoted by the bank to another branch. He knew that his wife wouldn’t want to leave Crawley because it was where she’d grown up, but he thought that if he put on the agony and said that it would damage his career if they didn’t go, because the bank didn’t like staff refusing a promotion, then he would be able to persuade her to agree.
He couldn’t wait to move to Eastleigh himself for realizing that when he got there he would be on his own for at least six months and would be able to see Jill whenever he liked, because his wife would have to stay behind in Crawley until he was able to sell their old house and buy a new one, but realized that he would have to be careful to ensure that his wife didn’t find out that Jill was moving, too, or all hell would break loose, for realizing that she suspected something was going on between them, already.
When he told Jill what he had arranged, she felt quite overwhelmed by his kindness and consideration and became totally convinced that he must be utterly devoted and that she could trust him completely.