Today I have been sober for 115 days.
MOBI’S STORY – (PART 25)
THE RETIREMENT YEARS (CONTINUED)
What was I to do indeed?
I continued my research into why I had been charged for a Phuket hotel when I hadn’t been outside of Bangkok, and eventually established that I had booked and paid for my Bangkok Hotel through a company that was based in Phuket. Hence the misleading reference to Phuket on my credit card bill, that had miraculously managed to be whisked at the speed of light across the world and delivered to my lovely wife’s front door by snail mail, only a few days after I had incurred the charge in Bangkok.
So armed with this information, I sent Noi an email, and also followed up with a phone call, explaining that she had been mistaken. It goes without saying that she gave me a ‘hard time’ and wasn’t totally convinced that I was telling the truth, but after a lot of hassle, she said she would ‘re-think’ her decision not to come, and would let me know.
After that I ceased to worry that she wouldn’t come, as after all these years I could read her like a book, and her “re-think”, actually meant that she was coming after all, but that she wanted to keep me guessing and in a state of confusion and anxiety for as long as possible. Anything to spoil my holiday!
So there was little left for me to do except book my flight back to the UK and arrange to leave a note for her at Bangkok airport. I was supposed to go with my father-in-law to meet her in the “communal car”, but I called him and told him not to come, as I had booked a taxi for me to go and to pick her up by myself, and we would then drive directly to our home in Bang Saen. I then went to Thai airways at Don Muang and gave them a note to be collected by my wife when she arrived in Bangkok. It was a very brief note which simply said that ‘something had come up” and that I couldn’t make it to the airport, and that she should call her father to come and collect her, and I would see her in Bang Saen in a few day’s time.
At the very time that Noi was in a Thai Airways jumbo jet, 30,000 feet above the skies of Asia, winging her way to Bangkok, I was in a Singapore Airlines Jumbo jet, winging my way back to Heathrow.
The idea of the deliberately misleading note, was to provide me with the maximum time back in England to sort my affairs and move my stuff out, before Noi cottoned on to the fact that I was back in England, and decided to fly back home and confront me.
My elderly neighbours, who I have previous referred to, met me at Peterborough rail station, and drove me back home, where I was able to recover my second vehicle, the first one having been parked at Heathrow by my wife.
For the next few days I was very busy. I wanted to pack up and be gone before my wife realised she had been duped and flew back. I forget how long I stayed at the house, but I doubt it was more than three or four days. There was quite a lot of personal stuff I wanted to take with me, and I packed it all into boxes and bags and delivered it to a kind friend who lived a few miles away, and to my next door neighbours who had also agreed to store some stuff for me.
For the time being, I was maintaining a total silence with my wife in Thailand. One day, just before I had finished all my packing, I received a call from a friend in Bangkok to inform me that my wife had been calling all my friends to try and find out what had happened to me. He told me that she was concerned that I might have had an accident or be seriously sick in hospital, and she wanted to know if he had any idea of my whereabouts. I had told two friends what I was up to – the one who was calling me, and the other one was Dave. I repeated to him my previous instructions that he should tell her that he had no idea of where I was and that he hadn’t seen me in months. He agreed to do this, and that was that.
In due course I managed the move without a hitch, and stored all my stuff in the two locations. I booked myself into a large bed and breakfast room at a nearby pub and then went to break the news to my daughters about what I had been up to.
My eldest daughter, Nattaya, lived near Birmingham, and I drove over there one morning and met with her and her long term boyfriend, and told them I had left my wife. Natty told me that she completely understood my action and that she totally supported my decision. She told me that sadly, her mother had ‘never been there for her’, had always found fault with her and basically had made her childhood a total misery with her bossy and controlling attitude. She had never told me this before, and I was quite taken aback by the depth of bad feeling she had for her mother. Maybe I should have realised this before, but the stark fact was that I had no idea she felt so bad about her. She told me that she hoped that I would find some happiness in my new life as she knew I had been miserable for such a long time.
My other daughter, Samantha, was still staying with her boy friend – it was the school summer holidays, and I met her and her boyfriend at the pub where I was staying. When I told her what I had done, she said that she used to lie in bed, listening to her mother screaming at me, and pray with all her might that one day I would leave her.
Again, in spite of all Noi’s bad behaviour, I was still shocked by the depth of my daughter’s feelings. All these years I had convinced myself that I had to stay with Noi for the sake of the kids, and now both kids were telling me that I should have left her years ago. They had both found their own way to deal with their mother, but they knew that I could not, and it made them so sad to see me treated so badly for so long.
If only I had known.
I asked Samantha if she wanted to go back and live with her mother, and she told me that she would not go back home, under any circumstances. So I decided to rent a small house in the town where her school was located, and told her she could live with me, which she was happy to agree to.
Soon after this I received yet another call from my friend in Bangkok who told me that my wife was “badgering the heck” out of him and Dave. She was calling both of them several times a day, demanding to know where I was, as she was convinced that they knew something. He said he was getting tired of all these calls and that he wanted to tell her something. I decided that I had had enough time back in England to successfully accomplish all that I had intended to do, so I told him that I would now make contact with her and she wouldn’t need to call him anymore.
Fortunately I had set up a fax in the house in Bang Saen (there was no internet connection there), so I sent Noi a fax, which read as follows:
I’m very sorry to tell you that I’ve left you, and you will be hearing from my lawyers about a divorce. I am truly sorry that I have had to take this step, but for me there is no other way. I believe your behaviour to me and Samantha is completely unreasonable, and has caused an irretrievable breakdown to our marriage. I cannot talk to you – it will only make everything worse.
I have been very unhappy for a very long time, but I stayed with the marriage because of the children. Now Samantha is almost grown up, I don’t have to worry about her any more, and I need to try and make a new life for myself before time runs out. You know that I am not happy, and you must know that you cannot make me happy. My whole approach to life is so different to your approach, and I think you have spent the last 26 years trying to change me – but you never can – I’m still the same as I ever was, deep down. I honestly do not believe you are happy either – we are not compatible – we never have been – and I’m sure it has been frustrating and difficult for you as well. Of course, life for me has got a lot worse since I retired, starting with the nightmare holiday in America – you will never understand how unhappy you made me on that trip with your bad moods and everything. Since then things have just got steadily worse. I have tried and tried and tried, but there is no way out. I cannot stay with you another day. I think you can understand what I am saying, and believe me, this has been the hardest decision of my life, and at the moment, I am desperately unhappy, and even crying as I write this. I never wanted our family to end like this – but my mind is made up and I will never change it, so please don’t try to – it will not work.
Whatever happens, you will end up with a lot of money – I don’t want to cheat you out of anything that you’re entitled to. You must try to make a new life for yourself – you are still young and attractive – you can have anything you want – just go and grab it. I think you have made a big mistake all these years, not doing something with your life outside the home. You are so clever and smart – why don’t you do some business? You know you can be successful and you’ll enjoy it. Don’t waste your life doing nothing.
You have made such a huge mistake with Samantha. She is a wonderful girl with such a great personality – but you tried to smother her and control her. Oh how foolish it was to try and ban her boyfriend. She is just a normal teenager – you’ve been in England so long yet sometimes you don’t seem to understand anything. You can’t control her – and I’m afraid you’ve controlled me for far too long. But moral and emotional blackmail can’t work forever.
I am moving out of the house and will leave it for you to live here. Don’t worry – everything will be as you left it. I’m not taking much – just my personal things and a few bits and pieces I need to get by. So when you come back to England you can stay at the house until the divorce and the money is all settled. You will be receiving the divorce papers, and you will be advised to get your own lawyer – but it’s up to you. If we don’t have too many arguments, it can all be settled quickly, probably by Christmas, and you don’t have to have a lawyer if you don’t want one. As I say, it’s up to you.
I know this will sound terrible, but I don’t want to see you or talk to you or receive any letter from you until the divorce and the money is all settled. I will turn off the fax, and if you send me any emails, I will delete them without reading them. I will also change my mobile number. If you want to communicate with me, you must do it through my lawyer. Once everything is settled, I hope we can then try to remain friends for the sake of our daughters, and also for the family in Thailand. But for now we must stay completely away from each other. If the divorce goes through quickly, there is no reason why Nattaya’s wedding can’t still go ahead as planned. But that’s really up to you, and Natty of course.
I have discussed my plans with Samantha, and she has made it clear that she wants to come and live with me when I get settled in a new home. She does not want to live with you. In the meantime, during the summer holidays, she will stay with her boyfriend. and she will NOT be coming to Thailand. Of course she will want to keep a mother / daughter relationship with you – she just doesn’t want to stay with you, any more
I have told Nattaya, and have been to see her.
I will keep the Volvo, and you can have the Land Rover – but if you want to swap it’s ok with me. I will be cancelling your American Express card but will leave the Visa card open until you have had a chance to get new cards in your own name. Also, I will make sure there is enough money in the joint bank account to pay the bills and some left over for you to live on until you have a chance to transfer some money from your internet accounts, and open your own bank account. I will be in touch through my lawyer to advise you of all the passwords and everything you need to manage your money.
In many ways you have been a good mother and wife, and I thank you for that. But keeping a nice home and cooking good food doesn’t make a good marriage – and I know that our marriage hasn’t been very good.
Well I think I’ve said enough. When you get back you will get all the information from my lawyer.
This is the last communication you will receive directly from me until the divorce is finished. Please do not try to track me down – even if you do I will refuse to talk or listen to what you have to say.
I wish you luck and happiness in your new life.