My name is Jane. I'm a mother of two teenage boys and a wife but today I became a widow...
The beginning of becoming Jane, the girl-friend and a best friend of Michael started when we were both twenty years old. Two University students caught up in the world of studying, exams, stressing, repeat. Michael, no question about it, was so incredibly smart, easily accomplishing a double degree in Engineering and Architecture. His dreams was only based around one thing, the hope of one day building an empire where the rich and famous sought him out to design, build and pay the big bucks for the process of having their own piece of paradise. Funny enough his dreams came true very quickly after he graduated with honours I might add. He soon became one of the most popular architects in the country and yes rich people literally threw money at him for his attention. I stood on the side-line and watched this ambitious boy become a successful man. I knew he would've done it with or without me. I was in love with this man so at this stage I enjoyed the ride and just rode along.
Me, as the girl-friend, well I was a little different. I wasn't smart like Michael. And I definitely wasn't as ambitious. I liked to cruise, pace myself. I was more the yang of his ying. A quiet achiever who happily passed University with my Bachelor of nursing, something which I was passionate about, achieving honours also but quite frankly that wasn't that important to me. I wasn't in it for the money but rather just to care for other human beings. I ended up happily plodding along in a public hospital in the small town where we ended up living together. The difference between Michael and I was that I actually liked caring for the poorer society, they didn't have money to throw at me for my attention but they got it irrelevant. You know that sort of person, the ones who haven't got the money for fancy medicines let alone a fancy house. The ones who ultimately end up in the public hospital where I work, and unfortunately sometimes a patient too far gone to save. And I hated this. I didn't like hearing about the sort of money some people would pay for a house via Michael yet had to watch a life taken because of the lack of money.
We very rarely argued but this subject became the only source of our heated discussions. It wasn't very often, mostly when I had a stressful day and he'd received crap load of money from a client. Don't get me wrong, Michael was compassionate and commiserated along with me but reality was hard to swallow in these times. I very rarely shared what I'd do if I had that sort of money, Michael earned that sort of money so it was never mine to give away, I allowed him to do what he wanted with his wealth, and once again I happily stayed by his side, like I always had, I loved this man, and disagreeing over something I couldn't change didn't seem like common sense. We had it good.
And we were good together. He pushed ahead, planning, worrying, stressing, repeat. Focussing on the bigger things, never letting anything beat him. He was happy doing this, and he never did anything else but this. I'll admit there were times I felt left out but knew it wasn't intentional on Michaels behalf, it was just the way it ended up being. So I stayed focus on the small things life gave us both. I planned ahead but just not as big as Michael. He thought of material things, a bit like a man does, but my plans were more simple and from the heart. Our relationship probably worked so well because of this. He worried, I stayed calm. He spent money and I saved it. But together it always to seem to pan out happily for both of us and each problem was quickly solved. Life was fantastic.
So our life together in the early twenties was all about achievement in the work place. Our bank account seemed to be benefiting from Michaels clientele while I found peace in doing what I was doing. Michael never pushed for me to be any different. He loved me just the way I was. He would often tell me how much he loved coming home to the simple life. That's just how life was, simple and easy. But along the way our life had become similar to the Uni days, work, sleep, eat, repeat. Time together became scarce and it took a huge amount of effort keeping it in check but somehow we succeeded happily. Other things I dreamed about never seem to be spoken about and I assumed marriage and a family would be a natural progression and not necessarily a discussion, so I assumed it would just happen when the time was right.
Fortunately, it stayed this way well into the '7 year itch' period that most relationships suffer thru. But this is when I knew something was missing in our lives. The earning for children became clear for me, but not so much for Michael. And no, it was not ever really discussed actually, but within a year we produced not one but twin boys who were most welcomed into the household. No, we weren't officially married, but never the less we were now officially a family and things couldn't get any better. Michael was a good dad contrary to never really saying he wanted children, and I thought myself lucky that we had two at once because I don't think anymore seem to be in Michaels plans for the future. I didn't have time to think about it for the next few years and was happy with these two beautiful boys we had been blessed with.
Early thirties with two very active 7 year old boys seemed to make a small hole in communication between Michael and I. With his empire now demanding most of his attention and with the boys demanding mine both our lives suddenly required more time separately and accepting this was harder for me than him. Although we had successfully together over the last year built Michael's ultimate dream home on a plot of land near the ocean when communication was completely necessary, I felt some days it was just so draining and just learnt to shut up letting Michael have most of the say towards the house. I'll admit thou the home Michael idea's and design resulted in a gloriously beautiful home which made me very proud of him. The house was huge and modern and a little hard to keep clean under the circumstances but beautiful all the same. I honestly hadn't really ever cared for what my home looked like, a home to me was what was within but Michael almost needed this as a statement of his success. So once again, I went along with his plan, and became the woman who lived in the palace by the sea.
This is also when I finally got to know Michael's side kick and good friend Joel who suddenly appeared in my life to help with the construction of our house, to oversee things when Michael wasn't available, which was often. Joel was okay, very similar to Michael in nearly every way. Joel was tall like Michael, but blonde. He was more rugged handsome where Michael was refined. And I actually think he was even more ambitious than Michael if that was possible. He had known Michael in University nearly as long as me but had gone his seperate way travelling overseas for numerous years after their University days. He then returned with a head full of ideas, rekindled his love for architecture along with his respect for Michael and then suddenly never seem to leave Michaels side. I never thought about it. They worked together keeping both dreams alive. Besides I quickly got use to his friendship while the house was being built because it ended up seeming Joel was there more than Michael. Honestly, it took a little pressure off me having to keep smiling when my brain was usually fried from work, P & C meetings, volunteering in the canteen, shopping and maintaining the palace which we now lived in. I never felt anything but pure respect for Joel who I got to know pretty well that year.
These two men together would certainly make any normal womens head turn. Michael had been a very good looking boy back in the younger years and he had turned into a rather neat looking man in his 30's. I don't remember Joel in the younger years but looking at him now I'm sure he'd had his share of beautiful woman wherever he went. While I probably remained the envy of many women being Michaels partner, I trusted Michael solely, I knew he only ever had eyes for me and I was never once insecure about it. Me, well, I always just considered myself average looking. I kept fit, with work and kids making sure of this. I managed to get my hair done every so often, didn't bother with manicured nails or make-up, probably a side effect of being a nurse and besides Michael made sure to remind me just how gorgeous I was making me blush most times. Even in the later years sensing I needed the reassurance Michael always seem to have just the right words, reminding me just how fantastic of a man he is and how much I loved him. Yes, I was still very happy being his partner and the mother of our gorgeous boys.
But the biggest tests would occur a couple of years after the house was completed. With Michaels company growing stronger and larger by the minute one day he suddenly and surprisingly decided that he would be moving his company into the city, which was a good 3 hour drive away from here, our home. At first, after the shock of feeling like I was the last to be told, it would then be up to me and me alone to either accept this change or speak up. Yep, you guessed it, I didn't say what I felt and before I knew it Michael was far away from us all. He would stay in the city during the week and come home week-ends. This decision needed some rules, and I did however get my say on them. Firstly, it was decided strictly week days only. Secondly, week-ends were at home. And thirdly, no work, and no phone calls, just us on week-ends. This was the plan contrary to the unhappiness we both felt but at the time seeming like the only solution. Not my plan for our life and again something I would have to accept. So, away Michael went. He was now living another life in an apartment in the middle of the city. And I felt our life was never going to be the same.
A couple of years passed and believe it or not both of us had managed and funny enough seemed to accept that this is how our life was now. Communication had became more strained thou. My unspoken dream of more children became something I had to forget. Besides, now I had to consider an over 10 years gap between children. I knew this would worry Michael, especially with him not living here in the home week days, so no more children would ever come along. Luckily the rules Michael had promised such as switching off from work whilst home had happened surprising me. But, now instead of bringing work home with him, sometimes he just wouldn't come home at all. Weirdly, Joel would ring me and apologise. Joel would explain that the work load was huge, it even felt like Joel spoke to me more often than Michael, that he had almost become the liaison officer between Michael and I. Joel sounds like he had become Michaels saviour from the big bad wolf. But Michael always made sure his mid week routine phone call to me and the boys was full of humour and chatter almost like he was making up for his failure to come home. But by now I felt something was missing between us.
Luckily for me the boys had become my saviour. I had all the time in the world to dedicate to them. I began to enjoy not having to pander to a man 24/7, I liked making my own decisions, I felt my own independence growing along with the boys who were growing so fast into such lovely adults. It made me sad that Michael didn't realise these boys would be his greatest achievement and he was missing so much of their lives. They both excelled in individual sports, Benny being great at soccer and Beau very good at Karate, so my time was either sitting amongst all the soccer mums rugged up on the side line in the middle of winter, or squished between all the sweaty karate dads. But no matter what I was always there for them both. Occasionally Michael would try to make it home in time for Ben's weekend soccer match or Beau's karate tournaments but it was a struggle. And most times his head was in his phone during it which made it just that more frustrating. This is what our life had come to and I wasn't sure if I was unhappy or not now.