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I CONFESS: Always be prepared for life’s mishaps

Barbados Nation

I CONFESS: Always be prepared for life’s mishaps

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IN LIFE YOU should always use the Boy Scouts motto: Be Prepared.

This is particularly true when a man gets into a relationship with a woman, as things do happen and what seems to be a palace filled with sugar and honey suddenly one day turns into  a small tightly locked room with cow-itch flying all over the place. I make this statement based on my own experience and the need to tread with caution, sometimes not letting your right hand know what your left hand is doing. The only thing which must control everything is a thinking brain and a closed mouth. One event has proven me right over the years in advocating such a position.

As a young man in my early 20s many years ago, I fell in love with a girl, and felt that it would have been the relationship to shape and change my life forever. It really did. Our courtship lasted for approximately  30 months and was characterised by many good times, as we did many of the things a young couple would do.

We enjoyed going to the movies, having picnics for two and we even went on two overseas trips to neighbouring islands together. My relatives all got to meet this young woman and liked her, while I became friends with her relatives.

We never quarrelled and hardly had any disagreements and much to the amusement of my friends, I never looked right or left at any other girl, because of my passion and love for this young lady.

Since I felt the relationship was going in the right direction and doing so fast I suggested that we have a joint bank account. I had discussed it with my older sister in whom I confided. She did not like the idea but after hearing my reasoning, she suggested that I take the plunge but with certain limitations. I was not to put all of my savings in that account. A maximum of 20 per cent of what I would normally save and to never increase it even if I got a windfall. I trusted my sister and did as she told me.

After 30 months of courtship we made our vows and became husband and wife. We soon had to make a few adjustments, since paying rent for a house  and within the next 15 months the arrival of a baby meant that our savings  could not continue as had been the case previously. Then the need for a car and the responsibility of paying utilities and buying food added to the challenges we never had while living separately and in an environment where you shared  financial responsibilities.

But we stuck to the task and despite the arrival of two more children, struggled and eventually became the proud owners of our own house. We turned it into a home, and notwithstanding the severe financial strain ensured that all the basics were met. Everything seemed prefect. Our joint savings continued, even if not at the level we would have liked. I never had reason to touch the money, neither did my wife. The records proved it.

After the children were grown and completed their education, my wife became very close to a few of her friends. Two of them were divorced and were full of hatred and anger and had nothing good to say about anyone, especially men,  or anything. They would poison the mind of the best counsellor. They saw problems were none existed and foresaw others coming  as if they were fortune tellers. My wife started dropping some remarks which questioned my loyalty and even my commitment to our future together. She suddenly started talking of men dropping women who gave them all their lives, leaving them to suffer.

On Saturdays I would go to cricket with my friends and then stay on afterwards to play dominoes or cards and simply lime with the fellows. It was my day out since I was always at home during the week after work and usually spent Sundays cleaning from my gardens and lawns to the car and ensuring all the washing was done. It was a routine which was very predictable.

To my utter shock, one Saturday night when I attempted to enter the house I could not get the door opened. I shouted my wife’s name and she simply came to the window and told me my things were in the garage and I could put them in my car and leave. That was it. The lights in the house went out and I was left in the garage. She placed two garbage bags with a few items there. I went by my older sister and explained and spent the Sunday there and indeed a few months afterwards.

The next day I rushed to the bank and decided to check the joint account. It had less than $50 on it. Later that day a man hand delivered a letter to me from an attorney asking that I stay away from the joint property. Fortunately, I had some savings at the credit union which came directly from my salary. Oh, but for saving for a rainy day.

More importantly, I had struggled to fix my mother’s house and paid out my siblings with the understanding that I would have been given the property to give to one of my daughters. I had never told my wife nor my children of this plan, and it was good I didn’t. I had planned to move in as soon as the tenants could leave.

I stayed with my older sister, who was not married and had no children and was not in any relationship.  Seven weeks later my wife called to say she was sorry, claiming that post menopause stress had gotten the better or her and that the silly mouthings of friends had put her on the wrong path.

We are back together and without any dispute.

We never mention that terrible episode. But it has taught me to be prepared for any event which may arise tomorrow.