The Gift of Clarity

I woke to the kids bringing me breakfast in bed and cries of Happy Birthday! Once downstairs, they gave me the presents they’d got for me and an extra one from Tom which was a surprise. Seeing an envelope from him got me hopeful that he’d listened to me about the quiet weekend away after all because he had said that I could have anything else except that as he didn’t want to do that with me. I opened the envelope and found a receipt, alongside a printed off booking confirmation for a hotel. Except the hotel was in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the country and it was a very ugly cheap looking city hotel that looked more like a block of flats.

Right at that moment, Sasha arrived. She asked me what Tom had given me. I ended up sobbing in her arms. All I wanted was some recognition from him that he understood how hard I’ve worked over the last few years; to nurture Annie, to give him the daughter he wanted. His gift made me feel totally worthless. This was what I was worth to him. To add insult to injury he’d paid just twenty-nine pounds for the room.

I remembered the time, effort and money I’d spent two years before organising a big party for his fortieth birthday where all his family visited for the first time. The stress I went through organising everything while having a young baby to care for. All the well-chosen gifts I’d got him over the years, including the one yesterday – an hour each for him and his sister in a flotation tank; all the weekends away he’d had on his own, never asking me or the kids to go; the nights out every single week while I never went out; the seven-to-ten day holidays he went on but never took any of us with him and this is what I get in return for all my hard work, my sleepless nights, giving my body over to our child completely for the last three years, the abuse and venom that I have from him on a daily basis. A fucking shitty twenty-nine-pound room in the ugliest hotel in one of the busiest cities.

I sobbed until I was empty and then I got up, phoned the hotel and cancelled the booking. There was no way I was going. I’d rather no present than this. Then Tom rang and expected me to be happy with his gift. I told him how upset I was and that I’d cancelled it. He went mental, said I was a bitch and that he’d planned more than that. He said that he’d planned that we’d go out for drinks. Of course, silly me, drinks. Of course there would be alcohol involved, this is Tom, after all. I couldn’t help but be ungrateful. I don’t even care how ungrateful I sound right now. I can’t be grateful for something that insults me at the deepest level but what hurts the most is that he just doesn’t get it and seemingly doesn’t care but maybe, just maybe, his gift is the greatest thing he could have given me because finally, I’ve received clarity about just how much he really cares about me.

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