In 2007, this was The Waterfront Bar, local to where Prue was staying
Monday 5th February 2007
It seems so very long ago now that me and Steve went to Scotland for a long weekend to meet Prue, a friend of mine from Australia. My blog disappearance since then has been all down to that.
Thursday 11th January we set off for Edinburgh. I’d been a bit worried about how we’d manage on a five hour car journey, but I needn’t have bothered. We got on really well, didn’t stop talking all the way, even though we got stuck in a two hour hold up when they closed the motorway because of overturned lorries. I am a hopeless driver in some ways, have to concentrate and don’t always pay the attention I should but Steve somehow managed to not back seat drive, and when we got there he said I’d only scared him three times.
So we got to a luxury hotel in Edinburgh (thank you Dad!), and hardly even spoke before we jumped into the massive bed. Sue had been saying I’d built this up in my head for so long that finally shagging was bound to be a disappointment, but she was SO wrong! It was fantastic, he was fantastic, I was so surprised I texted Sue to tell her I should have had higher expectations.
That evening we went over to Leith to meet Prue and the people she was staying with. We had some food at the Waterfront Bar, and then went for a drink. We finally rolled in really late, then got into a stupid argument with the night porter when we called room service:
Steve: Can we have something to eat?
Night Porter: Yes, anything you like
S: Can we have toast?
S: Well what can we have?
S: But not toast?
NP: No, not toast. I’m not allowed to cook.
S: So what can we have that you don’t need to cook?
NP: Orange juice.
Steve’s nickname is not Angry Kid for nothing. Thought he might throw the oj over the night porter, especially when he hung around for a tip!
Next day we went shopping and to Edinburgh Castle with Prue, then in the evening went out with her in Leith again. By this time I was feeling a bit weird, because I knew that in spite of all the reasons why Steve is totally unsuitable, I had still fallen in love with him. I kept telling myself I was just sexually obsessed, and to not think about it, because it would all be over after Edinburgh anyway, there couldn’t possibly be a future for a 28 year old gorgeous Boy and a 42 year old unhappily married woman. But he’d keep on talking about how we had to be together, and how happy we were together.
We were in a bar and a friend of Prue’s was trying to make out that Steve was chatting up a woman outside (Scotland is non-smoking, so he was out there smoking). I wasn’t bothered, I kind of thought if he was going to get off with someone, well, maybe it was for the best. Prue went out there though, to see what was going on.
She came back in and told me he’d been crying about how much he cared about me, but how he didn’t know how I felt, and thought I was just using him for sex!!!!!
So when he came back in I said, ‘I love you.’ Then he cried and said he loved me too.
Saturday we went for a long walk around Edinburgh, and then in the evening spent most of the time in the hotel room, trying not to sleep at all because it was a waste of the last bit of time we had together. Sunday still got there too soon, and after lunch we went home. And shagged in a service station toilet.
Getting home was like going back to school after the summer holidays. Gutted.
The house, my son, my husband – nothing had changed. But I was completely different.
Monday 6th February 2017
Even in hindsight, Edinburgh was a magical experience. I knew the city well, I’d lived in the Lothians for 8 years, but to fall in love there was to see it through fresh eyes. The walk we took on the Saturday was so romantic – until we ended up walking into the Great Edinburgh Winter Run, which was being televised live – Steve was paranoid his girlfriend would see him, so when we realised it was live, we ran away, laughing!
And what am I on? I am a really good driver, had done a defensive driving course in Scorland and everything. I’m wondering if this was a first sign of me believing the things he said. I probably didn’t concentrate as I should have done with him in the car, as he would insist on holding my leg, or kissing me. But I didn’t mind. I didnt even mind listening to his music turned up loud. To this day there are songs that instantly put me back in that car: ‘Same Jeans’ by The View, ‘Starz in Their Eyes’ by Just Jack, and of course ‘I Luv You’ by The Ordinary Boys – the song that became ‘our’ song.
Of course, I’m now 100 per cent sure that he was chatting up the girl outside the pub. It’s what he does.
Once again, it’s the bits I’ve neglected to mention that tell the real story.
First of all, when we first got to the hotel, I noticed he was acting really weird and furtive. So then he confessed that he was still on methadone, that he’d lied when we first met, because he hadn’t known my brother had never given up the methadone at that point, so he hadn’t wanted me to think he was weak and judge him.
Also, I don’t remember which night, but one of the nights, when we came back to the hotel (it might have been the first night) we’d argued, I can’t remember what about. Steve had stormed off, and I’d let him go. But again, I’d then thought to myself how stupid it was, and I’d texted him, ‘come back, I don’t want to waste time arguing.’ So he had.
More importantly, Edinburgh was the first definite episode of gaslighting.
On the Friday, we’d driven over to Leith to pick up Prue, then I’d parked in the car park at Kings Stables Roaf, one of those you take a ticket and pay before exiting. When we got back, I looked everywhere for the ticket, checked all my pockets, the whole car, my bag, everything. Nothing for it but to go to the kiosk and tell the parking attendant, and pay the day rate. When I got back to the car, Steve and Prue were laughing at my #dizziness’, and Steve said, ‘we were just saying, we bet you find the ticket later.’
That evening, as we were snogging on the bed, Steve put his hand in my back pocket. ‘What’s this?’ he said. It was the parking ticket. How we laughed. ‘Silly girl,’ he said. It turns out he’d often call me a silly girl.
He’d seen the pocket I’d carefully put it in, the pocket I’d first gone to, without hesitation. It would have been easy enough for him to take it when we were kissing at some point. And easy for him to return it to my back pocket the same way. Because I know I checked all my pockets at least twice, and it wasn’t there.
But why would I have suspected him? Who would do that? A sociopath, that’s who. Part of the way they operate is to make you doubt yourself, make you not trust yourself, make you more reliant on them.
I was still putting the best light on things too. That Satuday, when we ‘didn’t want to waste any time sleeping’, that was Steve’s line. I was exhausted, I had a five hour drive the next day, I really wanted to sleep. He kept waking me up. Luckily, I was used to sleep deprivation from having had a difficult baby.
It wasn’t all bad though. He went out for cigarettes the one evening, and phoned me saying he was lost an couldn’t find the hotel.
‘Whereabouts are you?’
‘I don’t know, I’m lost!’
And going home – we didn’t just have sex in a service station toilets in a discreet manner. He picked me up in the car park and carried me into the Ladies, saying, ‘excuse us!’ to the women at the sinks.
We had a fantastic time. It almost makes it seem I wasn’t completely disordered myself to think I was in love so soon.
There’s the thing – we’re back to the ‘two sides of the same coin’ again. Codependents are looking for love, they love to be in love, they love the idea of love. Because they do not love or approve of themselves, they look for love and approval outside of themselves. Sociopaths want people to love them, so that they will provide them with what they want. They know that a codependent will bind quickly to them, and will do whatever it takes to keep their love and approval.
We were the perfect storm.