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#4 Will the real monster please stand up?

Posted by Jane Lancaster on December 7, 2010

I was a very young thirty. A late bloomer they call it. I was also unconfident and had low self-esteem. These two things are all I can come up with to explain my baffling marriage to Tim. Tim was and presumably still is a complete pain in the arse. Inexplicably I didn’t see this. It was like I’d suddenly fallen into a deep sleep prior to meeting him and nothing or no one could wake me up for the next six years. This is the story of our engagement.

I was living at my parent’s house in Manchester. Tim would come up from London to visit me each weekend. This was always trying, as my parents didn’t like him. He told me to look for a ring that I liked, as he knew I certainly wouldn’t be allowing him to choose one. His disgusting taste in clothes was a sure bet that he’d pick something wrong. One shirt that he wore left me absolutely speechless. It was an unpleasant shade of green with white stripes, on the back of which was a ridiculous motif. The shirt made his skin look a pale green so that he looked like he was about to pass out. He had no style or colour sense. It was almost like he did it on purpose to annoy people.

So I found a ring I liked. It was identical to Princess Diana’s engagement ring. It was made of gold with a diamond on either side of a dark blue sapphire. The price was a little more than Tim wanted to pay so I said I would make up the difference (but that’s another story). I wanted the ring yesterday and told him that I wanted to pick it up when he arrived at the weekend. That week he was having his wisdom teeth out. All four were impacted which is quite a big operation. A day later he was in so much pain that he decided to come home early. Oh good I thought we can get the engagement ring sooner. I went to pick him up as usual from the train station. As I drove up I scanned the exit to see if I could see him waiting. With a jolt I spotted the ugliest most deformed creature I’d ever seen wearing a green fleece jacket exactly like Tim’s. He had Tim’s short blonde hair and was wearing glasses like Tim. Don’t tell me its Tim. It was Tim. He looked like the elephant man. Usually when someone has their wisdom teeth out their cheeks look like a cute little hamster, due to the swelling. Tim looked like fifty hamsters. His face and neck were bruised dark yellow and black. His head was about three times its normal size. I ushered him into my dark blue nineties Astra not wanting to be seen with him I sped off almost wanting to say get your head down. Even the stupidest of fools might have had an inkling that something was not quite right about their feeling for this man. But not sleepy head here. The poor man was in agony and I had no sympathy. The pathetic noises he was making in an attempt to speak just had me cringing.

The next morning Tim kept making ‘poor me’ sounds. My sister Pam came into the room and hopped into bed with us for some morning chitchat. As she snuggled under the covers she became privy to the sounds that were emerging from Tim’s side of the bed. He got up to go to the loo and as Pam and I stared at him he walked slowly and dramatically round the bed making this ‘uh, uh, uh,’ groan which was becoming mountingly unbearable. It was pretty obvious from the start that Pam didn’t like him either bless her heart but she kept trying to find some redeeming quality in him. As he reached the bottom of the bed I’d already caught Pam’s eye. I could tell by the look on her face that the groans were hitting her in a similar fashion to me. I said,’Oh for god’s sake stop making that pathetic noise.’ Well the look he gave me was priceless. Due to the swelling his eyes had disappeared into his face (like Humphrey Cushion). But from the dark recesses they burned into me with killer hatred.

Later that day, pain or no pain, Tim was strapped into my car en route for the jewelers. I had to have that ring. I rushed him to the cash machine to get the money. I dragged him quickly to the shop but stopped abruptly as a thought struck me. ‘What will the women think if they see him? Surely she’s not marrying this monster?’ I turned to look at Tim and saw that he knew exactly what I was thinking. Still I said hopefully, ‘Do you want to wait outside?’ ‘No,’ he said as best he could, ‘I’m coming in.’ As the assistant gave me my Princess Diana ring I couldn’t resist saying, ‘He doesn’t normally look like this. He’s had his wisdom teeth out.’ Another burning look from Tim as sighing he counted out the money. We climbed into the car to drive home. Impatiently I said, ’Come on then put the ring on my finger!” ‘Are you sure you want to do it here?’ he tried to say. “Ofcourse I am, get on with it!” Then he uttered something unintelligible. ‘What?’ I said not understanding a word. He tried to make me understand by repeating it louder. ‘Will you marry me?’ ‘Oh right, yes, yes put the ring on will you?’ Moments later smiling at the ring I felt a little deflated. Inside I started to feel uncomfortable. ‘Oh I feel a bit funny,’ I said. ‘Like disappointed.’ ‘Well no wonder,’ Tim said spittle flying from his mouth, ‘You’ve just ruined your own engagement.’


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