Caitlin – December 1985
Caitlin was feeling desperate. Her wedding day had started with such a damning revelation about Michael’s character. She had known even as she sat next to him at the reception that her marriage with him would never work. Her latent qualms all rose to the surface at the cold hard words he had directed at Suzanne and the look of malice that accompanied them.
It was apparent from the moment that they were left alone together that the charm and protestations of affection that he had showered on her were made merely to attach her. He no longer thought it necessary to consider her feelings in any way. Michael was not interested in pleasing anyone other than himself. He was aroused solely by risk taking; whether on the gambling tables or on the money markets, with casual sex in public places or drug taking. He sought thrills, nothing else.
His first blatant exhibition of this propensity occurred on the flight out for their ‘honeymoon’, a blatant misnomer for the humiliating fortnight that Caitlin was to experience. A flight stewardess made it obvious by her marked attentions and innuendo that she was more than available. Michael had disappeared from her side during the flight and was away for what seemed ages. Caitlin was upset and furious with him. It was obvious that he had had sex with the woman but to accuse him of the betrayal in the public place of a first class cabin would cause a scene. She baulked at the prospect of a monumental public row.
Caitlin soon found that merely to express an opinion would be likely to precipitate a violent bout of rage or a long period of stony silence. She learnt to acquiesce and remained mute when she disagreed with his opinion, which was often. Michael had made it quite clear that he required his wife to be at his behest. He wanted Caitlin to attend social events as his wife, to hang on his arm and on his words to add to his importance. It was a role that Caitlin found to be onerous in many ways. First she had eschewed most events of this type in the past preferring to cultivate a small circle of close friends, people whom she really liked. Socialising with her real friends was proving to be difficult. Michael scoffed at the idea of a vicar’s wife and a shopkeeper being suitable friends for Caitlin. Of course any mention of Suzanne was out of the question.
Charlotte was another impediment to the lifestyle Michael expected of Caitlin. He had suggested boarding school while they were ‘honeymooning’ and was in no mood to listen to Caitlin’s protestations that she was too young at six to go away from home. Michael’s counter-argument was that, as they would be spending time between the manor in Bucks and the Pelham Crescent house Charlotte would have to board. Caitlin had to concede his point but bought some time by insisting that Charlotte would need to complete this term at the very least before she was moved. She would hire a nanny to take care of Charlotte after school.
Caitlin was now frantically looking for a way out from the disastrous marriage that she had made. The only thing that stopped her from leaving him was the baby. Perhaps her father too, she didn’t want to disappoint him by failing in her second marriage. She knew that she was lucky having the financial independence that she had. Some women were trapped in similar marriages without the option of leaving except to a life of poverty and struggle.
The worst feeling was the isolation. Not able to see her friends without provoking an attack from her husband made Caitlin introverted and she was deeply unhappy. Charlotte too was becoming withdrawn. Caitlin began to think that Charlie would be best off in boarding school away from the simmering tension of her home life. The only friend that was available to her was Ariel. Michael continued to behave impeccably to Caitlin when in company with her father and stepmother.
Frank and Ariel had bought a house in Thurloe Square only a stone’s throw from Pelham Crescent. The place had been recently overhauled and most of the decorations were to their taste. They had moved in immediately.
Frequency of contact with her family however was limited for Caitlin who found herself increasingly sidelined into staying in the country while Michael was in town. At least this separation gave her some respite from his frightening mood swings. Caitlin attempted to amuse herself by planning some renovations to the big old house but somehow it seemed pointless and the place seemed more like a prison that a family home.
Their living arrangements necessitated a temporary solution for Charlotte; Caitlin had begged Ariel to have her during the week. Emily attended the same school so the two could go together. Ariel had suspected that things were not well in Caitlin’s marriage; Charlotte’s withdrawn behaviour confirmed the misgiving.
Caitlin – December 1985