I heard a ghost on the radio the other day.
I was meant to be going to my pilates class before heading to my clinic in Cornbury Park to see a client. A national radio programme was playing in the background as I got ready. I was about to head out of the door when the presenter announced the name of a guest coming into the studio, a minor celebrity, which stopped me in my tracks.
This was the person who many years ago had run off with my husband.
The fact that she eventually did me the biggest favour by removing him from my life didn’t stop the memory of the pain all those years ago. And a part of me has hated her for all these years. Not a pleasant emotion to admit to but honest. It wasn’t so much that she was the reason he left but the fact that for many months, maybe even longer, she had played her part in making my life hell. When I suspected as much, found her number and rang to beg her to tell me if she was having an affair with my husband she told me it wasn’t convenient to talk. She was having a dinner party.
So, when this ghost from my past came on the air on this radio programme, I was rooted to the spot, cursing the fact that the radio was next to the washing machine on its noisy spin cycle.
I have to admit that I was so pleased that her voice was still as squeaky, unattractive and annoying as I had remembered. I was revelling with my inner bitch, willing her to fail. But then she went on to do an excellent interview for half an hour, talking openly about aspects of her life that most people in her position would try to hide.
And so there became two of me standing there listening to the radio. The Inner Bitch and The Free One.
Inner Bitch was wondering whether to text in to the programme and ask if the torments she’d suffered over the years were anything to do with stealing someone’s husband. Inner Bitch was certain that she was talking so ‘openly’ on air because she had ulterior motives. She was too old now to carry on as the entertainer she had been and wanted to be seen as a serious actress. Oh, and of course, she was going to be making a documentary about her struggle to free herself of her problems, so this was just part of her publicity campaign. Clever. Very clever. She was playing her part well too, hooking this well known radio presenter around her little finger and coming across on air just as she wanted to.
The Free One meanwhile was leaning against the sink listening too and thinking that if she was my client I could help her. Find ways for her to leave her problems behind and be happy with herself. This part also reminded me that because of this lady and the cruelty she had been involved in it had freed me from a destructive marriage and allowed me to become all I am today and to love and be loved truly and wholly. Free One was sad for this person that the fairy tale I had imagined her living had been a hollow sham and that stealing my husband hadn’t made her life wonderful after all.
I winced as The Free One also reminded me that my own past hadn’t been squeaky clean and that there may well be a couple of women out there who hated me too. “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” popped into my mind.
As my handful of stones fell to the floor I found myself sending her forgiveness. With Inner Bitch grumbling in the background and stamping her feet I felt myself also thanking her and wishing her well.
And, as this ghost from my past ended her interview, a scenario played out in my head that took me completely by surprise. It was of me, the therapist, helping her as a client to be free of her demons and in doing so freeing myself of one of mine.
Now that would make a far more interesting documentary.