Where was I when the news came through that it was all over?
At that precise moment I was out walking and about to walk by the courthouse clock, which was forever stopped on 9.30.
There had been attempts over the years to fix it but it always stopped at 9.30.
On this particular day I was on my early morning walk when the phone rang.
The hysterical voice announced in no uncertain terms that what we had was over. Amongst the choice words I caught the words liar, lowlife and bastard. She was good at swearing and often prided herself on being able to swear like a wharfie.
Her blast did unsettle me and I stood there a moment taking in the tirade of abuse uncertain as to what had prompted this outrage.
I knew I had been faithful and had not transgressed in any way. So the reason this severe criticism was beyond me.
I stood there below the clock, frozen to the spot. Only the day before we had been out planning our engagement party, selecting a venue, discussing guests, who to and who not to.
How could all this happen? How can you go from euphoria to devastated in such a short space of time?
Later on social media it became clear that I had been seen at a nightclub with a woman and that had generated much discussion and criticism amongst the people in my town who sadly had little else to do.
I laughed at what I read…. Ronnie seen at Beau’s Nightclub with busty blonde…who is the new flame on Ronnie’s arm? How could you? You are such a lowlife Ronnie…
And so it went on. The blonde on my arm was my cousin Fran who was in town overnight and had asked me to show her around.
But when I went to my fiancé to explain I was met with a closed door. All attempts failed to explain my situation.
The bizarre position I found myself in was reflected in the image I had of me standing beneath the stopped clock, for like the clock my existence had stopped and there seemed no way forward.
She returned the ring, the gifts; her father threatened me with violence if I dared step through his front gate.
I went back to the scene where all this began. I wondered if the clock had put me into another dimension one where logic didn’t exist where opinions and gossip were gospel truth.
I sat under the clock a week after the phone call. I recalled everything, every last word, every nuance and tone in her voice as she screamed at me for betraying her and making her such a laughing stock.
A voice within me told me that I had to move on.
There was no point in labouring the argument with her when she was so hurt to not hear the truth.
I gathered myself and stepped out from under the clock as I distinctly heard it tick. I looked up and it said 9.31.