Love lost.

Lost love

Lost love

“I am so sorry to hear about your loss, Bettina”. “Ah, don’t be.” “Thank God he is gone, the miserable man”. And with that, the Bettina with the massive battle ship chin dismissed the passing of her husband of over forty years. Sometimes, people hide their grief with putting up a brave front. I don’t think she was in that category, having known both of them for over twenty years.

Sometime during the seventies both Bettina and husband Bob in their wild and impetuous youth travelled Europe in a left hand drive large bus converted to a camper wagon. You now see them everywhere, sometimes with bicycles or even a boat strapped at the back or on the roof. I saw a camper wagon recently that even towed a small car to buzz about in. And no doubt used, through the help of a GPS satellite system, to guide the happy travellers to the nearest Aldi or Woolworth emporium, to stock up on the essentials, including butter and lamb chops with continental parsley.

Bettina and husband Bob, (while in their youth) travelled overland back to Australia where they lived in a large house near the water. It must have been quite an adventure when Afghanistan and Burma were hardly on the well trodden traveller’s route. You would often see Bob and wife with their large grey converted left hand drive vehicle driving around the place with Bob never missing a friendly wave.

He used to regale their travel adventures to us but his Bettina would butt in ‘ oh, nonsense Bob, it wasn’t like that’ and than impose her version of it. He just used to smile and let her do the talking. He did love her, or at least allowed her the freedom to dominate him in conversations.

While on their return journey, they had filled their bus up with Afghan tapestries and carpets which they sold to anyone keen on a bargain. It were the days of so many young couples with children setting up camp in the inner city of Sydney. A true beginning of city living instead of the mind boggling boring but well promoted ‘dream’ of living in the suburbs.

As the years went by, as they seem to so relentlessly, Bob became profoundly deaf and conversations became stilted and awry. A great pity. He was always the friendly giving man and his wife the shouting over the top with such a large chin to accept (in a round-a-bout way). In any case, a long standing marriage were both no doubt had found their levels of comfort and acceptance of each other. True love?

I sometimes thought of Bob waking up and turning towards his Bettina and see the familiar large chin jutting above the sheets. He loved her, that’s for sure, and accepted her as lovingly as any caring husband would. Millions of couple all over the world do this. Hundreds of millions more likely.

And then, Bob died suddenly. Towards the last few years he had a long white beard and often stood silently next to his beloved Bettina. He was now as deaf as a bucket of sand and could not converse as before even though he would sometimes still break out and, while still smiling, mention bits about Afghanistan. Bettina now mostly had the full attention of the audience.

“Thank God he is gone” is what she said. (after forty years)

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22 Responses to “Love lost.”

  1. M-R Says:

    I like it ONLY because you were driven to write about them. But in fact there are far to many people like Bettna, allowed to rule the roost to the detriment of their spouses.
    Far better for a couple to fight, in order to prevent these situations.


  2. petspeopleandlife Says:

    She sounded like an ingrate and a real b—h! The world is filled with women like that as well as men. People stay in marriages for weird reasons and “outsiders” can only guess about the actions and words of the remaining spouse. What a pitiful person.


  3. Lottie Nevin Says:

    I saw Bettina the other day. I think she may have cashed in Bob’s life insurance and moved to Spain. I was in the supermarket when I spotted her, aisle number 5 I believe. Anyway there she was bossing her new fancy man around. Clearly it was beneath her to have to stoop down or reach up for the various groceries that she wanted so she pointed her finger and got her new Bob to do her bidding. And when satisfied that he’d done what she wanted, she then strode ahead while he dutifully pushed the trolley in her wake. I pretended to be studying the contents of a tin of tuna while listening to their conversation – I’ll wager a bet that it was Bettina alright.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      That’s just amazing. Were they in the butter and soft goods division? If so, it was Bettina. Was her jaw casting a shadow of doubt over the margarine? Again, proof of Bettina.
      Take care Lottie. Don’t let on but give the new poor Bob a bit of hug. He needs it.


      • Lottie Nevin Says:

        They were in the butter and cheese section! 😀 Have no fear, now that I’ve had full clarification that it was Bettina, I shall definitely be giving Bob a bit of a hug if I spot them again….


  4. Red Hen Says:

    Oh poor Bob! I wonder if his deafness really was a response to her? Wonderfully described, though I’ve come to believe, from my observations of coupledom, that the uglier and more neurotic you are, the greater your chances of garnering undying affection.

    Believe me, it’s a damned curse to be sane and gorgeous! 🙂


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that shows great insight. I have often admired those that are not sane or are ugly. Bob might well have feigned deafness to escape her fury and hot spite. I know couples who are so fed up with each other, yet carry on regardless.
      Sometimes in a Court, the judge presiding over a spousal murder case hears… The accused sobbing…” I really, really did love her/him”. but I knifed him/her. Sad!
      Is love, at least romantic love, in western societies overrated?


      • Red Hen Says:

        Sorry, Gerard, just getting back to that question you pose…

        Is romantic love overated… Well, I think it’s just confused with lust and/or possession quite often. Which naturally, can lead to problems. People believe they love one another when, in actual fact, they might not have each other’s best interests at heart at all.

        I’m not too fond of the match making model when it’s done for economic reasons so all the other compatibility factors are sidelined. Not a great place to start with companionship.

        Poor Bob, though. I’m guessing her barrage actually made him deaf.


  5. rod Says:

    Never having been sane or gorgeous I’ll just have to take Red Hen’s word for it.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I think Red hen knows a thing or two. Affection is so much more than holding hands. A look, a small gesture of acknowledgement. An acceptance of each other. A good spousal disagreement etc. I am not sure about a kick in the groin though!


  6. Andrew Says:

    I’ve noticed my hearing is becoming oddly selective. Am I turning into a Bob?


  7. Curt Mekemson Says:

    My favorite oldsters, of which I am beginning to resemble, are those who turn off their hearing aids when they are tired of listening. Actually, Gerard, I found your piece a touching memorial. –Curt


  8. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    You can take it for what it’s worth Gerard,. but the secret to almost everything is “the art of knowing what to overlook”.


  9. Rosie Says:

    Henry David Thoreau once wrote “Many men lead lives of quiet desperation”. Enough said really.


  10. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    An absorbing and touching story, I found myself endlessly reading between the lines, feeling always that their actual lives were hidden and we will never know what was biting her, or making him apparently cheerful.


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