About 10 weeks into Pete’s deployment, I received an unexpected phone call. It was from one of Pete’s colleagues at RAF Cranwell. He said he just wanted to check how I was doing and wondered if I was free for him to pop over for a coffee one morning the following week. As surprised as I was, I thought it was really nice of him to check on me whilst Pete was away. I had met him a few times before and so had no issues with this. He came over the following week and we just sat and had a chat about how I was coping whilst Pete was away and if I had any questions or anything. He also told me a little about his experiences with his wife when he had been deployed and I was slightly relieved to realise that it wasn’t just me going through these emotions and it was actually quite normal. Not a nice experience but normal.
Pete and I continued to argue on the phone until one day we decided that maybe talking so often wasn’t working anymore as it led to the arguments when we couldn’t think of anything to say. Instead, we discussed it and decided that we would talk on the phone once a week as we would be more likely to have something to discuss and that we would email in between if and when the internet connection was working in the Falklands. This seemed to work really well for us from then on.
Christmas was fast approaching by this point and I started to feel more alone than ever. I celebrated with my team at work (see pic below) and I was spending the day with my family, but it was hard knowing that Pete was on his own and not celebrating. I spent most of Christmas day worrying whether he was ok and then feeling guilty if I was having a good time. I got to speak to him though which was great.
By now I had my routine down to a fine art and was managing everything without constantly flapping that I had forgotten something. I calculated the bills and did the budgets for the wedding at the beginning of the month and knew what we were paying out and when it left the accounts etc. So you can imagine my shock when £250 disappeared from Pete’s account between Christmas and New Year. I could see that it was to a company that Pete had making loan repayments to from before we had gotten together, but for some reason the payment was more than double the normal instalment amount. It was at this point that I realised that we hadn’t contacted this company to give me access and so I couldn’t call them. It’s typical that the one thing you forget is the one thing you need. I also didn’t have any way of contacting Pete and would have to wait for a week until he called again. Unfortunately I hadn’t budgeted for the extra money and so this left me in a very awkward position. I had enough money to cover the monthly bills and wedding outgoings etc (just), but not enough for the weeks shopping. I ended up strategically turning up at my parents house at dinner time so that I didn’t need to do any shopping ha ha ha. I just thank my lucky stars that I still lived near them as if we had moved by that point, I would have been stuck without family or friends to turn to. Pete and I both got paid just before New Year and so I only had to keep this up for a week. Pete called a few days later and we discussed it and realised that it was the final instalment and was actually a balloon payment where you pay more than the monthly instalment. Pete hadn’t realised it was the end of the loan agreement term and so we hadn’t accounted for it. He felt so guilty that he had put me in that position and it didn’t matter how many times I told him it wasn’t his fault, he still blamed himself. It was really hard to deal with that when you can’t physically make someone feel that it’s not their fault and you only have a limited amount of time on the phone. The worst part was realising that I didn’t know how to get hold of him if there was an emergency at home. I felt helpless. It’s not a nice feeling…….