The unthinkable has happened. Readers will know that I’ve had two job interviews recently. You will also know that I got the first post, which is permanent and based in London. Yesterday, I found out I also got the other one which, I can now reveal, is based in Hong Kong. That one is only for a year.
The choice is clear. I’m taking the London one. But there is another option. I could propose taking the Hong Kong post as a secondment, if they let me. Still, as some of you have commented, do I really need the stress of uprooting Rosie and me to another country just for a year, when it would be so much easier to stay here and finally settle into a safe and secure routine?
And then there is Ben. If I’m honest, I have to admit that the real reason for my hesitance about pursuing this option is the impact it could have on him.
He’s been in recovery for nearly a year now – and has been doing ok, better than ok. The look on his face when I presented that option to him said it all, even if the words he was saying were the right ones (You can’t base your decision on me. I could fly out a few times – if you can afford it. We can skype and speak on the phone. It’s a great opportunity. It makes sense to take it.)
I could see his heart was breaking even as he said all this. He looked terrified – his face quivering like a lake disturbed by rainfall. It’s an expression I’ve seen before: when he was ill, stumbling at the lip of that morass that would eventually suck him in.
I asked him: What if you relapse?
It’s a legitimate question. If Rosie and I leave, he will lose his social net. He has no other friends, apart from the one guy who lives about two hours from where we are. He has no assurance that he will get into the course he’s meant to be taking this September. He only just submitted the application the other day, so the likelihood of acceptance is low. Which means he won’t have anything to occupy him while we’re away, although he has an alternative in mind.
He said: I could relapse any time. That’s just a reality I have to live with.
And Rosie and me – we have to live with that, too.
The fact is, it’s been an appallingly difficult couple of years, and we are only just striking some sort of balance and normality. The thought of returning there is, well, terrifying. When I look at it this way, I can see that Rosie deserves more. She needs her dad. And more importantly, she needs him to be well.
I know I can never guard against a relapse. I know it is his choice and not mine. But I’m married to an alcoholic. And even if our relationship now is ambiguous, his relationship with Rosie is not. Am I wrong in thinking that leaving him on his own for a year is a risky thing to do – for all of us?