Student Newspapers — Chapter 3

Things got worse with Bob. Despite his education as a scientist, he had the ability to write well and he was passionate about getting published. The ultimate way to create an audience of adoring readers was to write articles. The campus newspaper survived on the enthusiasm of students that would write articles for free and Bob started to write pieces for the paper.

He was a good writer and his bits usually got published. We had submitted a letter, my idea and his writing, to the editor of the national newspaper. It had been published and he wanted more. Increasingly, he was writing for the paper and hanging out on campus with the people involved in the paper.

He had a constant need to have his ego stroked and having a wife that was asleep most of the time was not doing that for him. On one fateful night, the newspaper had a party downtown for its volunteers. He told me that ‘significant others’ were not invited. He explained that if everyone brought a date it would double the number of people that the newspaper had to pay for. This was a lie. I knew at the time that it was a lie, but I was not going to push to be included where I was not wanted.

That night, when the car dropped Bob off on the street in front of our house, I saw him kiss one of his “friends” good night. They were always his “friends” by the way. I confronted him about this when he came in and he basically told me that I was insane. She was just a friend and it was a friendly kiss goodnight. There was nothing going on and it was all in my imagination.

Being pregnant can make you feel quite vulnerable. Here I was in my second trimester feeling out of sorts, incapable, overweight and feeling generally like a fool. I had wanted this. I had gone into it with my eyes open. I had thought long and hard about whether or not to marry this guy. So here I was.

It was clear that Bob was not going to finish his degree on the schedule that had been predicted. He was spending more and more time at the paper and less and less time actually doing research. There was no one in the lab telling him how wonderful he was, how brilliant he was, how fabulous he was, so there was no reason to be there.

Our daughter was born that summer and Bob took a full time job at the student newspaper in the fall. I felt that he should be doing what he wanted to be doing, despite the fact that the plan all along was that he was going to be staying home with our baby full time so that I could finish school.

I knew that his mother did not approve of her son being a stay at home dad, but there were other factors involved. He tried to get a column writing about the perils of being a stay at home dad but there were no takers.

He refused to discuss the fact that we had to make other arrangements. There was no plan in place. We could make it work if we talked about what we wanted to happen but he simply would not discuss it. This was the tact that he often took. Instead of making a decision, he would let the decision make itself by letting things fall apart.

My life became a blur of school and having a baby that did not sleep through the night. I would often come home to find him standing at the curb with the baby so that he could hand her to me and leave in a car that was waiting, ostensibly to go to the paper to get his work done. He told me that he felt that he was keeping up his end of the bargain by taking care of the baby while I was at school. I was never given the opportunity to discuss this with him because he was always on his way somewhere. He was always busy. He was always preoccupied. If I had any needs, wants or concerns, he simply did not care.

He had decided that he did not have enough control of the school newspaper and he decided to start a second campus paper. He needed seed money. He knew a girl that had been given money in her parent’s divorce. She was his ticket.

When I finally insisted that Bob take turns getting up in the middle of the night with the baby he moved out. He moved in with the “friend” that I had seen him kiss on the street that night. She was 17 at the time and had enough money to help him start another on-campus newspaper.

Crazy Stairs

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

www.wendypowell.ca

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