I lost TPR during the final stage of the long journey to the US aboard an ocean liner. Occasionally I would spot him in the distance across deck, usually driving one of the small open cars used for deliveries by the ship’s staff. He never acknowledged me. It was as if we had no shared past at all.
One day I had the opportunity to confront him. I was chatting to a family when a silver car approached us. “That will be our driver Pedro” said one of my companions. TPR emerged from the driver’s seat. The moment he saw me he ran to the back of the car and jumped into the boot to hide. He was trapped and had no option but to answer my questions. How did he expect me to go through labour all alone to deliver our baby? Did he have any intention of joining me again in the future to help bring up our child?
“Get lost”, he hissed. “I’m an illegal immigrant, so my best disguise is that of a Mexican driver”. I had to admit that he had done quite a good job with his new image. He’d lost quite a lot of muscle tone so now looked very skinny. It was also obvious that he’d been working hard on his tan to develop a Latin complexion. His little moustache added to the authenticity of his new image.
Then I noticed the tattoos! This was a step too far. He knew how much I hated “body art”. How could he do this to himself (and, by association, to me)? His pathetic excuse was that the tattoos were the only means he had to connect to his former life in Scotland. When I looked more closely I began to appreciate my husband’s strategy: every tattoo was based on a Harry Potter theme. My favourite was the representation of George Heriot’s School in Edinburgh as Hogwarts. However, it was still quite a blow to realise that not a single one made any reference to TPR’s former life with me.