A Knight’s Tale (140: We Meet Again)

In March 1968, two and a half years after the death of Vivien, my first wife, Jackie and I were married. Nine months later, our son Matthew was born. This second marriage was to last a little less than four years. So distressing was the ending that it took each of us seven years to wed other spouses. Jessica, whom I married in 1980, was herself to die in July 2007.

Tess then came into the picture. Tess is Matthew’s lovely wife. In December 2008 she held a surprise 40th Birthday Party for the son Jackie and I shared. On other such special occasions a choice had clearly been made about which of us, who had not met for years, to invite. This time we were both to be at the event in The Plough at Upper Dicker.

With some trepidation I travelled down on the train, walked from the station, duly arrived, and surprised our son. Jackie, however, was absent. I circulated, chatting among the other guests, most of whom I knew well. My wandering through the bars took me past the door to the car park. It was then I did a double take.

The solid door was lit by a small, head height, window, perhaps 50 cm. square. There, neatly framed, in three-quarters profile, was my previous father-in-law, Don Rivett. But, this could not be. Don had died many years earlier.

The door opened, and in walked Jackie.

We conversed a little, then joined separate groups, but somehow or other, often found the groups merging. When Sam was the last to leave one particular table and we found ourselves alone, what now seems obvious began to dawn on me.

By the summer of 2010 Jackie and I had moved into a flat together, the proceeds of sale of our first marital home providing most of the funds necessary to buy our current house.

Jackie 8.10 004

To borrow the words William Shakespeare put into the mouth of Dimitius Enobarbus when describing Cleopatra: ‘Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety’. Jackie is not the reincarnation of Don, but she is of the muse of my youth.

As I write I realise that each time I have been widowed marriage to Jackie has followed.


  1. It seems Jackie has always had a smile that lights up her face and makes others smile with her.
    It also seems you were fated to be with each other. ?

  2. The connection between you and Jackie is magical notwithstanding its intermittent past. You have rightly invoked the Bard who I am sure would have found the story intriguing enough to pen a play or two.

  3. It can be really strange to meet somebody after not seeing them for years and years. Quite often, though, you can both carry on where you left off.

  4. It is as well that we cannot predict our future. You downplay much here and in doing so reveal other emotions … I join your other readers in the expression of joy that you have both returned to each other’s company at this time of your lives.

  5. I think we’ve all been waiting for this chapter to begin. Thank you for sharing it, Derrick. Much happiness to you both x

  6. I am glad you are remarried to Jackie. You seem the perfect couple together and surely the passage of time has bonded you together

  7. What a wonderful post! Jackie’s picture and your loving descriptions are just so precious. It is a wonderful thing when children feel they can invite both (divorced) parents to an event. And to have magic happen is quite adorable.

  8. So, after all those years, your first thought was that she looked like her Dad, Ah, the romance . . .
    I really must get myself organised and read the whole thing from beginning to end. It’s a great story, even though it can’t always have been easy.

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