The first thirty years of my life were good, at times pushing very good. I was the first and only child born into a happy, if not wealthy, family. I progressed comfortably enough through school with grades insufficient for university but good enough for me to land a decent job. Living in The Potteries, it was not much of a surprise that at school we learned, well were taught anyway, the skills required by the local factories. Prime amongst them was throwing, which I loved and excelled at. It was this skill as much as my grades that enabled me to find work.
I had a few girlfriends along the way but, despite no lack of trying, limited sexual experience. That swiftly became insignificant as I met Jennifer the first day in full time work and fell in love. It wasn't quite love at first sight, but it was close, maybe third or fourth sight. My good fortune continued as this beautiful and bright woman soon felt the same way about me. We were married when I was just nineteen and for the next eleven years, despite the doubters saying we were married too young, were supremely happy together. I remember my father once saying that couples that don't ever row don't ever talk, well we talked a great deal and rowed only occasionally, though never once serious enough to survive a night together. I recall reading somewhere that a man told his wife every day that he loved her twice as much as yesterday but only half as much as tomorrow. That was very much the way I felt. Fifteen months into our blissful marriage we were blessed with a beautiful daughter, who we christened Kathleen but soon became known as Kate to all around.
By the time I was around twenty seven the company I worked for, a medium sized Potbank (a factory where pottery is made), moved to one hundred percent mould operation. This meant no more throwers so I was moved to normal production.
Two days after our eleventh anniversary Fate decided that I'd had it too good. Jennifer, along with my mother were on their way to pick up my daughter from school when they were hit by a stolen car, driven by a lad only two years older than Kate. My mother was killed instantly and Jennifer died two days later of her injuries. The boy got a slap on the wrist and a five year driving ban, the latter a huge joke as he couldn't even legally drive for close on five years. My angry outburst in court, following this ridiculous sentence ended in me being fined more, for contempt of court, than he had for killing my wife and mother.
My father lasted almost six months before he too passed away. He never came to terms with the loss of his wife and partner of over fifty years. I know there is no medical term for it and regardless of what was written on the death certificate, my father died of a broken heart.
That left Kate and I to use each other as props as we slowly came to terms with our loss.