In the third of our series on the Seven Deadly Sins, Primewriter Jane Corry gives a very personal account of her brush with the Green Eyed Monster – Envy.
Jane’s debut thriller My Husband’s Wife will be published by Penguin on 25th August, with an early eBook released on 26th May.
The Seven Deadly Sins: Envy
I am not, by nature, an envious person. In fact, I used to pride myself on not being so – which is probably a sin in itself. I’ve always tried to be reasonably ‘good’. Indeed, it’s in my nature to attempt to put things right for others instead of thinking about myself. But recently, a few things have happened which have made me realise that perhaps I’ve been kidding myself all these years.
Nearly ten years ago, I left my husband and very beautiful home to set up a new life for myself and our children. Without going into details, this terrifying decision was the culmination of many events. Even so, I was filled with doubts.
‘How can you leave all this?’ asked a friend, at the time, waving her hand towards our five acres of garden. I was shocked. Surely it was more important to be true to myself than to hang onto material possessions?
However, during those next four years as a single mother on a tight budget, I found myself being envious of non-materialistic things. I was envious of families who lived in my new road because they were a ‘complete unit’ with a mother and a father. I found myself being envious of my old friends who had security. And when I went to stay with some chums in America and heard their children running into their bedroom and jumping up and down on the parental bed, it hurt so much that I burst into tears. Why couldn’t I have what they did?
Then a strange thing happened. Two of those friends suddenly lost that so-called security; one through divorce and another through bereavement. I, on the other hand, gradually learned to become stronger on my own. Some of my friends, whose private lives were unhappy, actually came to envy me. But I took no joy from this because I knew how hard it was to make this journey.
When I married again, I found – to my irritation – that my old enemy Envy was poised to strike again. My new husband was a family friend and a bachelor. Like most fifty-something unattached men, he’d had several relationships in the past. I couldn’t help it: I felt envious of them all.
‘But you’re the one I married – not them,’ he said to me with a touch of amusement. That helped. Yet even after seven years of marriage, I still get the odd twinges even though I know there’s no need.
Then, last month, something strange happened. My first husband, who had also married again, invited us over to lunch at his new home. It was, we decided after all these years, important to be civilised for the sake of the children. As my second husband and I went through the front door, I found myself surrounded by possessions that used to be mine. A pretty pink vase which I had forgotten about. (So that’s where it had gone!) A rug. A rather lovely mahogany desk. A grandfather clock which I had bought at an auction.
I waited for the pang of envy to strike. But it didn’t come. Nor did it hurt when I saw my first husband holding hands with his second wife. That’s when I knew I had finally healed.
Besides, that rug I mentioned? I’d never liked it……