What a duplicitous word, ‘resignation’. Does it mean we have given ourselves up to fate, slumped back in our chairs to see what happens next? No! We are making the changes, and this week has seen the big one. My husband has handed in his resignation. (That kind of resignation.) He spent some time drafting the letter on his laptop, and I think quite a few years drafting it in his head. It was only when he felt himself finished that he showed it to me. It was two pages of A4, firm, clear, honest, passionately argued. I admit I didn’t realize how much he had been putting up with, and I was moved by it. And proud, too, of his honesty and clarity. I’d quite like to include the letter here, but I’d have to redact too much of it, and Husband probably wouldn’t allow it anyway.
Thunder clapped over London on the day he handed it in, matching the powerful beating of my heart.
There’s only one way to respond to a resignation letter like that. To accept it, graciously. And did they?
Yes, they did.
Irreversibility is setting in. That is to say, we could probably still put everything into reverse, but there’d be lots of sounding of hooters, expletives and red faces if we did.
The next two steps are:
a) selling our flat;
b) telling my in-laws what we’re up to.
Telling my lovely in-laws that their son has packed in His Brilliant Career that they are so proud of, and that we’re off to bake bread (their son) and edit books (daughter-in-law) in a country neither of us has spent more than ten days in, is our next big thing. Migration is not a theoretical topic for my in-laws. In the upheavals in Europe during and after the Second World War they migrated twice, involuntarily. Austria, their first port of call, would not make them citizens and, when the economy slowed down, stripped my father-in-law of his job to give it to a native. Germany gave them citizenship in the 1950s. The United States offered citizenship too; the Americans were generous to shattered Europe and its refugees. For my father-in-law the choice was made clear by his beautiful young bride-to-be: marry and stay, or go with his brothers to America and leave her behind. He chose to marry and stay. My parents-in-law have been happy in Germany, I’m glad to say. In a few days’ time we’re flying to Frankfurt to see them so we can tell them face to face what our plans are. It just wasn’t something we could do over the phone.