Shades of Grey

Life is never straightforward, is it?

The papers have been filled recently with gruesome headlines about Georgina Allen, who is alleged to have bludgeoned her husband to death with a hammer.

It was a monstrous and completely inexcusable act.  But is Georgina a monster?

As more details filter through, the black and white newspaper images start to take on shades of grey.  Georgina left her husband in 2009 after suspecting him of infidelity with prostitutes. That’s got to hurt.  Years of marriage, only to discover  the man (or woman) who shares your bed has brought someone else in to it.  Metaphorically at least.

I read an interesting article last week comparing  the adulterous behaviour of the footballer Wayne Rooney, to his team-mate, Ryan Giggs, who has also been ‘playing away’. Rooney’s  occasional ‘dalliances’ with prostitutes, were favourably compared to Ryan Gigg’s  long-standing and ‘unforgivable affairs’. Rooney’s behaviour was deemed excusable (if misjudged), whilst Giggs was beyond the pale.  But surely betrayal is betrayal – whether it’s a  stranger or someone you know.

Back to Georgina.  She and her husband had been attempting to reconcile, but she attacked him last August when she became convinced that his behaviour was all a ruse. Again, there’s no justification for her actions.  They are completely deplorable.  But have you ever put yourself on the line only to find yourself let down again and again by the same people? In this situation, it’s hard to think logically or clearly. It’s a tragedy from every angle.

The Mail made much of the fact that Georgina allegedly battered her husband as he ate his lunch.  It was a lunch she’d made for him. You can just see it, can’t you?  The anger and resentment rising in her throat as she watches her husband, chewing and slurping at the table, eating the meal she cooked for him.  Wearing the clothes she laundered for him.  Using the cutlery she cleaned after every meal, as she always did.

There’ve been days when Glen’s been eating dinner and I’ve felt like throttling him.  ‘What am I, your maid?  I’ve been slaving over a hot stove for at least six minutes. How much do you appreciate those noodles, dammit?’  Poor guy, the issue is not the noodles or even the way he’s holding the fork.  It’s usually the culmination of a ‘bad day’ and my own insecurities about who I am and what gives me value.  Little does he realise as he picks up his meatball, that I’m poised and ready to pounce.

I say this partly in jest, but there’s more to it than that.  My heart is the same as Georgina’s heart.  There’s murder in it. It’s not pink and fluffy and filled with saccharine sentiments.  It wants to rule  over my husband, my family, my friends.  I feel that the world and people in it owe me a certain kind of life. And dear help  anyone or anything who gets in the way.

There’s more.  A woman bludgeoned her husband to death.  He’d committed a large betrayal.  But there were other, smaller factors at play.  Who’s to say which one finally caused her to snap?  We read for example, that he’d drawn up a set of rules for her which included giving up smoking, not speaking to strangers and not interrupting him.  This sort of passive-aggression  also  sounds horribly familiar.  Notes pinned to the fridge. ‘Dear Housemates, I have licked my cheese.  If you eat it again  I will slice off your hand.  Have a good day. Love Emma’.

Georgina drafted a farewell note, before driving to a well-known suicide spot in East Sussex.  When an emergency team and chaplain arrived at the scene, she allegedly confessed to murder.  Her words?  ‘If I can’t have him, no-one can’.

Cold, heartless, unfeeling? Or someone who cared far too much?

Monster? Or actually, all too human?

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