an’t buy me love, love, everybody tells me so. Can’t buy me love ..no..no..no..no..no!* One of the clearest revelations that Helena Clayton had while being confined to her hospital bed was that her husband Stanford had spent the better part of their married life trying to buy her and to keep her bought. She didn’t even have to search the recesses of her mind to arrive at this. Suddenly it just appeared to her as clear as glass that he had constantly paid her off in material possessions, cash, trinkets and gifts and all the while she was either totally clueless or very adept at mastering the art of repression.
The burning question she was now faced with was could she have known all along that the married love she thought they had shared was based on a monetary foundation? And fresh on the heels of that was an even worse possibility; could she have known and chosen to ignore it, opting for the dollar signs and what money could buy?
Arranged marriages and contract alliances don’t even try to disguise the fact that money pays a huge part in their lives together. But for couples who supposedly marry for love and mutual honor and respect are not supposed to put dollar signs in the forefront of their lives. As she recalled the times from their courtship and engagement and their early years as a married couple, she didn’t remember anything significant that may have alerted her to consider trouble ahead because of money, and she didn’t remember Stanford doing anything out of the ordinary. He came from a wealthy family and was used to living a life of privilege.
She was from a middle class family and her parents provided the basic comforts of life for her and her siblings, and although they had many extras such as dance and piano lessons for the girls, and sports for the boys, it was known that there was a budget that must be kept so that their lifestyle could be maintained. Helena and her sisters Rosalind (Rosie Gal”) and Amy Anne along with her brothers Michael Thomas (“Pooch”) and Alexander Joseph (“JoJo”) appreciated the few luxuries her parents could afford and none of then ever took anything for granted. They may not have belonged to the upper crust of society like the Claytons, but her Mom and Dad were honest salt of the earth people who did their best for them and loved each other without indiscretion and were still Mr.& Mrs. Thomas Joseph Yancey for nearly sixty years.
Her daughter had delivered the message from Stanford about him being sorry and all. The thing is Helena could believe it. She felt the ring of truth to his appeal. And she had faced the cold, awful, damning truth about herself; that she was ultimately responsible for what had happened. She had pushed the envelope over the edge by first of all having the affair with Griffin, while knowing that he and Stanford were “acquainted”, and worst of all by admitting to sleeping with another man. She had played with fire by dangling the affair in front of her friends…her very best friends who had given her unfailing support always and even in this terrible mess had proven to still love her without interruption.
She had not only thrown all caution to the wind and danced with danger by not trying to be discreet so the rage that her husband had felt and its subsequent effects came as no surprise to her, but that didn’t mean she condoned violence and the physical injury he had caused her, but it did mean she could understand his hurt and his pain because she was the inflictor. She had every intention of forgiving him and dropping all charges against him in court and going back home if he wanted her.
If he had tried to buy her love, wasn’t she just as wrong if she willingly allowed him to continue doing it? Shouldn’t she have talked to him about it and let him know that the money and privilege was nowhere near as important to her as he was? Instead she had let him think for years that without the huge house and all of its appointments, the new cars, the unsupervised spending on shopping trips, luxury vacations and the prestige of being Mrs. Stanford Clayton were the basis for her living. She fell in love with him right after they first met and has loved him ever since.
Her affair happened because she was an attention hog. It had to always be about her, and because her hard-working husband was working 60 hours a week and maybe hadn’t paid as much attention to her as a result, she fell prey (willingly) to a man who paid her a few compliments and noticed her designer outfits and her $100 hairdos. Yes, it’s true what they say about hindsight. There was a lot of hard work ahead if she and her husband could agree to salvage the shreds of their marriage and start over again building them up, and this time money would not play as important a part as it always had.
The sun would shine again in her life and of that she was as sure as she was of who she is: Helena Charlene Yancey Clayton. She was actually excited about becoming a new woman, a better person who would then be ready to be a better wife and friend to her husband. Thank God for grace and mercy and forgiveness, and she would make the first move. She would call her home and speak to her husband and she would be comforted by the familiar sound of his voice. Some things would never change…and for that she was grateful.
*Excerpt from “Can’t Buy Me Love by “The Beatles”.
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