On page 58 of West the author writes: ‘She was the phantom that haunted my every attempt at relationships. And I was hers.’
Obviously we cannot speak of Jim Perrin’s many previous partners, although our hearts go out to all those other women in his life whom he dismisses with such a sweeping stroke; and to his children who may, in the future, read or hear how little their mothers were regarded by their father. However we can say, and with absolute certainty, that our sister was never haunted by a Jim Perrin ‘phantom’.
In our earlier posts we have shown how genuinely happy Jac’s life had been, in all its phases; fulfilling, productive and contented. Jim Perrin’s name was never, ever, mentioned. He was, in her own words when she was telling us about him years later, someone she had known ‘briefly’, ‘intermittently’ and ‘occasionally’ in the days when she was living with her partner. She did not deny having met him — but she explained that it was because he had sometimes climbed when and where her ‘first love’ had, in Wales, and when she had accompanied him she had, on occasion, seen Jim Perrin in that climbing milieu, although the two men never climbed together. And there was no question whatever that she was ‘haunted’ as Jim Perrin described in the passage quoted above.
The two sisters who were in Liverpool at the same time as Jac knew of all her friendships and relationships — knew and became friendly with the people themselves, and, as close sisters do, they continually ‘compared notes’. Jim Perrin was not then ever discussed — whatever phantasmal world he has since constructed — and he was not a meaningful part of her life: he is a fantasist.