After nine and a half years, it's nearly over. One more week together, and that's it. It's an emotional moment.
I remember how it was in the beginning. After a whirlwind courtship (that aptitude test, the first interview, an overnight at the Apex Hotel in the Grassmarket, so little time to get to know one another!) there I was with pen in hand, signing myself into the relationship. I didn't know how long it would last, but I went into it thinking of permanence.
I, Abi Sutherland, take thee, The Royal Bank of Scotland...
We've been through a lot since then. Better and worse, of course, as always in a job. I've wept with the stress of it, thrown a phone headset at the wall, but the Bank also allowed me to do things I did not believe I could.
Sickness and health...we've done that too. The Bank put up with me through the worst days of undiagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder, but also benefitted from my manic hyper-efficient summertimes. Supported me during maternity leave, yet took my sleepless nights on projects for granted.
And richer or poorer? Well, it is a bank. We've had record profits, and I've benefitted from profit share, membership in the pension plan, and fairly good salaries. I can't really complain.
The Bank's gained a few pounds since we got together - bought NatWest, growing fivefold in one transaction. But it stayed attractive to me. There are benefits to a big partner. Lately, though, the strains have started to show, in ways I won't discuss here. Still, something in me keeps thinking if I stuck it out things would get better. It's what I do.
You see, I'm a permie girl. My contractor friends, who sign up for six-month knee-tremblers or year-long commitments, extol the virtues of their brief liaisons. But I like the stability, the deep familiarity, that comes of long association. That's great, but now comes the cost: breaking up is so much harder to do.
And we're almost to it now, to the division of property into mine and thine, to taking off the security pass like a ring no longer needed, to saying goodbye to a building that once was a home. We're starting to be careful around each other, aware that things started now can't necessarily be finished.
And I look at the meat market, look at putting myself back out there to see if someone else will want me the way the Bank wanted me, and it's frightening. I primp and poke at my covering letters and wonder if this CV makes me look unattractive.
If Martin and I weren't moving to the Netherlands, if this partnership were not about to be geographically impossible, would I be able to break it off? And yet, moving aside, I think that now is a good time to make the move. We were getting stale, and I don't see things changing.
So goodbye, Royal Bank. I will miss you when I leave, and I hope we can still be friends, but it's time for me to go.
I think I'm going to need some chocolate.