Before the storm

The early evening sun is still warm, and an eerie silence fills the parisian suburb. I sit on the steps in front of my teenage bedroom, wishing I could be fourteen and start again.

My mind skips back to the most recent encounter with T on Friday.

There had been a festive feel to that Friday night: My first pay was burning a hole into my bank account, schools had broken for two weeks, releasing hordes of over excited youngsters into parks, and cafés, I had decided to order a take-away dinner,  a rare and wonderous treat here in France. This was also meant to give me more time to throw random items of clothing into a suitcase pack for Easter weekend at my parents’ near Paris.

T was due to finish work early to see the children, but got held up by a patient who decided to bleed and threaten to die (the cheek of those patients, I tell you). As he sounded a bit down on the phone, I reflexively offered a few words of comfort.

This must have been a mistake: He dismissed them, and was clearly on the light-years side of distant when he finally arrived.  We had nothing to say to each other, worse, it was as if nothing had ever existed between us. Seeing our daughter, the walking, babbling testament to the fact that we once were so close and committed to each other felt almost incongruous.

Tonight, the trees shiver in my parents’ garden, a gust of wind carries the smell of wet earth and the distant rumble of thunder. The first drops of rain splatter noisily around me.

Joe Satriani – Tears in the rain


7 thoughts on “Before the storm

  1. You know what? It is exactly the same between me and my ex. Like two total strangers. Isn’t that strange and awful, how little remains between two people who were so close once upon a time…

  2. I still struggle with this part, almost two years later. I can’t seem to hold the “who we were then” with the “who he is now” in my head at the same time. We flip-flop back and forth between a comfortable easy shared enjoyment of our kids–even sharing a laugh now and then–and an angry disgust-filled stand-off where an outsider would have trouble believing we were ever close. I hope that one day the contrast will stop feeling so jarring, but I’m not sure that it will.

    • You’re absolutely spot on. On the one hand, my mind cannot reconcile “how he is now” with “who he was”, and on the other hand I find the random flip-flopping between easy-ish company and animosity exhausting. I was hoping things would get better with time, but I guess your experience means perhaps they don’t. I find this incredibly sad…

      • Reading this and the follow-up comments, what scares me, is what it might portend for me. I don’t yet have an “Ex” (after tonight, it’s more likely, but that’s the subject of a future blog posting).

        Will I also be so estranged from someone with whom I have shared so much over the years?

        A big part of me thinks not. I am still chatty friends with 3 of my more serious (distant) past girlfriends. We exchange annual Xmas cards, e-mails, and family photos. None are secret from my wife; she likes 2 of them herself. In each case, we moved from a relationship to friends fairly easily.

        But another part of me has this nagging feeling that I’m fooling myself. My wife has changed enough she wants to leave us all, and leaving behind the husband and kids is not common. That’s not the wife I love, that’s not even the person I know. I don’t know how to reconcile this person with the wife I thought I knew. I can’t even be sure if I love this new person the way I did. And that alone is very sad, very scary, and definitely not a good sign.

        Now that I push forward with this in my mind, I recollect recent moments, expressions, subtle changes … and these worry me. I had hoped that if “this thing we are doing” shifts from isolation to separation, we could remain friends. To hear that two years later, it might all still be difficult is very worrying.

  3. Pingback: 7×7 « Poor cow in France

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