Light

Light by Lady E

Light by Lady E

I hang up the phone and close my eyes. When I re-open them, I finally see the trees, volley-ball players, families strolling, and clouds shifting across the late afternoon sky.

I am sitting in a park on a busy Saturday afternoon. Mr Nice and I have just been discussing the fineries of our relationship’s funeral : Next week, we’ll tell the children.  We will let them enjoy the afternoon together, before letting them know of our decision to separate. To soften the blow – in as much this is possible when you are robbing someone of much of the stability and safety in their lives, we also decided to make sure they could still spend time together and count on both of us.

How this will work in practice is anyone’s guess.

For the first time in over a month, I have been talking to the Mr Nice I used to know, rather than some spaced out version of him, and this man is lost, desolate, wondering how a relationship which has been giving him happiness and stability for a couple of years could suddenly become something he does not want.

I feel immensely tired.

I get up and start walking towards the light.

Guess who…

… Came for dinner the other night ?

Are you sitting down ?

Ok, no, don’t get that excited, it wasn’t Channing Tatum… Indeed, it was only T. I’ll let you get over the anti-climax for a moment.

But still, can you believe it ? The man who broke my heart and our family in hideous ways, before dumping my son came for dinner … and it was actually ok.

At times, it felt as though the last time we’d had dinner together as a family was the night before, rather than just under two years ago. It felt a bit surreal, a bit sad too, as little details of what was nice about our life together came flooding back.

But overwhelmingly, it was good. The children were happy, I actually felt relaxed, T and I have definitely entered a new phase: We get on well, in spite of everything that has happened.

When after a steep climb, I contemplated the breathtaking view from a local mountain-top last weekend, I felt dizzy with how much it felt like looking down at my proverbial past (well, it may have had something to do with low blood-sugar too).

But anyway, if you’d told me a year ago that I would be inviting T for dinner, and actually mildly enjoying the experience, I would have scoffed. But there it is, as incredible as it may sound, I have mostly forgotten what pain and despair felt like.

I remember how much I hated and feared this man, in much the same way I remember crushing his hand in agony after our daughter was born, swearing that I would never do this again. It feels so distant, so far away, as though all this was lived by a different me…

I haven’t taken leave of my senses though, and for anyone who is wondering, there is no way I could let him back into my life. I have some self-respect.

Right, ready for a little boogie ? This song is totally addictive and has had me shaking it uncontrollably.

The black keys – Lonely boy

Soup

Friday night-

I finish work early so that I can take my daughter to see a doctor, and pick up my son who is back from a week away skiing with his class. Work is busy, I end up being late and pedaling like a maniac through the city.

The doctor’s waiting room is packed with unamused-looking people, I sigh: I am going to be late picking up my son. Feeling like an inadequate mother, I ask a friend if she can pick him up for me. Eventually, as we’re already 15 minutes late, and there are still 4 people before us, I grab my daughter and tell a disgruntled doctor that I’ll be right back.

I arrive panting in front of the school gates, where my friend, her son and mine are waiting in the cold. We drop the suitcase off, have a quick snack, and head back to the doctor’s. I am now late to drop my daughter off at her dad’s, and my son is unimpressed by his welcome home committee. I want to cry.

The names of T and the New Ms T outside their door don’t hurt in the way they previously have, but I still reverse the car into a post as we head home. I allow a special TV dinner, and this seems to placate my son.

Sunday morning-

I drag myself out of bed to go skiing with my son. The weather is cold and overcast in the city, foggy, freezing and snowing up in the mountains. I pull on my ski boots, and fantasize about drinking hot chocolate wrapped around Mr Nice by the fire. My son and his friend are keen to show off whatever they’ve just been learning in ski class, so they hurtle themselves down at breakneck speed, and without much consideration for where the run might be, while the snow pricks my face and I worry about loosing them in the fog… Just what I need after about 2 hours sleep.

I eventually manage to convince them to go home, the hair sticking out of my helmet is covered in snow, and I can barely hold the steering wheel. This has been a very up and down weekend, and I feel immensely tired.

Finally we are home, my daughter is delivered back and something in my heart slots back into place: My little family puzzle is complete. I lock the door, unpack the children’s bags and make soup.

This gooey and ridiculous song is for Mr Nice who makes me feel all gooey and ridiculous. Céline Dion – J’attendais

Expensive pasta

pasta close up

Image via Wikipedia

Last night, T spoke to the children on Skype. Normally this is little more than an obligatory annoyance for me these days. I sigh with relief when it’s over and life resumes until the next time.

But last night, he was cooking pasta for his and the New Ms T’s dinner, and we were subjected to 5 excruciating minutes of their Domestic Show. Where the New Ms T, even though she was off-screen, kept making her presence felt, asking to try out the pasta (I actually gagged when he fed her the pasta), or other crucial questions such as where she should put down a pan.

In the grand scheme of things, this incident is obviously mundane and ridiculous, but nevertheless it got my blood boiling harder than the water in their pan.

How hollow did his declarations of how much he loves and misses the children ring! And how I itched to slap the smile off his smug face remind him that a year ago, he was cooking pasta for four in our kitchen, wanting to produce a fifth family member with me.

I was still fuming this morning and hit the shops feeling armed and dangerous, a lethal combination for my long-suffering credit card…

I am now the proud owner of a naff-off great big zoom lense for my camera, and a few cute little numbers -including this lovely wool dress- which happened to cross my way. This turned out to be the most expensive pasta ever, but I feel better and am clothed for winter…

+30% extra misery free

A Sweet Chestnut Castanea sativa cupule, split...

Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever experienced the interesting added boon of misery which comes from being the only miserable one in a crowd of happy people?

Last Saturday, I came across yet another kind of hurt on this particularly cheerful journey through heartbreak, when my children came back all happy from spending 24h with T and The New Ms T.

Everyone was visibly relaxed and happy (good), my son pronounced the New Ms T nice (good), and said he’d had a good time (very good given the very up and down nature of his relationship with T over the last six months).  All is great then, so why does it make me feel so miserable?

And I practically gagged when my son casually mentioned that he played with his Bakugans while T and the New Ms T took a nap together. It made me want to scream : “This is what we did! She has taken my place! They are playing families with my family!”.

This new turn of events hurts in ways I find hard to describe (she says after crossing out various attempts including mentions of out-of-this-world, dentist-drill with no anaesthetics and Abba’s greatest hits on a loop). It makes my eyes close, my chest cave in, my heart crumble.

A year ago exactly, I remember a walk we took in the woods, the four of us together picking chestnuts and kicking leaves. I remember wondering about what to cook for dinner and chatting with T about a friend of his, work, and needing to service the car. And now this?

Autumn

The rain beats down on the skylights, and the music plays:

It is a mellow Saturday, enormous clouds furl and unfurl endlessly along the mountain sides. Autumn has finally beaten Summer into submission, the first hints of golds and reds have touched the trees, and I have regretfully packed our sandals away until next Spring.

There is something oddly comforting about just being here, listening to the rain tapping away, letting the time pass slowly…

I am going around my new home, working out where to hang picture frames, and moving furniture around, while the children are playing some interesting game involving hurling themselves at one of the living room’s walls (don’t ask. I just look away).

It feels increasingly like home here, as new routines are created, and life is slowing down.

T has been on holiday and out of touch for a couple of weeks, and I hadn’t realised until now just what a relief it’s been to not to have him flaunting his good looks and romantic bliss in my face several times a week.

Now he’s back, and I’m going to have to see him on Skype talking to the children, and in the flesh on a weekly basis. It is like having one of these annoying little stones stuck in your shoe, but being unable to shake it off.

Soul destruction

It is a balmy late afternoon, the light is soft and golden, and when the doors open, I see her without seeing. She is wearing something off-white, floaty and elegant, a pretty blond, ten years younger than me: My replacement.

I shrink inwardly, feeling frumpy, old, and defeated.

The situation has an air of absurdity. We are standing outside the building where we used to live as a family, the children are playing with T, and I am thanking the woman he now lives with for agreeing to meet me.

She does not even seem stupid or arrogant, and replies something reasonable along the lines of I understand, it is legitimate. We chit-chat pleasantly for a minute or two before I make my excuses as I have left dinner cooking upstairs.

I keep smiling as I say good-bye to my daughter who is laughing on her dad’s shoulders, get back into the lift, into the flat, automatically check on dinner, and try to reassure my son, before I finally sink down to the floor and howl.