I’m coming to terms with the meaning of that word. I have two, but in some respects I have none. But let me start at the beginning. This weekend was by any standards a bit stressful STBXs’ mother and her husband were in town for a couple of days, and as we haven’t seen them for about 18 months, the two women got together for lunch to catch up, and of course, be told the news. So as you can imagine, it was a bit weird for me to be spending the weekend around a truly charming couple who know, but are too polite to bring it up and still pretend that all is O.K.
That wasn’t too bad as the weather was great, we showed them the sights and spent most of our time in restaurants, although I doubt my waistline could have taken too much more of it. No, the hard part this weekend was calling my Dad. I had been dreading this for a while, and had put it off until I could give him some definite details. He always calls us, as he has us as his foreign cheap call number, and I knew he would freak out when I called, as he would assume something dreadful had happened. I spent the opening 30 seconds reassuring him that no one had died, been injured or gotten pregnant, but that didn’t make it any easier to tell him. His reaction was “Oh no, oh no, oh no”. Not unusual, you would think, but rewind 20 years, when my brother announced that he and his American wife were divorcing. The main consequence of this is that Dad then didn’t see his first grandchild, or indeed have any information about him for 20 years. Alas, Mum died before they found him, but at least Dad has now met, and has some contact with him.
I reassured him that he won’t lose contact with our kids, but it still came as a shock. Well, not totally. He was here for 6 weeks over the summer and saw what was going on. His exact words were “She treated you like a servant, you never got a minute to sit down” and “Your Mum noticed it”. So that goes back at least 5 years.
I got the key to the apartment today, and that was weird. I made 2 trips to move some stuff in, and I don’t think you’ll be too surprised to learn that the first thing I took up the stairs was a box containing 13 different Whisky bottles. The second thing was a case and a half of beer. I know what my priorities are. It didn’t feel real. This is now MY space, to organise as I see fit, to work out the details of daily living, even which bedroom to use. There was an air of surreal detachment about the whole experience that left me feeling a bit numb, to be honest. Should I have been happy? Sad? Confused? Upset? Buggered if I know.
After my second trip I found myself facing a metaphor at lunch. In making a sandwich I used up the last of the roast chicken in the fridge. As I stood there, I realised that the chicken was pretty much like my marriage. There were good bits as well as gristle and bones, but ultimately, it was stripped of everything worthwhile and ended up just a pile of disparate parts only fit for the bin.
So now I am in two places at once and neither. This is going to be a bloody tough week. I’m ready to move out, but I can’t until we tell the kids. That’s going to be a bear. On the other hand, when I do move out, how am I going to feel when the door closes behind me and I walk up the stairs to an empty flat?
Oh, by the way, I may be in an emotional netherworld right now, but one thing I did remember to do today was to leave the toilet seat up.