Saturday, December 03, 2011


White chocolate buttons, caramacs and a box of Cadbury's yule logs don't make up for the fact that my husband has asked for more of a separation. Apparently the one we have isn't serious enough for him or doesn't quite tick all the boxes.  Apparently the whole thing has to burn and die in order for the phoenix to rise.  Still confused and befuddled, I mumble my agreement and wonder if my Tardis is about to turn up and whip me home to England for Sunday lunch and comfort. There seems to be an epidemic of separations in our group of friends -- the latest a couple that seemed to be mentally, physically and spiritually joined at the hip -- and one wonders if it has something to do with mid-life. It's such a cliche to buy into that idea but I don't have any better ones.  Certainly the existential crises seem more common now than ten years ago.  There is something distinctly surreal about waking up one morning to find one's life partner and best buddy on a journey of discovery in which you're not included, not even tangentially.  I don't say this with self-pity, merely as a matter of fact.  It will no doubt fall into the 'that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger' category, and I say that as a Warrior of Optimism. (And as someone who is a big fan of roast pork with crackling, roast potatoes and parsnips and sprouting brocolli served on a table with a white cloth on it, smack dab in the middle of the Chiltern Hills, preferably with dogs at ones' feet. And maybe a glass of good claret.)

Friends are kind and try to set me up with dentists from Orange County, film directors, wholesome-looking next door neighbors. I am amused by it but frankly I have no interest. My daughter asks if I would become a lesbian instead.  The thought has crossed my mind, briefly.  I can't think of anything worse than going through the awkward path to intimacy, the social niceties one has to go through to get to know someone properly, the worry of whether or not to get botox in order to look twenty years younger, or whether your jiggly bits are showing.  The closest bump of intimacy was having my hair cut today by a  handsome young Italian, who blew warm air into my face as if I was Ann-Margret in an Elnet commercial, and fluffed up my hair with his fingers until I resembled a well-tousled terrier. Ruff ruff. He was also gay which was far easier to handle. I know this because he wore a woman's green and turquoise silk scarf around his neck, which I complimented him on.  June, who was having her hair cut at the same time said something very grown up like "phwoar" as I followed him upstairs to the private rooms and gave her a wink worthy of a footballer's wife.

I'm thinking a nice fireman who would throw me over his shoulder and take me to his truck might be in order. I can play the damsel in distress very well.  Also, a stubbly beard, strong hands, a broad chest and not a very large vocabulary.

Everyone says -- all my girlfriends, even my mother -- 'oh your life is going to be so much better; this is the beginning of a new adventure' and I smile and I think, but what about the old age I'd dreamed of, where we held hands and read books on the beach as the sun set, or the tomatoes we'd tend together, or the walking tours of Venice we promised we'd go on?  What do you do when someone who knows you that well -- knows every single inch of you and purports to love it all -- walks out? What do you do when it's their dream they're following and not your dream? How do you not look particularly pathetic and needy and bereft when you're not really that kind of person?

Who was it that said there is a Paul Simon song for every occasion.  The Mississippi delta sounds like a pretty good adventure.

And so I move on to more.  "There's a girl in New York City calls herself a human trampoline." More life, more love and, I guess, more separateness.

See you on the bright side. Onward. Sunlight.

PS. Reasons to be cheerful:
Chinese food
Spiders on drugs
Riding horses first thing in the morning

Christmas carols
Disney Hall by night (see this)
Snowflake gingerbread


LPC said...

Well now he just sounds like a great big jerk.

ruthless said...

Tiresome but never lose your boundless optimism. Also, I would love to be at that lunch. We watched Nigel Slater go for a walk down a snowy, country lane yesterday and I nearly cried with homesickness.

Wally B said...

Seperation is in the air on our bucholic island too. One of my oldest friends just told me he has asked for a divorce. I suppose I'm at that age when either people are dying, or splitting up. That Roast Pork and Crackling would be a good antidote.

Errant Aesthete said...
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Tania Kindersley said...

You are so brave, and you write so, so beautifully. I know it's small consolation now, but there is, perhaps, some tiny curative power in words. And you have those. And your Dear Readers, willing you on. x

Louise (@batpoet) said...

I am deeply moved by your writing, by your sensitivity and wisdom, and the poignancy of your situation. As someone has already said, we are on your side, willing you on. Life has rocked your foundation and messed with your dreams. I wish I could spare you that pain! There will be a way out, and painful as it is, I fully believe in your ability and strength to adapt. Hugs and love, B!