First things first - fill time. Lots of it. Tidy room (a normally
annual and highly traumatic event), new hairdo, new makeup (ooh la la)
- even installing an iq-frying games console into my now-navigable
bedroom...and using it. Organising visits to friends, relatives,
endlessly surfing the internet 'for something to do' - anything but
anything to try to cover up that horrible yawning gap when the
universe reminds you that hey, chuck, you're on your own. Scary scary
stuff. After that comes the nerve-crunching moment when you have to
switch on your mp3 player and 'that' song assaults your ears with a
non-stop barrage of memories. Oh, dear god, how do people do this and
still come out normal on the other side?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a relationship wallflower - I've taken on
and dealt with the best - made just about every jaw-dropping mistake
in the book - I've had partners over the years where topics have
included drug-addiction (not on my part, I might add - in fact, none
if these are on my part, not that I've ever been a blameless angel),
alcoholism (although I have teetered on that brink before), violence,
sheer disrespect and even closet gay combined with an unhealthy
interest in girls of a certain age (the thought that they later went
on to work in a school still sends cold shivers down my spine). Oh,
and a married one with kids older than me. And more than one who was
older than my dad. Not to mention the fact that I could have made a
life's work of being public enemy number one in the eyes of every in-
law - and much as I've racked my poor little brain and over-analysed
every word and action around these people, I have genuinely and simply
never understood why. Perhaps if there's such a thing as the
immaculate conception and I actually manage to force half of my and
somebody elses DNA into the world in the form of a child, and that
child then finds somebody (when they're at least 25) who they would
then like to share their DNA and life's experiences with, i will
understand. Who knows.
So, back to the track. Theres me, bumbling along, doing my best
impression of the big, brave woman of the world (and feeling like it's
my first day at kindergarten), when the phone rings. Oh dear. It rings
and it's you-know-who.
So in best tradition of ultra-strong, take-on-the-world women, I
ignore it. It stops. Sigh of relief... But what's that in my eye and
why can't I catch my breath? Surely not. This ball-breaking goddess is
crying like a baby. Snotty nose and everything. And I hadn't even
uttered so much as an insult at him - because I hadn't picked up the
phone. More cigarettes. Lots of them. Speak to dad, and every galpal I
know who sees this 'brave new me', to help piece back together my
dented armour. It worked - kind of.
But, this guys persistant... Even as I'm writing this, I'm batting off
text messages with the most non-commital but polite replies I can. I
just wasn't raised to be rude... (Unless I'm pushed beyond the limit,
then it's look out world and set up an exclusion zone). I've even
spoken to him. Several times. He's always telling me how 'i'm the
one', that he can't function without me, realises what a stupid, weak
boy he's been - and he's right, which makes it even harder. I believe
with every fibre of my being that he truly believes what he's saying,
and that he would move hell and earth to 'change' - but y'know what -
I don't ever want to feel the way he used to make me feel (at the
worst times) ever again.
So when my gut twists, and I bite my lip, and desperately try not to
explode because I know that when he finally realises I'm not coming
back it's going to floor him, I just have to remember that I'm doing
him and myself a favour. But it really doesn't feel like it. And it's
My only comfort is that not only do I have a truly amazing group of
people, who are always there to pick me up, and do the grown-up
version of putting a plaster on a grazed knee (I.e. Getting me
plastered - very easy and cheap, considering I'm usually almost
teetotal). The other private glimmer I have is that I hope one of two
things will happen -either I will meet the perfect man and fall
hopelessly in love... Or, this will carry on and we learn to live
without each other - then maybe, somehow, some way start again with a
shiny, new, and deeper understanding. Only problem is, a leopard
doesn't change it's spots, does it? So now you see. Dilemma. Problem.
Worse than the last crossword clue you just can't get, worse than
'where's the front door key' rummaging in the freezing rain at two in
the morning. Worse even than the 'should I have just one more drink'
issue, knowing you'll wake up the next morning with a mouth full of
feathers and a head that feels like it's not your own.
What on earth am I meant to do with this?
I know... Be brave. Because I have to - for both our sakes. And hope
to god that at least one of the above happens, otherwise I'm stuffed.
And it'll take more than a plaster to sort out if I get it wrong.