Friday, August 23, 2013

A Date With The Ex

So I text the Ex today and we make a date to catch up. After work. Which is like after 9. And we meet in front of Ronnie Q's and I have some dinner in this tiny, noisy little burger joint which seems to be trendy (well,it's full anyway) which is not a patch on MyBurgerLab, and then we repair to The Talk for a drink. Kind of ironic because the first time we met was at The Talk. He was an analyst. I was a journalist. And I was taking him out for a drink. Because we used to fete analysts. He came in and saw me and instead of saying hi, walked right past me, sat inside, ordered a beer, and sweated profusely. Because he's an introverted (not shy, but introverted, there's a difference, as he takes pains to explain to me today, having stumbled upon some research on introverts).

"I was looking up how to turn an introvert into an extrovert and came across this research and...I feel so someone finally understood me!"

But that's not what he wants to talk about. Well, not all of what he wants to talk about. Basically he wants to catch me up on the past eight months. So he does. As I masticate my way through a not untasty (though not crash out either) burger, he catches me up. First, the living situation. When he went back, he was effectively sat for a month, and then lived with a church member for six weeks and then was offered a room in the Rectory until the new Rector was appointed. And what happened there. A manipulator, a wrongdoing, him putting his foot down, she forming a team (a la Survivor) and managing to get him kicked out.

He quit the church.

The Ex doesn't understand people who allow wrongdoing to take place under their nose and don't say anything. He's starts to splutter incoherently as I gaze at him, sad, but stony-eyed.

"What did you expect? You went against her. Of course she was going to do something about it? Did you think she would just sit there and take it?"

People's bad behaviour never surprises me. It's like, of course, that was exactly what she was going to do. She's evil and that's what evil people do. If you want to go to war with an evil person, well, you'll either have to be very Zen about it, or out-Evil them. Otherwise...

He nods and goes on talking. Now it's the work situation. Again, here, no matter how hard he tries, no matter how perfect he is for the position, something always happens at the eleventh hour to pull the rug from under his feet. I sigh and feel even sadder. He deserves a break. Some break. The only thing I can hang on to now, is that maybe all this is happening for a reason, maybe something much much better is in store.

And I sip my sweet white wine and I feel something inside me relax. I don't realise how tense I am and how much I hold it in. It's automatic. I can't afford to...

And then the Ex asks me how I've been.

And I tell him. About the Mum. About the death. About the one and a half months in JB. About everything and I am alarmed to find myself tearing up. I, who didn't cry (well, not much) when it was right in front of me, happening.

He looks alarmed. And so I go for the bare bones of the story...and he nods, understanding.

"She was your anchor."

"Yeah, I guess she was. Nothing seems real now."

He continues to look stricken and stops telling me anything more about the shenanigans in Australia. Now he's focussed on...and I wish he wasn't because all I want to do is break down. I want to cry for her. And for all that I've lost. But I can't. Not here. Not in front of him.

My heart has been heavy all day.

And now, it's just about ready to burst.

Well, it's time to go. We pay up. Actually, he does. Even without a job, and not much money, he insists.

I tell him I need to find some place to live. He asks about the dogs. I say, they'll probably still live with my father. Or we would put them to sleep. But I need to start my life. Which has been in a holding pattern for so long now.

And he says: "Do you know what you want to do with the rest of your life?"

"Find a place to live. Start from there."

And he nods again.

And follows me to my car. I drop him off at his.

There's something different about the Ex. The last time I met him, he was so lost. Now he seems to have found himself, remembered who he is. He seems more assured and positive.

All good things.

I hope things work out for him. We'll probably stay in touch.

Once a year, twice a year, it's still "in touch".

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Rest Of My Life

The remaining parent looks at me and sighs: "I can't keep holding this space for you. I have to die sometime. Probably sometime soon. Don't feel like I have much life left in me."

It's true, I know. But it makes me feel scared and pressured. Get on with the rest of your life, he's saying. I've been hiding out here. I don't suppose I can hide out much longer.

I think I'm probably one of those people who end up in little hovels surrounded by a heap of cats. They're with me for the food but I pretend they're with me for company. Or love. Except that cats don't love. They just feel contempt. But I'm used to contempt by now. So I can keep company with contempt. It's OK.

I know I need to make a start to figuring out the rest of my life. I've been huddled in this corner, dry retching and the people who pass by, they stop and pat my head kindly and tell me everything is going to be OK.

I shoot them a look sometimes.

Don't they realise that nothing has ever been all right and nothing ever will?

I love my job. That's about the one good thing I have going.

I love my friends. Some of them.

I love my dog. One of them.

But I hate the rest of my life.

Maybe I'll wake up early and figure it out tomorrow.