For those days when even the Drama Llama won’t come round…
I’ve been getting some reflective practice in, my friends and foes, my heart-wrenched and holy, my old, sold and lonely. It being the turn of the year, and all. You have been warned. The Marc Almond albums have come out, and not the chirpy Soft Cell stuff either.
The ex showed up for Christmas after all. I was aware, by virtue of my psychic powers*, that he had had a ticket bought for him by My Little Pony back in October or November, but naturally he didn’t tell me until a week before he was due to arrive. He then changed his plans about the trip from Belfast about 3 times. He told his mother that I wouldn’t let the Mighty Offspring come up to Belfast for a visit at Christmas (splutter! what??), sending her into a tailspin of self-recrimination – like it’s her fault he’s an idiot. Supposedly he was here for 4 days, but was chibbing to leave after two (I had no booze in the house), again sending his poor mother into fits with his changes of plan. In fairness to him, he did try to make his own arrangements – by asking me for money for the bus. This is after arriving with nothing only MO’s present (which a little bird tells me was bought by … not him).
I have to thank the lovely ladies and occasional gentlemen of Casting Off for slapping it to me on many occasions over the last 3 years. Otherwise, I might actually have expected more of him. As it is, I could nod sagely and let it pass over me. I’ve had no child maintenance since he walked out of his job on a whim last February, and he told me over Christmas dinner that he has no intention of looking for work any time soon. With a smirk on his face. Probably because Das Boot has been telling him what to do to ‘get back at me’ (being psychic is a terrible burden). He’s planning to come over for the Easter holidays. I’m looking into B&B rates: he can stay at one, or he can pay for his room and board here – and his mother agrees.
All the magnanimity I displayed over the festive season was, of course, nothing but a veneer over a boiling pit of rage. On the one hand, I’m extremely proud of myself for not ripping his diseased liver out through his nostrils and feeding it back to him, still steaming. On the other – why the hell is he still annoying me so much when I know exactly where I stand with him, and have known from the day and hour he chose alcohol over his family?
Hence, the reflection. I’ve poured out the immediate feelings of the break-up elsewhere, all the raw pain and anger, the grief and the sense of loss, the loneliness and the fear. It’s locked away and will never be seen, unless MO wants to read it some day. Maybe not even then. This was different, though. This was a deliberate facing up to things I can’t admit to myself. A FIBUA through every locked room, every dark alley in my head. Forcing myself to walk through the places I’ve never dared go.
And the result of this soul-scouring exercise?
It was all my fault.
Yes, I’m to blame. I’m not flaying myself over it, simply admitting my part. All my relationships, including my marriage, have ended more or less the same way – they have … disappointed me in some way, often unexpectedly, and usually at a point in my life where I’m moving on to something – a new place, qualification, career. The details and circumstances vary, but there’s always this one common factor.
I cannot be still. There is always a goal to which I’m working. It might be that qualification, or job, or house, or just facing up to myself. I am difficult to live with, because I am always driven – thinking of, planning for, working towards, next week, next month, next year. I am never just ‘in the moment’. Nathan says I cannot be happy. He’s wrong. Happiness is moving. Stillness is a little death, creeping over me. When I stop, I fall apart.
I did Nathan a terrible disservice. I blamed my previous relationship failures on my exes’ jealous inability to deal with my drive and ambition, and married a man who would never feel the need to even try to compete. A man who was completely happy to be in the moment and never look for anything more. And I dragged him into Hurricane Rachel. I didn’t break him, but I scared the ever-living shit out of him. He couldn’t cope, so he crawled into a bottle. He might have been halfway there already, but I pushed him in and jammed the cork home.
And I’m truly sorry.
Wow, that was liberating.
Maybe I’ll even tell him one day…
* AKA Google fu.