I’ve often told myself that I’ve come out of my relatively recent trauma – by which I mean the end of my marriage – completely unscathed. That there was no lasting damage, and that my outlook on life has remained unchanged. I was speaking to Zooz not that long ago, and I was at last prepared to admit that the truth is probably a little different to that... that my apparent inability to commit is a direct result of the pain I felt those three or so years ago. And maybe by accepting that, I can do something about it. Or at least recognise what prompts me to behave the way that I do, and that seems to be a start, at least.
My ex was motivated by a very complicated psyche that I won’t even try to explain right now, but to the casual observer it would have seemed that she was somehow endeavouring to escape the boredom in which she had encased herself by seeking some kind of illicit excitement outside of our marriage. If you were to ask her now whether the path she chose – no doubt unwittingly in the beginning – was one she’d also choose with the benefit of hindsight, I suspect that she would answer in the negative without much hesitation. But the saying about making your own bed holds true, and she’s still with the guy who was at least in part responsible for the damage that was done to my family. He had no responsibility to us, I know that... but he’s not totally blameless either. And the fact that they’re still together is for the most part an irrelevance to me, except for certain things that happen, at certain times of the year.
Christmas day, for example, when I sit and contemplate what curve-balls life can throw at you as O and S open their presents in what might as well be a parallel universe. Or in the summer, when the children go off for a week or two for their second holiday of the year and I fall asleep to a deathly silence in our house, often wandering into their bedrooms just to see if I can still detect their smell, or to smile at a sweet wrapper pushed in panic under a chest of drawers. But something – anything – to make it feel like they aren’t so far away.
Right now, they’re in Turkey. They get back a week today, and it’s a week that’s going to go very slowly indeed.