Monday, December 15, 2008

Watershed

I’m going to open the door a little bit.

We broke up in late April, a few days shy of the tenth anniversary of our courtship. I met her last week for the first time since.

It was nice. She looks well. No, actually she looks beautiful, like she always did.

We caught up, giggled, gossiped, complained about our jobs and laughed at stories about our parents. Wondered when we’ll get our apartment sold. Soon, I said. We drank a nice bottle of Riesling too and had a bite to eat.

We were, would you believe, in an old church, ext(p)ensively remodelled and now a fancy bar and restaurant. So hey Mum, I’d finally made it up the aisle with your dream girl and all it took in the end was a bit of dinner.

There’d be no afters.

As in, they were out of Banoffee, the bastards.

So there I was, sitting a-perch an altar, looking down at my plate and delicately sickle-sluicing through my poached salmon as I like to do it, and working and working the whole situation over in my mind like a tumble-dryer rolling clothes.

Right. How will this go down if I tell her I’ve been dating since our split?

It’s not that I should feel bad, I’m a single man now with no ties, but…she’d always said that the thoughts of me being with someone that wasn’t her filled her with anguish. There’d been quite enough of that already. And I’m not one for inflicting the anguish if I can help it. For my own part too, I wondered how I might take it when I heard she had also moved on with new men in her life.

I shrugged internally, resolved to play it safe and not bring it up, sure it’d come out by itself when it got hungry.

Suddenly though, apropos of nothing, she blurted out that she had a new boyfriend.

It was like time slowed down for a few moments. Waiting for a good time to mention it, she’d clearly erred on the side of a lack of caution and just threw it out there. She was scanning my face for a reaction. What she found there was surprise and what I needed to work out quickly was whether it was pleasant surprise or not. Every bit of communication we’d had since splitting suggested to me she’d been keeping herself to herself and not really socialising.

She told me a bit about him, unprompted. He reminds me of you, everyone says it. He’s a fucking keeper so, says I, but neither of us laughed.

I’ve told him all about you, he knows all about you, she said. I didn’t know how to tell you. I hoped you’d heard already. This is making me emotional, I’m sorry.

Don’t be sorry. Or emotional. Be happy. You’re a single woman now. Live your life, that’s what it’s for.

We backed and forthed for a bit. I figured it was ok to tell her I’d been on some dates as well. She was fine with it. I know this because she nosily probed me for details about them, a sign of rude emotional health if ever there was. I was grateful to hear it.

It dawned on me then, as we both relaxed in the revealing, that although we split up a few months ago, we had actually still been in the process of splitting up with each other. Now the two of us were seeing other people. It was truly done.

Let’s kiss this thing goodbye.

I realised too that, yes, I was comfortable with her moving on. I’d been nursing a fear - not out of any ridiculously high regard for myself and what I meant to her, but simply because nobody but nobody knows her better than me – that she might brood for too long in the aftermath and almost forget to pick up the strands of life again.

So I was a little bit, well, relieved to hear her news. But most of all, and I had to check a few times to be certain, and I’m writing this mainly to make doubly sure, I was happy for her. Yes. Genuinely happy. And after a decade of Moo-Dog and Miaow Cow, (as I’d christened her in the old days for blog purposes), I think that’s quite something to be able to say. So I sat there glowing and alive in wonderment at it all. I’d – we’d – passed some sort of test. We’d let each other go and it wasn’t that bad after all.

That said, she still fussed and tutted at me about not being late for my train and told me off for not spending a voucher she’d given me last Christmas, because they love it when people let them expire, it’s totally soft money for them and they have more than enough already so buy yourself something nice you eejit, put it in your wallet so you’ll see it and remember it.

I grinned. There are, it seems, some things that will never change between us but fuck it, I don’t sweat the small stuff when the big stuff does so well at looking after itself, thanks very much.

I’ll close the door now.

19 moos and woofs:

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks for sharing, Terence. Nothing wrong with opening the door every now and then - lord knows I have, but then again I treat mine more like a saloon door than a nuclear bunker.

I'm glad to read that the scabs have not only sealed the wounds, but now fallen off and left tiny scars that no longer hurt, but are visual reminders. Awww, how's that for a beautiful metaphor?

Have a great Christmas and SPEND ALL YOUR VOUCHERS like she says, 'kay?

Susan said...

Aw, now here's me all teary at 11 in the morning...darn it. You're a keeper all right.

10 years, wow. Good luck getting the old home sold, and spending the vouchers, and in finding the new (very very lucky) Mrs. Miaow.

Baino said...

McDanger . .you have a soft side, I knew it!
And a very nice one too! Very mature meeting. And well done for opening the door. Bless yer cottons!

Radge said...

Can't think of a comment, apart from to say great stuff... Pint?

hope said...

It takes a big man to open up about something personal. It takes a good man to share it so kindly.

I hope life brings you all you want.

Hold onto the good memories...but spend the danged voucher! :)

Thriftcriminal said...

Brownian motion man, brownian motion.

English Mum said...

McD, you constantly surprise me. What a lovely post. You made me smile ye big softy.

Terence McDanger said...

Thanks for all your kind comments everyone. Deliberated a long while before posting that. And it will probably be a long while before I post anything in a similar vein.

Any time I write anything without mentioning farts at least once, I feel kinda diminished, you know.

Radge said...

I know. And I've smelled them.

kiki said...

i don't even know you but i really liked this.

K8 said...

Thanks for posting this story, dunno if I can speak for everyone, but it resonates with me for sure... closure's sad, but good for the soul.

Bummer about the Banoffie though.

Terence McDanger said...

Thanks kiki!

K8, I was making it up about the Banoffee. I was hoping English Mum would read it and offer to make me one but, foiled again!

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