I was sat at my desk last Wednesday morning, participating in a day that felt much less tense and ugly than the several that had preceded it.
I was going through files, deciding what was fit for archiving and what I could send for destruction when Clarke glided into the room as she always does… she actually glides, with her amazing fashion, posture and smile. Since her recent birthday, which marked her half a century on the planet, she seems to have become even more beautiful than before… her general appearance sets her at approximately the same height as me, gives her perfect skin and a figure most teenagers would literally die for. She is astoundingly beautiful and I secretly hate her every time she comes within a ten-yard radius of me because I just know I will not be that stunning at fifty… there’s not even a tiny chance of that happening.
Clarke stood behind me, fiddling with the grey stat-file cupboard and asked how many days it is now… I glanced at her in a nervous way and told her that it was thirty-six and pulled a face… a face that displayed pensive excitement.
She said that I look like I’ve lost a lot of weight.
I told her I had.
Then she cocked her head to the right and asked if I’d been worrying.
My bottom lip quivered.
She asked how things have been with Muffin… I said they hadn’t been great. I outlined the roughdraft of that essay by discussing the lack of contact, the busy-ness and the fact that he seems to enjoy participating in leisure activities with his estranged spouse (going to gigs, meals out and generally hanging around).
Now, I don’t want to sound unreasonable, as I KNOW he is living with her and I KNOW that some interaction is unavoidable, as I have been there myself with my own special version of “The Estranged,” but in my opinion, there are two problems with the situation…
ONE: he lied to me about one hanging-out incident… he says he didn’t, but I am not stupid and I am capable of reading people, particularly when all I have to go off of are words and subtle reactions to things said. He was planning to go to a gig that I was fairly certain Origami was going to be attending as well (as she is a big fan of the band that was playing, likes to drink (and the gig’s general location was IN a drinking establishment) and likes to make things awkward)… I found it difficult to believe that he would be attending on his own so I quizzed him on who his musical companion would be to have him respond with a performance of this very strange monologue that involved a lot of pauses and “erm”s and “uhhh”s before saying he was going alone. It wasn’t until the next day that he told me that she “was going anyway and it was silly to waste the gas taking separate cars.” (Which, again, I completely understand, but don’t bloody lie to me.). I then proceeded to become aware of a photo on the Book of Face that featured him eating a giant burger at a restaurant… the photo was not dissimilar to one that was taken by a different female three years ago at a restaurant in Cheyenne… it’s existence caused me to hark back to THOSE fabulous memories for a short while, which was nice. It came to light soon after that Origami had taken that photo and they had gone to dinner together… how quaint.
TWO: just after Christopher and I split up and Muffin and I started speaking again I would hear on a daily basis how he felt about me spending ANY time with Christopher ever… even if it was something so simple as Christopher coming in and cooking something whilst I was making a cup of tea. Muffin would tell me repeatedly that when he got back to america he would not spend even a single moment with Origami and why did I have to hang out with MY estranged? I don’t like the double standards that seem to have been set into place and when I confronted him with this he rebuttled with, “Yeah, but you still hang out with Chris.” I enquired as to what specific event he was referring to and he said, “Well, you still go to gigs together and stuff.” Right… let me tell you about the gig that I “went to” with Christopher that Muffin is referring to... I was working at the pub on a busy Saturday about two weeks ago. I hung out with Nick in the kitchen all night, looking fabulous and only emerging once to watch one single band. I stood against the hedge in the beer garden with Nick, Dave, Beth and Noele and danced my little heart out, attempting to burn off some of the calories from the three cheeseburgers with onions I had eaten whilst in the kitchen with Nick. I was acutely aware of the existence of my estranged husband to the far side of the garden but paid him no mind. After the final chord of the final song had been played I was making my way back to the kitchen to serve some more ravenous, drunk customers when Christopher cornered me and forced me to participate in a game called “Let’s Have The Most Strained, Uncomfortable Conversation EVER.” I played and feel like perhaps it ended in a draw after our discussions about his work, my leaving, job progression, hair styling, clothes shopping, fish, shoes and bosses. I then pranced back inside with my beautiful hair and tiny apron. And THAT is apparently a night out? Hrm.
So those are my two reasons for feeling slightly unsettled… unreasonable? I don’t FEEL like they are… I feel like I shouldn’t allow myself to become a part of some spectacularly hideous double-standard situation that ends up frustrating me until I murder him, because I WILL. I had enough double standards in my last relationship and I will not settle for anything but the best from now on.
I am attempting to make all aspects of this relationship as perfect as possible… as perfect and as little like the shitstorm I was stuck in with Christopher as possible.
One of the biggest parallels I am finding in the two relationships is the fact that I am participating in the school of thought where I am pushing goals further and further away. At the moment, I won’t lie, I’m not happy with the way our relationship is going. I feel like I put in a great deal more a lot of the time so as to make sure he has photos and videos and phone calls and emails from me. I make a conscious effort to make sure a new photo of my face reaches him in SOME way every single day so he can see me… feel as close to me as possible. With him, most days I can barely remember what his face looks like. I know it sounds dramatic, but it’s painfully true. I am so busy most days that I just don’t have the time to go onto the Book of Face to peruse his beautiful visage for hours… I don’t have time to search through my emails to find that ONE photo so I can familiarize myself with his face over and over again… It’d just be nice if he put a little more effort in. It just seems to get worse… he said it’d be better when he got back from Iraq and it’s not. He’s about to travel down to California to see Molly for like two weeks and I will most likely not hear from him at all during that time and when I do they will be those ever-dreaded photos … of him and his daughter.
I guess I just feel like so many thrilling things have been going on in my life in the last month that he has missed… tattoos, weight loss, gigs, citizenship, haircolour changes, new clothes… I’ve offered him as many photos and endless stories as he can handle to fill him in, but I can’t help but wonder what things I have missed-out with him. How is he coping with life back in America? What’s he bought since he’s been back? How much weight has he lost? I just don’t know anything and worry that I am travelling to America, 9,000 miles, to live with what is more-or-less a stranger.
Again, I know that’s a shockingly dramatic statement, but it feels so much like that. Like I just don’t know who he is and I’m just HOPING that when I get to America it’ll be okay… the problem with that is that I did that with Christopher. Prior to moving to England and starting my life with him here things were mildly horrific… we argued a lot and all I did was keep telling myself, morning, noon and night that it was going to be better when I got to England and we didn’t have to be apart anymore. I pinned all my hopes on the arguments stopping the instant I wrapped my tiny arms around his neck and kissed him again, so when this didn’t happen and when the arguments were just more heated because we had one-another’s facial expressions to scrutinize, I pushed the bar again, saying that things would be better once I was out of the house more and I had a steady job…
again, no. once I got a job I was tired at the end of the day and he wanted sex and I didn’t and we just argued about THAT and why didn’t he do the dishes whilst I was a work all day and where’s the milk he promised he’d go buy?
THEN my mum died and I said that I would be better once I had settled on medication and in therapy.
THEN I lost my job and I said it’d be better once I had a permanent job.
I think you can pretty much see where this is going, can’t you? It never ended and the cycles just resulted in our love’s demise.
I don’t want the same thing to happen to myself and Muffin. I don’t want to feel like because right now I am saying that things’ll be better when I get there that our relationship will dissipate the same way my last one did… I want to make sure that I don’t fall into that cycle.
I’m becoming very aware of the fact that I need to make ME happy… at the moment I need to live for things that will better my life and make me feel fulfilled. it depresses the hell out of him, but I am making sure that I remember that I DO have a return ticket booked and if things really do feel awful after I arrive, then I only have a three-month wait before I can return to the land of accents and cups of tea.
I think for a week I was setting my mind into position of “defeated” before it had even begun though… preparing myself for coming back on my return flight and wondering why I was even bothering going in the first place. I had played-out a scenario in my head that saw me stay here and live the fabulous single life for a while… being promiscuous, decadent and some other adjective I can’t even think of at the moment. For a week I had seriously considered calling it all off, so terrified of the possibility of it not working that I didn’t even want to bother because we would both just end up getting hurt anyways. I had lost the will to get excited when I heard his voice, forgotten how to say “I love you” and not sound bored…
Anyways, back to Wednesday… the day happened; I finished the workday and then the work week, which was an extra-special shade of short due to a tattoo session having been booked on Friday. Friday evening I talked at length with Graham about all of the above. He was the second person to have heard the entire story (the first being janey, doi). We talked it through whilst nursing pints of booze and he really helped me to clear my head. Post-serious-chat we discussed bands and lyrics and committed ourselves to a moviedate this Wednesday (“Inception” for danie again! yay!) and to make mega-mixes for one another (one of my favourite things to do like, EVER!).
Since then, over the weekend, I am finding the weight noticeably lifted… I have been focusing on the more positive things… realizing that I shouldn’t expect things from my relationship, but rather be grateful for the things that I get…. The emails, photos, videos, phone calls. Despite their rarity, they are such beautiful little sparkly parts of my day... or maybe that’s because of their rarity? I love Muffin and really, honestly want to give this a go so I can see what kind of a perfect thing we can create together… some sort of magical super-couple that has seen ten years pass with every possible obstacle in their way but with love persevering at full speed.