The novelist Dorothy Allison said, 'Write to your fear.' This blog has been mostly cotton candy and lemonade, written tongue in cheek and with a desire to amuse. But here I am to tell you I'm scared right now. I can't keep sending out blog posts that make it look as though our lives are a continuous series of travel adventures and wry domestic bliss. The thing about social media is we get to control the parts of our lives that people see, in fact we can create a life on-line that doesn't really exist. Well, it exists to some degree. Yes, that was us laughing on the beach in Spain. That was Z drooling over donuts. That was me giggling with my girlfriends in our Berlin hotel room.
What you didnt see was the argument over my attention span, the melt down after a day of too much sugar, and me passed out face down at 4am after six gin gimlets, my fingers still clutching a half eaten piece of Toblerone. (How I got so lucky to be out with two women who didn't think to photograph this sight, I can't account for.)
So here goes: We're breaking up. The house is in disarray, half filled boxes in every room, shelves of my stuff and his stuff, piles of books going to dad's house and smaller piles of books going to mom's house because my new shoebox is even smaller than the one C will be renting. He gets the blender, I get the food processor.
I recall so often feeling surprised by the news that people we knew were breaking up. But we never really know the true state of other people's relationships. We've been together so long that even I'm surprised that this is really happening. But it is, it has, it will be. In just over a week, Z will have a room in two different flats. Though I plan to have his sweet snoring body sleep by my side awhile longer.
And Z is most important here. I think we've done a pretty decent job of easing him into this new reality. We haven't mentioned the D word. We have simply explained to him that we can't all live under the same roof any more but that our love for him is stronger than ever and that we are still a family, of sorts. My divorced sister-in-law once said to me that the only thing in life you can't change is having your kids. But I would add that you also can't ever change the person you had those kids with. So you had damn well try hard to get along.
And the way I see it, this is not a failed marriage. C and I have had the most amazing life together, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. This man has taken me to the far corners of the world, the nooks and crannies, along the dotted lines of a map. I always felt safe with him, even in the Namibian wilderness or delirious with fever in the Indonesian jungle. His family is my family and my family is his. The stories we have created together will always live inside me, they will be part of my storytelling forever, they will form the foundation of Z's life. I am profoundly grateful for the life we've had together. But change is inevitable, priorities shift and, especially as I approach fifty, we' ve discovered that our needs have diverged. I don't believe we have failed as a couple. We have changed.
So now you know. Some days are good and some really rough. We are in various points along the Five Stages of Grief. But there is still laughter in the house. I still know where Z's most ticklish spot is. I still make the granola. C still takes out the recycles. After the move C & Z will head to Seattle for a visit, for a recharge of the U.S. friends and family batteries, which are currently in the red. I'll be heading back with Z in tow after school gets out in July. I hope to bring some levity back to life and this blog by returning to the mundane in a few weeks. I've forgiven myself for my writing torpor and admitted that moving countries, moving house twice in two years, and ending a twenty three year relationship are enough to cause an upset to the routine. But we'll get through. We've got a village over here. And soon Z will be able to throw rocks into the river from his deck and walk with me to our closest pub, the one with the fireplace and two cats. He'll like that.