Lost & Found, Part 2/3

{Writing 101, Day 13}

A week or so ago, I wrote about the loss of a marriage. There were black dogs and big sticks and everything. Great story.

But this post is not about loss and gloom, no. It’s about what I found when I was finally brave enough to stand alone. It took me a very long time to gather the courage to step out on my own. One of the (many) things which mobilised me in the end was that I was losing myself, becoming someone I didn’t like and didn’t want to be, someone angry and defensive. My own family became so used to me being prickly that my brother once gave me a cactus as a birthday gift. But I remembered, even if they didn’t, that I hadn’t always been like that.

Saving myself was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, and I’ve done a lot of things that scared me. So I gave my husband the freedom he clearly coveted. But I had two young children, and our future was a blank.

Humphrey Bogart

All that.

I wasn’t sure I wanted another relationship. Ever. The idea of being just me and the kids and a whole lot of books held a lot of appeal. But even though I wasn’t looking, I did meet someone. I could wax all soppy about him, but suffice it to say he’s all that.

He really is. And who am I to say no to all of that?

He’s had to have a lot of patience while I unwound, but he’s that kind of person. And he believes in me. He’s the reason I have the confidence to put my thoughts and writing up to public scrutiny, and why my children are psychologically healthy and grounded. For a lot of reasons, he’s my hero.

I once made a mosaic heart, with a pattern built from pieces of china. It’s a fitting metaphor of our life together – we’ve built a family out of the broken bits of our previous lives, but it’s not just a Frankenstein monster of make-do – it’s a piece of art.


Writing 101, Day Four: Lost, Part 1/3

I had no intention of writing about divorce, marriage, and other personal subjects, and I may never publish this post. However, today’s writing challenge has been to tackle a loss, and while I could ruminate on socks I have lost, especially favourite striped ones, and how their vanishing is as mysterious as any combination of lost planes and Dharma Inititiatives given that I am Logical and Rational and brook no nonsense fairy tales of washing machines devouring small woven items, scoff scoff, but really, the most obvious, glaring, elephantine even, loss which has been haunting me has been my first marriage. Not my first husband, I should like to clarify from the outset, but my first marriage. Not that it was a happy marriage, but it was a relationship the nature of which I’d anticipated, expected, believed, would, should and indeed had to endure a lifetime, and remain primly singular. But it did not endure, and in fact I, with my overactive conscience screaming mercy, had to be the one to call Time in the end. Reasons be damned, the fact that the sanctum was defiled is dogging my steps balefully.

It’s awfully quick and evasive for a mangy beast, this black dog, I just can’t get a bead on it to put it out of its misery. It doesn’t belong here. This here is a nice street, with tidy, painted fences, and old trees rooting the neighbourhood to the earth. The dogs here sleep off their lunches in the sun. So what is this scrawny hound doing sloping around uninvited? If I saw such an underfed and unwanted animal for real, I’d feel desperately sorry for it. I’d give it a feed and some lovin’. Maybe that’s what I need to do with my bete noir. Acknowledge it, take it in and give it a bowl and a belly rub. Quit the shoo-ing and tame the antipathy. I wonder if nemeses are open to domestication? I’m off to get a bowl – but I’ll keep a big stick behind my back, just in case.


PS. I decided to publish this post, in honour of other people who have bravely spoken about their lives and losses. If you are brave enough to be honest, I shall suck it up, and after all, I’ve read some of yours, it’s only fair.