Thursday, February 19, 2009

When I was a little girl I dreamt of being a.... penniless divorced mother of three. Then I would live happily ever after.

I bumped in to a friend of a friend in the book store the other day. She looked pale and tired and in desperate need of a good meal. I haven't seen her for a while, so after the pleasantries I asked her how the holidays had been, and that's when the flood-gates opened.
- Oh God, she said, trying to hold the tears back. I can't do it any longer. If I don't tell anyone I will go mad.
Turned out her husband left her.

Usual story, nothing new. The classic.
He starts acting strange and absentminded, takes even less of an interest than usual in the kids. Does over-time, working late, going on spur-of-the-moment business-trips and when he is home he sits in front of the computer or receiving text-messages at inappropriate times.

All the tell-tale signs of someone who's met a single, late-twenties, no-children, no-commitments, no-obligations woman from work. And two weeks prior to my meeting her in the aisle by self-help section and
sociology at Borders, he moved out, asking her to not only put a brave face on for the kids and the in-laws over the turkey-stuffing and Christmas carols, but also to please not tell anyone until he's had a chance to figure out what he'd like to do.
- Do, as in what? I ask. Hasn't he done enough?
- He'd like time to figure out if he's gonna stay with me or with her, she sighs.
- It doesn't really feel like he can make any demands at all, I say.
- What can I do? she asks. He's got the money. And I'd be left looking after the kids. The little help I got from him before was better than no help at all.
She's quiet for a little while, than she says:
- He says he's been un-happy for a long time. He says that I stopped being fun. It's like he's saying it's my fault he had an affair.
She adds sarcastically:
- Well, I could have been more fun if I wasn't so exhausted all the time. I look after three kids 24 hours a day! If he stopped playing golf and started to spend a little more time at home, maybe I'd find the time and energy to give him some attention. If he stopped acting like one of my kids, and started acting like my equal and partner.
She put the book back in the shelf for self-help and amateur psychology.
- You know - I don't need this. This is war. He can bring it on!

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