I’m procrastinating today, which is often the case when I write. I’m avoiding uni work, ignoring my looming deadline to complete my ethics application and research proposal. The fact is my research topic bores me. I mean, I can see the merit in it, but it’s less interesting to me than drinking coffee in the sun on my deck writing about the people who have or are having an influence on my life.
For whatever reason, I felt compelled to tidy my study and file away months of paperwork. Among my folders and in trays, I found my divorce application, the hard copy that is. Even divorce is completed online these days.
I flipped through the pages, the neat handwriting of my ex an instantly familiar sight juxtaposed against my own scrawl. Who was I then? It’s not even two years since we filed it but it feels like someone else’s lifetime ago. I stared at the paper in my hands, it had been neatly folded in thirds at some time, probably when he sent it back to me, even though I had asked him to scan and email it. It was so like him to do that. Ignore my instruction, not to be malicious, but just because he always seemed to opt for the most inefficient method. I remember pulling out my phone to message him when I found it in the mailbox to … what? Pick a fight? Ask him why he’d done it this way? Ask him why he didn’t listen? It all seemed so futile in that moment. I was holding our signed divorce application in my hand. The time for picking fights was over. He wasn’t mine to nag anymore and I think we were both grateful for that. And I had sighed and put my phone away.
It took me another two months to actually press submit online but not through any sense of whimsical longing or sentimentality. I was very pragmatic. Filing for divorce cost money and I was waiting until the settlement cheque from him had cleared. May as well pay for it out of “our” money. It would be the last time after all.
I’m not sure why I’m writing about this today. It was strange seeing my application and if a tear didn’t actually spring to my eye it felt like it did. I don’t think of him often, even though I live within only a few streets of what was our home. We don’t talk; haven’t communicated in well over a year. What I know of him comes to me on the grapevine, usually by friends who think they’re doing me a favour filling me in on his movements, his life, his relationship. PS, dear friends, I don’t want to know. Not because I wish anything bad for him, not at all. I only wish him the best of everything, and I certainly hope he’s happier with her than he ever was with me. But I dwell too much on things that hurt me as it is without being reminded of that guilt as well.
I’ve been chatting for the past month with a local guy; lovely, divorced, couple of kids. We talk a lot and the ex files have been part of several conversations. I wonder if that’s been why some unwelcome thoughts have been resurfacing of late. I know with certainty that Mr Exclusive (more about him to come) is responsible for some of my musings. He pressed me pretty hard on a couple of occasions about why I left my ex and the baby stuff, asking why I hadn’t pursued egg donation. He couldn’t or didn’t want to understand it. It made me angry sometimes that I had to explain my feelings to an almost stranger. But then, he didn’t get my point on most things.
It was while I was sitting on the floor of my study, bills and rego papers and receipts strewn around me and application still in my hand, that Mr Exclusive text me.
“Morning,” was all it said but even that was too much. I had ended it two days earlier after his casual Islamophobia, insensitivity and a night of epic snoring told me enough to know we weren’t suited.
“This isn’t a thing anymore. I’m sorry,” I had replied. And then I inadvertently wrote “done” which was actually meant for my sister about some stickers she wanted but seemed to apply to both conversations, so I left it.
I guess I’m not really sure of the point of this story. I’ve sat staring at my screen for hours now, trying to think of something pithy that will make this all tie together. I realised the reason I can’t is because I’ve fallen back into a hole. Funny how one day you can just look up and realise how deep it is.
I am not myself these days and I think it’s time I go back on my medication. I last almost a year without it, but I’ve proven nothing. I’ve hurt quite a few people in my chemical-free state. It needs to stop.