When earlier this year, the newspapers were full of the Vicky Price story, the worst moments of my marriage came back to hunt me. Marital coercion, mental pressure were examined, explained, laughed at and again she was not believe. There was no blood and scars to prove her case.
And then I left and felt light headed. What an achievement! My own little home. My keys, my front door. Not many friends, they all sided with him or didn’t want to know. Other people’s failures are always difficult to cope with.
But for the internet there for a time I had loads of online friends from all over the world. Women who cheered and supported me and men who supported me by listened to me and said i can hear what you are trying to say. They never took sides or condemned they recognised some part of my experience as their own.
And through the blessed internet I did things I shouldn’t have done but enjoyed doing, drank wine, had sex with strangers whose name i didn’t need to know. Always laying down my rule, this is a fuck and not more. A long term relationship is still an impossibility after five years. But men seem to want to commit to save on the rent and to have somebody to make tea for. I am 51 and men I meet or talk to are around that age. They are passed their prime and need support and encouragement. Exhausting work.
The children were very confused about the separation as we never talked about it before. One day i said I move out on the 2nd of december, got the removal sorted but no place to move to. The oldest was at university by then and the youngest was very relieved when i asked her to come with me to choose a place to move to.
There were no shouting matches, no infighting but something was never right, something was missing. Never a lot of affection or physical display of unity, no sitting down to make decisions about outings or holidays. I would suggest something to do and that usually would get vetoed or my plan was mocked or just ignored.
Then I stopped making suggestions, I stopped talking altogether as soon as he walked in the door, the big silence. We were a joyful supportive happy lot most of the time and then the key in the door and everybody would go hide in their shells. I spend a lot of evenings in my studio or would occupy the evenings outside the house as much as possible. Till the time.. we had to go back, crawl back to the time before language was invented or we just had forgotten how to talk.
The three of us had, have difficulties talking about the separation.
I still haven’t spoken to my daughter about it. I still have not said a bad word to her about her dad or explained why I left. She accepts the situation but somehow I know she doesn’t want to get pulled in into a discussion that is beyond her and in which she was always just a passive participant. But we get on well. She is a young adult we talk about a lot of things and maybe we’ll find the strength to talk about that as well. These are our last few months cohabiting before she is off to a flat share and i will be moving into my own space.
With her I take it as it comes, go with the flow. With her brother I can be more spontaneous. He is more critical of his dad, I wouldn’t say he sides with me but he tries to give both sides space and knows that there is no common ground between his parents. He accepts the situation.He has always seen me leaving as a positive step for the whole family. Something that somebody had to do and he said early on why didn’t you leave sooner.
The post separation and then quick divorce has started a quest to set roots, find my compass. After a thirty two months in my little house, I left London to move to the seaside but now after nearly thirty two months down here I am planning on moving back or maybe somewhere else. I lost touch with my birth family. If I don’t make the effort, they don’t either.
When you leave something as fundamental as a marriage you leave more than just a husband, you split families at all level, you question society’s fundament based on the union of two people, to procreate and keep the peace. You twist society and its expectations on its head.
I said recently that the last five years have been the happiest of my life. Is it maturity, is it accepting life as it is, just letting life flowing over me. But without that big break I wouldn’t be here where I am now. I would be in a awful place and with the children gone on their own path.
I will always remember the last sunday before the move most boxes boxed. Son had come down for the week end and we sat down for sunday lunch the four together. We talked and laughed and for a minute there it was nice and how it should have been all along, maybe.
Was I running away or towards? It was a leap in the unknown. I am glad no third party was involved. I left because I was dying and my son going to university brought to light that, the possibility of ending all that misery and unhappiness that is called marriage.
The three of us would have had a great time if I’d have left earlier. It would have been difficult but in a positive way. I don’t regret staying on as the marriage had been dead for years but as a family we somehow functioned.
The roots are in me. Where I stand I am rooted, where i put my head down to sleep is my home.
I lift my arms towards the sky and I stand tall. Still analysing some of the events of the last 50 years. But no longer beating myself why did you leave? Who my parents, my husband, my home. What is home ? Why did you leave it so late? Late?? Its never too late, you have to do things at the right time, for you and if there are children involved you have to do it at the right time for them too.
I look at my naked body in the mirror and like what I see, most morning anyway. I am at peace with myself. The world is my oyster. My expected grandchild is my roots and my compass, helping me to welcome the basic links between what was, what is and what shall be.