Oh, shoot. This is not working.
This trying to build up to breaking the breaking news by using buildups and turning points. It just is not working.
This time round, the writing-about-stuff-in-the-past-that-I-kept-in-my-diary concerned buying my daughter a bicycle.
It was about teaching her to cycle, with all its attendant thrills and spills. That bicycle article, and other stuff in my diary, will have to wait till later.
For now, I want to dispense with the elephant in the room because it is clogging my creative juices.
Get ready for this …
My wife and I are not living together. Ah, let us take that again, slowly. My. Wife. And. I. Are. Not. Living. Together. Today is our third week of separation. That is the whole truth and nothing but.
Drop the raised eyebrows. Please? This is the part where you are all supposed to drop this affirmation: “You and yours are in our thoughts and prayers”. Now, affirm it like you mean it.
The devil is a liar. But I will not blame Old Nick for this drama. Sometimes I feel Old Nick takes more than his fair share of flak, so I will cut him some.
The buck for this hiatus stops with Tenderoni and me. We brought this on ourselves. No matter who the guiltier party is, it still takes two to make a dog’s dinner of a relationship.
I am learning that when separations happen, it is easy to throw out the baby with the bath water.
And the baby in this case is not our daughter, although she might as well be, if we are not careful, the collateral damage.
We are players. Tenderoni and I. Trying to mask our separation anxieties. Being stiff-backed about it. Not wanting to bend over backwards for nothing. But I am sure that — at least I know this is true for me — when we are alone, confronted by the unfolding drama and the slow-mo rewinds, the nervousness and agitation hurt like nine hells. Which makes Old Nick to muahaha all the way to the banks of the lake of fire.
Sixty-four-thousand dollar question
Our daughter is with her mother, at her grandmother’s place. I know I should do this right away. Tell baby girl what is going on.
This wordsmith is still trying to find the right words, which are proving to be increasingly elusive.
Pudd’ng is seven, going on to eight. She is smart. Bet she is already joining the dots.
The day after the separation, I went to see Pudd’ng at her school at lunchtime. I still do. Besides, she comes after school and I help with her homework.
A MILLION QUESTIONS
On weekends she sleeps over and we go to church together. Baby girl must have separation anxieties. All children do. It is not easily visible, but it is there alright.
I can see gazillion queries in baby girl’s countenance every time she comes over. I have told her, reassured her, that this is still her house.
That her bedroom will always be hers. She even asked about it, wondering if, all the days she has not been around, I kept her bedroom under lock and key.
Pudd’ng has not asked the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question. Yet. Knowing how our daughter is a questionnaire personified, I am sure she is piling up Qs by the metre.
Whoopee. I feel a little better already. Writing sure is cathartic. I should have taken this bold step a week ago.
Why am I sharing this? Because, for the past eight blissful years, my life has been an open book… or column. Because this is real.
It is happening to couples. Because I hope this will help someone, and us. I believe that I have been given much pain so I can be of much help… and I can be helped as much.
Nobody bargains for separation. Nothing in all the relationship books prepares you for this bummer. And be it three weeks or three lifetimes long, it still raises questions.
Makes you doubt stuff that you believed in. Makes you realise that only one guy is immune to this drama: a stiff.
I now know that, for almost all happily-ever-after stories, there are some not-so-happy in-betweens.
This is our in-between turning point. It makes me echo boxer Mohammed Ali’s quip after taking a licking: “I want people who believe in me see me take defeat. Let the people who believe in me see that I’m not crushed; that I’ve had a defeat just as they have defeats; that I’ll get up and come back again, just like other people do.”
Where do we go from here? Vide supra. And then watch this space. Prayerfully.