August 7, 2012 § 94 Comments
From yesterday’s Times (and with apologies for my pathetic lack of posts of late: it’s busy school holiday times, but I will get better soon!):-
There is not a single twinkle in my inbox at the moment. I’m not expecting or indeed particularly hoping to hear from the Philanderer again, which puts things absolutely back to Square One. Several years have passed, and there have been approximately fifteen false-starts, all of which have come to precisely…nothing. I could list every one and beside each, a singular reason why things didn’t get off the ground, but it would be too real and too depressing. It could be the very first day of my separation and I would be no further on than I am today in anything other than cynicism and diminished hope. But there are two consolations: I am thankfully less agonised and raw (time has done its healing stuff), and my Don’t Care hat (about various specific former twinkles) remains at a jaunty angle on my head.
Recently I chatted to two friends, both a generation older than me. One has been happily married for forty or so years. The other was a widow who was on her own for a mere two years before being found by a likely fellow with whom she is now contentedly sharing her later years. They both put down their circumstances entirely to luck. They have had their fair share of proper hardship and bereavement, but are reaping the rewards of later luck.
I feel I have done my innings, but my father maintains there’s no such thing and we are here for one reason, and that is permanently to struggle. Probably true, but deeply dispiriting. Sometimes, during superstitious moments, I think any luck that may have had my name on it disintegrated when I had a thought crime soon after I separated. I looked at an unmarried friend who was weeping at my kitchen table about her lot – single, childless, despairing – and a profoundly unattractive, unspoken thought fought its way through my sympathy. It was: “Gosh, despite my insincere platitudes, you might well not find anyone because you are quite brittle and tricky and lacking in warmth and have let yourself go a bit; whereas I am none of those things and have some qualities which might be considered more overtly appealing. It may well be that I find someone and you don’t.” With friends like me, eh?
Well, serves me right: I have been paying for that unforgivable thought ever since, haven’t I? She found someone a fortnight later and married him; happy ever after. And a bit like an Olympian who makes a single mistake and lives with it for the rest of her life, I think my horrible thought crime may account for my perennial planktonhood and what’s more that I deserve it.