The two households thing is so weird. My children spend Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays with their dad and the rest of the week with me.
When we all lived together the kids would make elaborate things in the craft room, build stuff with Lego, cajole me to play Polly Pocket imaginary games …
None of that happens any more. No more wandering off to do a bit of craft, no more playing with toys. Maybe some sort of development milestone line coincided with their parents separating.
But at the same time it feels like they’re not settled anywhere long enough to be bothered unpacking their imaginations.
It makes me a bit sad … And a little worried about what I’ll get them for Christmas. Because, hey, it’s August and I’ve traditionally half done my Chrissy shopping by now.
It’s also fascinating when I get little glimpses of their other life, the one they lead when I’m not around.
My ex dropped the sick eldest over to me yesterday so we could compare our symptoms – identical except my headache is across the top of my head and hers is over her right eyebrow – and drape ourselves on the couch to watch cartoons.
He’d packed her lunch bag in hopeful anticipation she’d be well enough for school. As he departed he suggested casually over his shoulder that I might like to refrigerate the bahn mi.
Hello? The what?
So I poked around in the Tardis lunch bag and sure enough there was a Vietnamese chicken bahn mi roll in a plastic container. The eldest informed me that her dad makes them for her lunch on a fresh piece of baguette.
They get a slice of chorizo slapped between two slices of Helga’s at my place. Every. Single. Day.
Not that it’s a competition or anything.
When did he start making bahn mi and why? Was it his girlfriend’s idea, her being a big traveller and all?
I don’t know why the bahn mi bugged me, but it did. Not the roll itself but what it symbolised: the man he’s transformed himself into after escaping his marriage.
He hated making school lunches when we were together. He hated most things. I wonder sometimes if he hated me. I don’t think he did. He just didn’t love me anymore and deeply resented how unhappy our marriage was making him.
I wonder when the unhappiness started. And yet I don’t want to know.
So many questions I desperately want to ask but never want to be answered.
Maybe we’ll get tipsy together at our daughter’s wedding one day – when all the pain is a distant memory – and talk about what happened and why.
Right now it remains the elephant in the room that we tiptoe around for the sake of peace and politeness.
Are there questions you want to ask but are too scared to hear the answer? I’m filled to the brim with them … and not just about my failed marriage.
Song of the day: Hunters & Collectors “Talking to a stranger”