Every Monday night there are ghosts in my house.
I wake each Monday morning to silence … well, aside from the garbage trucks smashed their way down the street at 5am. The kids stay at their dad’s place from Sunday night until Tuesday morning. There’s no before-school band rehearsal, no lunches to prepare. I unpack the dishwasher and wipe down the benchtops and feed the dogs.
When I head to work, the kitchen is clean and clear.
But, when I come to my dark house and turn on the lights, the ghosts have moved everything around.
Last night, there was a half empty cup of tea on the table and biscuit crumbs on the bench top. A game of Battleship sat open beside the tea cup. A domino set and Connect 4 lay beside it.
The ghosts are echoes of my family. The eldest comes home after school on Mondays to my place and hangs out there while her sister goes to netball training and saxophone lesson. Their dad takes them back to his apartment at 5pm, minutes before I walk through the front door.
From the clues they left behind last night, I suspect my ex took up the offer to hang out at my place for the afternoon, as the youngest’s sore toe means she can’t go to netball training before saxophone lesson.
I think they must have sat playing games at my kitchen table.
It was still and silent in my kitchen last night. I ate my dinner alone beside the discarded games and tried not to think about my kids sitting around a noisy dinner table with their other family.
It’s a strange half life when you separate from your partner. You need to be good at sharing.
I’ve managed to do it pretty well, but it hurts sometimes.
There’s a tiny shard of envy that pierces my heart when I think about him living his happy new life with his partner and their apartment and their couch shopping and their talking too much while the eldest is trying to watch Supernatural on a Monday night.
But there’s also relief that my kids are adjusting so easily to it all and aren’t bothered by moving between two homes.
If we have to do this awful thing, at least we’re doing it in the most grown-up, thoughtful way we can for our children.
Song of the day: Simple Minds “Ghost dancing”