Goodbye 41

Well, what a year that’s been. I’ve gone from living abroad, having a wife, owning my own home, and not needing to work, to being divorced, living in shared accommodation, and I’ve been working from 5 days after I landed back into the country.

It’s been hard.

I’ve lost, or probably a better, more accurate description would be, discarded, almost everything I had. Most through choice, some through circumstance, and some through choice, circumstance , and anger.

And I’ve begun again, not to reinvent me, but to rediscover me.

The things that have hurt me the most, probably shouldn’t have. The realisation that I’d given myself to something that didn’t exist, underlined my ability to judge things poorly. That hurt! And I know, I know, there’s no use crying over spilt beans, but.. gods it’s stained me… but also, I wonder, was my sight so blighted because of all that had gone before? I have to be able to trust me.   I have to, because without that self belief, there really is no point.

So what happens now? Another solar cycle done. I’m 42! The meaning of life, the universe, and everything. If my calculations are correct, and they usually are, I have 44 more work days to work at Amazon (11 weeks)  until they have to offer me a position or release me. That’s not long at all. From there.. I really don’t know what happens actually.

However, I’m hopeful. You never know what’s round the next corner.  But, it’s good to know there will be one soon.

Another Suitcase in Another Hall

So, I moved again, and not before time! Deans Road was something akin to a rathole, but.. it served its purpose, which was to afford me shelter as I attempted to survive the decision I took to leave Holland and Esther behind. I ate there, slept there and when the water and heating actually worked, kept myself clean and semi functional. 5 and a half months later and the opportunity came to leave, and I took it.

I’m still in the area, but in a satellite town called Bilston, actually only a few minutes walk from The Robin2, which is cool given Hazel O’Conner is playing there again in a few weeks. Therapy? play too in Wolves today. I’m far enough from Wolves that I’m likely to save a few quid a week in not nipping into the Giff when I’m off, which is nice.  Everything about the place is far far better than where I was asides from if my lift vanishes from work. Even then it’s not THAT bad as the tram can drop me straight into town easily enough.

The Therapy gig should be good. Lots of ouchy songs though. They’re playing the whole of the Infernal Love album, so songs like Stories, A brief moment of Clarity, and especially 30 seconds might slap me about a bit. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel!” Hmm.. ! It’s fair to say I’m a tad emotional this week. The 7th looms on the horizon and I know myself. It’ll be a day to steer clear of everyone and try not to think about anything. Wedding anniversaries are supposed to be something very different to what this will be, and I know .. I know.. the first time is always the hardest, but it would’ve been 8 years ffs. I gave, and gave up, so much of me. I still haven’t recovered trust in myself and my judgement. It’s 6 months tomorrow since the divorce was confirmed and usually I can shake off anything without much bother. But this… and how it’s left me. I think about it and my eyes give me away instantly. Anguish engulfs me. Waves of sorrow at my own stupidity, mixed with apoplectic anger at her,  and I struggle to hold it together. 

>Work still hasn’t offered me the transition from temp to permanent, and it appears the reason for this is that I took a day off for the death of Glenda. Marvellous. I am not impressed, for want of stronger words. Bite your tongue and keep your head down still seems to be the only course of action for now, which is something I’m slowly getting used to as a way of life in there. There’s the chance of an associates’ voice position that I’m tempted to enquire about but it’s perhaps not the best thing to be going for while in a mildly confrontational frame of mind. 

Right… given it’s snowing out there… time for a few games of tanks! Until next time..

Anger management.

Spoke to Esther today. Told her that someone from Holland is regularly checking the blog and she replied that she’d not looked since October. Utterly confirming that the woman never actually gave a crap about me. 

I, in all my days, have never felt such hatred for an entity. My pulse races. I want to punch things. I literally shake with anger. I gave nearly 9 years of my life to a succubus. And she, just carries on after me… like she was before me.. and with me. There is not an inch of love or caring for me within her. I was irrelevant except for filling in the gaps both physically and mentally that a cat can’t. 

It’s been 5 months since the divorce was finalised. I should not be this angry after an interaction, but I am. The reason is not all her. It’s the underlining that I allowed myself to believe for so long what I probably knew for years was false. It’s the fallibility of my judgement call. But also, it IS her. I swallowed her words. Her “I love you”s. Pretty lies. I’m almost certain now, that love is something she’s not capable of. And I’m almost certain she knows it too. 

Her intellect is good enough to produce an emulation of what’s expected, and that will fool most people. However, I am not “most people”. And underneath… maybe i really did know… but wanted it enough to ignore it.  

And so I’m left sat here, with my trust in myself again in a mess. Knowing I made such a wrong call… and what it’s cost me… how can I let myself trust again? It’s 8.30pm and I’m on work in the morning. This will doubtless cabbage my sleep again as I’m plagued with thoughts of anger, hatred, and so much loss of time and energy expended on a woman, or an entity posing as a woman, who offered nothing in return and I accepted that as O.K. 

What kind of person does that make me? Have I learnt? Or will I seek out something/one similar? I want to punch something. And underneath it all is the utter injustice that.. she just carries on as she was, as she is, and as she will be.  She’s got away with it, come out scot-free with a shiny house, friends, etc. I doubt she’s even shed a tear. And if she’s to be believed, she simply hasn’t bothered to see if I was surviving. 

How could I have been so stupid as to love this entity, and give my life to it for so many years? So utterly stupid. She must have been laughing at me for nearly a decade, and I hate being laughed at. Because I’m a lot of things… but I’m not stupid. At least, not usually. 

Empirical evidence says otherwise Alistair. Empirical evidence says otherwise. Nearly a decade ffs. Nearly a decade. How the hell can I justify what I believe I am to myself with that as an example of close to a quarter of my life? I don’t have an answer… and I need a shower, tea and sleep.

Overtime calls.. and I can lose myself again for a few hours.  

Time flies.

So, it’s February and I’m still here. Still alive, still in Wolves, and still typing out the occasional missive. I’m as surprised as I can be given the scenarios which have passed through my world over the last 21 weeks. I’d actually decided to discontinue this blog and go completely off the grid, disappear to somewhere like Peru and then… not return. I’d assumed that Amazon would be temporary and thus, my accommodation gone. However, Amazon is still for some reason seeing fit to keep me on their books, and developments in New Zealand altered my priorities, at least for a while. 

So what’s happening there? Well it’s reasonably simple. Glenda has always said, Jack comes to me or I come to Jack if the worst happened to her. It seems either she didn’t tell her family that, or they’re simply ignoring it. My plan was to simply get on a plane, and take custody and then see what happens. I had Glenda’s permission to sell the house if needed and I fully expected that was going to be the way to go.

However, the people there were having none of it. Claims that I had simply not been in touch. I’d not been interested. Lots of swearing and angry messages. Wonderful. It seems they see Jack as a possession. Something I’m not happy with. Not happy at all.

bloghouse

So… I got as far as having given my details to the travel person for a flight and… as I was going through the booking, the price changed to the tune of £200! So I sat… festered.. chewed it over… checked and double checked.. hit solicitors here, contacted the NZ version of social services and CAB etc etc, and a picture emerged that said, unlike here, I might actually not get custody. It seriously looks like possession is indeed 9/10ths of the law there. This became a risk to myself that I simply couldn’t take. Having just survived a move of country and a divorce, to give up all I have and risk ending up like I did the last time I tried to be Dad to Jack… was not something I thought I could survive. Add to that the barrage of texts from a variety of people now using Glenda’s phone to send various messages attempting to dissuade me and the outright hostility on FB from others, and it appears the only option is this : As I have no way to have one on one contact with Jack without people listening / censoring the communication then a reversion back to no contact is the only way to go. I’ve kept the correspondence from the various people and will in turn when he’s an adult simply present it to him with the explanation of… “I tried, twice, was prepared, twice, and was thwarted twice, on my intentions to be dad.” 

Dad

And so now what? Life goes on. It’s looking possible Amazon might make me permanent rather than still on the temp contract. I should send a shout out to Jennie (without a Y!) for making the days far more tolerable and then retract it for being bloody stubborn! This “puppy” has an urge to crap on your shoes hehe! In all seriousness, anyone who could make me laugh, blush, smile and actually stay sane has to be pretty damn special. Thank you!  And then…the Giff has been my safe place as I always knew it would be. Tim, Dawn, and Nathan have all had me bore them with my tales of my travails, and the music has recharged me. It still seems wrong not to have John in the DJ box on Fridays but, he’s still about and I’ve grabbed a beer or two with him and Mystic.. which compensates a little.

Speaking of such things… there’s lots of real ale in the Lych gate that won’t drink itself!  

Paula

Paula

In the time which I’ve been back, I’ve chosen no to mention young mistress Paula in my blogs but, time has passed and I guess if nothing else the part she played should be acknowledged as it should be.

I’ve known Paula a loooong time. She sat with me when my Dad died, nearly 11 years ago, and I’ve watched her grow from a 16 year old girl to a beautiful woman. The last 6 years she’d been my sounding board for many things while I was in Holland, and vice versa. We knew each other well, and could talk like we could with no-one else. Which is strange given my age and her being *scratches head* 27ish.

I’ve seen her transform herself. Take on and beat so many things. I was, and still am, proud of her. And without her, I don’t think I’d’ve had the strength to get out of Holland. The example she set shone like a light, and again without her presence, working the hours I did through September to December would’ve probably killed me.

alipaula2

And for a while at least… our worlds intertwined once again. I’ve got a reputation of being a man with a gift of words.. and yet while intertwined doesn’t quite capture the essence.. it’s nevertheless accurate. 

So, as I prepare to leave Deans Road behind me as another chapter in my life, it seems only right to say “Thank You!” to her. The only positive memories I’ll have from here is of her. Hmm.. that’s inaccurate again. Of Us. That’s better. 

However, pathways change and people part company and so it has been for us. One day in the future it’s entirely possible we’ll come back into contact. I suspect the only phrase that fits there, is “Come what may”.

AliPaula

 

Glenda Wairau

My son’s mum died. I suppose, it was inevitable. 80% mortality rate for a two year period from the condition that followed her heart attack, which was almost exactly two years ago, and yet, with everything that’s been happening with me, I never paid attention to the dates.

And now she’s gone.

Our last interaction was far from friendly, I was at pretty much the lowest point I’ve ever been at, Xmas day, alone, and hugely aware of what I’d given up in my choosing to divorce Esther. Glenda chose to press my buttons and I bit, where normally I’d’ve laughed. She apologised and said she meant no harm, but I was fragile. I snapped. And now, that will remain our last communication which only one of us has to live with.

So what can I say? Over the years we’ve laughed, argued, been lovers, shared a house for a while, been friends for close on half of my life, sung karaoke together, agreed, disagreed, and had each other’s back. We trusted each other with each other. I let off steam to her about my life in Holland, and she fed me essays to proof read for her nursing exams. I know more about renal failure than any man not wearing a white coat should!

And now she’s gone.

I recall, when I left Australia in March 2002, long before we knew she was pregnant, we said goodbye. We knew our time was finite because of my visa, and so we were careful to try not to get too attached… and yet, her words were, “It feels like I’m losing an arm.” Ironically a few months later I found out that because of me, in fact, there were two more growing inside her.

Since then, we’ve had our ups and downs. The postnatal depression and the Graves disease saw fit to assault her and as a knock-on effect, me, by scuppering my return to Oz to be Dad and see if we’d work as a couple. She carried that with her for the rest of her days but in truth there should have been nothing there to carry. She was not responsible for her actions, and thus it would be stupid of me to blame her for them. She’s supported me in my marriage, and my divorce, and I her, concerning her move back to NZ and the life being lived there with Jack. We’d drift for a month or two and then get close again. Distance and time zones are not conducive to a great relationship but we both made the effort to touch base as and when we could.

After her heart attack two years ago, this became more so. Suddenly her mortality hit her and with it, the realisation of what might happen were she suddenly not there anymore. We talked more, not always agreeing and at some points we drove each other apoplectic with our mutual stubbornness, but I guess it was because what we believed in, we did so passionately. And then she’d laugh at me because… in matters with Jack.. she knew she had the last word anyway, and there was nothing I could do. It wasn’t malicious, more playful but still bloody infuriating!

Playful but bloody infuriating! Yes, that sounds about right! Said with affection and a smile, because to elicit that reaction from me… means I cared!

And now she’s gone.

And my world will forever be a darker place without her in it.

MiniGlenda

9 Years.

Well, this time 9 years ago I’d landed in Holland for the first time and encountered the entity I knew as E* otherwise known as Esther van Sluijs. I fought tooth and nail to get there, and having had my flight cancelled the day before I managed to get a coach, leaving at 2am from Wolves to get me to Amsterdam at 20.oo hours a whopping 18 hours later.

And here I sit. Back in Wolves, in a room not unlike the one I gave up to move over there a few months later. It’s been a long few months. Amazon has been hard. 55 hour weeks with 15 or so travel time over the last month has been a killer. Many have fallen by the wayside. There are probably 10% of the people who started with me still there, and 20% perhaps of all of who started during the ensuing weeks.

Add to that, a “friends” cull. In the first 5 weeks of having moved into my bedsit, not one person from who I knew in Crewe or Leiden bothered to ask “How are you?” No messages. No calls. Nothing. (not including nephews and nieces.) I was at my most vulnerable, hugely alone, and in need. Not a thing. So en mass, I removed pretty much everyone. The Leideners went before then in truth. I didn’t count many of them as real friends, more people who I spoke to because I had a language in common with them. None had visited our home, and only one had had us in theirs. Only 2 or 3 had I been out with specifically rather than just encountered in a pub. There was no common ground. No history. But then went the Crewe people. Many of whom I’ve known years. Some of which I’d loved and lost, some of whom I’d have been there for without thinking twice.

And so here I sit. 3 days from Xmas knowing that, the last 9 years were a massive waste of my time, and that any bond I had with anyone is now gone. I’m good with the latter, although by god it’s lonely at times, but with the former… I’m having real difficulties. How could I have been so stupid. I want to say “blind” but I wasn’t. Cognative dissonance is probably more accurate. It’s churning me up. I’m not stupid. I’ve never been stupid. Yet, for someone who I commit to, I make myself stupid. I ignore differences in class, in principles, in ideals, because of the pursuit of finding a sense of belonging, or of being wanted. Idiocy of the highest order and this time it’s cost me a quarter of my cognitive, and nearly half of my adult life. And for what? What have I walked away with in terms of positives? A few international city trips and that’s it. I was promised a family, a new start. To be loved and cared for. Instead, I lived a life where the only impact I had on Esther’s world constituted a physical one with my hips. For the rest, I might as well have not been there.

So on this anniversary I sit, knowing I have to be up very soon indeed, and the anger builds again. I’ve never liked Christmas, and I’m aware that first anniversaries of things after a death, which is what this was to all intents and purposes, are always the hardest, but it’s supposed to be about missing someone. Not chastising yourself over your own stupidity. I don’t miss her. And I don’t miss the people I have left behind. What I miss is the person I used to be. The one who isn’t stupid. But I think, slowly but surely he died over the last 9 years. And what’s left…. is probably best in sweet isolation.

One month on.

So, I’ve managed to survive my first month back in the UK. I’ve worked a lot, eaten a lot, slept very little, and spent too much money on things like food and drink which I could’ve done at “home” if you can call my bedsit that. But… I’ve given myself a break on that front. I’ve done more than survive, and as there’s no-one else to reward me,  I’ll damn well do it myself!
So, how am I? I’m not sure, is probably the honest answer. I don’t miss Holland in the slightest. If I ever set foot back there again there will have to be a massively good reason for it. Esther? I suppose I miss her in some ways, but not many. Of our interactions since we’ve been in different countries (of which she’s instigated none) there is nothing to indicate that she’s changed. She lets things happen to her… no.. she ENABLES things to happen to her.. and then tries (and will doubtless succeed cos when she sets her mind on something.. she’s good at it) to blame herself for it, rather than taking responsibility for herself, and taking charge of a situation. It’s a pernicious way to self harm, insidious in it’s own ease of execution. She’s not the woman I either created in my head, or the woman she was. I miss that woman, but she either never existed, or has been so long gone that, much like a death, you learn to live with the passing.  

As for here.. in Sunny Wolves… it’s actually good to be back. I’ve seen David, who I made the effort to see, and Chris, who popped up out of the blue and spoke, much to my surprise! It’s as grim as ever in terms of, people scowl rather than smile, but.. it’s just far more accessible than Holland for me and what IS me. There are several local pubs to pick from. Match-days pints are £1.80 a pint instead of over 5euro for 500ml so it’s viable to go out and watch the game and have 3 drinks and come home with change from £6! That makes social interaction, viable for the common working man. 3 different days.. 3 different games.. for under £20 expenditure! That would be about hmm… 57.60euro in the North End in Leiden. It’s actually cheaper in the one pub to have a full meal (big burger chips etc) and a pint than it is to have a guinness in the sports bar in Leiden, and it’s a 12 minute walk away! 

Work.. is grim. Finally I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing but lack of sleep and a stupid set up there is impacting upon my performance. Stupid errors caused by lack of concentration might ultimately cost me. There is an argument that although the pay is good for the 4 day week, I’d be better off somewhere where the expenditure fiscally and timewise were less. But it would eat my Thursday and Friday..
And me? How am I doing?  I’ve adapted. Only once have I thought “I can’t do this” at work, and not once have I thought “I can’t do this” re: the whole being divorced and continuing. I’ve found support in places I expected, like the Giff and it’s music.. the energy it gives me, and made new friends there already. Greeted by name.. means something. Danny coming over and saying “It’s good to have you back.”.. means .something. Si and Emma going out of their way to include me.. means something. But I’ve found it from other things too. A friend at work talking time out to talk most days. An old friend resurfacing and the startlingly easy way that our interaction just slipped back to what it was. The walk to the local shopping place can be done down a scenic route much akin to my old walk to the shop… heck there’s even a real canal if I fancy it. As of yet.. no herons.. or Ringnecks.. but lots of hedgerow birds, finches, siskins, chiffcaffs etc.. I need to take the camera one day while the weather still holds.

IMG-20151003-WA0003

I’ll not lie. I miss coming home to someone. I miss physical contact. I’m hugely tactile and being in a house alone, let alone a bed alone, is not something I’ve done since Bright Street in 1995! It’s strange. It has it’s own pleasures… l don’t have to justify the pint on the way home I had. I don’t need to buy a TV. I can play the 28 min version of Child in Time without hearing the silent protestations of “Hells teeth is this STILL the same song” (and that goes out to everyone i’ve lived with. lmao) but.. I miss closeness. Lonely isn’t the right word. It’s an absence of something I want. Not require… but want. And it’s very very rare I want .. anything. 
But for now, it is how it is. And it’s nowhere near as bad as what it could’ve been. And for that I thank me, you, and whoever rolled the dice that’s made it so.