now playing: poco, “indian summer”
there’s a conversation that i’ve had several times over with several different people regarding my decision to go couch camping while wendy’s parents are in town to help her find a place to live post-breakup. it varies in actual content, but the theme seems to be pretty consistent. it always seems to follow the lines of “it’s your house, why are you the one staying somewhere else” or “why can’t they just find a hotel” or something similarly knee-jerk in its insinuation.
usually, all that i need to rebuke that line of thought is a simple “what would you do in my shoes?”. if it’s someone who’s familiar with the situation and with what i’m trying to do, that usually wraps it up pretty nicely.
but for those who might not be, (and who may similarly have been directed here by me for said explanation), i offer the following thoughts.
first of all, this is not an acrimonious breakup. no one here has any desire to cause anyone else any more hurt or resentment than what comes with the territory, and we’ve actually managed to go out of our way to be kind to one another and not engage in the usual repetitive laundry-listing of faults and blame-hurling that seems to be so common in these situations.
and guess what? so far, it’s working.
and in that spirit, when wendy told me that her parents were coming up to help her find a place, i told her i’d go somewhere else while they were here – and she immediately told me that it wasn’t necessary to do so, that they weren’t coming to cause trouble, et cetera…and i knew that they were a little too centered to be the kind of people who’d drive 1250 miles just to kick my ass – although i did make jokes about her father making a couple of phone calls and having me sent to gitmo with all the rest of the “enemy combatants”. and frankly, i could probably have stayed in the house without affecting their mission, in terms of its execution.
but no one involved here could deny that there wouldn’t be an extra element of tension created by my presence in the house while they were going about this.
whether they would want to have to deal with that or not i can’t say. i can say whether or not i’d want to deal with it, though – and that’s why i feel better about being out of the way.
and i think that, as a parent, if i were in their shoes i’d probably breathe a bit of a sigh of relief at the prospect of not having me around, too. were i doing the same thing they’re doing with my daughter, i’d definitely find it stressful enough a prospect to take on what they’ve taken on in and of itself – coming up on what amounts to a moment’s notice to help their daughter sort out living arrangements, and trying to do so as quickly as possible so that they can feel that she’s taken care of – that’s enough to worry about as it is, without having the additional stress of potential conflict in the air around you.
they insisted, as did wendy, that this wasn’t necessary, and that’s very kind of them. i appreciate their concern for my welfare. and, the thing is – i’ve been fine. i’ve had some good friends offer couches or extra beds, and i’ve managed to get along just fine through this thus far.
the benefit for me, in addition to the things i’ve talked about, has been this unexpected gift of solitude.
i didn’t consider it when i initially decided to do things this way, but i think it’s been a real gift for me to have the “alone time” that i’ve had this week. i didn’t know i needed it as badly as i did. it’s been invaluable – so much so that i’ve actually kindly declined offers for shelter a couple of nights in exchange for sleeping in places that might be less comfortable, but with less human contact. (and before you fill up the comments with thoughts about how awful it must be to sleep in the van, let me assure you – it doesn’t suck. not as bad as it has at certain times in the past when conditions were much worse than they’ve been this week.)
i think that at some point, this kind of time was probably the basis for the first kid who was ever sent to his room after misbehaving – it’s nearly impossible to give events in your life the kind of consideration you’re capable of if you don’t have time for introspection.
and i need to give myself time to get used to the idea of being single again, too.
the latest word from wendy is that they’ve settled on an offer for the only house that they looked at that she really felt good about, and that they’re going to draw up an intent-to-purchase contract this week, and that they may actually be leaving this weekend. the owners of wendys’ new house won’t be settling on their new place until early in april, so she’ll have plenty of time to get ready for the move…i had honestly expected this to take much longer. so much so that i actually made other plans for the weekend, and now i feel bad about having made them…so i’m conflicted about it now, where i was actually kinda looking forward to it before.
from the looks of things, there’s an actual datestamp on these proceedings at this point. it’s no longer an open-ended thing.
i never thought of finality as something that would have degrees, or stages…i always had a pretty primitive notion that at some point, something was over, and that was pretty much the long and the short of it. now, though, it’s pretty intensely obvious that there are layers of finality – certainly degrees and stages. there’ll be a final box to pack, there’ll be a final trip to the grocery store, a final weekend, a final night together….a final look around…
and then once the truck pulls away, all those “lasts” will combine into one huge sense of how over it really is.
hopefully between now and the first week in april, we can maintain this newfound sense of kindness and concern for each other that seems to have been borne out of the ashes of the resentment and anger that we were so proficient at for so long.
after all…those “lasts” are going to be hard enough as it is.