It’s a snowy day out there. I suppose I could blame it for the melancholy. I love snow, but it also reminds me of one of my favourite songs, “Song for a Winter’s Night” by Gordon Lightfoot. And that reminds me of my ex-husband, which today for whatever reason has brought me to where I am at this moment.
I’ve alluded to him in the odd post and I’ve outed his female partner as the thorn in my side. I don’t tend to dwell on either of them, but while they appear in my life at anticipated moments, they often sneak in at moments I can’t predict, like now.
My ex and I have two children together. He walked out on us when they were just 3 and a little over 1. He walked out with a friend of mine and I won’t lie to you, it was a bitter, bitter pill to swallow, and not one that went down without first tearing strips from my body and soul as it descended, dissolved and went about distributing itself throughout my being.
The smoke is rising in the shadows overhead
My glass is almost empty
I read again between the lines upon each page
The words of love you sent me
Have I been angry? Yes. Was I disappointed? Yes. In you? Yes. In the loss of our family? Absolutely. Have I hated you? At times, yes. Have I forgotten what our love was like? It gets cloudier as the years go by and the disconnect grows greater. I used to be able to rely on memories to ground me in compassion, to help me look past the post-betraying you to the you I respected and shared intimacy with. Now, the 10 years we have been apart equal the number of years we were together, and 10 years of painful memories cast a long shadow over the 10 years of mostly good stuff. I have glimpsed of the good – thank God for that – but the bad, your distance, your unyielding stubbornness, your disappearing act and your aggressive mate continue to eat away at the precarious light, like an insatiable, destructive beast with a bottomless pit of a stomach.
The lamp is burnin’ low upon my table top
The snow is softly falling
The air is still in the silence of my room
I hear your voice softly calling
The kids get older, but so do we, and the longer we go without speaking or laying eyes on each other. It’s like when someone very close to you goes away for a good chunk of time and upon their return you’re awkward with one another, figuring out how you used to relate before comfortably falling back into the familiar and reassuring patterns. Except too much time apart can cause nervousness, fear, uncertainty and even avoidance. I’m afraid that’s where we’re at, strangers now in many ways but with a rich past that’s hard to reconcile in our current holding pattern of avoidance – your choice not mine, but it takes two to tango. We go so far beyond awkward; we no longer have the luxury of a familiar pattern to help us along should you ever risk meeting me. Our recent history is distorted and disjointed, dare I say manufactured by your partner, the same mean and insecure woman who helped you leave and wants to make sure there’s nothing, absolutely nothing to come back for.
It’s been 10 years. Her meddling and your silence affect me much less. I no longer fall into days of brooding, searching for time alone so I can replay encounters in my head and analyze the shit out of them. I also no longer beat myself up, shoulder the guilt, wear the blame or feel shamed into offering the children up to you, beyond what is reasonable, so that you can double shame me by rejecting all of us, telling me through your incessant mouthpiece (are they even your words she speaks?) that it is never enough, that I’m the problem, that the children will eventually hate me, that I don’t really want resolution.
So as the snow falls, the skies darken and a merciful glass of wine is poured, I cease looking back and I visit the future, the one place I can find solace and hope for you and I now. I think to a time where you and I may one day meet each other on an even playing field. No one in anyone else’s corner, no one playing interpreter, no one except you and I expressing opinions and dumping whatever garbage needs to be dumped between us. Just you and I, the way we started, finding in each other those pieces that once brought us together, illuminating the best and most tenacious in both of us that will see us through the awkward, the rage and the hurt to the once familiar friendship, because that’s what I want to salvage. That’s the real love that has been lost and I feel it every time I watch our children, our creations, accomplish something new. I hope one day you come around.
If I could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands I love
On this winter night with you