Four hours… four hours to convince myself to leave the house yesterday to attend a family ‘Holy Communion’ mass followed by a party. Totally missed the church service faffing around and swinging between anxious – shouty – tearful – in what seemed to send me spinning about like a weird dented tin top. Eventually (after locking myself in the bathroom for a secret cry) I managed to pull it together, get dressed, arrange pick for a party my son was going to (my delay in leaving was currently jeopardising this as his father had let us down last minute), and fix my daughters hair without any tangle tears. The party was difficult to say the least, people talking to me and asking me how it’s going, I smile, say nothing and allow them to continue talking at me (people love to talk about themselves – especially after a drink) holding the same untouched, half empty plastic cup of boxed white wine. I managed to agree to a bit of dancing in a circle to 80’s pop with loud and cheerful friends and family, pushed out of my comfort zone. Eat some VERY HOT curry and do the rounds of hello/goodbye before slipping out to the safety of the street and the bus stop to get back home.
It’s raining in my head, I can feel the humid fuzz and grey filling the shell I have no control over. I smile at my beautiful daughter and welcome the hug she gives me, “It’s been really nice just you and me,” she smiles, “I love spending time with you!” I melt, the clouds in my brain move and I enjoy our chit chat. Singing songs together and sharing our secret jokes. Home. Ready to just relax. The unopened envelope on the kitchen table (which I know is about my pending divorce) mocks me as I make some meat patties and cut some brioche buns for our tea, my daughter chopping salad. We wait for my youngest daughter to return with her father, my soon to be ex husband, from her weekend away. My son busy on his PS4 complaining about being hungry (he’s always hungry) following his treetop adventure party. I pour myself half a glass of wine and pop on some old music, Incognito ‘spellbound and speechless’. I sing along and my daughter is entertained and we wiggle and dance whilst preparing the food. I can feel the heavy weird feeling in my head that I recognise, an old foe I would prefer not to see again – ever. I fight it and wear my mask, all smiles and teeth singing.
The buzzer rings and I let my little one in, as she climbs the steps up to our apartment I can hear her father’s voice and the knife he stuck in my heart three years ago twists and wrenches. I am over animated to compensate when she comes in alone. I catch a glimpse of him leaving out of the window, it’s supposed to get easier, it still hurts. I scoop her up and tell her how much I have missed her. The house comes alive with her return and the girls share weekend stories.
I want to not care, care about him. I want to not be affected by what he does but I am still very much so a prisoner in this… whatever it is now. “Daddy is not coming next week because he’s going travelling to Australia,” my youngest says easily. “Sorry? When did daddy tell you this?” I ask, scrambling for my phone. I need to check. How is this not something he has even discussed? What about weekends? My time? Their time?
He of course is nonchalant and I hang up, can’t slip into that downward spiral. The tears are burning the back of my eyes. I take the unopened envelope to the toilet, lock the door and allow myself a whispered cry. “Mummy? Mummy?” the calls bounce off the walls and I get it together. Wash face. Slow deep breaths. Kitchen. Dinner. Cook. Smile.