Two years ago when things were breaking down with Zoe's dad, some of my close friends and friendly acquaintances tried to support me by saying "this is just a phase", it will get better. "It is very hard now but just think of it as a phase". If they had told me things would be just as bad two years later I would probably have done things very differently. I knew it was not going to be a pretty end, but I didn't know it was not going to end. The pain and the confusion. The bouts of depression, the crying over spilt milk. Last night I was out for the third time that week, this time with a large set of colleagues or former colleagues, celebrating another one's birthday. It was a diverse set of people including old friends as well as one of my PhD students. As I teary-eyed tried to explain a friend of mine (who is an amazing listener and has more insights than most other people) how it was difficult for me to be out among old colleagues like this, it almost became too much and I felt nauseous to the level that I worried I was going to get sick. My ex was there too and although we are amicable and had had a nice chat about Zoe's reading and math abilities (she surprised me the other day by reading letters) I wasn't comfortable to say the least. My friend seemed understanding and said that when I was drinking again he would take me out and we could have fun. I tried to get another friend's attention but he was already too drunk, so drunk that when I said goodbye and gave him a hug, he held on too long and confused the hell out of me.
Walking home through the dark, cold streets of Stockholm's Ostermalm where girls are platinum blonde, red lipsticked and short skirted, just tipsy enough to seem happy but still in control, I couldn't help thinking what I had told my ex a couple of weeks ago. That I regret splitting up. If someone had told me what it was going to be like, I had worked more on it, I had not let him give up on me. I would have tolerated the crazy fights and worked harder on the problems. I don't care about nail polish* and I don't care about cooking. I still think people give up on marriage way too easy, but I also think they don't give each other time. Just a bit of time to themselves which is what I needed. I'm bitter and sad and opposite most of my posts here, this one has no positive ending. At least yet.
*My ex never let me wear nail polish