A Distant Star

Dear P

You know I saw you twice last week? You walked past me while I was in the school yard with my new girlfriend and her daughter. You looked at me didn’t you? I looked at you, but I wasn’t sure it really was you. I realised it really was you when someone called out Your name. Then I knew. Then once again last Saturday. I’ll tell you more about last Saturday later.

I haven’t seen you since I acted like nothing, said something non-important and closed the door behind me for the last time. You stood there non the wiser with your mothers arms on your shoulders. Your mom knew I wouldn’t see you again, you didn’t know and wasn’t told. Not until I was gone and your mom could tell you anything she wanted. In private. Without me to tell my side of things. Maybe your mom was nice about it and said we broke up because she didn’t want any more children, and explained how I wanted children – which obviously does not add up that well together. Perhaps that was it? I asked her how you took it. She just said you nodded and told her it was alright. Like it was no big deal. Maybe that’s the truth you know. But what if it’s not? Maybe you feel like I do, because I really miss you sometimes. Is there a chance that since I miss you, you also miss me? Do you know that last time I was with you for breakfast? How I knew it was the last time we had breakfast together and my eyes were all swelled up and I struggled so badly not to cry? I knew it was the last time we spent time together. Your mom didn’t even get it.

I am terribly sorry for coming into your life and then disappearing without a trace or a word. I gave you good night hugs, played video games with you, watched TV with you. And then it was no more. You will come to realize this later on, when boyfriends pop into your life, that they will mostly disappear again. Just as you will do with your boyfriends when they disappear, I don’t really think much about your mom any longer. But it’s different with you. I often think about you. I walk past your dads house with my dog, and I always hope to catch a glimpse of you. To wave or say hello.

Do you remember that time when I basically begged your mom to look after you while she was at work? When we went to the movies, ate candy and sent your mom funny Snapchat photos? Do you know that taking you the movies opened up a world to me that I had never been in before? I could finally get a sense of how its like to be a father and take a 10 year old to the movies. We met an old acquaintance of mine, do you remember? He looked at you. He was probably wondering if you were my daughter or not. I didn’t correct or inform him about you. I liked how his mind most likely wandered to “wow, I didn’t know he had a daughter”. For him, perhaps he concluded that you were my daughter. I was so proud. I felt proud. I was proud that you wanted to go to the movies with me. Trusted me in your company. Proud that I was an adult taking a little girl to the movies. It was as exciting for me as my first movie date with a girl back when I was 11 years old. That is how much it meant to me. Maybe above all things, I felt normal.

You know, I’ll tell you in my words why I’m not around any longer. Your mother changed her mind. She didn’t tell you that didn’t she? How she with such emotion and care told me she wanted another child, and that it would be with me. How we both cried out of happiness that we had decided on an important issue. It wasn’t about trying for a baby at once. It was just a general agreement that this would be part of the deal if we stayed together. Maybe in a year, maybe in two, or maybe in three. Its something you will discover when you get older. Its an issue all adults discuss at some point sooner or later. But two months later she changed her mind. She changed her mind about a very, very important issue. Online, if you read American articles about it, they call it a “dealbreaker”. She changed her mind. It put me in a horrible decision where I had to choose between her and you, or a potential future with my own children. It’s such a huge gamble to take, but I had to follow what I thought was right. I was right to leave your mother, but I feel very bad for her still. I am so sorry she went through so much in the past. Your mother is very strong. Hopefully you will understand what she’s been through once you get older. When thats said, I can’t forgive her easily for how she messed up my world just when I was coming to grips with it. I have been so mad at her for it. So frustrated. So pissed off. So angry at how she accused me of things, calling me things. It was such shocking behavior. I wasn’t used to it. I am still frustrated about it. What she might tell her friends, her family or new boyfriends about me. I wish I could tell you my side of things. You would understand.

And then came last Saturday. I was not far from you. You didn’t see me inside the building. I saw you leave though. My girlfriend was talking to her ex. Isn’t that funny? I didn’t like it that much. I often feel a bit left out in these situations. Her ex got two children. Even adults compare themselves to others you see. I do too. And so I feel left out and bummed out because I compare myself to him, that damn ex. I feel lonely even. Imagine that, lonely even with so many friends, family and even a girlfriend that cares so much for me. I was standing there, feeling exactly those things when you walked past heading for the exit. You, the first girl I ever had any parental feelings for so close to where I was standing. With my new family all occupied talking with this ex-boyfriend, I decided to walk after you and say hello to you. Reach out to you. If you were far away, I would shot out your name and make you stop. Ask how you’d been. How school is. How your mother is (thats just for politness you know). Tell you how I often stay just two houses away from your dad or ask if you remember when we went to the movies.

I hurried out the door and turned right – around the corner. I saw you walking down the street. Just 40 meters away.

I chickened out. I didn’t shout your name or do any of those Things I wanted. I just saw you leave.

I wonder how long it will take until I will see you again somewhere and maybe muster enough confidence to say hello.

Afterwards, my girlfriends seven year old daughter said she liked my girlfriends ex better than me. I know she’s just trying to annoy me and seek attention, but my legs were all shaky and I felt really bad. Mostly because I so badly wanted to say hello to you.

Maybe next time?

I miss you.

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The Long, Twilight Struggle

You accused me of being grumpy when I came into work.

I replied I wasn’t grumpy or annoyed or even mad.

Sometimes I have a lot to think about; I am disappointed with the choice I made of who to love and be with, and I am frightened about doing them again. I am worried that I will not feel or be fulfilled, and that I will constantly, for the rest of my life, walk around with a feeling that I can only describe as a heartache that will never end for as long as I live. You know I read that one time? That having no children and wishing you had children feels like a never-ending heartbreak? Like when your 17 and your boyfriend dumps you and you think you will never get over it? Only that for me, due to what happened, it will never go away? It scares me. And I often wonder where all this came from? It wasn’t something of an issue that occupied me at all when I was younger. It was only when it was taken away from it dawned on me. When did I become like this?

But hey, I have control now. I am not pouring my heart out to my girlfriend about it. I shy away from it. I do not feel like escaping life by looking up B&Bs somewhere along  the British southern coastline, go down there alone and lock myself in that room and hide from society. But even if I keep myself in order, I have periods of feeling worried and sad. That’s what you see when I come into work with a strict face, few words and a couple of deep sighs. I am not grumpy. I am just worried about life. Disappointed with the past, and scared about the future. Maybe this is how it is when you grow old and more than before look back at your life and judge your actions? Suddenly I have a whole decade to look back upon as an adult. No wonder I am worried.

I am not grumpy. I am frightened, disappointed and worried.

Objects in Motion

This will be “problems of the western world” type of post. I ask for forgiveness for it before I have even written more than a couple of words.

I often feel like life is like a train journey. Some people get on one train and stay onboard the train for the duration of their journey – until the end. Other may change carriages on the same train a few times. Other may get off the train, board another and then stay onboard. Others may change trains numerous of times. Maybe even going different directions. Getting off one train going north, and boarding another going east. You get the picture.

I feel now that I have changed trains and carriages so many times it wears me out. My traveling is getting harder and more difficult. I am not as young any more, and all the changes have taken its toll. My legs are sore, my clothes are dirty and the smell of Diesel oil have filled my nostrils. I am travel-worn. Tired of changing directions in my travel, and constantly trying to adapt to trains that goes quicker and quicker towards the end station where it all terminates. I have lost a few of my bags along the way, left on several stations. I have no more drinks with me, and a bottle of beer is left at the station two stops ago.

Yet again I am now on a journey on a train going somewhere. Maybe I just changed carriages this year, but is a new carriage with new people, new faces and new customs and culture. And I am trying to adapt, not loosing myself in the process. I have left parts of me behind, and I can’t go back to pick them up again. I am constantly moving forward. And like many people on the train, I feel like a lonely traveler. I am with many people in my carriage, even someone new I care deeply for, but it is me – and me alone. No one will ever stay with me for the duration of my journey. It is a lonely feeling, and I have not felt it before. It is even scary, and I wish I could do like children do when they are going somewhere without their parents – put a sign on myself that says “I am traveling alone”.

In the end I guess I am just hoping that I will keep most of my belongings and personality once I depart the train at its final destination. And perhaps to trust someone enough to take the rest of the journey with me – or perhaps understand and accept that I have to do it myself.

And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place

Last weekend I went to a birthday party. He turned 31 years old – quickly becoming a very grown man. I went alongside my brother and a mutual friend the same age as the birthday boy. I’m some years older than them. My brother just turned 30.

I had not spoken much to this mutual friend for a while, and I noticed his subjects had changed from somewhat childish anecdotes and memories of past drunken adventures to subjects such as starting a family, children, and pregnancies. Apperantly, his current girlfiend wants two children before she turns thirty which means he have to be up for the task within four years. He was obviously up for it from how he spoke about it. He also mentioned briefly he had spoken to the birthday boy about children just a few weeks ago, and told us that the birthday boy had admitted to him that it wouldn’t be too long until his girlfriend would be pregnant. I got the feeling from that (and from later on that same evening) that they were trying for a baby. One of the other guys in the group going to the birthday party had just become a father himself.

It is moment like these I have to fight my own mental state. I have to fight back that I feel down because I am older than them. I have to fight back all dark thoughts of failure and a feeling of loneliness which I cannot really explain. I have to keep fighting back feelings of disappointing my mother for not having been able to start a family and give her grandchildren. It can be hard to deal with.

I consider the birthday boy one of my best friends, and I remember the therapist I saw asking me last spring about what would “tip me back to where I was mentally last winter.” I immediately replied that if the birthday boy would become a father, that would be devastating to me. I am not sure if this is the case now, but I am very scared of how I will feel, act or even respond when or if this happens.

I am a competitive guy. I like to compete, and I like to win. The birthday boy had invited us all (a group of six or seven guys) to go Go-Karting for the day. I had not done that for about 17 years, but I have a bit of simulation experience which gave me the upper hand in the past at least.

On the way to visit birthday-boy, I had been fighting my demons for the past hour or so, and could not shake the feeling of being a failure or “less” than many of them due to all this new information and all the talk about children which took my by surprise.

I can’t really explain why, but I took my fight to that silly Go-kart track instead. My failures (or my feelings of failure), feelings of being a loser, someone at 36 who cant even start a family, disappointing my mother, and just feeling down and out. And you know what, I took the worst side of my personality onto the track as well – jealousy. Because I am angry, sad and jealous that they are planning, creating and looking forward to having children and a family. I was jealous and sad.

Now, the birthday boy has a bit of experience Go-Karting. He had been doing a bit of research beforehand – studying the track and reading a bit on the subject. He was ready and rumour said he was  a natural at it.

The Go-Karting we did was all time-trial. All about getting in that fastest lap. The birthday boy won the first 10 minute stint. He was about 0.300 seconds in front me. After a quick break,  I got back onto the track for the second 10 minute stint. And I wasn’t going to let him win this one.

I drove like a madman. I pushed that damn Kart so hard the wheels were screaming in pain around every bend and turn. I might end up on the loosing side of not fulfilling my biggest dream of becoming a father, but I would sure as hell end up as number one on this damn track. I wasn’t gonna let them get me down here. I had to win at something, and it had to be here. There was no other choice.

After I was done, I could hardly pull myself out of the small Go-Kart. My arms were numb. I struggled heavily pulling off my drivers suit. I could hardly take the helmet off my head. My hair was completely soaked in sweat. My mouth felt like a cotton ball. I desperately craved for a water. I was dizzy, and I could hardly stand up. I looked at the others. They seemed fine. Everyone was a bit tired, but I was completely worn out. All this after 20 minute of Go-karting and I consider myself in pretty good shape. All my jealousy, anger, frustrations and anxiety was left there on the track.

We looked at the track times. I did it. I was first. An inner sigh of relief. I was quickest. I had beaten the kart-researching-most-likely-father-to-be birthday-boy. I had beaten them all. I felt fucking good. Its not a side to my personality I am very proud of, but it made me feel better. I had thrown out of all my demons and insecurities for the evening. They were left on the track. I was first. I won. The old guy won.

Outside, I overheard one of the guys saying I had been driving like a person possessed.

Afterwards, in the evening, I had a headache and felt sleepy. I didn’t feel better until I had had considerable water to drink. I was dehydrated.

Two days later and my arms are still sore.