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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A View From the Gallery

This post just came to me while I was out walking the dogs, so I’ll get this down at once (just need a beer from the fridge first – right – done!).

My past year and a half of downright torture can be summed up into phases. A psychologist would most likely go “yeah, of course you daft idiot”, but sometimes I can have a personal ephipany and I need to put it down. Like this one.

Phase 1: Deal with the break up. Deal with anger. February 2016 – May 2016

From that moment when she said those first words of breaking up, I had to deal with it. I had to deal with the fact that we wouldn’t be together. I had to deal with the fact that my life was about to change into something I wasn’t prepared for at all. I reacted with anger. I was angry. I was angry at her. Pissed off. I ofen called her a few profanities and then ten minutes later apologised to her. After a while I retracted into my shell and distanced myself from her. We went to councelling, and when the woman we had said “looks like you two are done”, I thought “finally, just get this done with”. Not once did I try to save anything about the marriage. Not once did I ask my ex if there was anything we could do to hang on and try. I didn’t care. She couldn’t give me the family I wanted. I had just been waiting for the right signal to get away. I almost feel evil by writing this. I was disappointed, and I was angry at her. Angry that she was just being herself. Angry at her sicknesses, angry at her mental state. Angry that she never bothered to help me one bit with anything. Angry that I wasted so many years with her. Angry at myself for picking the wrong girl. And so I used the next months to distance myself. I guess it went relatively easy because she had already distanced herself from me without me noticing. We decided I would continue to live there until I had found good house option and a proper way to move out. She was always decent like that. Very professional if you may. Nothing childish. I sometimes do wonder what happened though. Perhaps out relationship just died out? Did I do something wrong, somewhere? I never really believed her when she told the counsellor I deserved someone better than her. I’m not that daft. But I didn’t care. I just wanted a family, and she could A) not give it to me and B) not deal with it if that had happened.

Phase 2: Untangle myself, move out, move in. Deal with everyone else. May 2016 – October 2016

One of the hardest part of it all was to tell my mother. Like most sons, I care deeply for my mother and I would never want to hurt her. Others do get involved when there are break-ups involved. I told her the situation via many, many words. She understood and she said she supported me no matter what. I told her my desire for children and the entire affair. We’ve never spoken about it again. And so I was ready to move out. I tried waiting for the right moment and the right house. Friends told me to move out at once. I didn’t listen. I waited until I was pleased with my opions, and I was right in the end. I found the right house. During that summer I spent many hours on my bike. Just biking around the countryside. I had to get away. In June I exchanged lots of messages with a girl. We never got anywhere except talking on SMS, but it helped. Thank you. It put my mind on something else. I sent out a message to everyone else on Facebook with “breaking news”. I think I told a very good friend at work the last. I didn’t want to upset her. This period was more about bureaucracy than anything else. It takes time to untangle everything. Some couples never do, and so you get all these weird constellations with women living in houses owned by their ex-husbands and what not. Not a good idea by the way. Well, we had meetings with the bank, splitting up accounts and all of that stuff. All down to the electricity bills. It’s not mentally challenging, but it takes time and it needs to be done right. Plenty of people doesn’t. And so with the first phase being about dealing with the relationship ending, this phase was all about logistics and like I said, bureaucracy.

I wasn’t really prepared for phase 3. It hit me like a brick wall.

Phase 3: Deal with being alone.  Deal with sorrow and pain. November 2016 – April 2017

Up until the fall of 2016 I had been doing alright. The hardest part had been telling my mother and the initial shock I had of the break-up. I had been very clear on what I wanted; a family. My ex wife couldn’t provide one. I felt I had plenty to offer girls – I am decent looking chap, nothing majorly horrible physically. Good education, nice job and I could always pull the author card if all else failed (and I confess I did a few times).

And so I met my now ex-girlfriend. I told her about my intentions of wanting children, and she agreed to the deal. I was pleased, but yet I wasn’t happy. I couldn’t really understand why. I was simply blue. Anything could throw me off and I would start sobbing. I remember one night walking the dogs, looking up at the crisp, clear sky with thousands of stars and feeling like the loneliest person in the world. I was looking in jealousy at parents taking their children to kindergarten every day. I was not able to deal with my job. I did not understand what I did wrong to deserve all this. I lost my hobby of writing – I was not able to write any longer. I felt horrible for my mother who so badly wanted grandchildren and all I did was fuck everything up. I screamed at myself inside my own head. I called myself names. Telling myself I was a disgusting, useless piece of shit (yeah, over and over again). I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I went back to counselling, but this time not because of a relationship, but because of me. The counsellor said to me once “you want a family” and I could do nothing else but nod with tears in my eyes. It was so unlike me. I wasn’t myself. In January my ex girlfriend thought she was pregnant for a few days. I suddenly felt happy,  but she was scared. And then she had a change of heart. I sometimes wonder if we simply pulled both of ourselves downwards. I guess she had a mental breakdown of sort because she had a change of heart about children and didn’t know how to handle it. Like I told a good friend “I did not deserve that”. She must have thought I was one of the most emotional guys she had ever met. And I most likely was. I wasn’t feeling well. I was grieving over the IVF and not having children or a family, and she didn’t really understand. I confessed to her how I felt bad for my mother – like I let her down. My ex just went into defence mode and told me I shouldn’t get children just for my own mothers sake. I should have said; “Jesus fucking Christ, it’s not about THAT!”. In the end I felt she used my grief against me – telling me I was not alright in my own head. Going on the defensive and arguing against everything I said. Like there was something terribly wrong with me. I don’t think I will forgive her for that. But it made my decision easier. Not to say it was easy. I even tried downing a bottle of wine in an hour to see if that would help, but it didn’t. Worth a shot though! But I will say this; she only wants to be loved too. To have stability and a functioning family. I sometimes feel awfully sorry for her. Sorry for her past experiences with men, and sorry for not being the right person for her. Maybe she was right all along, we should have met 10 years ago. I think it would have worked out great if we had.

Phase 4: Rise from the ashes. Look back and accept it. May 2017 – present

A trip to England in March did me well. I was slowly coming back to life. I finished the counselling in May. I started to feel better again. The counsellor said I looked better. Maybe I did? I owe her my deepest thanks for how she helped me. I can still think of certain things and feel very sad, but I’m almost back to my normal self again. I can write (like this) again. I don’t have horrible periods where I want to hide away in my own bedroom any longer. And so I am able to look back at everything and get a better perspective of things. Sometimes I am extremely scared of ending back where I was in January, but I don’t think I will. I don’t live the life I truly want, but I have a good shot at getting it right. One can always hope. I think it’s gonna be alright in the end. 🙂 If not, at least I did my absolute best. There’s shit I can’t control, and sometimes it just happens to rain on someone. It could be me, but I will try my best to run away from it.

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