Chapter 8

I take the train to work. It’s where I’m headed right now, wary of the heavy grey scummering* aggressively across the blue, since I don’t have an umbrella with me and I’m only wearing a light jacket. Granny would cluck with disappointment at my lack of preparedness.

I’m joining two of the guys I regularly chat with, feigning interest in their football chatter. We discuss nights out and the levels of embarrassment we or others ought to be feeling this morning. (Mine: comparatively low. I got a bit drunk and danced like an idiot, but I didn’t say or do anything inappropriate.)

It’s funny – you know you’ve got it bad when you map out song lyrics to your mood. In a hilarious twist, most of the words that I’m thinking about are by country singers…how that would irritate her, my love. It makes me smile to think of her reacting to my teasing.

The loudness of her silence has been more difficult than I anticipated. Underneath it, I am at peace with it, because of this odd zen-like feeling I always have about her that we’re going to end up together. However in the moment, in the here and now, I miss her desperately. I miss her voice. I miss the way she says my name. I miss the way she meanders to the point. I miss the way she writes, the most exquisitely elegant prose I’ve ever read. I miss seeing her face. I miss just talking for hours about everything from the inane to the taboo. I miss bringing her with me on this journey.

More than anything, I miss being there for her. Her person.

The conflict of our situation has, I have noticed, manifested itself by dividing her in two. In my mind I have labelled them “weekend Ava” and “weekday Ava”. Ava is not her name but it will do for these pages.

Weekday Ava loves me desperately, finds it hard to breathe without me, spends hours talking to me about her hopes and dreams and things she loves and things she wants to do. She is caring and gentle and insecure and needs tenderness and comfort and gentleness. She talks quietly and tentatively and feels at home just hearing my voice, regardless of what I am saying. She is the person I see when the focus is on the bubble which only she and I exist in. This is the part of her that is mine and mine alone.

Weekend Ava doesn’t need any damn drama in her life, especially not someone whose life is a shitshow. She’s about living in the moment, having fun with her friends and enjoying life, and fuck anyone who gets in the way of that. She flirts and dates and will fuck if she wants to, and continually reminds me of that, because I have no right to any sort of claim on her. And she is right of course. She is the Ava that exists outside the bubble of her and I, trying to live a full and healthy life outside the insanity of having fallen in love with a married man via words and conversations.

I’m all too aware that it’s not possible to live two lives, one you present to the outside world and one inside your head. Something has to give. We haven’t evolved to feel comfortable living long term with that kind of duplicity going on – ultimately it destroys our mental well-being if we let it go on too long. So I think I understand where she is at the moment. I think I do. She can’t be both. And it isn’t fair to expect her to be.

Meanwhile I must navigate my reality. I’m stuck where I am as long as my financial situation remains as is. My wife hasn’t had a wage coming into the household since 2003. Recent discussions about her returning to work are being met with resistance. She’s looking for any alternative to a regular job, her focus at the moment being on building her small business. This will be the fifth or sixth small business she’s had. That’s a story for another day.

For now, I must occupy my mind with work.



*yeah I made that word up. I don’t know, it seemed like that’s what the clouds were doing.


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