‘Forever’

Hi, Hey, Hello!

Given that it was a bank holiday this week and yesterday I had a bit of a different kind of work day it is hard to believe that today is Wednesday and we are already halfway through the week. And also slipping further into September (and I know everyone says it, but seriously how they hell did that happen? Where is this year going??). Given that it is that means it’s something creative day:

My parents used to tell me when I was younger that they’d love and be married to each other forever.

Apparently forever was only 25 years, 7 months and 6 days.

Then they had the startling realisation that they had evolved over the last quarter of a century, give or take, and were no longer compatible with one another.

They sat me and my sister down and assured us that they still loved each other just not in the right way anymore. They stressed multiple times that it was nothing we had ever done, they were just two people who wanted different things now and those different things mainly meant different people.

It was only when I got back to my flat that I realised the spiel that fell out of my mum’s mouth sounded like something she had been rehearsing since I was an age when it would cross my mind that maybe it was mine and my sister’s fault for the end of their marriage. Which is a rehearsal period of over twenty years. Maybe they were telling the forever lie more for themselves than us.

But ‘forever’ is bullshit. It shouldn’t even be thrown around, nothing lasts forever. Except maybe art. Seriously will Hamlet ever die?

I grew up around divorce and the termination of ‘forever’. In fact it was some strange badge of honour that my parents still proudly wore their wedding bands when I was younger.

My best friend watched her mum go through two divorces before she was 16. The first she thankfully only has a hazy memory of, but the second it was put all on her. Her step dad wasn’t all that cheerful about the fact that he inherited an 8 year old girl when he went and fell in love with a ‘flighty looking blonde woman’, but he went along with it because she was considerably younger and he wanted the ‘lad’ points. He made the environment toxic for all and when that solid foundation fell apart it was all placed solely on her. Her mum openly weeped and screamed about how it was all her fault her rich, old husband had left. She withdrew and stopped being all the basic things you expect for your mother. Your previously supportive mother. My best friend was 14 and her life disintegrated before her eyes and it was her against the world because her mum had been naive enough to buy into the idea of things lasting forever.

I guess the stress that it wasn’t out fault was crucial to my parents. They picked up the pieces of a 14 year old who couldn’t handle the weight of the world on her shoulders.

They probably didn’t take into account that we are 27 and 24 and rational adults who are unlikely to blame ourselves for the disintegration of a marriage that isn’t ours. We are very much aware that sometimes shit just doesn’t work out. That’s life. But nonetheless I guess I am now considered a ‘child of divorce’.

Although I use the term ‘child’ loosely. Like I said, I’m 27. I won’t sit awake at night and wonder if eventually communication will break down completely and I’ll hardly see one of my parents. I probably won’t over analyse every mildly annoying thing I’ve done in my entire life wondering if that’s what sent them over the edge. I’m not going to have to split my time between two houses and get angry that they couldn’t just keep their shit together until I was an ‘adult’. Largely speaking I’ll be fine. I mean Christmas might be a bit different, but generally? I’ll live. It’s just another break up.

It’s maybe a bit worse than a usual one because they’re my parents and of course a part of me wants them to be together for as long as they both live. But I also live in a world where I know that doesn’t always work. Sometimes it just shouldn’t work. And I’ve made peace with that.

In fact I’m more worried about them. 25 years is a long time to invest in someone else’s life as their spouse and to realise that you just don’t have that connection anymore must be awful. And that was just their marriage. 32 years is even longer. To be someone’s partner for that amount of time. That’s over half their lives. That’s an adjustment. Maybe an even bigger one then an empty nest after so many years. That’s a complete life overhaul.

So that’s my role now.

To be there when it inevitably hits one or both of them that they aren’t just returning to a childless house but to a silent, uninhabited one. An empty one. And then again for every wave that crashes over them after that.

So no, it wasn’t forever.

But damn if 32 years, 10 months and 3 days isn’t a ‘forever’ kind of time.

Parentheses count: 1. See you tomorrow!

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Sophie

Sophie, twenty-something, avid reader, writer, really good at watching whole seasons of TV shows in one weekend and using 10 words where 5 will do, overzealous user of the ellipsis and parentheses, starts too many sentences with ‘and’ and ‘so’, living in a continual state of Wanderlust.

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