Tuesday, October 4, 2016

zut alors

Dappled shade decorates the retaining wall at the back of the yard. Tall oleanders rise in front and above the wall. And somewhere beyond the wall, voices are rising in arguing tones. And even though I can't make out every word, it sounds like the practiced fuss of a couple who has disagreed about something on many occasions. I know that sound.

Today brings contemplation of my own love and life. What felt forever may, by my choice, become quite ephemeral in the grand scheme of things. Looking back in time, forty years seems a very long time to be in relationship. But if I live forty more years, it could seem like a blip on the radar. The thing is, I think I might like myself better in a life without him in it. What a strange precipice I find myself on.

"Zut alors!" I heard that clearly enough! And now I understand why I couldn't make out what they were fighting about. They're speaking French. In Phoenix? I guess people come here from everywhere. And as I'm learning, even if two people do speak the same language, they may still find each other incomprehensible. Common language never guarantees common understanding.

And so it goes. In these quiet days, I gather the strength I'll need to make this change. I'll throw out canceled plans, too much texting, and his inability to focus on my needs. But with them will go hilarious laughter, passion, and history. What a mixed bag. But self-respect really does trump romance.

Mohsin Hamid said it best:

“If you have ever, sir, been through a breakup of a romantic relationship that involved great love, you will perhaps understand what I experienced. There is in such situations usually a moment of passion during which the unthinkable is said; this is followed by a sense of euphoria at finally being liberated; the world seems fresh as if seen for the first time then comes the inevitable period of doubt, the desperate and doomed backpedaling of regret; and only later, once emotions have receded, is one able to view with equanimity the journey through which one has passed.”

Something to look forward to, no? My goal is a simple one. I want to feel authentic. I've done a bit too much bending, reshaping, and stifling. I'm in a stuffy little room of my own making. I simply must get out of here! So, hand on doorknob, I pause. Zut alors, indeed. Just a sec - almost ready.

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