Soft soapOf course I realised that she must have found someone else who gave what I gave, or gave what I didn't give more likely. (I know I wasn't the peg for her hole; I doubt it exists.)
I'm not at all jealous (upsettingly so for most of the women in my life, who want me to care about that more, it seems, than they want me to care about practically anything else) but I concluded that I have always felt uncomfortable with the idea that my exes can be happy with anyone else. I don't really expect them to pine away without me but I feel a queasy possessiveness in seeing them with others, or seeing evidence of their being with others.
But why else would someone disappear without a word of goodbye? Girls like that kind of thing, I suppose. The dramatic, the weaving of a nightmare from a few uncomfortable moments and angry words; it's meat and drink to them. I am yet to meet a woman who didn't want her life to be a soap opera. For that matter, I haven't met many whose outlook didn't seem to have been written for them by a soap librettist, so unconnected from anything resembling a reasonable view of their own lives is it.
It's strange to see evidence of their life without you. You could look away but the life is still being lived. I suppose that's what makes me feel queasy: their ability to carry on unaffected. I suppose I feel I should affect you, otherwise why did I bother loving you at all?
I wrote to her once, drunkenly and stupidly. It's not like me. I'm able to turn my back on those who no longer want me without making a fool of myself in the process. I thought I would feel better for it and strangely I did, although I was ashamed of doing it. But I often feel better for doing things that are a bit shameful. Having anything to do with her in the first place, like that, I mean, is something I should be ashamed of. But, curiously, isn't. I don't feel ashamed at all. I feel I pursued my own happiness without interfering with anyone else's.
It's an interesting question, I reckon. If a secret of mine hurts someone, am I wholly to blame for having the hurtful secret, or must they take some of the blame because they went to the trouble of finding it out? Personally, I don't care to delve into secrets. I prefer to allow people in my life to have their own interior space. I am not seeking to justify or exculpate myself. I don't feel in the least bit guilty. I am hurt by the tears, conflict and anger, but entirely untouched by any feeling of guilt. I'd need to feel there was any crime in it before I did, and I don't. Do I have to feel guilty because I have fallen foul of someone else's code?
Hey, I know, in soap operas, secrets are always a bad thing, rarely a source of joy. They are catalysts though, which drive the action once they are uncovered. So of course, if you look at your own life as though it was a soapie, you think that uncovering secrets must bring change. But it doesn't. What passed still passed. The characters are all still the same people, and all that has been revealed to you is that you didn't know everything that you thought you did about them.
But I don't want to be known in toto by anyone. I'm far too afraid that there isn't much to know, that once you scour off the veneer, the wood beneath is plain, and the patterns you thought you saw were just accretions -- maybe just dirt!
If you peel him
hoping to reveal him
uncovering a pearl
Will you feel him
trying to conceal him
with another whorl?
Yes, I do like to believe there's a pearl beneath it all but, girls, pay attention now, I want you to want to know, not to know, because if all I am is a howling void, why didn't I clothe it in riches and viciousness when I could? And I do fear that all I am, scrubbed up and neat, is the scream of astonishment that I greeted the world with.
And then, sometimes, I want you to know. Did you know, I don't walk through life with fixed opinions about what I want or what I should want? And perhaps you might have tried to understand that that means I can't always agree with her views on those issues.
Ah well, maybe not. Soapie characters always know what they want. They need to be severely banged on the head or shot or suffer a lifechanging car accident before they change that in any significant way. But goodbye would have been nice. They usually script a good goodbye, and you feel robbed when a character just ups and dies. But you get over it. There's always more to come.