I wrote of fog in the days, weeks and months after my beautiful boy left me. To say I was devastated, would be an understatement. I’d never felt pain like that before, but I would feel it again, nearly twenty years later.
There were so many tears. The first days were a blur over a weekend, but then I had to go back to work and nobody cared about my loss. I needed to carry on as if nothing had happened, no matter that my whole life had collapsed.
I didn’t know what to do with myself, with my life. The only thing I wanted out of going to uni was a husband. A job would tide me over until that happened, but I had no other plans. A career in the public service certainly wasn’t one of them.
But life didn’t go as planned. I was lost for a very long time after the end of that relationship. The pain I felt led me to some very bad decisions, all of them involving my flat mate. This was the true beginning of my abuse, the on-off relationship that finally led to marriage and babies.
I find myself not wanting to write about any of it, because it was so ugly. We treated each other badly, but we appeared to be co-dependent. I tried separating myself from him once, but it didn’t last and we ended up together again. It was a weird, sick kind of relationship and I do regret not walking away from it during those years.
For eight years I carried a torch for my lost love. I kept track of him through the phone book and knew that he’d come back to Australia and knew where he was living. I never made contact with him, although in my mind I rehearsed doing it endless times. I so badly wanted him back.
During that time I learnt how to be on my own. I began going to the movies by myself, to the beach and even away for weekends.
My career was going well despite myself. I hated what I was doing and went to work every day with my guts churning. Somehow, I managed to progress through the ranks – I guess I just don’t accept failure and chose to succeed at everything that I was given to do. People sought me out for my writing and reliability and always getting things done. Others, I knew, deliberately sought a career in the public service, mine just kind of happened.
Life was passing by.
I had two relationships during that time, apart from my live-in one, one with a man twice my age and another with a married man. It was nice to be the object of someone’s attention and desire, but it wasn’t love. Both affairs were exhilarating, but both eventually trickled out to nothing, both ended by me.
I spent a lot of time with my work friends. I drank a lot with them and learnt lots about wine and fine food.
My flatmate and I went to the theatre and went away on holidays together.
In 1998, I travelled to Europe, alone – something I was determined to do before I turned 30. While I loved my time there, I was also incredibly lonely and spent lots of time on the phone with my flatmate. It was a scary, joyful, sad, wondrous time. I saw all the sights, spent four weeks in Spain, visited my friends in Poland and fell in love with Rome.
My 30th birthday dinner party was a fabulously happy evening and I was loving myself sick by the end of the night. Things were finally going alright.