You see ‘the other half’ has been in France for the last 12 days working on the house. You know the kind of thing, hanging radiators, raising doors, plumbing in water systems, constructing partition walls? You don’t? That may be a blessing… Anyway, being without him, though a sensible and logical decision – he works there; I sort and organise here – has been one of the most difficult things I’ve done in a long time. (And I feel like I’ve done a few recently.)
I realised that I would miss him of course, we’ve been together quite a while now and haven’t really been apart since we moved in, but I don’t think I realised quite how much I would miss him. The anticipation of him going wasn’t great and then when he was actually set to go I didn’t think I would actually stop hugging him, until he prised me, limpet-like, off. But it’s while he’s been away that’s actually got to me properly.
For the first few days I couldn’t even look at his slippers without them setting me off! Avoiding going to bed is a strange one; so that you’re not reminded of the fact that he’s not there. But it’s the adaptations I’ve made, that just creep up on you, that are the most surprising. Part of me has gone back to an old life, a previous time when I lived alone. Back to walking the dog twice a day instead of once – apart from when my generous Dad comes and takes her out – eating meals on a tray watching the telly, doing everything really to look after a household alone, while still trying to progress our move to France. And I didn’t even blink, I just did it, got on with it, and it’s only really when you look back that you realise quite how much you’ve changed and adapted to the circumstances. That’s what’s surprising, what’s scary.
Being on my own in the house, also stirs old memories. Memories of a time when I lived alone because I’d been dumped and I’d lost myself; forgotten who I really was and who I hoped to be. A time of recovery and of healing myself and moving on. Thankfully I haven’t spent a lot of time where I’ve dwelt on that while he’s been away; I’ve just been missing his presence, talking, sharing the events of the day, making decisions about the future, that’s what’s really been missing.
There is one thing that I’m proud of since I’ve been on my own. I’ve rediscovered my ability to cook (normally the other half does it all – lucky me! – he’s got a catering background and a natural ability). Now I’m not talking anything fancy. I’ve not been whipping up any Jamie Oliver recipes or anything, but I remember the last time I was like this I practically lived off microwave meals. (Now how many of you who live or lived alone cook properly – fresh veg, meat, gravy or pans, ovens, mixing things? Be honest! I only know one so far.) This time around I’ve actually cooked pasta from scratch, boiled potatoes and cooked meat and cabbage, (not all for the same meal I hasten to add!) and – and this is the surprising bit – I’ve enjoyed it! I’ve not done it every night or anything, there has been a frozen pizza in there, but I’m pleased with myself that I’ve done it, bothered and enjoyed it. A sense of achievement is always something to be positive about.
But enough is enough! I’m not doing this ‘on my own’ bit any more! (Or not for a while any way.) I’ve made a decision. I’m off! It’s all booked – the automobile, train and plane! – and I’m on my way over to France. I won’t just be talking to the dog any more, there’ll be another human being to mutter to and grunt at. And at the end of the day it’s his birthday and we can’t have him alone on his birthday can we? So ‘au revoir’, or should that be ‘a bientôt’?! I’ll be back in less than a week – provided the truck gets us home all right…