It’s just that this one hurt more… so it had to sit, to ferment, that bit longer.
I find someone who is just like him.
The first time we speak on the phone I almost hang up the moment he says ’Hello?’ because his voice sends unnatural chills down my spine… for a moment there’s a queasy, sickening feeling that the world has turned inside out and time has reversed.
It hasn’t, of course. But the more I get to know this guy, the more I retain that sense that there is something else happening just beneath the surface of this reality, something just outside what our mental capacity can comprehend. As though all of us are akin to puppets on strings… and sometimes, the puppeteers are laughing.
This man I meet, he has a dog, a staffie just like Scarlette. He looks like him, speaks to me with the same adoration in his voice and views me as tiny, fragile, precious.
My whole life, everyone has pronounced my name the way it’s spelt phonetically– Lor–ree. The only person who ever said it differently was Tony, and, by osmosis, his mum– they both pronounced it Law–ree. I’d told Tony once I preferred it, it was prettier… and, for that simple reason- because I liked it- it stuck.
It took two weeks for this new guy to call me ’Law–ree’ and I leave his house in a daze, wondering what the hell is going on here… my head begins to weave serendipitous fairy tales and I think I may have been saved from myself, from my life… saved from something.
I’m wrong, of course… aren’t we always, where fairy tales are concerned?
I’ve found a mirror image, someone just like my husband… only as weeks pass I discover what I probably should have already known, what I do already know but, naively, failed to apply to this situation– if you happen to be looking at a photocopy, you only see the most intense parts of the original. If you make copy of a copy of a copy… the quality decreases every time.
And while I can see all the very best bits of my husband in this guy, the worst bits ring true as well. All the things I didn’t want to have to deal with over again, if I must choose a new partner for the rest of my life– selfishness, immaturity, emotional unavailability.
It hurts, letting it go, for a number of reasons. The loneliness engulfs me again. my self esteem dips lower than ever, compounded by the parting words of this bloke– “I hate talking on the phone to you. You make me depressed.” (Oh God he could not have come up with anything crueler to say had he tried… it stabs at me, rips me to pieces in the very heart of me, strips away anything I have built or thought or attempted to believe). And- selfishly, but not, both at one- it aches, knowing I’m essentially taking away a chance for my little boy to have some adult male company– I think that almost smarts the most.
And, of course, on top of all that… it simply feels like losing my husband all over again. There is still a deep, frozen ice cream tub of grief sitting somewhere in the middle of me. Occasionally, something will kick at me, something symbolic; and I’ll crack and thaw and allow myself to yield and dish out out huge, chunky scoops of mourning and tears and trauma and mess and pain.
It’s exhausting. It feels like being put through a wash cycle, spun hard and spat out again… only to discover you’re still as filthy as you were when you started.
Take a deep breath. Get on with life and stuff and kids and being me. And I try not to think too hard about it. If I do, if I examine this too closely (especially what he said, mostly what he said), then I may just explode.