Di­vorce Di­aries

When days fly by with no mes­sage from her new love in­ter­est, Sarah’s left pon­der­ing what the si­lence means

NEXT (New Zealand) - - At A Glance -

YYou know those days when the weather is a per­fect mir­ror of your mood? I’d like to be look­ing out my win­dow at a clear blue sky and a friendly sun – but it’s quite the op­po­site. A wild wind is blow­ing, the trees are shed­ding show­ers of leaves like green dan­druff, and oc­ca­sion­ally there’s a burst of hail. In other words, it’s Weather Gone Wrong. Na­ture at its chaotic worst. And my state of mind is just the same.

There’s plenty I could and should be do­ing. Proof­read­ing a novel by an as­pir­ing thriller writer. Edit­ing an ar­ti­cle on the gen­tri­fi­ca­tion of Ber­lin. Fin­ish­ing three half-drunk cups of cof­fee, wash­ing two loads of laun­dry, pay­ing one mon­strously large tax bill. In­stead, I’m wait­ing. I glance once again at the jit­tery world, and then I start pac­ing.

Pac­ing is one of the most ir­ri­tat­ing ac­tions ever. Ir­ri­tat­ing in a film, ir­ri­tat­ing when the per­son in the apart­ment op­po­site you is do­ing it, and most ir­ri­tat­ing of all when done by you. Es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing that, ever since your di­vorce, you’ve worked in­cred­i­bly hard to reach a state of post-trau­matic calm. Real­is­ing that I’ve re­gressed to Pac­ing makes me an­noyed, and my an­noy­ance is height­ened by the fact that here in my in­ner-city shoe­box apart­ment I can only take three strides be­fore reach­ing a wall. Not Pac­ing as much as Swiv­el­ling – and ev­ery time I swivel, I see my phone ly­ing mutely on my desk, re­fus­ing to de­liver the text mes­sage that will re­lease me from my fraz­zled state.

Since my re­cent weirdly un­set­tling

I’ve en­tered a time ma­chine. Now I’m back at the age of 16

evening with my old friend who sud­denly and un­ac­count­ably trans­formed from his nerdy re­li­able self into a po­ten­tial love in­ter­est, I’ve en­tered a time ma­chine. Now I’m back at the age of about six­teen. That angst-rid­den emo­tional age when I knew damn well that the boy wasn’t think­ing about me the way I was think­ing of him. That he wasn’t ob­sess­ing over whether or not his phone would ring. In short – that he wasn’t pac­ing.

‘He’s work­ing,’ I say out loud, ‘and so should you be.’ Then: ‘He’s Ger­man – and so should you be.’ If there’s one thing I’ve come to learn about the Ger­man char­ac­ter, it’s their abil­ity to com­part­men­talise and to con­tain in­con­ve­nient emo­tion like a hu­man ver­sion of the Hoover Dam.

Hail rat­tles on the win­dows and I wince. I’ve just re­mem­bered how we walked to­gether to my cor­ner, and he stopped and looked into my eyes in a newly cu­ri­ous, search­ing way. ‘Is it all right if I do this?’ he said, stoop­ing and… But my mind baulks at going fur­ther. It’s widely known that my friend’s re­la­tion­ship is in trouble – but all the same, he’s mar­ried and I shouldn’t go down that path. The prob­lem is, I want to go down that path so much that it feels like a pain.

When my phone rings, I snatch it up with­out look­ing. It’s my friend Tiny: do I want to go an­tique-china-shop­ping with him to­day? ‘No, Tiny!’ Mor­ti­fy­ing, I’m al­most shout­ing. ‘No, Tiny, I can’t look at tea cups to­day, be­cause I’m really freakin’ BUSY.’ ‘Busy do­ing what?’ He sounds wounded. ‘Pac­ing,’ I say lamely. ‘Wait­ing. Wait­ing, and pac­ing.’ There’s a short pause and Tiny clicks. ‘Oh no, doll. Not that geeky mar­ried friend of yours? He doesn’t know what the hell he’s do­ing.’

‘He knows!’ There’s a shrill six­teen-year-old de­fen­sive­ness to my voice. Then, like an echo, my phone tings in my ear. ‘Gotta go,’ I say weakly, tri­umphantly. ‘It’s him.’ There it is. The text mes­sage I’ve been wait­ing for, for seven fraz­zling days. I un­der­stand ev­ery­thing.

I stare at the words on the screen in dis­be­lief. I want to smash my phone into smithereens but I need it to call Tiny back. ‘What does I un­der­stand ev­ery­thing mean?’ ‘Oh, doll.’ Tiny’s sur­pris­ingly sym­pa­thetic for some­one who’s just been re­jected in favour of a text mes­sage. ‘In Straight Man speak, that means he doesn’t have a f***ing clue.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.