Last December, matters had come to a particular blistering head. My toxic emotional-puss finally surfaced via a four-hour session of uncontrollable sobbing. Curled up in the fetal position and mummified in my duvet, the epiphany which should have been no surprise, was that my life supremely sucked.
What happened to my former self? The ass-kicking warrior of independence and self-preservation, and the ejector of life skill-less man-children from my personal zone? I had become but a quasi-friendless and tragic domestic with a bum elbow due to scouring bathtub grunge. I was a a perma-frown reject dressed in tshirts caked in dog fur while chained to a hamster wheel of monotony.
Adding insult to injury, it was painfully obvious that the only sympathy I could muster was a “there, there” pat-on-the-back consolation (without even a cup of tea – typically offered by seemingly every other stiff upper lipped) and that this obviously wasn’t how I wanted to spend the next few decades of my life. The realisation was that enough was enough and think of a plan, as soon enough I’d have severe dehydration and a face resembling beef jerky if I didn’t stop the water works and pull myself together.
For months I had been toying with the idea of buying a property and moving to France to start an eco-tourism/hospitality business, but as Sir English had blatantly voiced NO intentions of relocating, and me going it alone with no contacts, few language skills other than food and how to ask for a ham sandwich in French – wasn’t exactly going to make it easy unless I was going to be squatting in a deli. And Italy? Well that’s out because it’s impossible to live there. (Isn’t it?)
It was when I came down with a fever and was bedridden after Christmas, I began to wallow in diabolical nostalgia with thoughts of ‘the old country’. Places I had been and places I knew of , but hadn’t been, and that one magical place in the hills of Abruzzo where I spent most of my summer evenings when I was 15, parked on the grass lip-locked opposite a waterfall, with him: Cristian, my holy-grail of manhood (although he wasn’t quite there yet). I retraced what I remembered of it – the route we took just past the familiar fork in the road, and although little looked remotely recognisable during my Google ascent, I found it. It was still there and exactly how I remembered it. Thank you for feeding my nostalgia frenzy Google Maps.
Keeping the thought of HIM aside (very aside due to his inconsistency and theoretical comings and goings in my life – he couldn’t influence any decision either way), why not look at properties or possibilities there? Did I really need to live in the south when I could be in an entirely new place between the mountains (REAL mountains) and the sea, and setting up a homestead with the best of both worlds accessible? No, I didn’t, and , it’s not about him either – it’s about ME and my life and my zone (wherever that may be).
Within 48 hours, I received a text. Never quite giving up the lease, renting space in my head and dropping by unannounced for a quick peek inside. I had barely heard from him in the past year, his ears must have been ringing and he surfaced yet again.
I politely obliged his queries and small-talk offerings on recent events, indulged news of his various routines, and lifestyle changes including the fact he was now separated from his wife of 20 years, who currently lives with his daughter in the bottom unit of his now subdivided home. How lame family-sitcom of them, unless of course they’re marvellously happy and all super social and friendly like something out of a gag-inducing episode of Modern Family. However I suspect not. Further back in September during a short exchange he mentioned he was separating but had had tried to work things out. In turn that was my cue to distance myself from that particular Italian tragedy, and gift the thumbs up icon (cueing my feeble support) as I had already heard this 3 years before when he asked me when I was on my way to Umbria, if the bus stopped near any crossroads where I could get off so we could meet half way. There had been a desperation permeating from his compliments – all thinly saran-wrapped in bullshit, and I had no intention of being anyone’s rebound then, and I sure wasn’t going to play second fiddle to any ex-wife (then or now).
But at the end of the day, I’m not a mean person and I’d never want to hurt anyone, so I’d never tell him I thought it was fucked and probe as why if she doesn’t want to be with him – she doesn’t get off her ass, exercise her own new-found freedom and independence and find her own place to live. No No no… because he has a preconceived notion I am nice ALL THE TIME. When it’s just just me keeping my opinions to myself. So I changed the subject and in my feverish haze gave him my ‘life’s too short’ rant and mentioned I’d like to plan an Eco-Tourism project, perhaps in Abruzzo, for which he actually gave me some useful information via government incentives and tax breaks for new businesses. (I’ll award him brownie points for that.)
Since this most recent exchange, as I sit back and ponder what what MY FUTURE could hold, he texts a few times a week now and I oblige, taking it all in with a grain of salt…
Because I just happen to have some idea of what I WANT, and if my feet end up as the only pair in this frame, I’m pretty good with that.