I can very clearly remember sitting on the red brick steps at primary school in the early 80’s with the winter sun shining down on us benevolently, chatting to my female friends of the day about our bright and shiny futures. I don’t remember us talking about careers and work and succeeding in the big wide world out there beyond the school hedge but we did talk about husbands and children and knights on white horses and houses with picket fences, 2.2 children, four cats and a dog called Rex.
I don’t remember any of us talking about going forward as upwardly mobile single women, future business moguls, managing directors, movie directors, divorced with kids, single women with kids, single women without kids, single women with dogs as kids, widows, lesbians with twins, female adults with huge chips on our shoulders and running accounts with therapists. Foremost in our simple pre-teenage minds were husbands and children and happy ever after lives. Even though many of us came from broken homes with numerous divorces and step parents by the dozens we never actually thought “”that” would happen to us. But then like all things in life you don’t, do you…………..until it happens
Leaping forward in time to a quiet autumn evening in 2011, funky music playing on the radio in the background. The temperature outside is dropping but it’s still warm enough to be sitting at the laptop in just a T-shirt banging away at the keys and hoping my fingers can type as fast as my brain is churning out the thoughts that hound me as the light outside fades to inky darkness; a perfect match to the dull ache in my heart.
It never crossed my mind that 30 odd years after this starry-eyed childhood contemplation of the future I would still be single and childless. I have never married. I have never given birth to a child. I am single. I have the most amazing girl friends. They are scattered around the globe in a modern age diaspora, and lo and behold so many of them are single as well. What happened to us along the way? How did we go from the blossom and romance of youth to jaded and single and over 40 in the blink of an eye? Is being single an unconscious decision we made somewhere along the line or a conscious one? is being single the armour we wear to protect ourselves? Or is it modern men? Did we look around us at the single men out there and think, fuck me, I would rather be single. Is it because we are the epitome of independent, self-employed, self-motivated, self-starters who are able to support ourselves, who are able to make our own way in male dominated society that we are single? Do we scare men off? Are men put off by the fact that we CAN support ourselves, that we CAN go through life without them, that we CAN purchase our own vibrators and change the batteries ourselves, that we can call an electrician, sleep with a plumber or have our newspapers delivered?
Shit I hope not. I don’t want to be single all my life.
If that is the truth, that I don’t want to be single for the rest of my days, why do I keep making the same stupid mistakes? How stupid am I? What silly romantic notions lurk in my mind? Why do I constantly repeat the mistakes of the past like a CD stuck in the same scratch?
I cannot speak for my friends but for myself………..I never set out to be a single 40 something year old, not consciously at least. I would love to have Mr Right walk into my life instead of continually seeing the back of Mr Wrong’s head as he gets booted out the door just like his predecessor. I would love to share my bed with a wonderful man, share the days happenings over dinner, walk hand in hand, bitch about the neighbours, make love in the rain and chase the dog away from the nibbles on the picnic blanket. It would be wonderful to wish one man a happy birthday for years in a row, happy 25th anniversary and scream at him for getting you into this mess as the next contraction hits. Admittedly I have a penchant for walking into a room filled with men and fancying the only man in the 1 million, one hundred and thirty-one men that are filling the space at the time that I cannot have, the married man.
I have already broken my heart over one married man for whom I would have gone to the ends of the earth. A married man who talked to a young woman of love and romance, of a home and children, of shared bank accounts and overseas holidays, of white weddings and golden anniversaries. A married man I loved with all my heart. A broken heart. A really broken heart, so broken that it would take 12 years to mend and another seven before I would actually be ready to drop the walls around me, break down the barriers and hack into the cement shell around my heart to let a man in again.
In the mist of the 19 years between existing and being ready to love again there would be no shortage of men along the way. One night stands, two-week interludes, a four-year romance, a one year joke with a man, no make that a boy, a decade younger with a humongous penis and a fabulous sense of humour. And although I loved each and everyone one for the brief 15 minutes they graced my life they never chipped the lead-lined casing protecting my aching and lonely heart. I may have cried some tears when they moved on, got asked to leave or fell off the edge of the earth but it was okay they weren’t Mr Right anyway and no I wasn’t in love with them.
Mr Right, no, no, no I meant to say Mr Wrong would make a grand entrance into my life 2010 and rock my world so much that my armour would weaken and cracks would begin to marble the plaster of my heart.
You would think that having learned my lessons along the way so well, having nursed my broken heart and knowing the male creature as well as I think I do, that I wouldn’t rush head long into another dead-end relationship, that I would hesitate before taking the plunge, that I would reflect on the pain that would be waiting in the wings, that I just wouldn’t go there again. You would think! And you would be wrong.
Alas, I never learned from those lessons life handed me. I never took heed of the treacherous road I travelled. I never worried about my achy breaky heart. I jumped headlong into the embrace of danger. I rushed heedlessly into the passionate embrace of the demon that likes me being single. You see this is the chip I carry on my shoulder, maybe single is a self-destructive state of mind; a finger that beckons you at high-speed towards the dangerous curves so that you ignore the bright yellow and black of the chevron signs.
And if this blog makes no sense to you, it is because I am unable to make sense of it myself. My attraction to the dark side, my lethal penchant for repeating the mistakes of the past for you see, I have gone and done it again…………I have broken my heart
I have fallen in love with a married man.