Today I went to the children’s Christmas show at school. I was one of the first to seat myself in the audience, so I got one of the best seats. I was able to chat with a few other parents and think how lovely it is that I have settled here enough to get to know people a bit.
It’s always a bit of a shock when one moment everything seems normal, and the next I’m blindsided by a realisation of how it never was normal before. Honestly, if it can happen at such a mundane moment, I can’t predict when it’ll hit me. Recent examples: sitting with a group of people and seeing a man include his wife in a conversation and bring her up to speed. And suddenly I was hit by the thought: H never did that for me. Never. A friend talking about shopping on her own and saying she wished her husband could have gone with her. Pow: That thought had not even occurred to me, that a man and a woman would just spend time together like that. And enjoy it.
So back to this afternoon. The thing is, H strongly resisted being on time. He wanted to be late, at some level, to signal to everyone that he was a very important man and that he was squeezing this event in to a demanding schedule. Likewise, getting to know people in a community. He would single out a few people who seemed prestigious; the others he could be charming to, but ultimately they were beneath him and not worth any investment to get to know. Even at church, most of the members were just written off like that. There were maybe two people in the church that he showed any interest in. The rest were casually dismissed.
The flipside of having these unexpected realisations in the most normal of circumstances is that I have so much to appreciate about my life now that I am away from him. I can arrive at a school production relaxed and excited. I can talk to friends and get to know them. I can spend time doing what I want to do. It is hard to believe to leave someone after over ten years of marriage and six months later to have had no regrets. But these little moments, hard as they are, make me feel so much more alive.