Archive for the ‘advice’ Category

black hole

Yesterday my husband told me that he does not recall one happy memory from our marriage. Could there be any words in any language from any time to follow that? I had thought that the day I woke up had to be the lowest of my life, but it turned out to be the first step down the long winding staircase from my tower into a dark netherworld I had no idea existed.

How did I feel: There are no words for that either, just a picture; the CGI swirling black hole which always features at the low point of the disaster movie, only inside him, inside me, inside our relationship, pulling in the light, the warmth, the joy, sucking in everything. I didn’t feel. A black hole is a region of space-time from which nothing can escape, even light: I was gone.

Imagine throwing something into the air. The harder you throw, the faster the object is travelling when it leaves your hand and the higher it will go before turning back. If you throw it hard enough it will never return, the gravitational attraction of earth (or me) will not be able to pull it back down. The velocity the object must gain to escape is known as the escape velocity. I think he is throwing his cruelty at me, harder and harder, to try to reach his escape velocity – eventually he’ll throw something so cruel so hard that he’ll break free and never come back.

But in space,as the object travels it is crushed into a smaller and smaller volume, the gravitational attraction increases, and so the escape velocity gets bigger. Things have to be thrown harder and harder to escape. Eventually a point is reached when even light (which travels at 186 thousand miles a second) is not travelling fast enough to escape. At this point, nothing can get out as nothing can travel faster than light. This is a black hole; this is where we are.

Of course, you can’t see a black hole in space (because it absorbs light); science can only tell us that there are good reasons to believe they exist – which, if you are not a scientist, puts black holes high up on the ‘don’t discuss at dinner’ shelf along with deities, ghosts and conspiracy theories. I’m more a believer than a sceptic by nature (otherwise I wouldn’t be going through this!) but in the depths of my darkness, a thought whispered in my ear like a naughty fairy:
What if I just didn’t believe him?

Not believing people isn’t nice. Relationships are built on trust and respect and that involves a commitment to accept what people say at face value, more or less. But there are times when we accept, for good reasons, what someone tells us without actually believing it – when Grandma says she still sees Grandpa sitting by the fire, when your child tells you they have stomach ache and can’t go to school. It doesn’t mean it’s true, it means it’s true for them and it lets you know where they are at that time. Grandma misses Grandpa, Charlie is feeling anxious or afraid;

my husband is a very depressed and angry man.

I need help.


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I talked with a dear friend who is a good number of years older and wiser than me. One thing I do love about being ‘une femme d’un certain age’ is the wide range of friends I can enjoy; it is fascinating and invigorating to chatter with beautifully gilded lilies of twenty-something and equally educational and inspiring to spend time at the feet of the grande dames we hope one day to be.

Anyway, this awe-inspiring life force gifted me her ear into which I poured my woes, though the conversation was rather stilted as she was on a train at the time.

We commiserated in our perplexity at the tough-skinned yet tender male of the species, and considered usefully analogous men from her past. She listened, she sipped her mineral water, and she gave her verdict. ‘To speak frankly, darling, nurture him if you can, but if he won’t screw you, then screw him!’

Later I realised that in true Delphic fashion the wisdom I had received was double-edged; was I to tell my unloving lover to f*** off? Or did she suggest that I should cut the psychobabble and straddle him as he slept?

I can only imagine what the other rail passengers made of it.

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