The Paradise of Fools

So I am living in limbo right now.

I think, I think, with my mother’s help and my savings, I will be able to get a mortgage on a very small flat. My mother, however, is smack in the middle of an insanely large (and gloriously insane) project right now and is communicating mostly 48-hourly text messages saying, basically, ‘thinking of you, speak to you when Project Insanity is over’. I don’t want to start flat-hunting until I know exactly what I can afford. I call this ‘being quite sensible’, but my sense of what is sensible has taken such a smacking it has demagnetised and occasionally points to the Faroe Islands.

The Velociraptor is, I suppose you could say, in a cage in the middle of the kitchen. It’s no longer chewing holes in the marriage/floor joists, but every time I have another quick peek at the damage, I find something else shredded, sagging off its hinges, or barely held together with duct tape and white-wash. And the cage is taking up rather a lot of room. And it’s still in my house.

The thing is, at least one of us is stuck here until the end of May, as that’s how long the lease is for. H and I are being very adult, civilized, and polite to each other. And, vitally, there are two bedrooms, and H is now sleeping in the other one. Technically, I could stay here until the lease runs out. It’s not horrible. It’s just miserable.

It is so miserable. I already miss H so much. Well, I miss the person I thought H was. As I was coming out of the station this evening on my way home, I bumped into H going the other way (he had a thing to go to), and my poor stupid Golden Retriever of a heart leapt up with happiness – it’s my favourite human! There he is! My human! – and I actually trotted over to him, smiling and pleased, to say hi. And put my hand on his arm, and had him smile back at me. And walked home leaking tears because he wasn’t my human after all and I was going to have to leave him soon.

I loved him so.

My H, who brought me tea every morning we woke up in the same building. Who gave me Doctor Who DVDs for birthdays and Christmas. Who would empty and wash out washing-up basins for me when I was vomiting uncontrollably every stupid month. Who would run me a bath if I was tired and cranky of an evening. Who would text me at work to let me know if the trains were running late. Who took on most of the housework uncomplainingly when my chronic pain and constant miscarriages turned me into a sofa-dwelling slug for weeks and weeks on end. My H, my kind, sweet, affectionate H.

And all the time, he had this catastrophic secret.

Back in, I think, November? H and I had an ugly fight, in which, eventually, I broke down in tears and asked him why he had said so few nice things to me since the miscarriage/DVT/PE debacle? He always used to be verbally affectionate, saying he loved me or that I looked cute in that dress or some such lovely remark every few days. And this had stopped but completely. (In fact, the first time I brought it up, a few weeks earlier, the next day H stopped in the middle of the pavement, cupped my face in his hand, gazed upon me with a faint smile for some seconds, and said, I quote, ‘these last couple of years have really aged you.’ Holy fuck, H, what the hell?). Anyway, we had a row, and I, having ranted at length at how yes I did mind his never saying he loved me any more, asked him why he’d stopped? And he answered, very irritably, ‘It’s never a good time.’

There, that there, should have been the enormous great screaming claxon of THIS RELATIONSHIP IS APPROACHING THE DEATH ZONE.

But instead we were hunting for a counsellor and planning an FET (an FET, incidentally, I should be right in the middle of right now this minute) and I was starting to feel optimistic that maybe this would be OK (the marriage, that is, not the FET, because I was not utterly lost to the pink clouds of delusion).

And then I found out about the Velociraptor.

25 responses to “The Paradise of Fools

  • F. U. Velociraptor (@fuvelociraptor)

    You could probably afford rather a nice flat in the Faroe Islands. The commute is likely to be a bear, but think of all the lovely reading and knitting time on all the planes, trains and buses. No? London it is, then.

    I am glad your mother can help you expand your housing options. It’s a small consolation, but one without which things would probably be even worse.

  • chon

    The last few years have really aged you. Ouch. sucker punch to the heart. I am so terribly sorry. Mama bear though quit with your hideously busy project. Your daughter needs you.

  • Mina

    That, exactly, that Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde thing is throwing me off as well. How did you not punch him in the face or goolies for the aging line?

    Have you ever played Dynomite? Mind-numbing little game, sadly appropriate in the context. You can play hours at it, without being aware there have been hours. Don’t ask me how I know.

    I do hope you are moving on with the plans soon, and the flat hunting and the actual moving on will help you find a bit of peace. It breaks my heart to think of you, still sharing the flat with H, living this turmoil every day, going through the motions and trying to rewire your brain and habits to this new, harsh reality. I am so very sorry, May. Don’t try to poke the velociraptor in its cage, no one can win anything when they have lost so much, especially all at once, as you did.

  • Jo

    I still have no words. But I think of you every day. Sending so much love. And hugs. And copious amounts of virtual alcohol.

  • KeAnne

    I’m glad that your mom might be able to help and hopefully sooner rather than later. It must be so awkward and painful to still have to live w/ H until other arrangements can be made.

  • starrhillgirl

    Hang tight. Just hang tight.

  • Chris

    I’m a very long time lurker, who seldom comments, but I am so very sorry and sending good thoughts and such for what must be an unbearable time with such an unwanted houseguest in your kitchen.

  • carole

    You are being very sensible, considerate and adult to allow H and his stinking sodding raptor to be still taking up space in your house at all! Yes, yes I know that it’s probably a joint lease, but I’m not sure I could have restrained myself from the throwing clothes, pre-historic animals and everything else into the streets and changing the locks. I hope you can get flat hunting very soon! Grit your teeth and this too shall pass – wishing you strength and patience. You are an amazing person!

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    Your poor, POOR Golden Retriever didn’t notice its kennel was dark, cold, terribly dilapidated, its bed down to a thin layer of padding, the whole of its domain reduced to an island floating atop… well, fluid dinosaur products. Golden Retrievers, the lovely animals, are notorious for repaying neglect with love. And when one sees that happen, all one can hope and work towards is for the next kennel being dry, light, warm, and entirely restorative.

  • Ren

    Long time lurker . . .

    I wish I didn’t understand – but I do. I ended up living with my ex for two horrible months, in separate bedrooms, and I was miserable. I was much happier once I was back in a safe place surrounded by friends and family.

    Just breathe, and once you have a handle on that – thrive without him. Someone else already spoke about this better than I can:

    I hope you find some solid ground free from velociraptors soon.

  • Jane

    You have such a good, good heart, you golden retriever girl. It was crushing to read that your heart leapt at the sight of your human (of course it did). And he smiled back at you. That is just plain crazy-making. Walk away from that heart, which, for whatever reptilian reason, cannot bring itself to love you. You would wish the same for any friend you hold dear.

  • Melissa

    Wow. I can’t believe he actually said that. While harboring some huge, horrible secret. If he can’t say the same of himself then he really hasn’t been in this with you 100%. Continuing to send all my positive vibes to you.

  • a

    Good luck in the house hunting – I hope you find a wonderful new home. You’ve got plenty of strength, so the next little bit of time that you must spend cohabiting with velociraptors and their keeper is survivable.

    Why do you think you should have stopped loving H? Anger and betrayal and non-negotiable behaviors do not kill love – they just (very necessarily!) raise the walls of self-protection. The parts you love are still there – they’re now just outweighed by dealbreakers. So, you’re not a stupid Golden Retriever.

    • Jenny

      This is quite true. Deal-breakers break deals, they don’t change the essence of human beings, either you or H. Doesn’t make you stupid, either to have loved or to love now, despite your new knowledge.

      (I’ve lurked for years and commented only once before, I think. But am so distressed for you. So very sorry. And wishing you strength and peace and absence of fear.)

  • j

    Even when we are so attached to the human we love and adore, it not our job, nor is it within our power, to separate said human from his or her velociraptor. That is up to the human in question, and it may even be the definition of what makes each of us human. G*dspeed on moving to a velociraptor-free dwelling, May!

    I worry a bit about the timing of the manifest withdrawal of H’s affection toward you — was this *merely” fallout from the trauma he experienced from your life-threatening illness, or your first visible tip of the unfeeling/unloving iceberg he’s harbored toward you a long while? Or mabye a bit of both. In the end, the answer to that changes nothing. The liminal space is painful, so painful for all involved. Respectful hugs to you and H (in separate rooms).

  • Dr Spouse

    Can you go and stay with people at weekends, at least so you have a bit of space? It’s only a couple of hours up here… and you get your own floor (that is, a whole floor to yourself, not as in, you have to sleep on the floor).

  • L.

    Sorry for VERY long comment…

    As someone wise once said, being the golden retriever when love’s been lost sucks hairy donkey balls, yet the golden retriever is the best and purest part of you. One day, it will again be the thing that makes your life happiest and best.

    You’re not the first to discover a completely unexpected velociraptor, but it doesn’t make the mystery any less fresh or miserable–who did I love? Does the person I thought I loved exist and how is it possible they could simultaneously have been a velociraptor-owning type of person?

    Maybe you know all this, but I’m saying it just in case: My dad once said to me about a person who I was worrying might have taken advantage of me: shame on them, not you. This stuck with me because I’m prone to beat up on myself for naivete. Giving and loving and trusting aren’t a crime and they aren’t even a bad decision; we do these things because they are wonderful and it’s deadening and awful not to. But sometimes people do betray us and we’re more vulnerable when it happens.

    Right now, in this moment, I can’t believe H. said those things to you, but I know all too well how in the moment a person can filter what another says. I don’t know how he could have owned a velociraptor and I don’t know what possessed him to grow cruel, but it isn’t your fault for not knowing. And of course you miss the non-theropod-sheltering H. you knew until so recently. Both of those things are essentially to your credit, though they cause you pain.

    I hope you get the heck out of there as soon as you can, but it is sensible to wait until you know what you can afford, because money worries are a whole other type of hell and you don’t want to leap out of the frying pan etc. etc. But agree with the person above, I wish your mom would take a moment to help you move forward, insane project or no. (Picturing M extracting James Bond out of hostile territory or something).

  • stilllearning2b

    It is so hard when we find out that the person we love is a mirage, an illusion built of deceptions designed to cover and smooth. It’s jolting, jarring. A stutter of the brain and the senses. It calls everything into question as you try to merge what you thought you knew with what you know. It sounds like you are at a point where the big picture is unknown and scary. Hold on to the image of where you want to go but focus only on the next baby step. And then the one after that. It sounds as though you have people that will hold your hand while you walk. Grasp tightly, and let them support you. Thinking of you,

  • Lilian

    Glad your mum is able to help you out with a flat, and hope she sorts her project out soon! I think Dr Spouse’s idea of going away for weekends is probably a good one. Thinking of you.

  • Twangy

    If fortune favours the brave, as per its ancient promise, you deserve an actual Piece of Heaven for a place to live. So glad you have people to help you. This is definitely something.

    Thinking of you, May. Hugs.

  • g

    oh, lovely May.

    This blows.

    Get your own little box/flat and be happy,



  • Persnickety

    I am so sorry that you are going through this. IHugs.

    And the nit picky compliance person inside of me ( who does get to read a certain amount of horrible stuff about things people do when money involved) wants to know whether property you buy while separated but not yet legally split is still part of the joint property. Because that would be even worse, getting your own space and then discovering that it is not entirely yours, that the velociraptor has managed to get little claws in even there.

  • katyboo1

    Cannot add anything to the wise advice from all of these lovely people above, but still holding you in my heart. Which sounds utterly cheesetastic, but it isn’t. xxx

  • Anon

    So this may or may not be helpful; it’s intended to be, but if it’s not, please just discard or delete it.

    I’m writing as someone who kept a dinosaur hidden from my own husband. I don’t know what breed to call mine — whether it was a velociraptor — because I don’t know what H did, but I know I kept my dinosaur hidden for several years. It grew from tiny lizard size to something much larger and nastier, doing damage that was harder and harder to hide (why did we need to have contractors in so often to do repairs? and so forth.) Similar enough, anyway.

    The experience of keeping and caring for a dinosaur is very like mental illness. I had to be the kind of person who would keep such a destructive secret, and also the kind of person who would never, under any circumstances, keep such a secret, and also a third person who could make excuses to myself and justify keeping such a secret, ferrying back and forth between the first two. The split was just about killing me. Hence the irritability and the cessation of affection; I badly needed it to be my husband’s fault (even though it was in absolutely no way, no way AT ALL his fault.) If I could be cold to him, I could pretend it was his issue; we were just “growing apart.” I’ve never been so miserable, but the roars of the dinosaur to be fed seemed louder than everything else.

    Then my dinosaur was found, and at the look on my husband’s face, all three of the people I had turned into collapsed into a messy bloody slushy heap of what-in-God’s-name-have-I-done. I instantly threw the dinosaur out of the house and exposed every trace of its growth, care, and feeding, and I groveled for pardon.

    I was lucky (so lucky.) After a long time, I have a solid marriage again, albeit with visible scars. I will never not-have-had-a-dinosaur. It was there. I’ll never deny it. I was damaged by it and so was my husband. But I’ll never go near one again.

    I don’t say this to imply you should behave as my husband did. And I don’t say it to excuse H.for whatever he has done. There was no excuse at all for my behavior, and if my husband had chosen to divorce me, I’d have admitted he was right. And maybe you already know all this. I say it more to offer possible insight, I suppose, and sympathy with you, and solidarity.

    Again, if this seems unhelpful for you now, or irrelevant, please feel free to get rid of this comment. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time but chose to comment anonymously today for perhaps obvious reasons.

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