Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I caught myself standing by the sink the other day, suddenly brought up short by the extreme contrast between my life now and my life two years ago. I have talked a lot about the difference between this year and last year, but that only scratches the surface: whether or not I am happy pales beside the gulf that opens between my "faithful husband" phase and my "ready to be the third point of a triangle" phase. Of course I am delighted, if guiltily so, that the original second point on the triangle has decamped, but the fact is that I was ready to play second fiddle, and God knows, third and fourth fiddle... the Goat has let me know that he dates our "togetherness" considerably later than I do, and that he did in fact sleep with a number of friends beside the RBF in the months when I was trying to figure out where the hell I stood with him.

In line, is the answer to that one.

"Oh, the line forms at the right, dear,
Now that Mackie's back in town

The whole business of sleeping with friends was one of the "liberated" aspects of life that I left with a bang thirty years ago, as it seemed to be doing nothing but costing me friends. And it seems as immature to me now as my commitment to something more than that does to the Goat. I had a similar gulf between my father-in-law and me: he had started out in a Christian home and had had to fight like the devil to get out of it; my experience was pretty much the reverse, having been schooled as a free-thinker, but with the background of my family's churchless faith, which I came to embrace. So we each looked at each other and saw the outlines of the adolescent selves we had left behind.

Something like that is now going on with the Goat. What makes the mix even curiouser is that I was in a somewhat similar position with Isis, who was still operating in contemporary free-love mode when we met, and who found my unwillingness to play ball a puzzle.

So here I am. I have made my peace with the fact that I am unlikely to be able to count on the Goat's fidelity, though he does go on and on about his record with monogamy these days: the proof of the pudding is in the eating. It is just one of a million little fault-lines that run through our relationship.

We are not alone in this; I was shocked to discover, as things began to unravel, that in some fundamental ways Isis had completely misunderstood many of my actions from the beginning. I have to say I couldn't tell whether I was more blown away by the fact that I had been misunderstood for a quarter of a century, or by the fact that she had stood by me anyway. There is no faulting her on loyalty; that is apparently my weak-point.

My biggest worry is that having once failed in love by failing to forgive, I can see all too clearly how, without the enormous difference made by three children and decades of living together, I could fail again. Not a pretty thought, but then, I don't often offer a pretty sight...

I am back between, caught between those who know how it is meant to be in one world, and those who know how it is meant to be in the other, and the space in between that I can manage to hold onto for my own freedom of action seems to be in fact looking-glass thin. What is it about people that makes them want to set out the law of the land, even among outlaws? When I say "looking-glass," I think I know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I will probably be chewing on this one for a while. If you have any thoughts on the subject, throw me a bone, as they say...

I'm off to my mother's for a few days, to touch base with the Favorite Daughter, who is there on a visit, so I may not be around for a while... and I leave for Vacationland in less than two weeks, which is simultaneously thrilling and terrifying. There is so much to do, like my taxes, before I go...

Hang in there, all.
My thoughts are with you, as I hope you know.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for visiting me and leaving a note. I must wade through your thoughts more to figure out you a bit. Take care and feel free to link to me. Jen