I've been thinking about this for a while now. To be more precise, ever since we did this workshop as a team-building exercise for Calcutta Walks. We were are asked to share a personal secret with the group, something we had never told anybody else. Now, in real life I'm a lot more close-mouthed than I am here in Sunny Days. I mean, I would answer your questions but I'm also very good at dodging questions I'd rather avoid.
This once though, I was in the mood to confide, so, faced with two warring tendencies (to retain my privacy vs. share my feelings) I told the group about how my ex-boyfriend and I (my first boyfriend, I mean) prefer not to spend too much time in each other's company. They took it to mean that I find it hard, and were all set to pat my back consolingly and suggested that I do in fact meet up with him to get over the awkwardness.
But the joke is, there is no awkwardness. The problem, if there is indeed one here, is the opposite. We get along as well as we ever did, and that was always very well at all. Now that we are both married obviously our partners know our private selves better -- but we still get along rather too well for my comfort. I'm old-fashioned. I think once you're married you clearly draw a line. I'm well aware that not everybody feels that way but I do, and I know this guy (let's call him S) is also just as old-fashioned. It's not about finishing each other's sentences or something so obvious. It's an affection that I cannot hide. I wouldn't call it love now, but it's an affection that I would rather not feel towards another woman's husband, because I really like his wife too and would not want to cause her any distress in any way at all. His wife knows our history and I wouldn't have been surprised had she been aloof towards me, but she has always been engagingly friendly and I would like to keep it that way.
Nor am I very sure how V sees this particular relationship. He never does seem very comfortable around them. This is upsetting for me, because, well, coming to live in Cal has meant a big break from my beloved South and while I love the city of my birth, it's hard not having much contact with the place of my childhood any more. At such a point in my life, when friends are leaving and I am trying to cope with it, meeting S and his wife (and his brother and his wife) added a lot to our trip last weekend. It was great to meet these two people who had known me as a kid, who had in part brought me up, who knew me and didn't need explanations or apologies. These were people who loved my son not because he was attractive or charming but because they would love any child of mine (as I would any of theirs). In Calcutta where I still feel like an outsider in some aspects, I miss this taking for granted.
And because this means so much to me, and these guys do too, I badly want things to be comfortable between us all. S too seems to be making a similar effort to not think of the past but to live in the present. It is impossible to ignore our past, of course, but one can refuse to go deep into memories better left undisturbed.
And when I read Poppin's Mom writing about easy divorces, it upset me. Because in my book, when you get married, you are aiming at a life-time with that one person. I am not saying that it will work out or even that it absolutely has to come what may -- but every marriage is worth fighting for. Would you give up your job without a fight? Your parents? Your siblings? Your children? Your home? Is your marriage worth less than any of these?
S and I married other people in the end, and it wasn't an easy decision for either of us to make. But seeing him work so hard at his new relationship helped me strengthen my own mind when I decided to marry V. If he could teach himself to adapt and be happy why couldn't I? V and I have our problems and we fight too much and we are too violent around a little Bhablet. Yes, but we also try, over and over again, to remember the good times, to remember that we have something to fight for together as well. The Bhablet doesn't hold us together. He brings us closer, I sometimes feel, but in the end it is V and I who are building this marriage. And I would fight for him any time.