Saturday, 10 April 2010
Two days of sunshine and I want to cut the lawn. When I say lawn, I mean the section of the fields that surround my house that lie inside the fence. I have a ride on mower that I use to tame the expanse of grass and stinging nettles. However, this year, I haven't had it serviced because last year it cost a fortune (partly because by the time I had it serviced there was such a backlog that I had weeks to wait and then the grass was knee high and on the first outing I ran over a croquet ball which knackered the mower).
The ride on had been my husband's baby and I had never touched it until we separated 18 months ago, and I didn't know whether I could get it to work having not used it for 6 months. Soooo... I tried.. and failed.. no life at all (at this point I need to confess I have a degree and a doctorate in engineering). Think, think - any petrol - yes.. petrol valve open - yes... must be the battery. Hang, on where the #$"£%*& is the battery..??? 10 mins of searching, feeling like an idiot, and I find it under the seat. I know I have a battery charger in here somewhere.. ah found it.. now think, think - I THINK it is red terminal on first then black and reverse it when taking off (I have had quite a few cars that needed jump starting).. quick google check to be sure. And then leave to charge. When I sat on the mower later and it started I wept with relief.
I don't think many would understand, but I think those newly separated would. There are so many things I have never done (I started going out with my future husband when I was only 14) and each time I do one of those things it makes me cry - when I bought my new computer and made it work, when I installed the new washing machine, when I unblocked the sink. It feels pathetic and I can only think that the tears represent more than the event itself, they represent the grief of losing a partner and all the hopes and dreams that were associated with that and also the acknowledgement of the aloneness, the loneliness.
People used to tell me about the loneliness after their partner died, I would listen and feel sad, but I didn't understand. Now I have met 'loneliness', it is more than a word or an emotion, it is like a person, a demon, cold and cruel, and familiar. Now when people talk of loneliness I quake a little for I know exactly who they speak of. Fortunately for me it only strikes when the kids are away at the weekend.
I mowed the lawn in the dark, like a mad thing, headlights shining and tears sliding down my face. I used to think that people choose to separate, one or other or both decided it was best. Now I feel that it is more like when one chooses to remove a limb that has gangrene, or when one chooses to abort a pregnancy when the child is dying. But then I also know better than to extrapolate from my own situation and think that the situations of others are the same as mine.