It happens like this. One moment you're going along, and you know it's been a difficult year - your mother's had cancer; your child turned three and temporarily lost the ability to sleep; you're been told you're post-menopausal way, way before your time; your husband's been off work all summer with a wretched back injury and an employer with less compassion than a gnat -but you're coping.
You're not only coping, you think you're making it work, and in fact you've finally cracked the writer's block and the confidence stuff and you've discovered you can write words that make other people cry, and in many ways, yes it's been one hell of a summer, but you're personally happier than you have ever been. You don't notice that you've taken your eye off the most important ball. You notice the anger, and the mood swings and the apathy, of course you do, but you don't say hang on, are you still happy, like me?
So then the trees shed one leaf too many and you're bare, bare like the branches, thinking How did this happen? How did I get here? and your husband is sending your brother a text message meant for the woman down the road and it would be funny if it weren't so very close to the bone, shall we say the bone marrow of your family, my family, my life.
Then, there's rage. There's that hour on the bench overlooking the view on the most beautiful day of the year, and those two trees against the skyline with the perfect, little tree in between, smouldering autumn trees which shouldn't be so beautiful on a day like this, when life has taken such a daft, unexpected turn. Weather does its own thing, though. Weather can be ironic.
Four nights apart help. Us, of course, not the child. The child who asks and asks and says and says, even though she took him to the airport because I thought it would make his sudden departure more real. Better than him walking out the front door and not coming back for four days.
So now it's a week later and the world's still turning. It does that, always, it's a good thing to know. The ground I stand on is not firm anymore, but at least I still have a Bim in my life and at least there is talking and love. I couldn't have been more delusional, he said from the country he has longed for all these months, than the strongest narcotic could have made me. And indeed it is clear that his breaking of the faith with us, with me, was the worst sin committed. The woman steered him, even in these early days of friendship, clearly back to me. Which is what you'd hope someone would do.
I look at my year. I look at his. Our lives did not meet very often. We are taking care, now, to make sure that they do.
It happens like this.