The Bim has got a thing about me again. I know this by a number of escalating, none-too-subtle signs.
First, I found myself the object of several longing, loving looks. Then he would come to find me in the kitchen (it's often the kitchen), put his once-welcome arms around me and give me a hug. Most alarmingly, he has even once or twice attempted to put a kiss somewhere on my face, as near to my mouth as he can get it before I turn away.
I am beginning to understand that the Bim thinks that if only I were to soften, and we had one of those conversations you see in the movies - romantic comedies, mainly, usually towards the end, after a rather nice night-time montage of the man and the woman alone in their separate houses, pacing the floors and pining at windows to a lovely saxophony soundtrack - if only we were to have our own little epiphany, we could live happily ever after.
He has dropped unmistakeable, unwieldy hints to this effect. I think that he thinks that if I made a huge effort and just decided to give it a go, all would be well. He has done his penance, he has done his time in his nice flat in a horrible place in Kent Town, and a year and a half is about long enough to have dimmed the edges of all our memories about how very, very badly we were getting along by the time the woman said 'Livvy' to me one Friday night in February and handed me the letter which would change all our lives, and it would all just make so much sense for him to move back in.
[I apologise: I always link to that bit, that bit about the woman, and the letter, and the day that changed our lives. I have a feeling that when I am able to write about it without linking it will mean that I have become extremely enlightened and qualified to write a self-help book and make inspirational podcasts].
The Bim's parents have just been over from Ireland, and I could tell that they think it would make more sense, too. They stayed at his flat, as they do now when they come (bringing a great, personal relief that I do not have to have the conversation with my mother-in-law about the best way to get my white sink white again - a discussion which never failed to make me feel woefully wanting in housekeeping prowess), but I was more involved in their visit than I have been of late. This meant that they saw much of me and the Bim in parent action; and the thought wafted clearly through the room more than once: if only he works hard enough at it, Livvy might change her mind.
The Bim understands, now, what he lost. And for understanding, I guess, he feels he deserves to have what he lost restored.
What he does not understand is that Livvy would never, ever have let him leave the family home had she not known that it was forever. She would never have put Anna-mouse through that desperate time unless she was sure. Livvy knew then the toll that the Bim's leaving would take - on Anna-mouse and on herself. Livvy did her thinking/angsting/chest-beating at the time, and in the agonising months before that, so that the woman-with-letter was merely the catalyst, not the cause, for what ensued.
But... for the record, and because I am asked the question alot, actually, by all sorts of people, as we are frequently seen together in our parenting capacity, and because we have to our credit managed to maintain an amicability which astonishes even me:
No, the Bim and I will not be 'getting back together'.
Yes, I still ache to my core to know this and yes I pretend not to most of the time.
No, there is no-one else in either of our lives.
Yes, I know one day I'm going to have to revise the enormous distrust I have developed of the opposite sex.
No, of course all men don't lie, I know that!
Yes, it was as much about what I said, or did, or didn't say as it was about what the Bim said, or did, or didn't say.
No, I don't like the sound of that either: it would be much easier to act the guiltless wronged than take some of the responsibility myself.
Yes, I still love him.
No, not like that anymore.
Yes, I'm going to have to say all this to the Bim.
No. No, not tomorrow.