Tearing at the Fabric

Of the space-time continuum


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Tales from the hammam…

We went to a local hammam in Fes city.

It was really great. Totally outside of most of our group’s comfort zone, but hey, I surprised myself (not really, I’m braver than I sound) and was first down to her knickers before we entered the hot room.

Once the scrubbing started – by a large, pendulous breasted Muslim woman, whose body odour was … challenging, naked breasts hitting my face hilarious, and her good humour infectious – I actually kinda enjoyed it. I didn’t expect my breasts and buttocks to be so thoroughly, and enthusiastically sandpapered! Her doing my back made me realise how I have no intimate human touch in my life. Yes, friends and my children hug me. But, my back was ACHING to be itched! And now I can’t get any more of that, and it is itchy as all hell. It was a bit … weird having my genitals pummeled as she scrubbed my thighs! Good lord 😂. Like rough sex, without any penetration!

Anyway, after the first two of us were done by this woman, we got chatting. Cyndy is a 62 year old, ex-hippy Canadian mother of three, grandmother of one. She asked me about my single status.

Awesome, lol. My (not) favourite subject!

I briefly banged out my usual patter, “twelve months ago, my beloved partner of thirty years up and left me for a woman he met online, lying to her, saying he was single.”

She gasped softly, shook her head sadly, and asked me how I was being so kickarse, that I was a very fun, good looking (???) 50-something year old, with a wicked sense of humour, and a real sparkle.

I said, it’s been harder and more heartbreaking than she could possibly imagine, but that my best response is to try to live well. That my enthusiasm for life, my interest in other people is a mask for the deep pain I feel every minute of every day, but I just must keep living as well as I possibly can.

She then asked me if I saw it coming.

The crazy thing is, the honest answer is no. Not at all.

You’d think after I knew he was a cheater, after all I’ve learned about cheaters, his lying for decades, his love addiction diagnosis, that I should not have been shocked.

But I was. I still am. I don’t know who this Roger is. My darling bear was nothing like this cruel, heartbreaking bastard. He just picked up all the love I thought he felt for me (the “love of his life” – yeah, right) and landed it HARD on Trinket. Here you go, Trinket, see how YOU do with this. I broke the last woman who loved me. How strong are you?

It’s so fucked up, you just can’t fathom it.

Anyway, I tell this brief tale, to illustrate who I am in day-to-day life. I am nothing like the stuff that gets put down here. I function. I get shit done I try my damnedest to live well. To love, laugh, appreciate, give back.

The reality is, I am heartbroken still, but have to lug that broken heart around, like a sack of bricks, but obviously do it pretty well to the outside world. I am kinda proud of that. That my pain is not worn on my sleeve.

And Bella, my racing friend, has been sending me the sweetest messages, about my holiday, and that no one deserves it more than me, etc. I feel very embarrassed and humbled. She is supposed to be Roger’s friend. I just brush it off, kindly, saying we have all worked damn hard.

But, I know I did work my butt off. There is nothing that will ever compensate for the utter agony of working so hard to achieve the goal, only to see some cunning bitch swoop in and steal it all away from you.

But, I can’t change a damn thing, just live well. Coming into the poshest, leafiest areas of London tonight, in the wee small hours, driving over Westminster Bridge, etc, above ground, in a minicab, instead of the pregnant girl who arrived here in 1992, with £200 in her pocket, on the tube – that was an emotional moment.

Being greeted with the warmest bear hug, a packet of tampons (tip, don’t get your period unprepared in a Muslim country…) and a good English cup of tea at 2am, by Sammy was just delicious.

Lying here in her lovely Maida Vale apartment, contemplating a lush weekend? This is the stuff I worked for. This is the stuff Roger is missing out on. Sharing this with me. I guess Trinket must be hella special, huh?

Cunts.

Night peeps. I gotta get some sleep 😴😴😴


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Blighty

Back in Blighty.

The same airport and arrivals hall I arrived into nearly 27 years ago, with an unplanned for, unknown passenger on board.

S, our eldest daughter.

And I kid you not, the universe is totally messing with me, because, I got my damn period just before boarding, and have exactly one tampon on me.

Yeah, me, who never menstruated, until after cervical cancer surgery which was supposed to put me into early menopause.

Fuck’s sake…

I wonder what would have happened to my life, had she not turned up?

He sacked me then.

I tried to ensure we only reconciled because of love, not obligation.

What a gigantic fucking fuck up.

He never loved me like I loved him.

That hurts so damn much.

So, onto a new part of my adventure, with tears in my eyes in the back of a minicab, in the dark.

I’m alright, just heartbroken.


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When the anger hits..

Been wound up.

Trinket pays his bills.

Because, you know, adulting is hard.

The only problem I have with that is that she has full and free access to joint accounts we still have.

Which is actually against all banking laws. They are breaking the law. These are joint accounts, not his.

It feels so invasive. She can be his mother, like I was for thirty years, and organise his life, but keep your nosey beak out of my accounts.

Anyway, I let it go, my lawyer was furious when she found this out, but I know he would just lie, minimise, deny, etc, if I ever brought it up. So, I suck it up, and watch the accounts like a hawk.

These guys, who fuck around, give their loyal, loving partners diseases, break our hearts, then discard us, who dismiss the women who love and care for them are just horrendous.

How does that intense love turn into this? I have never understood it. Still don’t.

So yeah, a night of little to no sleep as I saw tens of thousands of dollars withdrawn from accounts, without a breakdown from him. I knew there were tax payments upcoming. I normally handle them, but with travel, no data, and poor wifi, I said it was fine for him to do these. But the number of transactions last night seemed excessive, and I had to wait until this morning to catch up with what had happened.

So fucking ready for London….

Anyway, today was magical. We went to the Fes medina, the largest motorised vehicle-free one in the world. I was naughty, and bought a beautiful grey, suede jacket – for London, of course 😂.

Also a couple of other things.

Whoops!Followed by a trip to an art school, where mosaic artists are taught.

In love!Final thing was to step right outside our comfort zone, and go to the local hamam. Bath house.

Where you strip to your knickers, and a woman scrubs you within an inch of your life.

The group of ten women I went with were mostly a bit concerned. Western body image issues.

But we all did it and feel brand new.

I can’t help myself but think how my old body compares. The age range was 21 to 62.

And, it’s pretty bad, but my body was firmer and slimmer than any others there. WTF? Who even am I these days???

Anyway, vanity aside, getting pretty stoked about flying to London tomorrow night! Sam has spoiled me and ordered a minicab to collect me, because I arrive after the express stops running!

Naw.

How damn cute is she?

I haven’t been to London since Roger and I had six months apart in 1992-93!

Squee!


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Mightiness. A stocktake.

Chump Lady regularly asks her readers to share their mightiness tales.Stories about how they have survived, nay, overcome their cheating partners and divorce. There are some incredible, brave stories of the strength of human character. And some examples of just how scummy and despicable cheaters are. Leaving you soon after childbirth, during cancer treatment (ding, ding, ding!) Etc. Read her. Please. She’s good. I am in awe of many of these former chumps.But, then I try to turn the lens back on me. I have done some super strong things, despite feeling like I have been so torn apart by his deception, devaluation and discard. Thrown on his scrapheap.

I clawed my way to healing from his 18 month long affair with a person I thought was my friend. I held down a job, did accounts and weekend relief for the farm. I shopped, cooked, cleaned, raised kids pretty nearly alone, while enrolling back at university in two totally different fields than I had ever studied before. I won eight scholarships, was inducted into an Honour Society. I won university awards and completed my undergrad degree with a double major in just two years, maintaining an A+ in every paper bar one group one, where our group gained an A. I won a full scholarship to complete my Masters. I aced that with First Class Honours, and have a book chapter about to be published. I faced cancer surgery and subsequent radiotherapy alone, a week after shifting mine and my kids’ lives to a new property. I survived a heart condition that will always be with me. I have fought – and still fight – suicidal ideation and self harming behaviours for the past nine months, and am still here. I often feel like life’s biggest loser because the man I love, gave my everything to, hates me. But, I need to keep reminding myself that there is mightiness buried in me. My heart is completely broken, and I don’t think it will ever recover. But I did not deserve any of this, my grief will go on, but my spirit is still fighting hard to not let those cheaters destroy what is left of me.


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Morocco

So, no data at the moment, as my provider promised me I was covered here.

But, I’m not.

Here in Chefchaouen, the blue city tonight and tomorrow night.

It’s gorgeous, but with no data, and arriving at night, a quick walk through the medina, and a traditional Moroccan meal, I haven’t had time to photograph much here.

We came in through Tangier.

We had a wonderful day trip at the end of our Spanish leg. Down through Vejer de la Frontera…

Stunning.

Then down to Gilbraltar.

Which was hilarious, as we left Spain, over the border, British weather kicked in! Dull, drizzly, windy.

…and Spanish sunshine returned as we popped back over into Andalucia 🤣.

On the way home, our bizarre driver got us lost, despite Kate telling him he was going the wrong way.

Three times!

But, we finally made it to Ronda, over two hours later than planned…

Throughout all of this beauty and adventure, my broken heart is still being a total wanker.

I really don’t get it. I mean, of course I do. It’s trauma. But man, really? WTAF? It fucking SUCKS!

My friend keeps telling me I’m doing great. That she was nearly seven years in this hell, barely functional. And in many ways, I am. But FFS, the ache, the agony of this just never goes away. It really doesn’t. You carry it in your body.

One friend asked me yesterday what I think Trinket’s family – specifically her parents and siblings – think of her husband poaching ways?

I just shrugged and said, I dunno. Obviously no one gives a fuck anymore about morals, empathy and treating other people as you would like to be treated. I know I would be bloody livid if one of my kids hurt another human in this way. If I thought they were cheaters. If they broke up anyone’s relationship. They would be told in no uncertain terms that is not acceptable. That their cheating partner was not welcome in my home.

I recall saying that to Rog on many occasions, when his sister broke up her boss’s marriage. Why did your parents allow the new “happy couple” to live on their property? That is pretty abominable. It always grated with me. My mother would have ripped me a new one, hurting the mother of his child in that way.

Karma got her.

Seven years and two kids later, they divorced due to his serial cheating. So, yeah, cheating is in Roger’s genes. And their acceptance of cheating as a family just shows how the family values were shaped.

Ugh. So gross. It makes me so angry to think I was a loving part of that family for twenty years, until his sisters got angry with him, and therefore, by default, me. And thirty years of being an involved daughter-in-law….means nothing to them now. Losing my mother-in-law at the same time as losing my partnership….such a blow.

Today, I was going on a mountain hike through the hashish fields, but just found out it is now cancelled.

Bummer.

Some mountain air would have been marvellous. But, instead, loads of time now to wander through the medina, and check out the beautiful blue town, before heading onto Fes tomorrow morning.

Just. Keep. Going.

You broken hearted warrior.


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Reminders from the literature

An abuser can seem emotionally needy. You can get caught in a trap of catering to him, trying to fill a bottomless pit. But he’s not so much needy as entitled, so no matter how much you give him, it will never be enough. He will just keep coming up with more demands because he believes his needs are your responsibility, until you feel drained down to nothing.

When the pain waves hit, and you struggle to remember you are a strong, capable woman, who was used and abused by their code of idolise, devalue, discard, you remind yourself of the reality.

Re-reading Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men. It is so clear. I always wondered why Rog was so emotionally needy. It was pointed out to him, when he FINALLY agreed to come to counselling with me, nearly three years after D-day, by reputedly one of the best couples therapists in our country (the guy that diagnosed him as a love addict) as his anxious attachment style. Inadvertently caused by his mother’s depression as a small child. She loved him to bits. But with fragile mental health then (which no one ever named!) he got the message of come here, go away.

So confusing for a small boy.

I tried so hard to love him totally. Thought my love would be enough.

I loved him with absolutely everything I have.

But, once he hurt me, he got angry I wasn’t the same person I was prior to his fucking around, giving me diseases, and himself to another woman, lying and making me feel like I was losing my mind.

He was quietly seething that I was broken and hurt. Of course it had nothing to do with his actions, and his continued need to be right, and in control (see such evidence as him refusing to change his phone number to cut contact with her, him meeting her and sleeping with her again, two years later, it was never his actions at fault, always my reaction….)

One of the things that always got me was how infuriating he could be. Totally stubborn. Always right.

And always so damn “calm.”

People like Rog. So much. Not everyone has been able to comprehend his cruelty. So then, of course, it must be me. I must have deserved his abuse.

YOUR ABUSIVE PARTNER DOESN’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HIS ANGER; HE HAS A PROBLEM WITH YOUR ANGER.
One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn’t rise and your blood shouldn’t boil. The privilege of rage is reserved for him alone. When your anger does jump out of you—as will happen to any abused woman from time to time—he is likely to try to jam it back down your throat as quickly as he can. Then he uses your anger against you to prove what an irrational person you are. Abuse can make you feel straitjacketed. You may develop physical or emotional reactions to swallowing your anger, such as depression, nightmares, emotional numbing, or eating and sleeping problems, which your partner may use as an excuse to belittle you further or make you feel crazy

I was portrayed as “unstable,” when I got upset. My rage at the injustice…not allowed. Just calm down and pretend all is well. Calm your farm. Don’t get your tits in a tangle. Sheesh.

When I started to withdraw and isolate, in reaction, there was something wrong with me.

Hell, even I started to think there was.

No. He was still being secretive, still pretending to be loving, honourable, while making several online dating profiles and chatting to dozens of other women, still lying.

No wonder I was fucking struggling. I BEGGED him for truth, openness and honesty. All while being suckered by his physical want for me. Ugh.

One of the obstacles to recognizing chronic mistreatment in relationships is that most abusive men simply don’t seem like abusers. They have many good qualities, including times of kindness, warmth, and humor, especially in the early period of a relationship. An abuser’s friends may think the world of him. He may have a successful work life and have no problems with drugs or alcohol. He may simply not fit anyone’s image of a cruel or intimidating person. So when a woman feels her relationship spinning out of control, it is unlikely to occur to her that her partner is an abuser.

My research respondent, Maureen, spoke of this. After she was widowed at 50, her next relationship was with one of these guys. She never saw it coming. She fell in love with a real charmer. His first wife even tried to warn her at one point. She still wonders why, as a woman, she couldn’t absorb another woman’s experience. I think we all get a bit sucked in by love. Either the first wife is bitter, or this darling man could not POSSIBLY do that to me, nd probably even, could not POSSIBLY have done that to her. Far too sweet, loving and nice.

Appearances are so deceiving.

The gendered message has always been, women are irrational, overly emotional beings, and men are steadfast and rational. It makes this kind of abuse so damn easy to hide!

Am in tears, my friend Violet, just sent me a Snapchat of her weekend away to celebrate her and her husband’s 31st wedding anniversary. I sent my love and admiration back to her.

Her reply? “Hey, that means it is kind of your anniversary too, the elephant lives on!”

Funny story, they married about six weeks after I moved in with Rog. I barely knew them, but was asked to buy their wedding present. A dumb kid. I bought a sculpted elephant. The card got lost, and for years, Violet wondered who the arsehole was who bought her an elephant! Her bizarre mother-in-law had a house full of elephants. So, not really an ideal gift 🤣🐘

I had no idea! So, for years, I kept my mouth shut. Embarrassed it was me, lol.

It is a massive joke between us.

Violet is steadfast. She believes in me. She was the first person I rang, in crisis, when Roger told me he was cheating again. She met me immediately for coffee.

And said, straight up, “he’s no good, Paula. Don’t you DARE ever take him back.”

She knows. She knows my agony. I don’t tell her. But she knows.

Her words are soothing. She told me right away that Roger’s other best mate’s partner has no time at all for Rog. Went right off him after the affair with Leanne went public.

It’s comforting, on some level, to know that some see it, even if they have to play nice.

Better get going. Bad cramps, no sleep, and off to Seville! Hopefully sleep on the journey.

Keep rising, you wonderful souls xxx.


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Traumatic cycling

I still cycle through the trauma phases. Sitting at a small cafe in a small town in Portugal, in beautiful sunshine, and I am aching with the heartache.

My therapist checked in with me, and I read some more that resonates with how Trinket and a couple of Roger’s friends have had me portrayed.

Let’s get this straight, Paula. You were a kind, loving, giving, compassionate hard working broodmare, used to help him build equity and reproduce for him. I did NOTHING wrong. I trusted. I believed every bloody lie. I worked my damn arse off.

And somehow, I got to be the villain. As Kate says, the injustice drives you insane.

Toxic people are abusers pure and simple. They emotionally and psychologically condition their targets and victims into believing that THEIR abusive behaviors aren’t the problem but instead how YOU react to them – let’s call it ‘bait and switch conditioning.’ We are TOO sensitive, over-reacting, creating problems, and many other things that point right back to us as having issues. THEY are serial provokers that consistently create this same scenario – and AGAIN to condition their victim into believing THEY ARE THE PROBLEM through intentionally creating these chaotic scenarios. This robs the victim of their ability to reason with any sense of reality that NONE of this is about them – but instead about a personality disordered person. Remember this all started out with that intense Charm that made us BELIEVE we were so special – but slowly but surely that all turned around and now we are nothing but a PROBLEM. We care so we want to fix this, change OURSELVES to make things right but it won’t ever happen because this is just the devaluation stage that is laced with that negative conditioning and part of the Narcissist’s agenda.

Over time this completely breaks the target/victim DOWN, destroys their worth, changes their persona, and the way they view themselves and the world. This allows the Narcissist to basically get away with murder — well murdering the mind and soul of their target/victim. It is power and control – the very things an abuser uses/needs to manipulate people into their orbit. Often times the victim BELIEVES that they are the problem and accept their role. The abuse reaches fruition because the constant blaming or shaming has completely erased or reconditioned the victim into believing they ARE that the issue is with THEM. It is just like a predator in nature chasing its prey until it no longer has any fight left in it and succumbs to the attack — but with this abuse it is a direct and consistent attack to the victims emotional and psychological well-being.

These attacks and messages from the abuser imprint themselves on the victim to the point it traumatizes their entire life and can live within them for MANY years. It creates fear, anxiety, depression, isolation, lack of trusting themselves or other people, and the ability to function normally in life – in other words they wear the label their abuser gave them and some even believe that THEY are the abuser and not just the problem as the Narcissist WANTS them to believe.

The weather has been insanely good.

We left Lisbon today and are in Evora.

Off to the Chapel of Bones to reflect a little.


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Broken hearts

When Leanne texted me that she had been having an affair with who I believed was my “one true love,” my “soul mate,” that fateful night of Roger’s best mate’s wife’s birthday party, I think I must have gone numb.

On the outside, I took a couple of minutes in the darkened room I opened the message in, and breathed.

Then, I went back to the party and danced and chatted with people. I felt … like my world was gone. But hey, no one else had felt the shift.

It wasn’t until 5 hours later, half an hour into our journey home, chatting away nicely with Norm, that I said anything.

And I think until I saw his reaction, it wasn’t fully real.

His head in his hands, and his, “oh fuck, I’m so sorry.”

I recall being extremely surprised at my calm reaction. Inside, my heart nearly exploded. But I remember saying, when he offered to pack a bag and leave that night (oh fuck, WHY DID I NOT SAY YES, FUCK OFF, INSTEAD OF THE HELL OF HEALING THEN HIM FUCKING OFF NINE YEARS LATER??????) my response was, I don’t think I want you to leave. I love you. Do you love me? Or have you always loved her? Did I get in the way of your love with her????

I was so confused. How could you do this to someone who truly, madly, deeply loved you. Someone who sacrificed so much for you?

I said, if you do love me, can you please stay and help fix what you’ve broken. Me. I need you to help fix me here. But if you don’t love me, if you have never really loved me, go now.

If you don’t truly, madly, deeply love me, are full of passion for me, pack your bag, and get out of my life.

It took weeks for him to admit it was more than a recent, “two or three times,” thing.

He claimed for over a year that he had no idea or recollection of when or where it started. Trickle truth was huge.

I stupidly believed his words. His I will love you forevers. His you are the love of my lifes. His, you are the sexiest woman I have ever mets. His you have the softest skin of any woman I have ever toucheds. His I have never had such intense orgasms ever, with anyone, as I do with yous. His I will wait for you forevers. These lies still came out of his mouth, or onto paper, or in text form, even just days before he actually admitted I’ve Met Someone Else.

As he was actually packing, and actually leaving me, seven months later, he told me that if we ever got back together, that he wondered if our souls would find their way back to each other, because of our special connection, that we should keep our finances separate.

FFS.

I just looked at him knowing my Normie was fucking gone. Maybe this mind fucking alien was always there?

Last night, I dreamed of him coming to me and trying not to, but eventually kissing me, and me fighting hard not to. But doing what I always fucking did with him, and caving to the fucked up chemistry I have for him when his soft, soft eyes mesmerised me! 🤢 Come on universe. Give it up. Stop torturing me. He treated you appallingly! He hurt you physically, emotionally, fucked up your health, in every possible way.

Thank God his new chick hasn’t dumped him, and he lives hours away. I am incredibly thankful for that through this first year. To keep me safe. From the man I loved, who knocked me unconscious, because I caught him in another lie, then a couple of weeks later, asked me to pretend we were a nice, normal, loving couple when I was interviewed to have his gun licence renewed!

Kate, and two of my other friends whose husbands left for other women in the past few years all had their exes come back at some stage, saying, “I made a terrible mistake.” Yuck!!! None of them took their husbands back.

That won’t happen with me, thankfully, as twu wuv wif Trinket, and even if it isn’t, he loathes me, and even if he doesn’t (he does, or thinks he does, or whatever) he is the MOST STUBBORN, PROUDEST MOFO you have ever met. No way could he have made a mistake 🤣🤣🤣

And I lay awake for three hours in the wee small hours, Kate sleeping soundly alongside me, and wished I could mend this broken heart.

She told me the other day it took her over six years after her husband left her for another woman, to stop the utter agony.

Faaaaark.

I said this to Sam, whom I am going up to London to see at the end of the month. Sam’s first dickhead husband walked out on her with no explanation after seven years married. She said, “I will not let it take YOU six years, Paula. You’re doing so well. All the right things. We’ll get you through what that arsehole did to you. I promise.”

Naw.

So, how do you mend a broken heart? Can you really? Or do you kind of just live a life that is painful, still real, still full of love, compassion, achievements. But really. Do you ever fully heal when the love was very, very deep? At least on my side. He obviously never gave a fuck.

On the trying to mend…

Yesterday we arrived in Lisbon late afternoon. Kate did laundry, I Lime scootered to a nail salon to finally get my sns nails taken off from derby day. Once done, I convinced Kate to let me order an Uber out to Belem. She had never used Uber! So well travelled, but never downloaded the app, lol. Was fascinated 🤣.

Some highlights of our evening. Belem Tower, street art, fountains at Jeronimo’s Monastery, the 25th of April bridge, the monument to Henry the Navigator…not in that order.

Sintra today. Up. At ’em chick.


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Just gonna leave this here…

Our Prime Minister has shown incredible grace, humility and empathy in her leadership of our country through this extraordinarily awful time including and since the Christchurch mass shooting.

Being so far away has been hard. And it is interesting as most people we have been around are impressed by her style.

This abhorrent act of racist/religious terrorism is not who we are. We are generally a mostly secular nation of relatively tolerant and welcoming people.

Of course, this is an enormous generalisation, and the rise of white supremacy globally has now included us.

I love how Jacinda has ensured the focus is on the victims, their families and communities, what we as a nation can provide in the way of support, and her deliberate unnaming of the terrorist.

Kia kaha. Arohanui.

Ngā mihinui.


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Fading

Here I am in Porto. It is a truly fascinating city. I love it.

But tonight, I’m struggling. The waves of pain never stop rolling in. As many of you know. This shit never really goes away. Mostly, I have found I am just much better at putting on a happy face in public. I am fun Paula. Joking with fellow travellers, having a laugh.

It fucking sucks.

Kate is feeling better.

Thankfully.

She really did get very sick. And slept for most of our journey here, then another 12 hours last night.

In her absence, I “adopted” a lovely 21 year old girl from Melbourne, travelling alone. We went to a couple of tourist spots together – mostly involving Harry Potter, yay! – and shared massive gin and tonics that evening. And I got chatting to a couple of very fun, well travelled Australians, from country NSW, a couple of years older than me, with three kids about my kids’ ages and a four month old granddaughter with the same name as my youngest daughter. As the night wore on, and I had invited them (rather, they invited themselves, jokingly, but to their surprise, I agreed enthusiastically) to come and stay with me at our lake house, as he is a keen angler, and she a tramper (we have planned to do the Tongariro Crossing together) the conversation naturally turned to my single status.

Neato.

How do you talk about it, when as soon as it is brought up, you feel your chest tighten and the tears welling up?

God! I hate it so much.

So yeah. Just said, a bit wobbly, that my much beloved partner of 30 years left me for a widow he met online, 12 months ago.

They were aghast.

“WTAF??? How many years? 13? Oh, 30! No way! What is wrong with people? What’s her issue? Fuck. Did you see it coming? (Noooo!!!) Are you okay, babe? You look like you’re rocking it.”

I just sat, and thought, how do I answer that?

Just said, “getting there. It’s been hell. But I’m here.”

Ugh. Jesus. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

They both hugged me. Oh Lord. Then I changed the subject and we made plans for them to catch up with me later in the year.

Anyway, then tonight I heard my son will be moving down south before I return home… I knew it was coming, but hoped I would be there before he disappears again.

Today we toured a port wine cellar. It was really wonderful.

I bought a bottle of very special vintage port, from the boutique, family owned cellar, from my son’s birth year. The name of the company has my son’s name in it. I will take it down south for his May graduation ceremony, to share with our family.

A view over the Douro river, towards the port district from earlier tonight

Kate and I ate at the most wonderful restaurant tonight. I had an enormous tuna steak with pineapple, coriander and fresh chillis, which I could not even finish half of! The atmosphere was sophisticated and warm. We walked in to The Cure playing softly on the sound system, one of my favourites, and a band that seems to embody my love for Roger somehow. The lights on the wall opposite where we sat were deeply nostalgic for me. They reminded me of the beautiful bathroom renovation Roger and I did on the third house we owned together. A five bedroom semi-villa style home that had a bad 80s vibe from its most recent renovation. The huge bathroom had a red claw foot bath, on shagpile carpet, with a gold “tardis” shower. We spent so little money, buying rejected consignment tiles, and some paint. Working out how to get the fall right to tile the wet area shower we built, was a mission. And because we shifted the shower head to another wall, we planned on industrial, exposed copper plumbing, not unlike the piped lights as pictured in this restaurant.

God. I loved that house, and the extensive gardens we had. So much. We were so damn happy there!!!

Then he fucked it all up by selling it from under me.

Ah well, triggers. They never get old.

Tomorrow, we move on to Lisbon. Hope my mood lifts, as I have to play nice, when all I want to do tonight is cry. Hard. I looked at my dark cutting scars in the shower tonight, with my nose pouring blood for some reason, and was thankful I am travelling, and have nothing sharp to access.