There are days like today. They could drive a person to drink, really. Days when you can’t get anything done on a new project; you can’t get to step two because step one can’t get done because you need a person in a government office because they are the only people in the world with step one information and they don’t answer their phones, or they have answering machines where they tell you to leave a message and they will get back to you, but they won’t. You know they won’t get back to you. I have been calling for two days and no one has got back to me. So I will call all day tomorrow, meanwhile time is-a-marching on and other people up the food chain are awaiting information and they don’t understand why I’m not getting it to them, and one doesn’t want to bad-mouth one’s government departments to people who aren’t South African, I mean that feels unpatriotic. One wants to fly the flag, so to speak. So one makes up excuses, or more accurately, one lies to ones clients about everyone being at a conference or seminar or something. They make you into a liar. It’s a problem.
Had lunch with a friend. We always get round to the subject of men. Funny that! She has one. I don’t have one, so we talked about hers. She’s not sure that she really wants hers anymore. She said I was lucky not to have one. I don’t feel lucky not to have one. Anyway, she said it’s all arguments and heartbreak at the moment and I know all about that. I’ve been there. It’s pre-break up. It could go on for months.
It’s painful and it’s horrible, pre-breakup. You love someone so deeply for so long. You give yourself to them, you make it your mission to make them happy. You make them the centre of your world and then they just mess with you and take you for granted and they’re unfaithful to you and they lie to you. It hurts so incredibly much. I could see she was hurting. I sympathise with her. It’s sad because he’s such a sweet guy – at least he was a sweet guy. He’s not a sweet guy any more, of course. Now he’s just a cheating, lying, pondscum, sonofabitch.
When I was in pre-breakup with my ex, I called him an arsehole. He didn’t respond. He just kept repeating the word. ‘arsehole’! very slowly and separating the words ‘arse’ and ‘hole’. After he’d said it about six or seven times he said to me. ‘Do you think what an arsehole is? It’s the hole in the arse. Am I that? Is that what I am? Am I an ‘arse’ ‘hole’?’
He said it quietly, as though he would like to be shouting at me, but he wanted to really get through to me so he did the opposite of shout and was very composed and measured about it. I was a bit scared of him at that moment. There was so much power in his quietness – such quiet power. I smiled, involuntarily. I admit I was amused by his ‘arsehole’ speech. I couldn’t help it. I tried to suppress it, but I smiled. Anyway, he saw my smile and he just picked up his things and walked out of my house.
That was a pre-breakup moment. When you start calling your man an arsehole, it’s over. It’s only a matter of time. He wasn’t an arsehole really, but he had been behaving like one. My friend’s man is being a total arsehole.
It’s them. It’s always them. They turn from prince charming into the wicked witch and they turn so suddenly your head spins. When it’s finally, really over you know what it is. You spend a year crying and then you stop crying, but you’re still hurting but getting over the heartbreak.
Then, eventually you get better and you forget about the pain. Then you start to miss the good parts of being in a relationship. And then you meet a nice guy and truly you want to be with him, but at the first sign of human imperfection you bolt, because you’re reminded. Pain memory is prevailing memory! You are scared. Shame, she has all that to look forward to.