BELOVED AND BONK

Diary of a divorce
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Now that the first fine layer of dust is forming on the fat file on my desk labelled "DIVORCE", a little normality is beginning to return to our weekends: Bunny and I can spend a morning pootling between chicken house and kitchen. Buster can cycle round the yard for hours, singing tunelessly, with a demented boxer dog bouncing under his wheels. I can take all of Saturday morning to make two loaves of bread, drink coffee and flick through the Next catalogue. And there are other kinds of normality, too, new little homely rituals to do with VNC: lying in bed and listening to The Smiths (no, really, it's nice), watching The Simpsons en famille on Fridays, dancing round the kitchen to disco hits of the Seventies (Bunny and Buster are now word perfect on "Dee Eye, Ess Cee Oh").

But just as we are all settling into a new groove of domestic ordinariness, I can see that another upheaval is inevitable, because this new life deserves more than just a kind of improvised camping out in the ruins of the old. We are going to have to move.

When Beloved first went, I thought I could scrape him off the surface of this house like steamed lining-paper off a bathroom wall. I used his desktop to make a tree house for the kids, put the wedding photos behind the spare room wardrobe and painted what had been our bedroom a colour he would have loathed (bright orange with distressed gold window frames. No, I'm serious, I did). And to my surprise it's been pretty successful. After the first few months I stopped seeing the Beloved holograms in doorways, because the furniture and colour schemes in them didn't match the new look of the house. But what I can't change, without bulldozers and planning permission, is the outside. The lane sine-waving up the hill like a brontosaurus's back will always be the lane where he told me he was leaving. The wood I see from my bedroom window will always be the place where we took our last walk together.

There's VNC's feelings to be considered, too. We have made just one public appearance in the village together, at the end-of-term carol concert at Buster's and Bunny's school. We were late, so our entrance was rather higher profile than planned, and the compare-and-contrast looks VNC had to endure would have been enough to chill any ordinary man's marrow. We need to go to a place where Beloved and I haven't danced at the PTA ceileidh.

The other reason for leaving is VNC's job. He'll be working long, hard, out-of-doors-hours too far away to commute daily. He could do it weekly. But I've done that one. I've got the T-shirt, the pop-up book, the matching bikini, the video and of course the divorce to prove it. I don't want to do that boyfriend-girlfriend stuff of catching up with the edited highlights of each other's lives over dinner out in your best frock once a week. I want to do waking up on a Tuesday morning with a cold sore and bad hair and still being able to say "Good morning" as if you mean it.

But to get our fresh start together in a new place we have to go through the excruciating process of selling and buying a house. We have to go to Planet Estate Agent where every lawn is laid, every bathroom is a benefit and every house a property.

Thank God I'm used to it. I've done it on average every three years since I was seven, so one more time around won't hurt. Buster and Bunny, however, are not so laid-back. VNC and I are, of course, the high priest and priestess of the path to new domestic enlightenment, Buster and Bunny are only reluctant postulants. Like all children they are profoundly conservative, so the unknown territory of new schools, new friends and new houses is about as inviting to them as a holiday at the Chernobyl reactor. Selling the house and dovetailing that with buying the right new one will be like CSE dumpling-throwing compared with the A-level physics of convincing the kids that it's a neat deal.

Stevie Morgan

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