Beloved and bonk: Diary of a divorce

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The thing everybody says to you when you're dumped is "you'll- find-someone-else". It becomes the conclusion to every conversation and every expression of sympathy. When you hear that little mantra you feel like a recent amputee being told that they will grow new legs. It's just an impossibility. And, like every other emotional amputee, I felt my limbs were gone forever when Beloved left me. Sure I could master pretty serviceable walking on a pair of wooden legs - but I'd never dance.

That was last month. Now I'm contemplating learning the Pasa Doble and Gymnastic Disco. I've sprouted new legs, the only problem is that having grown so fast and so long they still wobble a little.

The snag with Bolts From The Blue such as the one which hit me and VNC (my new Very Nice Chap) is that there isn't any preliminary mucking about to break you in to being half of a pair. No tentative courting, no gentle dawning of affection over the course of umpteen visits to the cinema and a bit of hand-holding over a dinner table. You can't pretend, you can't play hard to get. You just have to cope with the fact that you are suddenly connected at some profound level with a person who you have only just met. You know what their innermost thoughts are, you know the song they are singing in their head (it's the same as the one in yours: Bangles "If She Knew What She Wants"), but you don't know if they listen to Radio 4 at breakfast or how to spell their surname. And it's all a bit of a shock..

The most scary part of course is that the stakes are so high. This isn't like falling in love at 16 with no responsibilities beyond getting your homework done and remembering to feed your hamster. VNC can't be a little escapist fun because I have two kids, sundry animals and a mortgage resting on my back and I can't afford to fall over. And with all those attachments I'm certainly not a merry little fling for VNC. It's potentially Very Serious. We should be taking things Very Slowly and Carefully. But that's impossible with Bolts From The Blue. You just have to get on with it.

So in the interests of getting Buster and Bunny used to the newly-joined pair of socks that is me and VNC we took a huge plunge and all went to France for the weekend. The dynamics of this situation were of course potentially horrific. Buster and Bunny, in addition to vying with each other for my attention, now perceived another competitor in VNC. I, of course, wanted to lavish attention on him without any interference from them. Poor VNC meanwhile, having never had children, had no idea of the hotbed of vice and intrigue into which he had fallen.

When it comes to baptisms of fire, our weekend in Honfleur was hot enough to hard-glaze stoneware. Bunny and Buster kept up a constant interchange of violence and insult from the moment we got on the ferry. Bunny sulked right the way through a meal in the best restaurant in town, creating an atmosphere akin to that in the anterooms of the electric chair. Buster gave full expression to his Celtic temper, throwing various objects across the hotel room whenever he lost at cards. This gave me the necessary light- the-blue-touch-paper stimulus to show who he inherited it from. Both of them managed to knock on our bedroom door at extremely crucial moments during the night with requests to solve entirely spurious problems, lost socks, phantom tummy, TV shows being broadcast in French.

And then driving home from Portsmouth, at half past eleven at night on a godforsaken bit of road in the pouring rain, the clutch went on my car. We were transported home in the back of a truck with Bunny pinning VNC into a particularly nasty Yoga position with her dead sleeping weight.

If ever a lightning bolt was going to go a bit flaccid and impotent in the face of the cold splash of imperfect reality it was during those three days. But it didn't. In fact the magic blue fire spilled over a little on to the kids and there were moments when all four of us were outlined in its neon: VNC and Buster pretending to abscond with the praline and truffles we'd just bought from the chocolatier; playing charades over croissants in a cafe; deliberately crashing our dodgems into each other on a night cold enough to freeze Hell.

No doubt about it. Fate's done it's work. We just need to catch up with it.

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