I woke to sadness this week. The realisation I would have been celebrating 30 years of marriage, hung over me like the grey sky. I lay in bed briefly thinking about this and then drew the blinds open. To find a broken white picket fence outside my hotel room was intensely symbolic. The irony! I had to share the moment with a friend.
I cannot remember the date of my divorce. I should have processed the events of that time but chose not to. Survival had the higher priority. I recall not telling anyone about my marriage breakup until 18 months later when my boss wanted me to go interstate for a week’s training and I had to decline. He was stunned he had not picked up on any distress. He asked me a simple question, “Why didn’t you tell me?” I realised in that moment, because had I disclosed it in words, my situation would be reality. And, the reality was horrendous and continued to be for many years.
I have had to work hard to establish myself in a career that provides well for me and my children. Life would have been easier had I the backup of a financial settlement. But, I would have paid the price in acrimony and the children may not had enjoyed the good relationship they have with their father. On a personal level, drawing a line with dignity was of paramount importance for me. And, like the character played by Anthony Hopkins in ‘The Remains of the Day’, it came with a price.
Despite the law being favourable to mothers with young children, I walked away with nothing but the wealth of holding the hands of my children for the next twenty years. I believe to this day, I had the better deal. But, I admit to a moment of confusion and resentment this week. A rare moment for me. Perhaps it is because of a busy month on the road, which can be lonely, while someone else is enjoying the benefits of companionship.
Seated on the broken picket fence was the omnipresent Willy Wagtail. Almost sensing my mood, he looked at me disapprovingly, then dropped lightly to the ground and strikes a pose. The movement distracted me from my thoughts. The juxtaposition of black, white and gold centred me again. The rain had kept me trapped indoors but I could still see something beautiful. The circumstances of the moment seemed so relevant to my life.
Outside the street was lined with trees that I love. The flowers are halfway between a hibiscus and poppy. They bud in yellow, burst open like the mid day sun, before turning peach when losing their bloom.
While photographing them, one dropped to the ground with a plop. It landed with dignity. On its feet. Still clothed in a voluminous gown of diaphanous folds.
For some, life can be like that.
Until next time …
a dawn bird