Monthly Archives: May 2011

January Smiles

The night that I knew that my wife was cheating was not the nicest of nights.

She vanished from me a long time ago, back in January, when she stopped smiling. The smile that says I love you, the secret shared look that no-one else sees.

The intimate milisecond when eyes might meet and everything you’ve ever shared is there.

She faded out of my life in the last few months, reappearing like a shadow of herself, emotionally somewhere else with someone else, likely staring into his eyes.

And how, I wonder, did the two of them smile?

She came home late night after night, went on trips with flimsy excuses and for a while I thought to myself: Most men would think she was cheating, but M wouldn’t do that, she’d never do that…

Yes, life can be so ironic! And how trusting is a fool.

And now a moment, if I may, to add an extra layer: He’s married. Married, with two young children.

Dear M,

I wish you ill and I wish you well and I don’t know where I am. I wish you’d been less cowardly and ended us in January.  And I wish I’d hugged you more, and kissed you more because I won’t, anymore. And I can’t imagine doing so with anyone else.

The words that told me M was in the arms of someone else were conveyed via text: “Staying at a friends house tonight”.

Prosaic, brutal, cold.

But if I was smarter, more intuitive or less human I might have known from the wan smile in the restaurant in January. The one that said, “I’m smiling because I ought to smile but I don’t want to be here with you.”

And now you aren’t here with me, and I’m not smiling, but I can conceive of a time in the far future when I might. Had I done what you have done, I’d feel undeserving of ever curling my lips upward again.

“I can imagine no more comfortable frame of mind for the

conduct of life than a humorous resignation”

~W. Somerset Maugham~


Eritrea and Being Alone

Is it weakness or kindness to feel compassion when someone has hurt you?

M called round this evening to collect some things. She wanted to know what my parents and sister, whom I’d just recently told about the infidelity and seperation, had to say.

I can’t deny a certain spiteful glee at unleashing the words theat they used. To expose her to them was unkind, but her reaction was perhaps kharma dealing me a fair hand. I felt no pleasure, only regret, at the way she crumpled and cried.

I hugged her as she did so, but it wasn’t comfortable. I hugged her in the way I imagine Prince Philip of England would hug someone. He’s no doubt familiar with the concept and has a rudimentary familiarity with the dynamics involved, but his execution would, as was mine, be somewhat awkward and stilted.

Tonight was another evening out, a leaving party for a friend due to departs this City. We attended an event celebrating Eritrean culture as the only two non-Eritreans to begin. My knowledge of Eritrea was sadly quite lacking but I can now confidently expouse the virtues of their cuisine, and dancing.

I also made a friend. A five year old who found the funniest thing in the World to be bouncing a balloon against my head. You can only envy someone who hasn’t yet been distracted by all the nonsense. He seemed to enjoy my exaggerated, comedic responses to his repeated inflatable attacks. He might not have enjoyed it as much as me. If only life were as easy as being hit by a balloon.

Dear M,

I wonder where you were tonight. You would have enjoyed it.


Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption

~William Saroyan~

Cognitive Dissonance and Ducks

Cognitive Dissonance might be the reason why Harold Camping still believes in the end of the World, and it might also be why I so failed to see M’s infidelity.

She didn’t try to hide it, just relied on my absolute trust in the goodness of her character. I knew something was wrong, but thanks to my brain and adaptive preference formation, I convinced myself that I was being unkindly suspicious.

This evening I went out and felt out of place and lost. I don’t want to be a single person. I did all of the single person things and bought the t-shirt in my twenties and I have no desire to go through the games all over again.

Life as a thirty-something single is daunting. In your twenties the rollercoaster is just an exhilerating ride. Post-thirty all you can imagine are the nuts and bolts coming apart and a vicious gruesome death befalling you at high speed.

Dear M,

You have stolen the happy memories of us, you have cheapened our entire relationship. You have made yourself someone who deserves to be unhappy and you have made me a fool, an idiot and a loser in the eyes of everyone, including myself.

Relationships are, of course, always hard. My friend told me of a friend of hers who had confided a problem with her boyfriend.

“What’s wrong?” She enquired, imagining something mundane. The response:

“He murdered a duck with a stick”

Maybe I shouldn’t worry about being single forever when men who murder ducks with sticks have girlfriends. At the moment, however, I still only want to be with M.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage

~Anais Nin~

Welcome to the World of Adultery and Divorce…

My life, in the last few weeks, has come to resemble a newspaper and not a story. Gone is the structure, the narrative, the aims or the arcs. Life, my life, is now a series of unconnected, meaningless events.

This blog won’t always be so bleak, but I have a little more gloom to gift you.

My wife has cut me out of her life without telling me.

After eight years she has cheated on me, in spectacular Jerry Springer-like proportions, and is now in the process of leaving me for good. Not for better but definitely worse.

If pain should be embraced and burned as fuel for our journey, then I’m at the beginning of a very long trip.

I knew something was rotten in the same way an animal is aware that it’s dying. A dog is incapable of equating it’s deteriating condition to the end of it’s life. It merely experiences every moment in isolation, each increasingly worse.

And I too have now experienced something dying, without being aware of it’s impending death. Life is full of experiences!

This is a blog with a purpose, because I no longer have one. In writing it, I hope I might find some humour, some insight or, at the very least, a little comfort.

This blog will not be bitter. I may be betrayed, hurt, embarrassed, depressed, angry, jealous and broken, but bitter I am not. Hearts aren’t to be hardened even if they are made to be broken.

This blog will be honest and avoid self-pity, though in the interests of honesty, into this blog some self-pity may slip.

This blog isn’t about revenge because I don’t want to dig two graves.

M has diligently cut away at the threads that connected us, and set herself free, floating away and leaving me among the debris of our former life. I am, as I write, empty and alone.

I’m at the end of something and the beginning of something else, and I’ve no idea about either. And so begins the trip…

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret to
getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into
small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.”
~Mark Twain~

Olivia A. Cole

Author. Blogger. Bigmouth.

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