Gertrude’s Diary #18 – Birthdays, break-ups and birds

Gertrude's Diary

May and June are big months for birthdays among my family and friends. I just counted the entries on my calendar and there are 23 near and dear ones who celebrate their birth at this time of year. It makes things very busy. I myself have a birthday coming up; if anyone wants to get me a gift I really want, they could deliver some world peace. Starting with me and my EX.

When you don”t have a child with your ex it is much easier. You might see them when you”re out somewhere and suffer some momentary discomfort; you might even see them with their new love while you”re recovering from a nasty rash of infected boils all over your face, which would be humiliating but at least cause only transient pain.

But when you have a child with someone who you no longer live with, and when you”ve gone out of your way to be amicable and agreeable about your daughter”s care, it means that you must negotiate with them nearly every day. You still have to contend with all the things that made you want to leave them in the first place, but you no longer have the rose-coloured tint of love or optimism to take the edge off the difficulties.

I was never married to this man, but I want a divorce. I haven”t lived with him for over 6 years, but I want a separation. I never engaged a lawyer to negotiate any kind of agreement, but now I want a brace of ruthless legal minds to step in and make him go away. I think he should come with a government health warning that says “repeated exposure may cause mental illness”.

Having to negotiate every little event makes one cranky and nervous. The other day I saw a man feeding some pigeons and my first thought was that I”d like to see a wedge-tailed eagle drop out of the sky and eat the festy little rats-on-wings. This suggests a certain tired cynicism which I would probably be better off without (And while I”m giving vent to my dissatisfaction with the world, who came up with the name “wedge-tailed eagle” All eagles have wedge shaped tails. It”s the distinctive trademark of the eagle family. You might as well call it “the winged and feathered eagle”).

Life is hard, ladies and gentlemen, but to paraphrase the late Leonard Cohen “everything”s got a crack. It”s how the light gets in”. I guess the trick is to position your crack so the darkness can drain a bit as well. But all this talk of cracks is unseemly, and recalls the sight of too many people wearing hipster jeans. Thank goodness that”s a fashion that seems to have almost run it”s course. And I”m also grateful that I had a nice crop of post-pregnancy cellulite by the time it came to the fore, so was never tempted to jump on the belly-baring, arse-exposing bandwagon. See? I am counting my blessings.

Anyway, to return to the subject of birthdays; if you”re celebrating another year of life I hope you do so with some happiness. May the sun shine on you, and the winter wind blow soft for you, the little irritations recede, and the blessings that you have be obvious. And if all that sounds like so much wishful thinking, then it probably is. But there”s no harm in wishing.

Gertrude

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