Sunday, November 22, 2009

Estranged

At South Bank the twins are playing in the water park while I stand and watch. Here is my life in a nutshell. I feel like I am always outside, looking in at the action, or more accurately, in the middle of things, but indwelling, tucked up so tight I cannot impinge on others at all.

I'm not shy, and I don't find it hard to talk to people; I just don't know how to. I don't know how to come outside of myself and make someone else want to listen to me. At the casino, I spoke to three people who I didn't come with. One was an Irish guy with a huge stack of chips at an NL250 table. Are you good or lucky, I asked him. He said he had hit some hands. He had been there since 12, 11 hours all up, so I realised that he had to be good and the game very soft. At a table with a buyin capped at $250, he had amassed seven or eight thousand, it looked like to me. So I want to play there, but even if you beat the game, which I'm sure I would, you can lose, so I need a lot of money as a cushion. M says he will back me for 500 and I will put in 500, so that's four stacks. Four stacks! I could lose that in ten minutes if I hit a few coolers.

So I also talked to a woman who bumped into me in the Livewire Bar, but her attention was almost straight away distracted by someone who had, she shrieked, appeared on the television show, Farmer wants a wife. I'd like to think I'm more interesting than the average farmer, but apparently not. I also spoke some to an older woman, because we both laughed at something that happened and that's a good way to get talking, but I could not find a topic of conversation that worked for her, and I couldn't see any point to bothering.

In the waterpark, there was a woman who might have been Greek or Italian, Mediterranean let's say, who was quite stunning. She was playing in the water with an infant and what I took to be her child's grandfather. From time to time, she would get a distant look, which struck me as expressing an inner weariness. Her husband was sitting behind me but did not join her and she didn't look at him. When she left, he did not touch her in any way, and I thought, your marriage is over and you don't even know it yet.

Because here's a thing. You have a relationship with someone on many levels, and some can be missing, but you need a decent number of them to make it worthwhile. It's as though each of you transmits on several channels and some can become blocked. It seems very hard to me to continue though if you do not have a physical relationship.

The other day, Mrs Zen wrote to me that yeah, she realises now she could have had sex once a week and that would have made things better. Way to not get it! A physical relationship is not sex that you schedule once a week! I didn't feel I lacked sex. I felt I lacked physical intimacy, the ability to express my love and affection for someone by being in their physical proximity, by touching them, kissing them, simply being near them. It's especially important to me because I don't like touching people very much, and don't like them to get too near to me. So if I want to feel you next to me, to touch your face, to stroke your hair, you are special to me.

So it was bad when Mrs Zen stopped talking to me, making me feel as though I was too boring to listen to, my perspective unwelcome; bad because I had no one else in my life -- my friends had moved away and I worked from home, so I had no one adult even to say hello to. But I could live with that. I knew my marriage was over when she broke our physical relationship. Not just by refusing to have sex, because for me, sex has never been just the thing that you do at the end of the evening, but a natural development of the relationship you have, and express, throughout your life. Why would sex, even nightly, with an uninterested partner who is doing you a favour, be anything anyone would want? A relationship, a mutuality, that is everything. (I guess I will one day post about why I know this is true for me, because in fact there is good reason for me to believe it.)

So when I think about what I want, I don't think I want someone I can have sex with. I have never seen sex as a goal to pursue. I want someone I can want to be near. Of course that desire is built on other things, the mutual affection you express has to be built up out of the other channels of your relationship, and there can be valid reasons it lacks. But when it is gone, its lack is like a sore that will poison every other aspect of your togetherness, because if you are never together, you are never together.

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