Crazy Heart

"I wanna talk about how bad you make this room look. 
I never knew what a dump it was until you came in here." 
-Crazy Heart, 2009

A few months ago I reconnected with a very old friend. Recently separated from his wife and pretty wounded, but I was still optimistic because we've always been attracted to each other. We go back 20 years and I've heard about people reconnecting and having relationships and I thought I could end up happier with someone from 20 years ago. 

“Do you look the same?” my very old friend asked.

“Yes, just 20 years older,” I replied.

He is a musician. He has women flinging themselves at him. I know this could sound like I’m bragging but he said that I am beautiful. Of course any man will reflexively tell a woman she is beautiful because it is good manners, and while it shows that he is kind, my very old friend is also a charming magnetic player. He is both available and unavailable.

“I have always loved you," my very old friend said.

“I didn’t know how you felt back then. I thought we were just friends,” I said stupidly.

We texted each other and I tried my best to act like a normal human being, but I wished I could get inside his head. A few weeks of increased happiness—I was sober but I felt drunk—and then silence. 

For all I knew he was fucking a 25-year-old. I hoped I'd look better after he got it out of his system but I did not. It's likely I was traded in for a shinier model.

These last long shots—Neil and my very old friend—have made me realise that I'm happy enough on my own. Despite popular wisdom I think the answer is to be even pickier rather than less so. Christmas by myself or New Year’s Eve at a party with a bunch of couples is miserable, but I like watching whatever I want on TV and I don’t mind going to bed alone.

* * *

My very old friend lives on the other side of the world and he gets excited about obscure horror movies, but I'm sure that if I had the honour of being with him I’d twist like a pretzel to love what he loves. Ugh!

"And I'm not talking the straight kind. I'm talking, like, the twisty kind. Twisty like the bobcat, salty type of pretzel. Because that's what men want, right?" -Two Weeks Notice, 2002


A relationship needs to move forward.

I guess how I feel about relationships is kind of like that old joke from Annie Hall.  A relationship is like a shark.  It needs to move forward or it dies.  Maybe I'm the one who's closed off and incapable of accepting happiness, but I think knowing about dead sharks has probably ruined me for relationships.  Being wonderful isn't enough to end up together.

Last week at Tina's party:

“What happened with that guy from last summer?”

“It fizzled.”


“I mean, it didn't go anywhere.”

“He's not from New Zealand, is he?”

“No, he's thousands of miles away from here.”


On IM: 

“I thought you had a BOYFRIEND?”

“No, we're just friends.”

“Does HE know that?”

“Yes, he doesn’t want ‘more’ either.”


Yesterday at the cafe:

“What about Neil?”

“I don't want to do the long-distance thing. Y'know, keep starting and stopping.”

“At least YOU'VE had a relationship after your divorce.”

“No, I'm pretty sure I keep seeing the same person  — over and over again.”

This morning, on the phone with my mother:

"What's going on with Neil?"


"Now, do you get my theory about all this?  You gotta..."

"Mom, I give up.  I think YOU should choose my next husband."


This is the video Neil helped my friends The Travesties make last summer. We were "happy just bumming around".


Broken foot.

On the morning Eight broke his foot, tensions were running high. Eight had just had a tantrum because I (accidentally) turned off the TV. I was in the kitchen packing his lunch, and Eight was stomping around the piano room. He banged his foot (hard!) on a chair. 

Tears. Lashing out. He was in a lot of pain. Something was wrong. I ignored it because I was able to soothe him  – I mean, I desperately needed him to go to school. He could wiggle his toes. So, he put his shoe on his hurt foot, and he hobbled off to school. His limp was another sign – nobody could “Hollywood” a limp like that, but I ignored that too.

By the time I picked up Eight from school, his shoe was off, and he couldn’t walk on his foot anymore.  I had to drive to his classroom door, but I was still in denial – I didn’t want him to have a broken foot – I had too much to do. There wasn't even any bruising.

And I was impatient, eager to get back to my work. “Come on. You're grumpy because you didn't eat your lunch. Let’s go home!”

Eight was trying to hold it together, but he was nearly in tears.  It hurt so much. I took him home, put an ice pack on his foot, gave him an ibuprofen. 

"Do you want to go to the doctor?"

"Yes," Eight moaned.

I sullenly accepted what had happened. Bloody hell, I had to take him to Team Medical. We had to answer a lot of questions about how had Eight hurt his foot. While everyone was asking Eight questions, I held my breath. 

“I was really mad at my mum,” Eight said.  “She turned off the TV, and I was still watching it!”

Every time, I looked at the nurse or the doctor and prayed I wasn’t going to have to talk to Child, Youth and Family. But mostly, I felt grateful it was a minor injury. Even if I felt guilty for falling short. I should have known sooner. Been a better mother that day. And for the next two weeks, while Eight was lugging that heavy cast around, being careful to keep it dry, zipping along on his crutches, I felt like I was never going to heal.

The day Eight's cast was taken off, I had an exam, so I didn't get to see how small Eight's foot looked. But I'm writing this now after another long absence on my blog because I want to remember how excited Eight was to show me he could wear a trainer on his broken foot again. I'm also trying to remember we are all human, and what's important in life. Because it's fragile and goes too fast.

And in the mornings, I don't mind if we're running late because Eight wants to watch TV for a few more minutes, or whatever. I really don't.