Feb 26 (Thu) MajorMidget's parents evening at her school. Mainly orientated around the subjects she chooses for her next two years to GCSE (O levels in old money). Teachers plead with MajorMidget to take their subject. Heads of dept offer to rearrange their courses to accommodate her. No one wants to lose her as a pupil. Her parents are proud. But not smug.
Feb 27 - Mar 1 (Fri, Sat, Sun) MajorMidget has to finally choose her options to hand in the form on the Monday. She procrastinates. Her mother (MoM) texts ever few hours to see what she's decided. I put no pressure on her and let her get on with homework, watching Naruto and generally not worrying too much about it. Eventually at 8pm on Sunday night she has to fill in the form. She decides on IT over Drama. So the whole list (after the compulsory Maths, English, RE and PE) is Additional Maths, Triple Science, Design, and IT. No soft subjects, although she'll still do Piano and Drama outside of school.
Mar 2 (Mon) The sun is shining. It is a beautiful spring morning. Everyone just seems happier.
AXA (Arty eX Analyst) spends the evening at the Royal Opera House. She is there three or more times a week, attending performances, rehearsals or Master-classes. I go home from work, feed the rabbit, change clothes and then come back into town and meet her at 930pm when she comes out of the particular ballet rehearsal and we go for dinner at Orso. We chatter without pause till gone 3am.
Mar 3 (Tue) ESoDX (elder sister of dancer ex) sends me a mail after two weeks of no contact suggesting she owes me dinner and would not get so drunk this time. I'd like to stay in touch (we've known each other distantly for years), but now feel awkward as I am having this 'thing' with AXA and don't want ESoDX to get the wrong idea if I had dinner with her but also don't want her to feel awkward by having to mention that I'm seeing AXA as some warning precursor to going for dinner.
So I tell her that she does owe me dinner but I'm a bit booked up.
Mar 4 (Wed) I mean not to tell them about AXA. Except I'm bursting inside. I don't usually keep things from them. So I mention to MinorMidget that I kissed a girl. She asks whether I was drunk. I tell her I was on the first occasion. She runs off and tells MajorMidget that I've been snogging some woman. Maybe she's still a midget after all. We all are in some way though.
Mar 5 (Thu) I'm taken for coffee by my ex-manager. He tells me that as of the end of April I will no longer have a contract at my current place of work. It's totally out of the blue as I'd been told I was in the budgets into next year. Not something I had planned for. Half the project is being canned at the same time.
That evening I go out with BustySec and OlderReceptionist. We drink wine, we eat pizza. BustySec already knows about AXA. But I tell OlderRecep for the first time. They both ask me all about her. AXA comes along from The House later to find us. OlderRecep has already left by then though. AXA and BustySec get on very well and I'm left on the sidelines of conversation as they start talking handbags and shoes and so on. AXA seems incapable of taking a dislike to anyone.
The news of my impending redundancy sinks into my psyche slowly during the evening. By the morning I am very concerned about money and my mood is dark for the next week or so.
Mar 6 (Fri) Since her road accident in 2004, AXA has suffered from PTSD which manifests in several ways. She also still has physical symptoms of her injuries. Her sense of balance is impaired and she suffers from claustrophobia. So tube trains are near to impossible for her. But she bites the bullet and comes to docklands for lunch. She travels most of the way with her driver, but comes on the DLR from Bank. It's a major feat for her. She is a wreck and has to sit down for a while to recover.
We go for a walk along the river and have lunch at The Narrow. Conversation lulls for the first time as I'm aware how much AXA frames her life around her accident. I'm wary of our relationship becoming based on relating her accident and the trauma to WPKAW's death and the trauma. But I think we're both aware of it. We talk about it days later and know that it might be inevitable to start with that we will talk about common ground. We just have to guard against it being the basis of anything longer.
In the afternoon I see one of the managers from the consultancy I work through. He says there are some technical roles in another part of the business that I should be suitable for and he'll recommend me. It's HPC work on grids. I've done similar before, but nearly 7 years ago.
The weekend is spent with the Midgets. It is pretty awful.
Mar 7 (Sat) Had to go into loft to get WPKAW's jewellery. Last year it had little effect as I was numbed, but it's now horrific in the loft, being surrounded by her clothes, hundreds of films and CDs and just accumulated belongings. I had to sort through WPKAW's jewellery to take most of it to Wales the following Saturday so that MotherOfWPKAW could pick out sentimental/family pieces before I get the rest valued. Later, I sorted through my emails re WPKAW to separate them into folders for ones from WPKAW before she died, ones from her friends since she died, ones around the estate admin and the rest - i.e. mostly about her death itself.
Mar 8 (Sun) Worried about AXA as she's not immune to depression herself because of PTSD so don't want to burden her, but my mood shows in chatter. I managed to cut the rabbit's throat while trimming his mane. Cut is rather bad, and I was lucky no to have taken out a jugular. Will heal but just have to keep an eye on it for infections. MajorMidget helped me rinse it with saline last night. Rabbits are prone to infections. MajorMidget had a friend over. We went out for brunch. Later I managed to ruin some fish with rice for them.
Mar 9 (Mon) Drop midgets off in the morning. I'm really pretty blue. How does that affect the midgets? I must try and stop them getting affected by my mood swings in the rocky months ahead. But I know only I can pick myself up and only I can find ways of making the lemonade that these lemons deserve to get made into. Hopefully with some vodka.
In the evening I meet up with a friend who used to work on the doors of nightclubs with me back in the 90s. He's now a professional photographer. His business has been good. Until this year. Apparently the recession and worries thereof have really stopped people paying for photographers and attempting to make the most of things themselves with their digital cameras.
Mar 10 (Tue) In spite of our plans, which would mean I cannot see AXA until Friday, she has to rearrange her evenings due to commitments in teh gallery she works for. Which means her plans for this Tuesday have to be blown out as she'd finish too late to travel and she really wants to see me instead. I'm chuffed to bits. I work from home during the day and head over to hers at 5pm. I experiment with getting the Overground lines across North London. It takes 90 minutes so not so quick as the changes at Gospel Oak mean a 20 minute pause in the middle of the journey. We drink champagne when I get to AXA's and head out for dinner. We stop off at a pub on the way to the restaurant we had planned. And don't leave till 11pm. We eat at the bar in the pub and drink two bottles of wine. When we get back to AXA's we have some more wine and vodkas and eventually get to sleep around 3am. We talk a lot about things we can't say when sober about our traumas. We may have accidentally gotten so drunk just so we can.
Mar 11 (Wed) I am so ill I have to call into work and let them know I won't make it in. AXA has a sore head too. But she has to go to pick up some art from the Tate around 1pm so I make the effort to go home around that time. I hover for half an hour hugging the railings at the train station before gritting my teeth and getting on a train. When I eventually get close to home a road is closed off due to a fatal road accident. Whenever I see these now I have such a different take on them than before last summer. They are personal. Someone is about to go through what I've been through. Someone is going to be told that their partner, child or parent is dead.
Drinking is not good for my mood. Especially the day after. I am so not a happy boy. AXA and I agree to cut back on drinking as it's not good for either of us. Neither of us needs an unhealthy, alcohol fuelled relationship.
I pick the midgets up later and feed them. My hangovers aren't good for them either. More reason to not do that again. They're in bed by 9pm and I'm asleep on the sofa by 9:05pm.
Mar 12 (Thu) I finally manage to get hold of the coroner's officer to chase up the date for the inquest hearing. June 1st. Not March. Not April. Not May. June. Nearly a year after WPKAW died. Her final interment will follow the inquest. Until then she will stay at our house. My internal calendar has to be reset for an extra few months. It feels even more premature to be seeing someone already. It already feels like I'm going back to the wife when I've been off with the mistress. I have to work on re-describing the situation to myself and that might mean making some rearrangements at home. Always difficult. But the promise I'd made to myself not to use WPKAW and her death to stop myself living was a good one.
MinorMidget has a parents evening at her school. I leave work early and travel across London just to sit with her teacher for less than 3 minutes while I'm told she is clever, does her work, is a joy to teach and is occasionally a little vociferous and needs to learn that she doesn't have to get the last word every time. Her parent's are proud.
Mar 13 (Fri) After work I accompany AXA to The House to listen to Verdi's Requiem. We're both tired. AXA has been up with a friend the night before and taken her to the airport at 5am. We go straight back to AXA's after the performance and manage to get to sleep by 2am...
Mar 14 (Sat) We have to get up early as AXA is in the gallery at 9am and I have an 845am train to catch to Wales. I'm spending the day with WPKAW's parents and sister (SoWPKAW). I cry when I get there. I'm not telling WPKAW's parents about AXA. They don't need to know. They don't need to have to work through anything to do with that yet. If it doesn't last they'll have had to deal with it for no reason.
I go through the plans to extend the house and am flabbergasted at the amount of work that has been quoted for. Quotes are around £35K. That's for:
- demolishing the garage
- building a bedsit for SoWPKAW, including her own bathroom
- extending the kitchen and building a utility room
- building a conservatory on the back of the dining room
- all plastering, electrics and plumbing
I spend some time with SoWPKAW and she hugs me when i start to cry. She's started talking a little to her parents about WPKAW. It's good for them I think to realise they have to let her grieve too and to console her. Seek to console and you shall find consolation.
I'm on the 1845 train back to London and AXA who cooks me dinner. I've had to chnage my tickets there and back to different times and the changes alone cost me a total of around £90. Tickets were only £44 in advance to start with.
AXA and I sit and chat and curl up together until the early hours again.
Mar 15 (Sun) Lie in!!! Until around 10am. So not a proper lie in at all. AXA has to go to work in the gallery for 11am and I have to head home to feed the rabbit. Then back into west London to a 30th birthday party of one of WPKAW's best friends. I was 3 hours late as I wasn't feeling like partying and had washing to do. Didn't know anyone at the party apart from the birthday girl and her boyfriend. I felt so separate at an event I was only attending on behalf of WPKAW. Left after a couple of hours and started walking.
AXA phoned me to see if I was ok and let me know she was on her way home from work and could come pick me up if I wanted. I said I would be good walking. Ninety minutes after leaving the party I got to AXA's, six miles away. Sore feet though. AXA cooked again. And we drank champagne and a little white wine. We were in bed before 10pm, knackered both.
Mar 16 (Mon) Lie in!! And a proper one this time. I'd booked the day off work to spend with AXA. We lay in bed, intermittently drinking coffee, doing the cryptic prize crossword and nibbling on breakfast things till after 1pm. We got up and wandered along the high street, dropping into the gallery she works in to show me a picture she thought I would like. She was right too, but I didn't want to seem too enthusiastic as she'd hinted and left me with the feeling she'd be tempted to buy it for me for my 40th in July. Cost? £3200. So, not going to let her do that.
We then drove round the north circular to my house. First time AXA had been there and seen the suspended state I've been living in for the last 8 months. She agreed that it would not have been a good idea to come back to mine on the first night together.
AXA had been fretting about meeting the midgets. She knew if this thing was going to go somewhere that she'd have to do it at some point. I wasn't about to force her but she'd started thinking of plans about how to do it and manage it and scenarios of what might happen and so on and so on. So when we were at mine I asked if it was ok to pop round to MoM's to drop some paperwork off for MinorMidget's birthday party. She could come in and meet the midgets if she wanted or could wait in the car.
So AXA got to meet the midgets and MoM. No fireworks. AXA liked them. And I've had the reports in from MoM that everyone thought she was brave to have dropped in like that. AXA took about an hour to calm down afterwards, but I think she's relieved now that it's out of the way. She's already been talking about plans for holidays in August.
After MoM's we drove down to The Regents Park and spent half an hour just chilling with a coffee each. And a snack lunch. This is 5pm and we've forgotten to eat.
Then we drive back down to AXA's and get ready for dinner. AXA is taking me to her favourite restaurant. It's posh enough that Andrew Lloyd Webber is sitting at the table next to me.
All in all one of the best days I've had for such a long time. One of those ones you look back on wistfully as a highlight of a year.
We never did finish that crossword.
Mar 17 (Tue) I have to go back to work but am just so much happier.
In the evening I meet quickly with WPKAW's eldest brother. He is a trustee for the house in Wales so I need his permission before work can start. He's depressed still after being dumped by his woman in early February. She dumped him because he had gotten miserable. You know, like you might if your sister had been killed? Woman of sympathy. But she has her kids to consider. It's probably complicated.
I'll be out of work at the end of April, WPKAW's inquest and interment will be in June. But July and August look like they might be OK. I may go to Rome with AXA (she spends July in Rome usually) and she's talked about me and the midgets joining her for a week in August in Cornwall. She'll rent the apartment next to hers (she usually spends August in Cornwall). I reckon we'd have to decide that pretty quickly. Which means betting on there being some future. But AXA has already said she'd come in June to the Globe to see a Shakespeare play she studied at school. One she's never actually seen.
I may re-mortgage my house to get some cash out of it. My interest rate is only 1.6% at the moment and that would go up to 3.8%. But I would like to pay off my credit card, and be able to take a few months out to do the jobs around the house I've not done since last summer and have the freedom to spend some of the summer with my midgets, go to Rome and Cornwall and take time for WPKAW's parent's house in Wales and WPKAW's inquest and interment and sort the estate admin. And spend time with AXA.
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