She has gone back to her mother’s place and taken the kids.
It’s about a five hour drive and there is no railway station nearby.She has served me with divorce papers. I’m on my own.
Our house is up for sale and I am living in one room of a shared house in Saint Paul, a down-at-heel suburb of Corinth on the railway line half an hour from the city centre. The pervasive smells of unfamiliar eastern spices find their way into every nook and cranny accentuating my sense of separation. The apartment seems always to be full of steam from cooking. Condensation runs in rivulets down windows and walls. I can no longer afford to run a car.
I bought a frying pan, a plate, a mug and a knife and fork from the nearby charity shop. I share the kitchen and TV room with the other residents. They are mainly Muslim migrant workers from neighbouring countries. They are polite and friendly and do not intrude.
I can send and receive emails on my tablet computer paid for by my employer. I am not supposed to use my work computer for personal matters but this is my lifeline, my connection to the woman I love – the woman I left my wife for – my reason for being – the counter-balance for all my woes.
She has not yet left her husband. She will do, when the time is right.
Although I have lost much, almost everything, the bargain was a good one if I have her.
I am looking for a word, a single word that will justify all this.
Although I speak several languages, even if I could communicate with aliens or spirits, nothing I say would have any more meaning than clashing metal, or a wind chime, without her.
Even if I could see the future and understood quantum mechanics and had a belief strong enough to change the world, without her I would have nothing.
If I were to make some extravagant gesture and give everything away to the sick and the poor, douse myself in petrol and set a match to it for world peace, it would mean nothing without her regard.
She is patient and kind. She is not jealous or envious. She is not vain or proud and boastful.
She is never rude or selfish. She is slow to anger and quick to forgive. She does not keep a tally.
She takes no pleasure in others’ misfortune but delights in their achievements.
She is trusting and protective, always optimistic and never gives up hope.
She has never failed me.
Still I know, what has been will eventually pass away. All plans will end. All voices will ultimately fall silent. Everything we think we know will finally prove false.
Despite it all I will cling on to these three things: faith in my beloved, hope that we shall one day be together and the validation of our shared, perfect love.
Of all of these it is love I value most.
There, I have found my word…