Understanding

I have gone mad.

Or I am going mad. In any case I have lost my mind and am now behaving rashly, incoherently and with apparent indifference to the true state of affairs.

The true state of affairs! What bullshit! What utter pompous bollocks. Those middle aged men in suits who think they know the true state of affairs, those men like me, know nothing.

Why am I throwing away my marriage and most of my personal relationships and friendships? Why, after a quarter of a century or so am I chucking it all away? I have no answer.  There is no answer except the peace on the line after she hangs up, before some automated nanny system starts beeping at me to hang up too.

Am I in love with the woman who now shares my bed? Am I merely infatuated as my wife says? Will it all come crashing down on my head one day? Will I come crawling back?

What is love anyway, exactly? I thought I was in love before but I realise that was mainly for convenience. My life was comfortable. Work was ok, home life was ok, and sex was acceptable if perfunctory.

If I went back home now. If I threw myself on her mercy and begged to be taken back. If I said she was right all along, it was just an infatuation, a middle-life crisis or nervous breakdown, would that actually fix things, would it solve the problem? Is going back a solution at all, to anything?

I have glimpsed blue sky and sunshine. I have been provided with an image of another life, perhaps a better life. Is it a lie, a mirage?

Is she real, my lover? Is she as I see her or is she a perfectly pleasant woman in early middle age who, like me, is just not ready to give up? Is she the Angel she appears to me to be or is that an illusion which will also fade, revealing just another woman fighting the effects of gravity and disappointment.

I met a mad man once. A man whom I now recognise to be myself, or who might as well be me for all the difference it would make.

That man told me he had walked with angels and talked with demons. Who else could say that he asked me?  Why would he give that up for the drab, mundane greys of everyday life?

‘No son’, he said, ‘give me my madness any day, and the transcendental joy and despair that come with it.’

In the end it is better to have suffered every moment of every day of a long and extraordinary life, than to have lived comfortably in mediocrity.

I have won the freedom to experience a little joy in my life, alongside the pain.

There is no going back, ever, for anyone.

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