So. Things are settling into a sort of stasis. K. is not stellar, but he’s at least been on time and present on his two afternoons a week. I am trying to do what my old friend suggested and view him as a babysitter. He’s an adequate babysitter, and yet at times I’m struck by how the scene, players, and script seem to mimic so exactly the time when we were married. This is not as incongruous as it sounds, I realize, because we still have the same problems: we don’t communicate often enough or well enough; I don’t think his parenting is adequate, etc. The difference is that now, there’s no interaction between us at all, and no affection either. This is more my doing than his, probably; the deep interaction being gone, I have nothing to say to him. I’ve never been much for casual friends or small talk. I don’t tend to spend (waste) time chatting with people I don’t care for and deeply approve of. And so, while K. seems happy to spend ten minutes discussing the genius of Sacha Baron Cohen, as Brüno, writing an advice column in Esquire, I stare at him blankly and wonder why his mouth is moving.
My inability to connect with him is further exacerbated by his relationship with Jezebel. I don’t spend much time thinking about it, and it’s not a constant issue in my life, but when I’m confronted with it, such as today when I offered to get his sunglasses for him so he could take the kids to the park (no-shoes household, etc. — pure utility), and the phone is ringing in his jacket pocket and it’s her. And of course I look, for exactly the same reason as we look at a gory accident on the freeway, at the phone screen as I’m pulling the glasses from his other pocket, and it’s her, and I want to vomit. Because I can’t believe that he’s unaware of how he built a haven with her to run to when he dumped his family. Because I don’t want someone like that in my children’s life. Because he still isn’t forthcoming about her (and I don’t want details, but a one-sentence acknowledgment would at least give me the ability to feel a tiny twinge of respect), and that makes me despise him.
Because, basically, I have the moon in Scorpio. If you think I’m kidding, you’ve obviously never met anyone like me. Partial forgiveness is not my forte, nor is forbearance. I don’t idealize the people I love, but I do tend to want to totally dismiss the people I see as lacking in ethics or brains or heart. So when people utter well-meaning platitudes to the effect that I should just give it some time, I will feel better about K., I will forgive him, etc., I suffer through it and then change the subject. I know that it’s likelier that I’ll always struggle with wanting to remove myself and those I love as far as possible from a person I consider toxic. I can act with forbearance, but that’s not the same thing as feeling it.
So when, for example, the kids and I stop by the bookstore where K.’s uncle works to get a birthday present for a party they’re attending, and when we see K. outside smoking a butt with said uncle, I tell the kids, “Let’s go say hi,” and walk across the street. But everything in me wants to run away, and the uncle, if not K., knows it. And when I tell K. why we’re there and he whips out a twenty (not least because, I think, this particular kid’s parents are rock stars and he always thought they were cool) and says “Buy Janus something nice,” I decline, but I want to push his hand away. And the whole time, my thoughts are full of judgment, along the lines of if-you-have-time-to-hang-out-and-hit-the-shops-why-the-fuck-don’t-you-have-more-time-to-see-your-kids.
K. apparently told Joaquin, when he left, that I was always disappointed in him. He wasn’t totally right then. He’s right now.
Meanwhile, I’m tired. Tired of tabulating the ways K. disappoints me. Tired of thinking about whether to take him to court for the child support he’s not paying. Tired of hearing his grandmother and parents advocate for my not doing so, and tired of knowing that his mother, who’s a huge double agent, is going to argue his point of view (as she imagines it) every time I tell her something that’s going on. I should learn not to.
I have a feeling I’m just going to stay tired.