A Letter from my Old Self

A few days ago was the fifth anniversary of my divorce. I remembered it briefly in the midst of a busy day. I neither celebrate nor regret it, I just remember it as a landmark of my freedom and living my life the way that I want. In the past five years I have learned that I am better off without my ex, and if I was not totally convinced five years ago my subsequent dealing with him has made a complete believer out of me. It seems like the older the man gets the more alien he becomes to me and the less wisdom and sensitivity he gives to the psychological and emotional development of our son.

When I first thought of breaking up with my ex, my son Robert was not there. He was perhaps a mere thought in my mind that I was scared to articulate. After all I was 35, and my marriage was not working. I was still in love with my husband then, but the feelings were taking serious strain. On August 18th, 2005, I drove from East London to Cape Town, leaving him behind. I took my time there, to heal, to digest what happened.

I remember this today because inside an old dictionary I found a piece I wrote about eight years ago. This was before my experience with blogging, and before my brief reconciliation with my ex, a reconciliation that brought along my son Robert.
I wrote it on the back of a faxed quote for a new computer. I was starting to build up my life, and I needed a tool to work as a translator. The quote was dated August 30th, 2005. So I think I wrote these words early in September that same year. The background was my ex wanting us to reconcile and try to save our marriage. I was not sure then. I think I had a crush on a nice guy I met in Cape Town, and fancied myself starting over with someone new. I did not know what fun was in store for me, but here it is. It is too simple really to be called a poem, but I am still struck by the sincerity of my voice. It was only eight years ago, but I feel like reaching out through time and giving the immature woman who wrote this a hug, she was still somewhat of a pitiful figure just starting to build some backbone.

I am a refugee, afloat but only just
The horizon is clear, the waters are calm
And beyond them, lies the unknown.

With you I traveled far
I carried my pain
Along your side, I lived alone
You looked into my eyes you saw my soul
I looked into yours I saw your dreams
I touched you with love
I wanted you to take me under your skin
into your veins
You touched me back with fondness
and a pitying smile

The road to your dreams grew rough
I fell behind
I faltered, I stumbled, I bled
I carried on.
I forgot what this was for
but I carried on.
You never looked my way
or offered a hand, to hold on.
You know I would simply
soldier on. 

The nights would come 
where I lie in silence.
touching the bruised edges of my heart
while you slept.
feeling the wrinkles on my soul
dry with a thirst for love.
waiting to be given and never received.

The joyous emotions within me
were left to perish slowly.
But sometimes they erupted
in the glare of daylight
haunted and deformed into anger and pain.

The day finally came
When I would no longer bear.
I looked up from your dusty track
I saw stars, I saw sky
and a distant horizon.
I turned around to be embraced
by an endless ocean,
and I kept afloat.

Now you call me back
from your dry perch.
you pledge and you promise
you will never let go.
you love me, you say
You were wrong to drive me away.

The water is still between us
and the ticking of time.
You might not know it
but the tide has turned.
Destiny awaits me, beyond this horizon,
and it's not with you.
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