My father taught me the rules of chess. But he never played chess competitively, so he cannot play chess. It wasn’t until I started going out with a girl who had been the Australian chess champion for her age that I discovered there’s much more than just the rules. As a late entrant into chess, I knew I was never going to catch up to the people who had studied it for years and years. I enjoyed playing for fun and reached B grade before other things became more important.
But I still think a little like a chess player. I don’t plan my life out in the sense of: I will do this, then this, then two years from now, I will have this job. I examine lots of alternatives and sequences before making important decisions. Maybe more than other people bother with.
With a wife still considering what she will do in the future, and whether I will be a single parent or not, I have ample time in the wee hours to ponder what’s next for me and the girls.
So I think about how it might work out for all of us. Would I want something in return for accepting her back after more than a month of being completely separated, and two months of sort-of separated? Should I be reasonable and balanced, or should I be a sharp negotiator at this key moment if it transpires? Should the girls have their own chance to make demands? What if we make demands and it changes her decision to return to us?
I also wonder what I would do if there is no tomorrow for us, if it’s over. Can I cope with taking on the remaining housework and burdens? How would my three angels cope? Would there be any ‘me’ time? Would I, like others, eventually blow a fuse and need a short escape? Would I cope financially? Would my friends and neighbors blame me and cut me out? If we end up still living in the same area, should I diss my (ex-)wife or be nice to her if we meet in public?
And it goes on… Is there is a point in the future where I wouldn’t accept her back anymore because I’ve had to move on for mental survival? Is that point next week, next month, or when? How far past that point is it safe to start to think of a possible someone else? Should I be firm and tell myself that, no, not for at least ‘n’ months after a split can I allow myself any emotional involvement?
Why assume it won’t work and think about what’s next? Maybe there are things I should be doing right now that I haven’t thought of to make it work. But, what are they, when she herself says it’s not me, not us, it’s her struggling with some internal dilemma? What if it’s clinical depression and it doesn’t get treated and she ends it all before I realize a cure was possible?
The questions go on and on (as has this posting), my mind analyzes and categorizes, but it doesn’t finalize the next ‘move’ because there are too many unknowns. This means my brain is in overtime when it’s not occupied with other things, and I don’t sleep well because if I wake for any reason, it immediately goes into top gear and I can’t get back to sleep. At work, they’ve given up on figuring out when I’m coming in, it varies so much.
The tendrils of my imagination are running away with me and maybe I need to keep my mind busy with other tasks to minimize the ‘thrashing’ time. Maybe it explains why one day I am looking for ‘funny’ and other days I am rambling.