My oldest two ride the bus with this girl. She falls between them in age, a fifth grader to my girls fourth and seventh grade statuses. She has ridden the bus with my oldest since she started kindergarten, at which time my girl would have her sit next to her so she wouldn't be scared. So, her mom and I have been acquainted for years. We don't know each other well, but I've dropped her daughter off at home after school before, and we have both hung out until the other arrives at the bus stop so as to not leave any kids waiting there alone.
Pretty standard stuff.
But last year we started to talk a bit more. She let me know that she was moving. She and her daughter were moving out of their house into an apartment that was only one block away from our OB rental. (Of course they were, because Del Monte Ave is where everyone goes when their marriage falls apart. But that is a blog post for another day.)
I didn't press for details at the time. But this year she has seemed more interested in talking, plus there was the recent afternoon when both she and her former significant other arrived to pick up their girl, and they stood there trying to hash out why it was that there were two cars to pick up one girl. Where was she going this afternoon? Which parent was taking her home? Where was the communication breakdown? How to better plan for future drop offs and pickups was discussed.
So, last week, having recently witnessed the drop-off mishap, and finding myself at the bus stop a few minutes early, I decided to disturb this woman's book reading with some
I asked her about her child-sharing schedule, and well, that's all it took. To summarize, her significant other, legally her domestic partner, as they had been living together for 15 years but not married, took up with another woman late last year. The affair, which she unsurprisingly wasn't aware of, got serious, and he decided he would rather be with this woman than with her.
Ouch! I've been there. It's not fun. It knocks the wind out of you, and turns all that you thought was solid and safe on its ass. It's literally disorienting, like being held underwater by a powerful wave, flailing, tumbling, scraping your legs, your face, you soul against the gritty, sandy bottom.
But eventually you come up for air. You have to. It's life. And as they say, it goes on.
Her gulp of oxygen was moving out, and starting over.
I pressed for details because
As she talked it was abundantly clear that she was having a really hard time understanding how he could get himself involved with the woman that he did.
"This woman has three children. Three!" (Hey, so do I, I replied.)
"And not just from one marriage, no, from two. Two!" (Um, yeah, so do I.)
"And, get this, the youngest, the one child from the second marriage is only five years old. He just started kindergarten this year! He'll be raising kids forever." (Huh, my youngest is only four. Not even in kindergarten yet.)
"I mean, who would get involved with a woman like this? With that kind of baggage? What an idiot." (Clearly! gulp.)
"And it's not like she's young or anything, she's like our age." (Our age, huh?)
She went on to talk about the woman a bit more, about her fake boobs (Hey, I don't have those!! Although there has been talk....) And her fake nails. (I will never have those!!!) And her desire to spend time by herself instead of constantly with her children! (Uh oh.)
She was on a roll, which I get. But as the bus pulled up and our gorgeous girls got out and the conversation ceased, I was pretty fucking relieved.