lunedì, ottobre 08, 2012

Bluebird's final chapter

Being such a fluttery little creature, or these days such a fluttery enormous creature, and having practiced the sort of Jungian analysis that lets me perceive myself as a collection of historical selves, sometimes it's hard for me to understand that today's Mistress La Spliffe is the same person as Mistress La Spliffe several years ago. Nothing special there. But the past sometimes does intrude on the present.

What with procreation and entering the moneyed classes and being the family's primary breadwinner, I've spent a sizable chunk of the last six weeks or so sorting out my financial affairs, in case I suddenly die, or something like that. And I've realized, or rather been forced by circumstances to pay attention to the fact, that I never properly "divorced" Bluebird. Which is basically fine, because I never properly married him. We had a PACS. Correction - as far as I know, we have a PACS. And I think I should get rid of it. The law is relatively clear, in that the PACS isn't recognized unless we're living together, which obviously we're not, and it means very little outside of France. And it could be automatically got rid of by marrying the F-word, which I would do if we return to a civil law country. Nonetheless I'd like to ditch it now.

The thing is, Bluebird, well - he's not a boogeyman to me anymore, exactly, but given how our relationship ended I do have what I consider a reasonable degree of fear of him having my physical contact details or any possible weapon to interfere with my family's safety or comfort. A PACS is easily broken with a registered letter, even without his current address - the last I have is from 2006. Remember then? I hardly do - but of course I have to provide my current address, and if his address from 2006 still works that means giving mine to him through the registered letter, which in turn goes through the French consulate here and then the greffe in Paris and then to his last known address, whether he's still there or not (ah, European bureaucracy, I missed you. A little. In a masochistic way).

It's a fear easily addressed by using a PO box that I established for work mail (no way I'm printing my home address on the million business cards I hand out all over the world; since the Delhi conference I've been getting a lot of heavy breathers on the phone and have no wish to ever have one on my doorstep) but it means that I'm now combing the internet for any association of my name with my address and getting rid of them, as far as is possible for a woman with a reasonably public job who belongs to a bunch of clubs and occasionally sends irate letters-to-the-editor.

The point of this post? I used to be retarded, and that still matters. I'm not saying I'm not anymore, just that I used to be a bigger retard than I am now, and did really retarded things like getting PACSed to a rich, beautiful psychopath. Most of the ways I was retarded are just fairly good stories now, and feel so distant they might as well have happened to another person. But just as I'm preparing for a really new phase of life - the last big rite of passage before menopause - one of my old retarded decisions is sitting there, still being something that's happening to me. I think the most unsettling thing about it isn't so much my ongoing fear of Bluebird, or my appraisal of how stupid, masochistic and self-duplicitous I used to be in terms of my romantic entanglements. Rather, I think it's realizing that however nicely compartmentalized my brain feels, the past is always there. Not some other country you can just emigrate out of. More like a messy garage attached to your house you have to try to clear out from time to time, and sometimes there are big old brown snakes living in all the rubbish who might try to kill you.

Similes fail me. The gist of all this: I want to put my PACS with Bluebird to bed, and I don't want him to be able to know anything about my life now, and I'm still afraid. This tedious, tedious story hasn't been quite wound up yet.

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