Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What would life be like without friends? I surprised Christine when I returned to Paris that Sunday as the battery of my phone died when I called Anne Marie and I couldn’t find the spare of the adapter with all the stuff that was in the car. She was packing and confirming her travel arrangements to Milan, she heard me trying to unlock the door my hands full. She opened it and I began to cry. She listened as friends do and that helped. Later Chloe and Nathalie came by bringing a chocolate raspberry torte and we held a wake for the relationship. And all of you who commented and emailed your support, thank you, it helped.

We had struggled for a while, not conflict or at least not of the noisy angry type, but issues that we could not seem find a common ground. But it was not all bad and fact we mostly enjoyed each other.

When I met him at the airport, I knew something was wrong. His bonhomie was forced. In the car he was quiet. When we arrived at the apartment I asked him if he had anything to tell me, I knew.

If we were a couple dating in the same city or even one a few hours away, we might have gone on for a year or more perhaps finding compromise and choosing to join our lives or maybe not. But our decision to try and live together was too soon, we had fooled ourselves into thinking that email and phone calls are the same thing as time together. In reality when we began living to together we were at the stage of our relationship that most couples are at after a couple of months.

When he visited Indianapolis he went by his office to see his friends and co-workers, when he spoke with his old boss, who’s been promoted, he told Raymond that when he returns, they want him to take a new job, it would be a significant promotion and just the kind of job he wants for himself. He told me that he took the offer on the spot and that he would need to be in Indianapolis. I wasn’t asked to join him.

Our conversation about earnings led to further discussions regarding career and what we each wanted from life and it became apparent that we were mapping parallel lives and we each brought to London a secret plan to seduce the other to subsume our own desires for the other’s.

I decided to leave London then, there was nothing there for me, no one to go be with. Only to spend the night in the same house with him or a hotel and see him when I came for my things. I stuffed everything in Waldo. It’s amazing how much you can put in a Smart when all you care about is packing everything in.

I’d been on the road about 20 minutes when I needed to stop as I began to tremble so much I could barely see to drive. It was late when I arrived in Folkestone and I decided to get a hotel and see if I could get on the autotrain in the morning. Luckily I caught an early train and I continued home.

It probably didn’t help that I spent more than fifty nights so far this year in cities other than London or Paris, he has felt, though he acknowledged it was irrational, that I brought him to London only to abandon him there. That wasn’t the intent but it became a reality. But the reality that Raymond couldn’t accept is that my company was more important than his wants and desires, is more important than him.

I tell myself that we were two people who wanted not quite the same thing and that’s why it didn’t work.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, so sorry it didn't work out for you, Kim. Sympathy and hugs your way.

11:10 PM  
Anonymous VJ said...

Thanks for the update Kim, It's about what I had feared. He just never understood the importance of Kim & Co., and fully expected an alternative reality to become acceptable sometime in the interim.

Your desires notwithstanding, it was a significant tension there from the start. You hope against hope that something will work out, a new opportunity opens up with the firm, but not back in Indy. It's a nice city and all, but it's fairly remote from everything you've worked on in the past few years. Even that might make a rational choice if...if only he understood a bit more, or was willing to wait & find out...or if the job was one where you might be able to make a fresh start somewhere on the East Coast with enough money for a good restart or carry over.

That he made his decision alone like the proverbial old time 'organizational man' from the 1950's and I guess expected you to accept it or 'lump it' or 'leave it', does really speak volumes. He knew then he was making a break, and I'm glad at least it came sooner than later and that there was not much agony left in it (for him). I imagine it was pleasant enough for what it was.

But as I've said before there are many, many couples here & on the Continent who live apart for significant portions of their working lives before marriage, and even for significant spells afterwards. There's no real reason why this can not work better today with all our communications technology, than it did for the 19th Century days of the Whalers or ship captains of New England, or the miners who went out West, etc. It's getting to be a common occurrence again now, what with the mobility of jobs and the virtual insecurity of much work. Which is why when you find something you like to do or that you're invested heavily in, you want to hang on to it tightly.

So I'm sorry it did not work out Kim. Myself, I was not in co-residence with the wife for about a full year while I finished out grad school. The distance was almost exactly the same as between Paris & London, and took about as much time to transit too. Of course during that time we only had letters and the telegraph...er telephone to keep in touch. About once a week. As I said, think of how your dad might have been doing the same back in the days...

But thanks for the writing. It's always enjoyable to listen to. It's an apt description of a train wreck the might have been foretold, but we all hoped & wished that bridge would hold. It didn't. And he's not going to be the last guy with the same issues on that incredibly difficult 'work/life' balance stuff. Unfortunately there's plenty more where he came from. It's the Midwest. It's the US. Or perhaps it's just the guys. I'm hoping that somewhere they're getting to slightly more evolved than this. Again here's wishing you Much Good Cheer & Good Luck, 'VJ'

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Thais said...

I agree with VJ.

It didn't work because you weren't such a good match and didn't exactly want the same thing - rather than due to distance. Sometimes people are capable of making distance work and sometimes they are not - and I think that depends on people, not distance.

When you have a really strong bond with someone, you keep gravitating towards them. And then you can find mutual compromises, respect and relate to the situation another finds themselves in, and wait if necessary. But that is also a sacrifice not many people are capable of or willing to commit to.

My own little nightmare of a relationship with THAT man continues. I came to understand that these are his priorities and this are his personality quirks, and combined, the two make any attempt at a relationship extremely painful. But I love him anyway. And I am not willing to give up that love yet.
Apparently, Raymond was unwilling to do that. And may be, neither were you, as if his decision were to accept the job and stay in indianopolis, I am not 100% sure you were ready to accept a long-distance relationship either.

3:38 AM  
Anonymous Thais said...

Um, just to add to the previous comment:
Good luck in dealing with this!
Even if the you know this is for the best, it still hurts and will continue to hurt for a while. I am wishing you to get through this period as quickly as possible!

3:41 AM  
Anonymous Pete Doherty said...


Let me be the contrarian opinion here.

He agrees to uproot himself to a new continent sans job & income, where you're the only person he knows? And you leave him alone?

Let me also guess that he was pretty much on his own to find out all the day-to-day stuff too.

Who could blame him. It sounds like you left him out of your life since he arrived.

Do better next time.

4:29 AM  
Blogger Pete from Cal said...

*Long sigh* I'm sorry it didn't work out Kim! The timing just isn't right or maybe both of you are not ready even though you think you are. At least you both tried to make it work but in the end, whatever is going on in your own life is more important than what you could build together. Until both of you are willing to make significant sacrifices for the sake of being together, you're not ready. Glad it was amicable but I'm sure it is still painful. Think of the good time and cherish the memory! Take care!

6:33 AM  
Anonymous VJ said...

The pain is always there, and we all deal with it and cope however best we can. But Pete D. should know that R Had a good job in London, with a nice flat and a fine set up. He was not 'left alone to fend for himself'. So he had a job & an income & mates to pal around with. It was a learning experience for everyone, but R was not making the all sacrifices being claimed on his behalf. Some to be sure, but it was a lark for a little more than a season for him evidently. Something that's done the world over, day in & day out. He was not left alone in the Arctic with a strip of seal blubber, an 50 year old compass and a pair of broken snow shoes.

It's all a question of balance. What are you willing to share, and what are you willing to sacrifice to share in a life. R was not willing to share in his 'good news', and he probably well knew that his decision was the effective end of the relationship. Or could have strongly suspected this.

It's the age old question that stumped even that famous philosopher Jack Benny: 'Your money or your life?' Sometimes you wind up with neither, but you certainly need a bit of one to make a stab at the other. There's the paradox of the human condition.

As a side note, I might mention that this is the only time I've heard of any details about what 'happened' to Thais either. This love biz, it's always a bit of madness, right? Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Pete Doherty said...


He wouldn't have made the move otherwise if not for Kim. ;)

From this POV, one might conclude that "R" did most if not all of the relationship "work" and the "sacrifice".

Gotta love the flatterers.

1:48 PM  
Blogger Gillette said...

So sad when the hopes and dreams of new relationship don't work out.

I'm sure it was difficult for him to be left. I'm sure he could have worked it out within himself and stayed. I'm sure that lots could have been different, but it wasn't. We all bring emotional needs to a relationship for who we are at the time. Sounds like now wasn't the right time for either of you. If it had been, you would still be together.

So no bad R, no bad Kim. Just sad stuff.


4:22 PM  
Anonymous VJ said...

I'm inclined to take Gillette's position, with her big heart & all and then I remembered these guys:


Both grizzled Veterans of the Great War, and they told me in no uncertain terms: 'Never have we seen such suffering & misery such as we have heard for and about this poor, poor lad'.

Let's review shall we?

1.) A lovely tempestuous creature regularly graces your bed and whispers of her love when you rise together and join in your passions of the day.

2.) This same stirring creature has been and was known to be perfectly capable of attacking you in such a delectable and indescribable manner perhaps several times a day, (when in residence mind you). (Aye. laddie, the Huns were easier on us! They'd quiet down by midnight most nights...)

3.) On side trips to her neighborhood, not too far away from a direct train connection, you often get to meet and mingle with all her sad & tragic, but really good looking model friends. In Paris.

4.) For all this high quality connubial like bliss and world class excitement, you've got to do a few things that would strike absolute terror in any 20 something lad from the staid Midwest. ('No, not charging the trenches again!' cries Harry).

No, you have to move to an exciting foreign city far, far away from the Midwest. Where they speak a mostly intelligible form of English, and perhaps eat the occasional inedible meal. And also drink lots of really, really good beer, ale, bitters & cider. Again, dreadful & horrid fate that Hogarth himself warned us of so long ago.

Yes, we've known 1000's of lads & lassies who signed up for hard service in the military, the Merchant Marines, and the French Foreign Legion, the CCC Just to escape a fate worse than death, which was to live & die, safely snug in the stifling bosom of the very boring and often stultifying Midwest.

5.) For all this inconceivable suffering & perfectly wretched woe, you'll be paid reasonably well, live comfortably and probably are assured of a good advancement in your career.

The sacrifices made on this field of honor & battle were too great to bear, so the poor lad decided to pick up and move back home. Barely mentioning it to his fiance, the lovely woman mentioned there at the top in #1.

'Wot, no neck deep mud? No squadies dying by the dozen in sneak gas attacks? No drowned lads lying face down in the muck? No arms and legs blown off and sticking out from the trench walls and scattering the ground underneath your feet everywhere?' 'Perhaps we misunderstood' they turned to me quizzically.

I'm sorry. Perhaps he had a change of heart. Things didn't work out. 'He had his fun didn't he?' Harry squeaked at last. Indeed he did. For almost a full year? And then he went home. 'And if he lives to be 100 like us, he'll thank his lucky stars to just have experienced it all!' Indeed. 'And curse his wretched fate to be married to a succession of sad Mavis like creatures who out weigh him by at least a few stone, face like a fish monger's too I bet!' 'Aye, there's the sorrow & the pity'. He'll live to regret it. Quite.

Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

4:11 AM  
Anonymous VJ said...

Sorry, the links might not work out for the BBC site, so it's BBC.com and search for Henry Allingham, it just sounded better as Harry I guess. He's the oldest surviving WW1 combat vet, and perhaps the last in England. Cheers, 'VJ'

4:22 AM  
Anonymous Pete Doherty said...


I wonder if the dear readers here would have the same opinion if the tables were turned.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous VJ said...

Pete D, If there was a red blooded male under the age of 40 who'd not enjoy such an wildly attractive adventure, we'd know they were crazy for certain. Really. Cheers, 'VJ'

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Valiant said...

I have been away, so just caught up with your news. I am sorry it did not work out for either of you, but as long as the you have both learnt and move on then it was not a waste.

I wise person once advised not to wait for the person you can live with, but for the one you cannot love without. Obviously R is not that person for you or you for him.

Take time to heal. Don't rush back!

2:12 PM  

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