There’s a stage in a relationship when you know that it’s dying and it’s when you breathe out when they leave the room. You know you’ve stopped being the ideal they kissed on a mountaintop when they forget to ask how your day was or would you like a tea. When they no longer touch you with curiosity you will know for sure that the relationship is dying and that is when you start to die too. It happens slowly, like most irreparable erosion. First you don’t get out of bed for 3 days because you can’t imagine what it’s like to not live inside each other, then you travel the world arranging big dreams of a future together by whispering incantations into the wind about your magnificent love. You get back home with exotic adventures trailing behind you and set up a house in a favourite city. You buy a dog together and you can’t stop singing from roof tops. You go out to movies on Tuesdays and have Sunday breakfast in cramped trendy cafes together and become a regular couple at the local Thai hot spot at Saturday dinner time. Just when you think that your joy has reached it’s zenith, you create a whole lot of trophies from that love bond and give them a life-force and names. The thing is, those mini humans can’t imagine living without you either. It gets crowded in your heart chambers. Suddenly you start to compartmentalise your feelings for all these people that are suddenly tied to you because of that double-edged sword called love.
Having children is such a beautiful nightmare. They offer such an accurate mirror of how far you’ve gravitated away from your own sense of spontaneity and wonder at the world that you vowed you would never let happen. Their very presence clips your ability to access such freedoms, for you are now in a constant state of hyper vigilance just keeping them alive. You acquiesce to the fact that your life, your choices are now inextricably linked to their needs and it will never be about you again for at least 20 years. You die to yourself and yet, what a beautiful death and therein lies the tragedy.
Something happens between two people in love when they create a child. It’s the start of the love triangle and someone is always feeling on the outer, usually the male for the first 3 months at least. It’s as if men don’t know what to do with their hands once they see how ineffectual the male body becomes in the face of taking care of an infant compared to the female. They find themselves for once without a visible power stronger than yours and they’re just floundering, temporarily lost in a sea of nappies and sleep deprivation and a deep panic that they’ll never have sex again. You’re no longer the goddess of his temple, but a sleep deprived wolf woman ready to rip the throat of anyone else trying to make your body theirs. You’re done. It starts there really, the separation. The need to cope with your new roles as Emperor and Empress to a kingdom that you accidentally started after nights of too much wine and deep kissing, is suddenly all consuming. You try to work out how you’re going to rule this world that you’ve made together and the only guidebook is the way you were raised yourself and you’re gonna run like the wind from that. But that guidebook is in your cells, it’s genetic and you become what you vowed you would never be. Those quiet incantations in your childhood bed that you will never become an adult like them are suddenly obliterated in the face of biology, of osmosis and also midnight panic attacks of HOW DO I GET THIS CHILD TO SLEEP! You are now parents and the role of lovers has been cast aside for comfort clothes and collapsing on the couch like zombies to watch reruns of a show that you can’t believe you’re watching. In this role, you start to see sides of each other that you never knew existed. The very thing he loathed his father for, he becomes, only worse, while you see your mother’s hands in everything you do, her impatience bubbling up directly after making a tray of cupcakes for you. The next 10 years are spent trying to make up for 6 years in total of no sleep and around the clock nursing and the only erotic fantasies you have involve sleeping alone.