December is the month of marriages, and most folks part, separate or divorce in January, if you look at the statistics. This is because much as holidays can be a time for family to bond and make merry, it can also stretch strained relationships to the breaking point.
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The long holiday time spent together can expose weaknesses, cause vexations that in other times of the year are hidden due to time apart. On the other hand, being apart during this Yuletide season may be the 'eureka' moment you needed to see how you can live life apart.
Whatever the case, a New Year is often when people move into new houses, and also split as you want to start the New Year afresh.
For the person who is 'being left,' the news of separation can come as a shock, like being splashed with icy water or getting electrocuted. As my pal Ciku puts it, this mourning period may be a delicate time where one drinks too much, lashes out at friends, becomes isolated, obsesses over the details of how things ended (this to me is no different from pouring over the body of an accident victim at the morgue) and makes ill-advised decisions about eating habits and basic hygiene.
One may become blue, grossly over-weight and the house look like Dandora garbage dump. Then you get an epiphany, eat right, hit the gym, get a new car or wardrobe, and move on!
According to Ciku, this is where it becomes like the movies – you get your spring back, get a new mate, run into the original, make up, now you have to choose between the two, you go back to number one, only to discover the newbie whose heart you have broken was the one.
Newbie has decided to go start a new life in America. On the day of her departure, you grab a cab, dash to the airport with a great 'please don't go' speech in your head, only to get to international departures and see her plane fly her out of your life, forever.
I told Ciku real life is much more mundane. After a few months of not talking, you begin to text each other banal stuff about soccer (which she never cared much for anyway) and once you are amiable, you look for that angle where you meet in a café in town and after a few 'you look wells,' you slip her those legal 'no contest' papers that ensure s/he will not be laying claim to any of your earthly possessions. Because, in the end, other than custody and visitation, property rights are all that count. Everything else is a devil in the details.
You smile, maybe shake hands, and say 'let's stay in touch' but you are lying in the good-natured way old pals who have lost touch lie when they bump into each other, exchange numbers and say 'let us do lunch sometime.' The truth is, you won't.
The process of separation is one of unlearning each other – from lovers to the occasional text to distant total strangers. So that one day if you bump into each other in the 'super' in 2020, you can greet each other with the warm but vague cordiality one reserves for, say, a friend from Primary school.
There is really nothing left.
Ciku says it is like Roxette's song 'it must have been love, but it's over now.' I really think it is more like that Green Day song that goes: 'Seems like she vanished without a trace, did she ever marry Old WhatshisFace? She went away and I took a different path, and I never wonder how she's been.'
For Ciku, and of course Beryl, remember this Chinese saying – when you reach the last page of the story, shut the book.
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