Here, I find myself in a dive resort in the southern Philippines, on the day the world was supposed to end, spending Christmas not with my boyfriend and his step-daughter, but with his step-daughter alone, said boyfriend now ex and gone off in some other direction of his own.
R and I looked at each other when we arrived here at the second resort of the trip yesterday: “who did you spend Christmas with?” “Some random woman from the internet.”
Diving is all about what’s underneath, what’s hidden, and then looking under THAT layer for what’s even more obscure, what’s hiding. Like this cuttlefish, that just looked like a shadow. Until Rachel pointed her pointing stick at it.
When it swam out, I literally jumped back with astonishment at its size and shape and sheer presence.
And yes, that is a whack-in-the-head metaphor.
Coming on this trip, Finch and I had talked about our relationship having an expiration date, about the limits of long distance and the different needs we have around intimacy. That conversation was hard, but it made sense, and I thought we could have a sort of coda/ending time to our relationship where we could be together in a way to honour what we’d been to each other.
Turns out, it’s pretty hard to connect and disconnect at the same time. And well nigh impossible for two people whose faultlines already include different ways of expressing intimacy.
So as the mid-point of our trip hit, the faultline cracked, I got too close to the pretty, deeply poisonous banded sea crate that glides incredibly, unexpectedly quickly through water.
And now, Christmas in a dive resort in the Philippines with a young woman I have deep respect for and affection but who, I will point out, I don’t ACTUALLY REALLY KNOW VERY WELL.
And she, who was supposed to be having a kind of family holiday, is now with her step-father’s ex-girlfriend.
I think I might have to start writing fiction again.