Happy Unniversary

Today wasn’t meant to matter.

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Today, what would have been my 13th wedding anniversary, was meant to be an excuse to write something – probably for Women24 – on how even though I have every reason to be cynical about marriage, I’m not. How, even though I knew I’d made a mistake a week after my wedding, I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of finding something lasting and good with a person who felt right and held me when I needed to be held.

It was supposed to be a celebration of finally, finally conquering this endlessly fucking miserable boring chapter of my life, the one that refuses to draw to a conclusion even though it wore out its narrative welcome years ago.

But the universe – that hold-all metaphor for fate, or random indifference, or anything we don’t quite understand or feel entirely in control of – had other plans. Because here I am at the Time of the Writer Festival in Durban, talking about insults, and that of course means thinking about him, because my ex-husband is so indelibly connected with the books. He gave me the large wooden chicken I’m posing with on the back page of the programme. And he helped colour in the cover on the last of them, which was published while I was in the middle of going through the divorce.

Time of the writer

I’d pretty much disowned those books years ago. I’d love to burn all the copies I have left, because they take up space, and remind me of yet more failure.

The ex was frustrated that I wrote the insult books instead of focusing on something useful like a bestseller. He was absolutely right. He always was.  I wonder what he’d think about the fact that they’re on sale here at R10; I’d rather give them away than sell them at that price. Nothing messes with your ego like being published, because any sense of achievement soon gets pulped and that nagging sense of failure that shadows your every move soon looms large enough to darken every chink of light.

Today was meant to remind me that I’ve escaped, and that I survived. That I am ok. That things will get better. (Things will get better, right? They have to. I can’t bear the possibility that they might not.)

Today wasn’t meant to matter, but it does.


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