Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The view from here

They say men are from Mars and women are from Venus, I was contemplating yesterday just how different my parents lives have evolved and I thought about that book. I did not read it, I think you can pretty much get the gist from the title. So yes, I met my father for lunch the other day, for reasons way to complicated to relate Kitty came too. She has the lightest of touches in these situations and so was very much a good thing.
My father is king of the grand gesture, so he is armed with Easter eggs from Fortum's and a very extravagant birthday cake for me from patisserie Valerie. He has changed only in that he has put on weight and appears to have morphed into his mother. Not necessarily a good thing, but I get the feeling his medication doesn't help and of course what is the point of watching your weight when the sword of cancer has already pierced the body.
So we had a chatty lunch after a meander around the Courtauld Institute. So good is the art work and the Mondrian-Nicholson exhibition in fact that I had to go back the next day!
So my father lives in a modest one bedroomed flat, he seems to spend most of his time out, the flat sounds dreary and functional. He is clearly making the most of his life by immersing himself in all things cultured in London, theatre concerts talks you name it he is there plus he is holding down two jobs, since learning to speak fluent Mandarin he is in great demand. He lives apart form his wife yet see her regularly, she got her passport, he got companionship and someone to drop off food parcels once a week.
In stark contrast my mother who briefly contemplated London and all its treasures, has settled near friends, seeking the touch of familiarity. She has nested and and created an environment to hunker down in and see out her remaining years with the last skerrick of sight she can cling on to.
You may think I too obsessively crave the sights and sounds of London, I spend enough time up there, and yet walking he dog I reflected that if Emin did not come home, I too would have the house decorated and fit for purpose in a year. Emin suppresses all I hold dear, and so to save my sanity I escape and chase something that probably does not exist. Which is the best way to live? I don't know really, but the price of a relationship does seem high sometimes. Is my future his future? Like my feelings for both my parents I will never know, because it is all buried so deep, compartmentalised and stored neatly away to be aired another day.


materfamilias said...

I'm so glad you met up with your father. Despite his shortcomings (a weak word, yes), he is obviously a bright, talented, engaged and engaging man. . . so the genetics are clear. That his interests are so close to yours re London, art, culture, has to be validating on some level.
As for the cost of partnerships, yes, I hear you. You know I have the most accommodating, supportive man possible, in my corner, and yet I often long for the years we lived separately through the week. Recently, though, two friends of mine have very suddenly lost their husbands, both to surprisingly advanced cancer. So I'm reminded of the balance sheet and grin-and-bearing the downsides. . . Not that one should be unhappy for fear of being alone, but if freedom and contentment and satisfaction can be found within the constraints of a relationship, I've realized that the tradeoff is not so bad. (Of course, this applies only to me and my situation, just riffing off your thoughts. . . )

indigo16 said...

No you are right, I do not fear being alone, but the silence can be endless at times and I too grin and bear it often without question and watching them both run around filling the void has made me at least appreciate a tiny bit the benefits of being in a relationship.