Finding a new flat was a dreadful experience. A single man nearing 50 years old looking at flats along with people in their 30s. The looks I got. Nevertheless I found a small flat (50m2) about 5 minutes drive from my old house.
I managed to furnish it with some furniture that I had inherited from my Aunt, some garden furniture, a very small TV from the house (we had two, but she wanted it back after a while!), an old mattress, my PC and the plates and cutlery from my bachelor days that me kept for barbeques. In addition she picked out some towels and sheets for me. I let her keep everything else. When she eventually moved out I asked her for one of the sofas and she kept the rest.
It only had one bedroom so when the children came I slept in the living room. Luckily I profited from the authoritarian regime of my still wife, and there was no real problem putting the boys to bed (7 & 5). Though I learnt quickly to put them to bed at different times, otherwise they would chat together too long.
Jonathan at this time was having a hard time of the split. We were always very close, and it hurt me to see him suffering this way. He used to wake up in the middle of the night and creep into my ‘bed’ (blow-up mattress). I stopped this after a while as it wasn’t good for him, and also with his restless legs I couldn’t get a wink of sleep! Nevertheless, when he came I gave him a hug and a cuddle before taking him back to his own bed. Raffi was still only 5 and really had not really grasped what was going on.
The boys were with me every other weekend, and during the week on a regular basis, they enjoyed it. I still took them to their favourite play areas, on day trips (especially the Salzbergwerk in Austria, where they dressed up as little miners before taking the trip down into the salt mines), and also just chilling in the garden.
After a while I thought it might be a good idea to get a bunk bed for the boys. I always regarded the flat as a temporary measure, so having a bunk bed in my bedroom didn’t pose a problem. I asked my wife if I could borrow the Zafira to go and buy the bed. She refused but offered to buy the bed on my behalf, as long as she got the money. Strange I thought. As if I would ‘steal’ my own car. But as I found out her lover was going through a very bad divorce – could he be responsible for the excessive lack of trust?
Anyway, she toddled off and bought the bunk bed at IKEA, and I got a phone call while I was out in the garden with the children that she was at the front of the house with the bed. The children wanted to see her, so we all went out to the front of the house to meet her.
She wasn’t there.
Instead there was an IKEA flat pack bunk bed in perfect condition on the pavement. Yes in the middle of the bloody pavement.
We looked for her but she was gone, what do we do now I thought? I tried to drag the package but failed miserably. No wonder, according to the IKEA web-site it weighs around 60kg. So I asked the boys to help, we opened the package and brought the bits in piece by piece until the flat pack was light enough to move. The boys loved the action, especially as it was their bed. I was somewhat p****d off, especially after the fourth person had passed by giving me a dirty stare because I had the effrontery to block his way.
I rang her and asked what the hell was going on, she said she managed it all by herself without scuffing the packaging – The first of many lies I was to hear. For a while thereafter I started calling her ‘Superwoman’ – I don’t think she got the sarcasm.
Loss of empathy is an important part of parental alienation. Be aware when it happens.
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