Diary of a Separation

When “letting go” finally becomes “I let go”

Wednesday 28th November 2018

A passage in A Life in Parts, by Bryan Cranston, reminds me of what I have done with my life so far. In a rather unconscious way, I have been cannibalising my existence.

In the book this is the scene when the Cranston kids go to see two therapists together. The latter come to the conclusion that the Cranstons’ family situation is “quite normal. Pretty bad childhood. Not as bad as some. Worse than others. You each found a way to survive. You each found a way to cope. That’s perfectly understandable, perfectly acceptable, perfectly right at the time. The problem is those same coping mechanisms that you used to survive a less than perfect childhood will cannibalise your life as an adult and prevent you from growing to your full potential”.

If you adopt a reaction-driven strategy to cope in life, you will very rarely allow yourself the space in which to think and develop new ideas. In short, you’re chomping yourself up constantly, living challenge by challenge.

I am learning to let go. It’s a long, tortuous process (it’s easier to snap than to ask oneself tough questions), but I’m confident I can do it. Also, who wants to end up like one of Virgilio Piñera’s characters in La Carne?

Saturday 1st December 2018

I haven’t seen JP for more than 20 years. To think that we became friends because our partners were also friends. S and Li had already struck up a friendship at Middlesex Uni and when the former washed up in Havana in ’96, the latter had already been living there for six months. Li went on to have a daughter with JP and S and I had A about a year after.

JP hasn’t changed much. Of course, the conversation focused mainly on my separation .The cosy atmosphere of Grow Hackney and the early evening chill made me feel very relaxed. He couldn’t believe S and I were an “ex-item”. I realised that his take on relationships was similar to mine. In that, as long as you didn’t cheat, or drink your wages away, or beat up your partner, then, a relationship, a marriage, could go on forever. I could see signs of our common Latin culture in his argument. I tried to shift his focus on to less “earthly” concerns such as: intimacy, companionship, communication and the desire to share experiences together in a couple. I don’t think he understood that bit, not because he couldn’t (he’s more than capable) but because, like me before him, he was operating on a Latin American mindset.

Tuesday 4th December 2018

I’ve realised that in thinking about the good times with S, I have, in a way, written my own online profile (on the Guardian Soulmates, incidentally). In an ironic way, S is helping me find a partner.

I met Le last Saturday 1st December in Stoke Newington and tonight she invited me out. An Italian restaurant in her own patch of London, Hampstead. Our first date weekend gone ended with a timid, half-there, half-here kiss. Le is a curious woman. She wears her spirituality on her sleeves. Whilst on Saturday we were testing the ground, tonight it was a more open and frank conversation. It was pouring down in north London but I still managed to cycle to the restaurant. Our talk centred more on Le and her needs (longing, she called it) than on mine. It’s too soon for alarm bells to be ringing but I felt a certain solipsistic streak running through Le.

London-based, Cuban writer. Author of “Cuban, Immigrant, and Londoner”, to be published by Austin Macauley. Has written for The Guardian and Prospect.

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