The windows in my building are being replaced, so I'm woken up by builders every morning. It's a real treat, especially when I've worked nights and collapse in my bed about five hours before they ring the doorbell.
Moving furniture and plants around so the builders can get to the windows is a bit tedious, but it's also an opportunity to sort through stuff that just sits in boxes. And clean out some dustbunnies the size of Texas.
In one box I came across some old photos and notes from school. There was also a mixtape from my friend S, a girl who introduced me to bands like Barenaked Ladies, Sister Hazel and The Levellers.
We both had a crush on Liam Howlett from The Prodigy, swapped mixtapes and talked about rock n roll boys when we were supposed to pay attention to the teacher.
S told me about her parents who hadn't shared a bedroom for years but still stayed together to keep up appearances. There always seemed to be a lot of tension in her home, but she rarely wanted to talk about it and I didn't want to pry.
We lost touch after graduating upper secondary school but I ran into her a few years later. She told me she was living with a guy who didn't love her and told her so, but it was better than being alone. If I could I would have pulled a Dickensian "Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future" on her parents and showed them what their way of life had done to their daughter. I'd probably have bitch slapped them too.
Because they were scared of what others thought of them they stayed in a bad relationship and taught their daughter that it's more important to be with someone than to be happy.
It's been a few years since I ran into S. I hope she's finally understood what I always told her; that she deserves to be loved and shouldn't settle for less.
Divorce is hard, but staying together for the kids is one of the worst concepts I've ever heard of.