real

Today feels like the first true day of fall. It stormed last night and was still very dark when I woke up this morning, but the sky brightened to a brilliant blue and the air was crisp and cool for the first time this season. On our way to school Five noted, “Brr! It’s cold today!”

I was so enjoying the unseasonably warm weather we’d been having, and although it’s a shame that it will soon be cold, this feels good and right through and through; this is what a real October is.

Three years ago, another October, the boys and I moved into this apartment, and in the first days of November I was legally separated. Like most things and as impossible as it seems, that was a lifetime ago and also not much more than a mere second.

The apartment has slowly evolved; I am always moving the furniture around. A good friend recently gave me a desk, one of two, and she kept the other. I am sitting at it now, and it is just the right size and the wood has loveliest yellow hue to it, and whenever I am admiring it I think of her, possibly working from home herself at my desk’s sister, and it feels good and right; this is what a real desk is.

About a month ago, another good friend patiently listened to me complain about my living room again. “You need to get rid of those couches,” she said.

“I need to get rid of those couches,” I said. And I have been saying that to her for years. As much as I wanted to be rid of that big, bulky living room set, I could barely stand to let it go to anyone but him, and he would have none of it. They were the first big, grown-up furniture purchase we ever made.

My friend, though, she is an architect and designer, and she is studying Feng Shui. “Seriously. You need to get rid of the couches. They are holding you back. Find a way to do it. Whatever it takes.”

And so I did. I found someone – another good friend – who needed them and would pick them up and take them away, and it hurt a little bit to let them go. I almost came up with an excuse at the last minute, but I didn’t let it stop me.

The couches are gone. And yes, it is a shame, they were very nice couches, but too big and manly for my taste. Now they have a new home to which they’re better suited. And now, for the first time, I like my living room. I go in there. Even when I don’t have to. And I sit down. Last night I read in there and almost fell asleep on the couch, a small, comfy yellow loveseat, a hand-me-down from another good friend. It is just the thing. The space felt good and right. Yes, I thought. This is what a real living room is.

My ex and I have almost reached the end of our mandatory three years of legal separation. We’ll be eligible for a divorce in a week and a half. There will be paperwork and legal fees, but soon it will done. It’s a shame since he is a good person and we have the boys and all that, but not everything is the right fit. I like my life now. It feels good and right through and through; this is what my real life is.

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About Jennifer

I'm a freelance translator and American expat. I live in Northern Italy with my two young sons.
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10 Responses to real

  1. k_sam says:

    Wow. Three years. As you said, it’s both a long time and a blink of an eye all at once. And I know we don’t really *know* each other, but it makes my heart happy that you are in a good place right now.

  2. Mary Ann Stafford says:

    Good for you.

  3. Gil says:

    I gather that you are a very strong person from reading you blog. Wishing you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

  4. Marge says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Jennifer. It’s good to know that you have come through a very hard time so strong.

  5. Aunt Patti says:

    Your uncle and I are so proud of the beautiful woman you’ve become! We’ve enjoyed watching you grow up from afar so much. Thanks for keeping up with your blog so we can always be in touch!

  6. simplyjen says:

    I first started reading your writings when Nine was a new born. You have always inspired me with your strength, wonderful sense of humour and ability to find beauty in situations. You are a courageous and beautiful person. I wish you all the blessings that you truly deserved.

  7. jadie says:

    Decades seem to have their own auras, time caught in amber. Today is always palpable, yet it too will soon enough melt into the past, into its own amber aura. All we can do is try to immerse ourselves as best we can in the now, and you in the solid, daily moments with those boys, so that one fine day…

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