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In this extract from her diary, Helen Garner chronicles a tumultuous time in her life, including the beginning of an all-consuming affair. I try to write all the worst things. The temptation to gloss it up.
I force myself to put down the bad and stupid things I do, the idiotic fantasies I have. L unch. The company of women. This is what I need. Light and silly conversation about how to keep canvas shoes white. His body is neglected, his hair is going grey. The pale skin of his arms and shoulders is thickly freckled, those childish freckles you see on boys in primary school, a starry sky of freckles, densely packed.
Being in love makes me selfish and mean, puts blinkers on me. I get tunnel vision. I want, I want, I want. A turn around the park with O after dinner. Laughing and fooling. A moon, some faint stars. In a second-hand shop window I saw a pretty nightie I wanted to buy. Always, under whatever else is happening, a level of thought and fantasy about V and what is possible. I try out the idea of a mistresssome long-term thing running parallel to his marriage. Like a junkie after a hit, I am able to contemplate giving him up. O n the ferry V has brought a yellow plastic bag. D inner with the retired academics.
I made a big effort and stayed with the conversation. Their wives are still real, warm people, compared with these old blokes frozen in their own importance. The jerky little tales of eccentrics and their drinking. Dread: he too will turn out to be manly in that way — looked after by a woman, no longer alive to her yet still drawing full benefits from her love and sacrifice … Is there hope for women and men? I called home.
Thank God I had a daughter. T hese two men.
To L in the most direct, old-fashioned and simple way: I know him, I like him, he is like mewe know each other without effort, two greedy, cheerful, sexy, sociable people, takers of foolish risks. To the other, how? A thinker, intellectual, contained, cautious, measured, hard-working, private. And married. This will have to be Hot ladies looking sex tonight Helen. His attacks on me, the truth in them, but the way he strengthened their force, and ultimately weakened and undermined their truth, by the use of irony, or rather sarcasm. Sadness, soreness, regret; relief. T oday I own a house.
Got the key and rushed over. Hated it of course. No sun to show its many light sources. Phone went bung after one call. All windows seem to look on to brick walls. Plants in the garden ugly and neglected and worthy of euthanasia. I began to panic till I stood in the backyard and felt its space.
Went again in the early evening, to water. Extreme quietness of the street, darkness beginning to cluster under the plane trees. In the backyard I stood holding the hose on yellowing grass. Sky in the west a paling orange. Above, a colourless clarity. M oving house. One carload at a time. My room looks on to thousands of leaves. I lie on my bed and rest, looking up into the foliage. The dog lies in the hall and gazes out the front door. Their different types of bed. Nobody there looks at me. I have ceased to exist. I feel, and have to force myself to write, that for the first time in my life I am able to stand up to, or with, a man of my own age whose strength of purpose and self-discipline are at least as great as mine.
P aralysis, since I no longer live with M. Everyone I tell has a different analysis. That gives you form and structure! I envy you.
S orted books for hours. At first I was ruthless, and culled, but as fatigue took over, all my decisions acquired a tone of angst, until I had to stop.
Found an old literary magazine containing an interview with V. His sentences were so dry as to be starchy, perfectly constructed in a way that made me feel exhausted and slightly panicky. He is married. He is an intellectual. He is only messing with me. And I have dropped my guard. It seems that something takes vengeance in one, and one becomes like everyone else. Painful speculations, sometimes grinding, always trying to tackle the worst, the least attractive, what cannot be made beautiful?
At least I am not bound to anyone, hurting him with my obsession. Examination of fantasy state: it is not a series of clear pictures. Really it is more a stupefaction, a state of suspension. L unch in Fitzroy. The way friends, men and women, sit around a table, eating, drinking, telling little stories, making each other laugh.
I dislike, and am shocked by, the spiteful sallies of one of the older men. They have no bitterness. Hot ladies looking sex tonight Helen with blankness, then that clears and it hurts more. It gets worse. Use it. A Tchaikovsky piano concerto, on my own. The idea of it made me yawn but soon my skin began to crawl and various thoughts came to me with the music as background.
If I go ahead with this, I will be spending a lot of time alone. I will spend a lot of time waiting. How strange these thoughts are. They are serious thoughts. I am contemplating a course of action which at my age will have certain repercussions, important ones. Have I got, can I find in myself, the courage and strength to live like that?
I am notoriously bad at it. It does not suit me. The wife envies the passion her husband feels for the mistress. Register here. Photograph: Darren James. Sat 31 Oct . Helen Garner: 'I may be an old woman, but I'm not done for yet'. Topics Australian books Relationships features. Reuse this content.Hot ladies looking sex tonight Helen
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