Crazy Stairs — Chapter 3

IMG_2812It is much colder out now. We are into the fall colours, but most of the trees still have their leaves. The temperature is supposed to be between 50 and 70 F over the next couple of weeks. I have left the pool open because next weekend is Thanksgiving. It is earlier in Canada because we have an earlier harvest. It is nice that way because it is separated from Christmas by over two months.

My dog is incredibly restless. As a whippet, he has an inborn need to run. He had surgery a few days ago to help deal with the fact that he started to mark his territory on my carpets and I’m not supposed to walk him off leash for another few days. This is the worst thing for him. He does not understand why he is not getting to go out and he is unhappy.

As I write the stories about Bob and how bad things were back then I find it easy to be very hard on myself for not putting it all together at the time but I must remember that things always look different in hindsight. I have described a couple of events that stick out now when I look back, but the fact of the matter is that there were still some nice bits in our lives. We still rented movies together. We would walk to the grocery store together and then walk back with our bags of provisions. We had found our own rhythm.

Part of our strength as a couple was that we were both independent. So, not being together every moment was not seen as a problem, before the baby came. If I wanted to do something different from Bob, I just would. The problems arose when we had shared responsibility. Suddenly, one of us had to be taking care of the baby all of the time. That meant that if I wanted to do something that precluded taking care of the baby and so did Bob, one of us did not get to do what we wanted. Bob always won.

I had heard rumours that he was taking her up to the University Centre, the same building that had the ‘fish bowl’, and basically entrusting her care to all of the young female university students that wanted to hold her and feed her and otherwise indulge their desire to be mothers themselves. So, he was providing “day care” by just having her where there were a lot of young women that would entertain her.

An interesting tidbit comes into play here. Canadian law does not allow underage individuals in bars. The idea is that there is no way to ensure that they are not drinking alcohol, because even if they are not served directly, they could be drinking. When Bob was at the bar on campus, I could not go in with the baby. She was underage. This meant that if I made the trip up to campus and he happened to be in the bar, I could not reach him.

I had a choice at the time. I could drive myself crazy keeping track of where he was and who he was with and what he was doing or I could just live my life the best way that I could manage. My friend suggested that I drop out of final year and focus on just taking care of the baby but my instincts would not allow me to do that. There was no way that I could take care of a baby without finishing university. At least I knew enough to not rely on Bob to take care of us. That is saying something. It may have been harder to stay in school at this point, than it would be to delay for a year, but I may never have finished if I had left school at this time.

A repeating thing in my life is the appearance of the drawing “Relativity” by Escher. For those “Family Guy” fans, it is referred to in an episode as, “crazy stairs”. It is a black and white drawing that shows staircases going in different directions. If you follow one of the staircases you will see that they are optical illusions. The top of the stairs at one end of the stairway is not the same at the other end. It is quite interesting to look at.

The first time that I had seen this drawing was during my first week at university. It was not lost on me that this was a major point of change in my life. As it happens, each time I see this drawing, my life seems to change dramatically. I just looked up the drawing now to make sure that I got its name and the artist’s name correct, but I think that that is different from seeing it randomly in my life—I hope.

Bob’s “friend” that came to the house on occasion, because they were “friends” gave me this drawing as a Christmas present. I did not keep it. I told Bob to take it with him. He left with her before Christmas that year, so I did not feel like keeping the gift that she had given me. To say that my life changed dramatically is probably an understatement. For the second half of my final year of veterinary medicine I was a single mother.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

To Be Single or Not To Be Single

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