Mind you, not looking forward to the geographical celibacy (if that’s a thing)

‘Would you really leave your husband here on his own?’

At the time she asked, we were sitting at the entrance of the school waiting for our children to come out, and I wasn’t even sure I knew her name. That’s how well I didn’t know her. I was wearing a denim skirt and a cotton shirt I’d pulled off the sewing machine earlier that day. I hadn’t finished it, not properly, and a loose thread was tickling the top of my arm. I was wearing the blue leather sandals I bought at Grundy’s on Rundle Street on a trip to Adelaide three, maybe four years, ago. I like those sandals. They are soft around my foot and easy to wear.

The polish on my toenails had started to disintegrate. I’ve never had an actual pedicure, I just slap a bit of colour on my nails from time to time, scratching whatever is left of the last coat off before I do. Standing in a crowd here I’m often embarrassed when I look down and see the state of my feet compared to everyone else’s. I think that will be different when I’ve moved back to Adelaide. I don’t remember ever being embarrassed by poorly polished toenails when I lived there.

Not that anyone has ever said anything. No one would be rude enough to comment on my ageing, drying feet, would they? But more than once, more than twice, people I barely even know have asked me about moving back to Australia and leaving my husband behind. I won’t say it isn’t something to worry about. I mean relationships do need nurturing if they are to flourish. But really? I wonder. Would you really ask an almost-stranger that?

It happened when we moved here too. People making comments about the dent we would put in our mortgage, about the cars we would drive, the early retirement we would take. I was astonished by it the first time that it happened. In my mind I had always seen myself leaving Adelaide. We had already moved a little bit and travelled a lot. Living overseas with my children was something I always wanted to do. But person after person after person made comment (passing or otherwise) about the financial motivations of our move. So weird.

Certainly, it’s not something I ever envisaged. That I would live in one country and the mister would live in another. But it’s just how things have panned out. Temporarily at least. The lads and I – for reasons various and multiple, individual and intertwined – are better off living in Australia, and the mister’s employment situation means he can’t leave here. Not yet. It will resolve itself. He will find a job. But all the same and nonetheless, we will live apart.

None of my friends, no one who knows me, seems to be concerned about the state of my marriage. Like I say, I’m not sure it’s the most fabulous way to nurture a relationship, live half a world apart. But it is what it is and we aren’t where we aren’t, and step by step it will work itself out. And in the meantime, I am off to have a pedicure. Find out what it is that I’ve been missing all these years.

22 thoughts on “Mind you, not looking forward to the geographical celibacy (if that’s a thing)”

  1. I am endlessly fascinated (and horrified) by the things that relative strangers feel entitled to say. It comes (in my head anyway) under the same category as people who feel it is ok to pat or rub a pregnant woman’s bump.
    Weird. And a tad creepy.

  2. “That’s how well I didn’t know her”

    I came back and read that several times you know, with pleasure, tried it on, swirling it round.

    I can imagine that, i’m a bit shabby myself. But one of my more endearing habits is to throw a beret over 5-day-old-unwashed or brushed hair. Not sure a beret would cut it in the desert..

    1. I was just looking in my drawer full of berets and caps and thinking, ‘I haven’t worn these much, should I really pack them?’ But in truth, the weather here isn’t all that conducive to berets and caps so I’m not sure now what to do with them.

      PS can you go 5 days without washing your hair? Three was always my absolute max and now I’m down to about half a day. There seems to be no end to the effects of middle age hormones.

  3. I’ve only got into pedicures myself over the last year or so, and I’m enjoying them, especially from any of the places that have massage chairs for the duration. Go for it – you get a good half-hour or so to yourself for mental relaxation, your back and neck muscles get a pummeling so you’re physically relaxed as well, and you end up with smooth heels and shiny nails!

  4. I think pedicures have only become a big thing in the past five years or so with the advent of all those Thai places, that’s how it looks to me anyhow.
    Coming back sounds like a good idea to me.

  5. Gosh, you write well.
    I think people who know us, love us and care about how we feel about them are more timid with some of these questions. Strangers just come right out and ask. Whether that is good or bad is something I haven’t quite decided on yet.
    And now I am looking at my unpolished nails and well walked on feet and thinking that a pedicure (or at least some moisturiser) might not be a bad idea.
    Safe travels.

  6. I feel a pro at the long distance relationship lark. I have negotiated one relationship between Perth and Southend-on-Sea in Essex and another between Albany and Bunbury in WA. Beware of seeking advice from me on how to do it successfully mind you! That said, it can set alight and refresh a relationship when both parties are equally committed to doing the work and communication is prioritised. I am sure you will rock the distance relationship thingy.

    Good luck and welcome home.

  7. looking forward to see you more when you make the move, and Shane isn’t far away during the week, if you need someone talk to change a light bulb.

    I love a good pedicure, love to be pampered and my toes to look pretty, in fact looking at them now, I could really do with another one.

  8. “Would you really leave your husband here on his own?” That was probably not so much a question directed at you as it was an expression of the doubts in her own relationship… Perception is projection… That being said, let me as you this question, given that’s how well I know myself: ” how is Abu Dhabi going to feel like with my dear friend back in Adelaide?”

  9. Wonderful to read your plans for travel and pedi matters. I’m yet to have one but there are a few things I’m yet to try. I’d love to catch up with you in 2016. All the best with beret packing and much more. Hope the transition goes well for all of you. Safe travels and I’m sure there will be many a more story in the process. XO

  10. Oh you are such a good writer….you described my feet perfectly.
    I have never had a pedicure in my entire life. I was trying on shoes when I saw a couple of ladies I knew and asked them what they thought of the shoes I was modelling.
    The looks on their faces when they saw my crappy nailpolish and ungroomed feet was horrifying.
    My husband used to commute to New Zealand. I loved that. I wish he still did.

  11. I didn’t have a pedicure until a few years ago and now I love them so much! I don’t get them often, but I do enjoy them.
    Sucks to be on different continents. Hope all that financial gain you mentioned means frequent holidays together! 😉 In the meantime, best wishes.

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