Bon aprés-midi, my friends. Another month has passed, and so you hear from me again.
It has been a long one, to be perfectly honest. Work has been intense -- it is the holidays, and the holidays means pushing every rewards plan we offer. After all, who doesn't want air miles when they know they need to fly home to mamma and papa? Who doesn't want the sense that every dollar they drop into the Christmas shopping comes back to them as a discount somewhere else. People are by nature selfish, and if there is a way to add a hint of selfishness to their altruism, so much the better. Why does one think so many products come in pink with a breast cancer ribbon now? Certainly, people could donate money to cancer research, but this way they donate less money and get a candy bar or a vacuum cleaner for their troubles. It is the way of the world, and I am intelligent enough to live in it.
Nick continues to flourish at L'Oréal. It is difficult, I have to admit. I am working sixty hour weeks and so is he. We both ascend, but we see each other very little. There is considerable business travel as well. It can be quiet, and even somewhat lonely. Still, I have seen the alternatives and I would always prefer this. There is excitement in the chase, the hunt, the closed deal.
No word from my father, which balances well the lack of word I have sent to him. Now that he knows Françoise will be his only grandchild, he has little reason to contact me. I cannot provide him with a grandson, ergo my failure is complete in his eyes. And ergo again his failure is complete in mine: I define myself by the contents of my brain -- I have no interest in ever being defined by the contents of my uterus.
Perhaps I should move abroad....
Doctor Robichaud says such thoughts are part of my problem -- I have this sense that things will be better just over the next hill. That led me to Milborough once upon a time. Now where would it lead me? Chicago? Sydney? Brussels? At least it would be exciting.
Fathers... always with fathers. I have heard from Clarice -- she called me ostensibly to update me on Françoise, since they went out to Vancouver for Thanksgiving this year -- but clearly she wanted to talk to a sympathetic ear. I always liked Clarice. Anyhow -- Anthony apparently closed the book on Gavin Caine's expansion plans, and Gavin has cut off all contact with him. It is a sadly familiar story, and I feel badly for my broken ex. Still, at least he stood up for himself.
My understanding is there is some sort of crisis in their extended family -- Anthony's sister in law has lost her baby. I can understand the need to close ranks in such a situation -- I certainly remember the discomforts of pregnancy, and I suspect had Françoise been stillborn it would have been devastating. Still, I do not understand how a family known for barely making ends meet would produce so many children. It is the problem our country and society deals with, it seems to me. We produce babies out of some primitive need to prove ourselves -- if we cannot produce babies or the babies fail to survive it is tragic. And if a woman decides to ensure she will not spawn another child, she is dangerous, possibly insane, and certainly broken. Exhausting.
Ah well. Clarice is going to fly back out to help with Françoise and little James Allen, along with Abbey who hadn't gone on the earlier trip, so Liz will be free to give help and support with her sister. Or sister-in-law. Whichever -- I remember meeting Liz's sister once, at my baby shower. She was polite and friendly. She seemed too young to have had a baby since then, but of course that is naive on my part. Liz might have another sister, though. Or a brother or... something. I'm not sure which.
Beyond that, nothing much has happened in my life. Well, with one strange exception. I had flown out to Toronto for a meeting, which actually took me somewhat out of the way, to Eastgate. It was an unusually nice day, and we'd had a morning full of rather loud meetings, and so I'd taken a walk out into the little park nearby, with a sandwich I had gotten from Tim Hortons and some coffee. I sat on a bench and worked at my food.
Well, after a little while, this old woman sat next to me. She was in pretty dirty clothes -- mismatched, a lot of layers. And she looked like she hadn't eaten for a while. So I took half the sandwich and slid it closer to her. She looked at me, and smiled a bit, and mumbled a thank you.
So we ate on the bench, she and I, and she started talking. Softly, almost like she was afraid I'd leave. "I wrote my mom a letter," she said, "but the kids wouldn't stop climbing and it got all messy. No one could read it. No one could read my stories."
I looked at my sandwich. "I used to be a dancer," I said. "But dancers never got anywhere, now did they?"
She looked at me. "I forgot about Frank," she said. "But then Farley dug him up. And now I can't stop thinking about him."
The woman was obviously mad, but I couldn't bring myself to even feel disgusted. "Things get dug up," I answered.
"I'm tired of old things," she said, finishing the half-sandwich.
"Me too," I replied.
She walked away, and I could hear her talking again. About what, I don't know. Clearly, she was glad to have a real person to talk to. She reminded me of some of the women I've known. Older, of course, and in bad shape.
Children climb all over you, and then everything is a muddle. That's why I had the operation, and gave all custody I could to Anthony. For too many people, it's a question of having your own life or having children. I wanted my own life.
I should go. I am rambling. And somehow things don't make as much sense on paper as they do in my head. In the end, I am fine and Nick is fine, and Françoise is doing well in Vancouver. And remember, Santa will be coming soon, so you want to be sure to be good and not bad, my friends!