We bimbled along, as we always do, Tilly did not look into Universal Credit. She cried, we hugged, she said she'd try. She hoped we'd get physical.
Then there was the Lockdown. I volunteered at work, did the shopping, was the contact with the outside world. Came home each time to more and more fractious family life. But we did it. We work well in a crisis, and despite everything things were looking up by April. By May and June I dared to believe that maybe, just maybe, Tilly was trying and that she would love me as I still did her.
Summer. She went to her parents, I did not. We all went to see my mother. My mother pointed out that Tilly did not spend any time with me the entire time we were there. But she did, just with the children in tow. See, I wanted to believe.
I stopped chastity at the end of August, rash was devleoping, seemed a good time to pause. Tilly hadn't even noticed. Of course she hadn't, why would she?
I went back to work - we're fully open at school - and it went well at first. Then, at the end of September, I came home to the usual torrent of information and a couple of insults. They were new. I argued back. She went mental. You know the score by now, you could probably sing along. But, this time, I was bored of the bullshit.
The bimbling was done. I looked at rental places. Tilly actually looked up Universal Credit. That was just over three weeks ago. I might have a house to buy if everything goes according to plan. I think I have a place to rent in the meantime. In two weeks I should have moved out. By February I should own my own house. It's happening.
February 2020 wasn't the end. It should have been.
October 2018 wasn't the end. It should have been.
December 2017 wasn't the end. It should have been.
August 2016 wasn't the end. It should have been.
July 2015 wasn't the end. It should have been.
January 2014 wasn't the end. It should have been.
March 2013 wasn't the end. It should have been.
December 2011 wasn't the end. It should have been.
August 2009 wasn't the end. It should have been.
May 2007 wasn't the end. It should have been.
December 2006 wasn't the end. It should have been.
But October 2020? It is the end. 14 wasted years. 3 children. 2 houses. 4 jobs. All for naught. A waste. I hope my children can forgive me for that wasted time. They are pretty chipper, given what's happening, keen to help me move into a new place, keen to visit. Sad that I am going. Youngest is the most emotional, in that he cannot really cope with it and just gets angry when he is confronted with the fact that I am going. He's fine with the theory, poor with the practice. I've done a lot of crying in the car.
Tilly had the happiest birthday she's had in... well, probably since I've known her. No, that's unfair. Her birthday in 2006 was happy for her. Maybe 2007 and 2009 too. 2011 was a good one, but not as happy as 2006, and I know that she had a good one in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 - the latter three because she went out with friends while I babysat. Heh, in 2016 we watched a film together at the cinema. One of only two times we've been out without children since we moved in 2013. But... yes, this birthday ranks up there with the 2006 one.
She's taking the children down to see her parents over half term. Well, I'm driving them down and back, but staying in the house. Because... they have more fun when I'm not there. So many holidays without me, it's hardly a big deal. Now she can have more and not feel guilty.