Thursday, June 01, 2023
Monsieur D., with whom I lunched in Antibes last Sunday, lives in Bandol near Toulon. Yesterday I left the home in Cannes of my Polish friends and drove here to stay with him. It was the shortest drive of the trip and passed uneventfully. Having parked Nira at our home for the next few days, we set off in his car with his chocolate Labrador (one of the friendliest and calmest dogs I've ever met) for a quick tour of the town, a walk on the beach and a coffee by the sea.
He's engaged in a big deal at the moment and spent a lot of time talking and texting. So I checked my email at the café and read a notification from the Family Court that had arrived while I was driving. My divorce from Mrs PII was final. I confess it was a sad moment. I took off my wedding ring and sent her a photo of it on the café table alongside my finger, marked by its absence. My caption said "Now we are exes" and she replied "and friends." I guess that's about as well as a divorce can go. Still, I was glad to be with a friend when the news came through. His presence (and my male pride) kept me stoic.
In between his afternoon business calls and over our evening bouillabaisse in a local restaurant where he's a regular, we talked about business, our industry and our lives. We discussed his own – far worse – experiences with two divorces. He has a court hearing today about custody in the aftermath of the latest one so it's still fresh – and bitter. He received a couple of calls and a stream of texts yesterday from his ex. It was a reminder that things could have been far worse for me.
More entertainingly, we discussed the relative merits of his current girlfriends, one of whom (bless his optimism) he thinks might be "the one". If that makes him sound naive, that's misleading. His approach was rational, practical and entirely devoid of romanticism. In my life, I have had such discussions about which car I might buy next, discussing their relative merits and how they might suit me, but never about women. I remember worrying endlessly before each of my marriages whether I could make my wives happy. I never asked what was in it for me. Like some dumb teenager in a pop song, I just fell thoughtlessly in love. Everything else (in truth, most important parts of my life) I trusted stupidly (or, let's be kind, romantically) to "fate."
My friend's ruthlessly evaluative French approach has still led him twice into trouble and strife so God knows what hell awaits if ever I trust my naive lack of judgement again! I wish him (and all my friends) well in the quest for a perfect relationship, but I am setting myself the simpler task of learning to live happily alone. To know your limitations is, after all, the beginning of wisdom.
While he's in court today, I shall take the opportunity to catch up with neglected commitments elsewhere. I shall rest quietly in his home in preparation for another un-but-should-be accustomed walk with his dog later.
Percentage of days on tour involving a rescue is now down to 27%.