Saturday, August 6, 2011


When a relationship ends you look for closure of one sort or another. Whether it's the finality of a divorce – split the house, the car, the dogs (thank goodness we didn't have a child) and go your separate ways or an inelegant break-up (Hey! You still have my Nirvana CDs) we all need some closure. Put a lid on the box marked 'closet skeletons' and bury in the the back garden.

When I broke up with my spouse after a seven year marriage it was, for the most part, amicable, On my side, anyway. We'd gone into one of those ruts you either have to break out of, break up from or purchase twin beds over. In our case is was a divergence of interest. He wanted freedom to date other women and so did I. The writing was on the wall, next to the gravy stains from dinners thrown during arguments. Oddly, it was only after the relationship ended that I learned to defend myself. I think a lot of domestic violence could be avoided by a good grounding in jujitsu. I'm an accomplished swordswoman too, as it happens, but I've never fancied trying to convince the police that a husband chopped into three separate pieces with a katana was self defence.

I left the marital home with some difficulty. Not so much because of the emotional ties but rather because I had accumulated several thousand books and I only had a tiny car. I took the books, my paintings and the cats, he kept the house, the car, the computer and the dogs. I was sorry to go. I loved those dogs. I moved into a succession of flats the worst of which turned out to be condemned with faulty gas and no heating. I generally kept warm by means of a spotlight bulb and a lazy cat. I organised my life, deleted all the pictures of the last seven years and joined several online gay communities. Life went on. Closure was, I thought, easy to come by.

Then the postcards came. One a day for six months, with Sundays off because there was no delivery. “Are you happy now?” one might say in big red letters. “You've destroyed my life.”
Thanks to the edicts of the Royal Mail, which gave them the right to refuse to deliver objectionable material, there was nothing too offensive on the postcards. He must have tried, though, because they soon began to arrive in sealed envelopes. Most of the time I recognised the writing and dropped them into a box unopened but once in a while he'd fool me by printing the address on a typewriter and posting it from a different town. I'd open these to find them full of colourful nouns.

I never replied to any of them and like all bullies who consistently fail to provoke a response, they slowed to one every other day, two a week, one a fortnight. When I had none for three months I packaged them all up and posted them back to him. Perhaps he made an art installation out of them.

I never heard from him again, but for the odd forwarded bill. I don't care what he did afterwards and I presume he never cared about me. I doubt he even knows my name any more, since I changed it to match my new partner's. He did make it into one of my novels, mind, a tribute he will be totally unaware of but it gives me a sense of satisfaction, particularly as he dies in a particularly gruesome fashion.

There! That's the key to my particular method of closure. I turn them into characters in my novels, kill them off and move on. I don't have the room in my head to have it cluttered up with memories of ex-girlfriends, ex-boyfriends (from my wilder youth) and ex-partners. Better to clear them off, clear them out and move on.

I'm sorry, who?

© Rachel Green 2011


  1. Hello, Rachel,

    Welcome to the Grip! Thank you for your wise and hilarious post as well as for the poem.

    You seem to have the question of closure well in hand!

  2. Rachel - I'm glad you can make light of such a dark past. I wish you joy and peace in your current relationship.

    And about that idea for closure, mind if I borrow?

  3. Lisabet: Thank you kindly. It seems odd to be writing for a blog I so often read.

    Kathleen: Thank you. I'm currently in a lesbian triad that's twelve years and still going strong. Borrow by all means :)

  4. What a fabulous article. Totally enjoyed the insight as well as seeing/hearing other's experiences

    After all, closure is so very different to each and every one of us

  5. Brilliant essay with well placed humour and a good dollop of suggestion for the rest of us.

  6. Bravo! An excellent essay about putting the past in its rightful place