It turns heads.
Parent's leaving the class, gathering their children and heading for the door, look at us with startled expressions.
Lily's karate teachers catch my eye, eyebrows raised their faces loaded with questions I could not begin to answer.
I still find it quite shocking.
I've never had anyone truly hate me, on that level. You see it on the news in far off places and you say to yourself; how can anyone hate that deeply.
So no, not before him have I been touched by true hatred.
I found it quite shocking the last time, and as you know it's been quite a journey for each of us of us coming back from that.
His remorse, his dependence on my support again, his tears, his gratitude for my forgiveness and support...expressed effusively as recently as four months ago.
The most painful and confusing thing is when people like Lily's therapist tell me he doesn't seem manic. Intellectually I know why.
I know his level of cunning.
I know the skill of his performances, where his own treating doctors had to apologize for the aftermath of their mistake.
Intellectually I know all of that.
But emotionally it feels like a burn.
Do they think I'm the one who is mad?
Do they think I'm some kind of hysteric, when I've habitually minimized everything he's done to me and to Lily?
When all of my responding actions for two years have been so measured and fairer than he possibly deserved?
Certainly if I had my time over, I would have done things differently. My own love and empathy got us into this mess.
As we discussed, Lily invites her dad to her mid-year dance performance. She doesn't know all the details so I have to respond to his questions and he cannot for the life of him look at me.
He's turned slightly away from me, staring straight ahead while I tell him where and what time.
Nothing in his behaviour is remotely normal on any human scale, when he's around me he cannot fake it.
|Lily's dairy excerpt|
Claude turned up to Lily's school again last Friday. At the school bell before she had to go to roll-call for After School care. I guess since the teachers at After School have noted his odd demeanor, he's timing his unexpected visits so as not to have any further contact with school staff.
I'm trying to re-focus on my own life, getting writing jobs and trying to limit his ability to derail my progress.
Sometimes it's very hard. We've seen him four times now in the past week: School turn-up, Karate, mid-year dance performance and today's special school assembly play; where lily was a crocodile with limited lines. :0)
I figure his lawyer's informed him that his refusal of supervised visits makes him look so bad the least he can do is start putting in an appearance here and there. That is my lawyer's theory (based on her familiarity with his lawyers).
Maybe coincidental but since the first unexpected turn up at school last Friday, Lily's eczema, which was totally gone, has flared up again and she's back to tearing at her hands, feet and knees.
It could be completely coincidental as I say, but anecdotally we always manage to get her skin cleared up when she doesn't see her dad for a bit. And she always came back from weekends with her dad; her skin looking like it had been hit with a blow-torch.
Today at the informal performance, I only half expected him as it didn't rate a mention on the school's parent planner app.
I'd spent a busy morning trying to track down a crocodile onesie since she told me at bedtime last night: 'all the other kids are wearing them..'
I got lucky.
It was a truly special and elaborate and very bright costume.
And pretty much all the other children playing crocodiles were just in their school uniform.
Except for one girl (the one who apparently lead the lets wear onesies charge). She had a crocodile hood on her head with the rest of her scaly self in her navy blue uniform!
But my girl was proud, what she lacked in lines she made up for in stage presence.
And I suspect her father didn't recognize her at all until the awards were announced and a big green crocodile accepted hers.
I was a bit taken aback when he showed up relentlessly chewing his gum. However today his glowering presence didn't hit me in the guts the way it usually does.
You see just before the show I had a very exciting text message and I'd been jumping up and down outside the auditorium with Lily's Nana.
My fabulously talented multi award winning author friend sent a message that she'd just finished my book.
I don't think she'll mind if I drop in a few quotes here because today they lifted me up too high for his hate and animosity to reach me.
There was my little girl onstage as the most gorgeous crocodile and in my purse my phone screen was full of these words : AMAZING!!! Fun. Fast-paced. well-plotted. Unputdownable. Beautifully real characters. Fantastic...
There was more but you get the drift. :0)
So maybe there is a brighter future for me outside of this mess, a new beginning full of possibilities for Lily and me.
Thank you J, for your generosity and your friendship and being my creative jumper-leads. xxx