I get an email from Mr. Faraway a couple of days before Christmas, thanking me for my card, but also, hesitantly, thanking me for the blog posts. Sometimes I can relate, he says, other times sympathize, other times laugh, and sometimes I just scratch my head and say, “Really?”
It has been a good guidepost for me, he says.
I reply with warm wishes for the holidays.
I start to notice him popping up a lot: I seem to see more of him on Facebook lately. He signs up on Google+, a fact I notice on Christmas, so I send him a message via Google+ and receive a reply, and we have a pleasant exchange. He and the soon-to-be-ex did a joint Christmas “for the kids,” and he is unimaginably stressed, though he does not say so.
For New Year’s Eve, he posts a traditional Scottish pudding recipe on Facebook, the one he’s making for the holiday. He posts a chicken recipe too. We start chatting about food, via email. He likes my New Year’s Day recipe and blog post, and emails me about that. There is some post-Christmas-party drama with the Board we are both on, and so we trade emails about that, too.
I ask a bit about how things are going with the divorce and all the adjusting; I receive lengthy responses about a situation that is anything but amicable. It’s a sordid mess that begins with his discovery of an extraordinary amount of text messages from her phone, and moves rapidly to the present state of limbo and uncertainty, fueled by small-town rumors.
I can read the frustration in his rambling emails; he is looking for logic where there is none – or at least, the logic that is there isn’t based on the same set of principles he would apply. I try to help a bit; I try not to overstep bounds or pry.
He doesn’t seem to mind, and frequently apologizes for talking about it so much, and tries to end most of the emails with a different subject – as though he feels guilty that a conversation should be about him.