A fragment of conversation overheard in the swimming pool this morning; two middle aged ladies, tidily coiffed heads held high above the water, discussing their holiday plans as we ploughed up and down the lengths.
"And then we're going to Lake Garda ... then on to Verona ..."
Middle aged + middle class + married = affluent
Middle aged + middle class + abandoned = broke
So what do you do when you have been left holding the children (in my case, three of them, all boys) with no husband and no disposable income to speak of? How do you keep your end up, or should you just sink under the water and quietly disappear, leaving only a small ripple? I don't know quite where I belong anymore, where I fit in.
He left 10 years ago, my husband, although he had been absent for a very long time. We went through the motions. And I am just beginning to resurface and look cautiously around me, watching out for the sharks and the power boats. I'm not a strong swimmer.
So, I'm going to Lille for two days and a night. On my own, by myself, just me. I'm really looking forward to it. In fact, making the booking has given me a huge lift and I go around with a big smile on my face and a quiet sense of achievement. I have a life, I have plans. Actually, it doesn't really matter whether I get there or not, or even if I enjoy it when I do. What really, really matters to me is having a plan, something to look forward to.