The thing about dealing with the absence of a loved on is that ultimately, you have to learn to live without them. It diminishes vows to cherish the other forever, no matter how sincerely they were meant. You find a way to live without them, or you lay down and die. I cannot pretend that the latter option didn't sometimes seem tempting, either. I freefell through two utterly joyless months before everything started to come together for me. The project I was working on started moving forwards. I found myself spending more time with friends, and at the start of December, I started crashing in the spare room of some friends. Then, for a variety of reasons, I never left.

I cannot say I worked hard to construct a life worth living; much was luck, and even more was the mercy of others. However it happened, however, I found myself possible the most content I had ever been. In very few stages of my life have I ever not desired to move onto something else in a year or so, but as it happens returning from not-awful work to good friends and a comfortable house was all I needed. Of course I missed my husband. He would visit me in dreams and I felt haunted by the memories of our last night together, watching the planes take off and land at the airport. Knowing the next day he would be on one.

And it wasn't long before I realised that he wouldn't fit in this life I had created. I'd have to move and leave behind the best environment I had ever lived in.

"I picked up some bacon for breakfast tomorrow. There should be enough left for you guys to make yourselves something before you set off on Sunday. If you can eat that early in the morning. I couldn't"

I could hear my voice wavering, but I don't think they noticed.

"I think I might eat something more like eggs, but thanks for the thought."

"Yeah, we're out of eggs."

"Ah, fuck."

I set the bacon on the table. Then remembered myself and moved it into the fridge.

I felt like I was sending them off to war. The mother in The Long Walk packing cookies for her son as one final kindness. But of course, I wasn't *sending* them anywhere; these were friends, not relatives or dependants or spouses. They were only off to France for 6 days, 7 nights on a holiday with other friends of ours. And I was the one leaving anyway.

To me, it's painfully sad to think they'll return to an empty house, although I don't think it bothers them, which most likely makes it worse of course. Actually I haven't felt this sad in a long time. Anxious, yes. I've never lived with friends before and I was almost constantly on edge that I'd do or say something wrong. But I hadn't been sad. In a weird, twisted way, I'm not sure that I've ever been happier. Now I feel like my throat is being ripped out. It's a vicious, pervasive sad, like the day I learned my mother was ill and I walked to the park with cheap rum in a ginger ale bottle and drunk and listened to music and cried loudly enough to disturb the passers by and the dog walkers.

One of them has gone outside to pull his laundry off the line. I'm reminded that the place I'm moving to doesn't have a working washing machine.

I do want to see my husband. I am glad he is returning. But this life is ending and I'm impossibly sad.