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Anne Townsend

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Words fix everything that is broken

images (1)We were in one of those studio apartments in Disa Park, in the middle tower.

For non-Capetonians, Disa Towers are those three monstrous pillar-shaped apartment blocks up against the slopes of Table Mountain.

It was the eighties, and I’d discovered that my then boyfriend, J. had cheated on me. There was literally a thank you card from the older woman (a cougar?) whom he’d taken away for the weekend. Wait, hang on, she’d treated him to a get away. The card was on top of the music centre. Yes, that’s where I found it.

As I thrust the card in his face, he said:

”Your aggression is causing my love for you to evaporate.”

No, not joking.

One more time.

”Your aggression is causing my love for you to evaporate.”

Fast forward to the late nineties.

My then partner cheated on me with at least three women over a period of eighteen months. Only three? I knew you’d ask that.

Three that I know of, and once I found out about the third one (she obligingly sent him a postcard), he said, almost in relief:

”OK, now you know everything!”

I seethed, I sulked, I demanded answers.

I got:

”We’re not married.”
”The French are more laid-back about these things.”

There was more, but this person deserves no more space. Delete.

The point of these disclosures?

Take your power back.

J. won’t read my blog, he died at the age of 34.

And the thrice cheater is unlikely to be scrutinizing my essays.

It’s not about the reader, reader. It’s about the writer. It’s about you.

You cannot erase the past, you so cannot change another human.

So why bother? Why not move the fuck on?

You word the past right. That’s why.

You cannot change another person but if you don’t rearrange the words, their words might change you.

Rearrange. Words. Memories. Lives. Yours, mine, everybody’s.

Words online, words in private, words that create memoirs, poems, art.

Words fix everything that is broken. Words. Mine. Not yours. Mine.

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