Being lonely is a bitch. My divorce had been final for over a year now, and I was sick of microwaved meals and fast-food take-aways. I hated waking up in the morning on my own in my large bed and I especially hated sitting in front of the TV and bitching about the politicians with no one to listen or even to argue with me. I wouldn't admit this to just anyone, you understand, but I was also tired of relieving my sexual frustration into a piece of toilet paper.
Isn't it amazing, you start out with the bubble of magic when you are young and meet someone that you think you will spend your life loving and adoring, and via some strange process the relationship loses any joy. I met my wife-to-be just before I finished school and we got married soon after I finished. We did all the normal things; got a house with a mortgage; had the regulation two kids; did the nine-to-five thing to put bread on the table and then it was suddenly all over.
On that day, my wife simply handed me some papers and told me that it was over. She had met someone else and she wanted a divorce so that she could start a new life. Our two daughters were out of our hair, they were both over twenty-five now, and she had had enough.
It really shocked me to the core. I had been comfortably in a rut and this was the very last thing that I had expected. I hadn't thought that there was anything actually wrong with our relationship, although it wasn't really exciting to me anymore either. Once I got over the shock, and realised that there was no way I could salvage anything, the process moved very quickly and we had our divorce within two months.
During this period I was forced to re-evaluate everything about where I was and what I was doing with my life. We were very comfortable financially, and the divorce didn't really hurt me there, but while it was in process I decided that seeing as my personal life was going to be changing so radically, I should maybe re-evaluate my professional life at the same time. I took a long hard look at the business that I had started with two partners soon after school, and realised that I was just spinning my wheels there anyway. I wasn't really needed for the day-to-day running of the business, so I arranged to move myself out of the office completely, in essence becoming nothing more than a silent partner. My drawings every month were probably about triple what the average higher-income wage-slave would make. My about-to-be ex-wife was hooking up with someone who was also pretty well off and so she would make no demands on me. Both my daughters were sorted out with trust funds that would keep them very comfortable until they had settled in their careers.
So I semi-retired. I pottered around at home for a month or two until I got totally bored, and then decided that I really needed to do something with my time. I had bought a piece of land fairly near my house that I had been sitting on for a while, and while I was in this state of flux, I got a notification from the local municipality authorities that the by-laws had been changed and it was now permitted to develop the land for 'cluster-housing' which it hadn't been before.
That kept me busy for a while. I had meetings with an architect and a site manager and various builders, but seven months later, the first of the cluster houses went on sale. In barely two months all twenty-four houses had been sold off-plan at prices ranging from three to eight million Rand. So I had a chunk of cash that I hadn't expected or really needed.
I bought a few of the toys that I had been meaning to but that I had felt I couldn't justify before. I got a gyro-copter and started flying lessons; all the possible add-ons that it was possible to get on my TD5 Land Rover and a second jump-rig for sky-diving, including a new main canopy more suited to canvas relative work.
The flying lessons took up a lot of my time and I got a lot more jumps in my log-book, but I was already starting to get bored after just a few weeks.
I had never really been in the 'dating scene' as it were, because I met my wife when we were both students, so I had no idea how it worked other than anecdotal stories from friends and reading. I figured that it couldn't be too hard to do so I gave it a try. It turned out that I was soon checking to see if I had body-odour because I just couldn't get it right. I had decided that I was an absolute loser as far as women were concerned. I considered visiting a prostitute, but decided that risking my life for a few minutes pleasure was better reserved for sky-diving and not sex. 40% of the world-wide HIV infections were right here in Southern Africa, and the prostitutes were right up there in the very highest risk group.
When the possible solution came, it was from the most unlikely source I could have ever imagined.
My youngest daughter Beverley was working as a web developer for a local firm and she told me that I should try an online dating site. I jumped into action immediately. Well, it was more like strolled, and also more like in a few days while I waited for the new computer Bev advised me to buy to be installed along with a wireless internet connection.
Once everything was in place, I started surfing all the local dating sites. I soon got the hang of it, but it turned out that my age was against me. At fourty-eight I was over the line for the better looking women, and it seemed that there was a gap in the crowd here that was filled to the brim with fat fifty-somethings. One of my absolute phobias is people who are over-weight. Make no mistake, I wasn't the proud owner of a washboard stomach, but I was careful to remain vaguely active and I managed to stagger around without drowning in sweat and having a heart attack.
I was soon back to square one.
Being lonely is a bitch.