So it's Wednesday evening as I write this, 7.20 PM to be precise. Wednesdays, you may be aware, are my regular evening with A and K. Every other Friday night (in theory) they come to me too, the theory being that they stay the night and are with me until Saturday evening. It's a bummer sometimes, this divorce thing isn't easy on any of the parties involved and the time apart from your children can wrench at the heart and tear at a fellow.
And now, as K hits fifteen and A approaches seventeen, the last thing either of them wants to do is spend time with a male parent, a father as they're commonly called.
A couple of years ago I'd collect them from their place every Wednesday at around 3.30 PM. These days it's become a case of "what time will you be at mine?" and they break off activities with their pals to pop round and let me feed them.
K has just left. She texted me earlier to say she'll be here at about 6 PM, but then "had" to go to a friend's house and would make her own way back to her mother's later on. Minutes before she arrived I got another text:
"Dada will you get Chinese food for me as I have to eat quickly and then go?"
I chose not to respond, figuring that way I could actually walk to the Chinese across the road with her, to get a brief snippet of time together. That plan came close to working, though talking to me proved quite hard with the distraction of whatever hum of activity was going on on Facebook at the time.
A quick refuel, involving K stuffing more Chinese food into her mouth than even I thought possible, followed by another check on Facebook, and she was gone. There was a commitment to let me know what's going to happen this Friday and there was a spell in which I gave her £40 for a trip to Alton Towers, an amusement park, that she claims to be doing in the next day or two.
And I sit and wait for the older sister, who promises to arrive about 9PM. She'll want feeding, she'll get on facebook, watch TV and send more texts than I do in about a century. Then I'll drop her home, getting some vague promise that she'll let me know what's happening on Friday.
Sometimes, the life of a divorced Dad does hurt a bit you know.