Go like this: laugh to your friends about how great it is to have two homes, two Christmas’, two lives. Say it’s “double the fun.” Pretend it’s cool to fly eight hours to see your dad.
Go like this: lie next to your mother in bed on a Sunday watching music videos on TV. Snuggle up against her body and share vegemite on toast. Pretend you didn’t hear her crying last night.
Go like this: pit them against one another. When you are angry with your mother, tell her you are moving across the earth to live with him. Pretend you don’t care when her eyes well up.
Go like this: search for someone to blame. Make up stories in your head about your father cheating and don’t talk to him for months. Pretend you don’t think it was really your fault.
Go like this: fear intimacy, not because you don’t desire it, but because you are terrified they will leave. Fear falling in love with the wrong person, cut yourself off from everyone before it is too late. Pretend you prefer to be alone.
Go like this: learn that love is a fairy tale, a shot in the dark. Learn to treat it like a game. Teach yourself the comfort of loneliness – know that anything else is unreliable. Train yourself to feel sick at the sight of love, this contrived practice. When he kisses you on the forehead, or links his fingers with yours, ignore the butterflies in your stomach, the goosebumps on your skin. Think about your parents – the way they just decided they didn’t love you anymore, and recognise the impermanence of it all. Pretend love is trivial.
Go like this: live your life loudly and laugh all the time. Hide in the cleaning aisle and have your panic attacks in secret. Never let anyone see you cry. Walk with your shoulders back. Pretend your parent’s divorce hasn’t affected you.