I seem to be on a bit of a roll – first secrets and now rumours – but it is particularly topical, given my day today. Luckily for me, I wasn’t the one being talked about, but there’s nothing to stop it happening to me too, or anyone really. The facts were scanty but the words being thrown around were worryingly harsh.
When your kids go to the nearby public school, you encounter people regularly on a social level that are different to you in many ways – race, religion, ideas on how to raise kids and the importance of vegetables. Though I have to admit, where I live doesn’t have a vast amount of racial and religious offerings on the school smorgasbord, I think this makes the small differences seem far larger. The people being talked about would have a fairly similar social and educational background to me and work in traditional fields. So far, so good. They went through what seems to be a bad divorce though and I’m not sure if this is where the trouble started or if something had happened prior to this, but of the many people talking about them, not a good word was said about either. And that’s enough to make other people who might otherwise have been friendly, stay away.
Obviously, getting divorced is harrowing and unpleasant and it is the rare person who is able to set aside their weapons and endure it with grace. The people around them may only see the worst side, particularly when the former spouses collide in public and small children are involved and emotions high. Because most people will not be taken into their confidence of both, they know one side or the other or merely observe the strained relationship and come to their own conclusions. This, I think, is where the worst of the rumours start. Not being close to either party, there is no obligation to hold back and with each subsequent retelling over the day, the details became more scandalous. What is worse is although I saw the evolution of the rumour and recognised that the lack of detail was getting filled in too quickly to have had any verification done, I had to keep a firm hold of the part of me that really wanted to join in. Why, when I knew I had nothing to base it on, did I want to contribute something? I gave myself a mental spanking, but I’m still thinking about it and whether I have been on the receiving end of similar treatment but just don’t know about it. To write means that you expose parts of yourself, cleverly hidden amongst other details in the storyline of course, and you never know what people are going to assume about you after reading your books. There is no way to prevent it – even if you hide out in your home people will still talk. If what people say about you is none of your business, why should you still have to deal with the fall-out?