365 Days Later…
Your heart is not open
So I must go
The spell has been broken I loved you so…
Freedom comes when you learn to let go
Creation comes when you learn to say no
You were my lesson I had to learn
I was your fortress you had to burn
Pain is a warning that something’s wrong
I pray to God that it won’t be long
There’s nothing left to lose,
There’s no more heart to bruise
There’s no greater power
Than the power of goodbye…
365 days ago, I was about to embark on one of the worst experiences that I’ve ever journeyed through. Is it over? Almost. I hope so. I think so. In retrospect, my relationship had been unravelling at its tread-bare seams for a long time. I was losing the ability to turn a blind eye to the multitude of contradictions and anomalies that I was being spoon-fed on a daily basis. As an entity, we were akin to a dying animal: painful, ugly, desperate… in need of being put out of its arduous, wretched misery. And a year ago today, the inevitable happened and we finished.
He had done a disappearing act the night before: I received a text message to say that he needed space to sort his head out. Livid does not do justice to the rage that I was feeling. The next day I rang in sick as I planned on doing similar myself. I was going to get a train to Brighton and sit on the beach but as I got myself ready for my day out, my phone hissed at me. He was ringing to say that we needed to talk. At the time, I didn’t want to. Fuck you, I thought. I wanted to evaporate into anonymity and get lost somewhere soothing. Looking back, I knew the end was coming but even then I was defiant. I couldn’t relinquish my hold on something that I’d single handedly worked so hard on to make work. I couldn’t do it. And I wouldn’t do it. I was not prepared to walk away from my huge emotional investment with absolutely no return, let alone the financial catastrophe that I’d be left with. Not that it was about the money. I loved him. Really loved him. More than life itself.
I’m not sure how and why I thought so highly of him – he’d never really done anything for me, other than be able to make me laugh, and whilst humour is a massive turn on for me, it takes more than being tickled and the odd knock-knock joke to send me weak at the knees. It was mysterious, confusing, complex and bewildering but so amazing that words cannot ever express the depth of my feeling towards him. Even now, I ache thinking about him. The pain is as much physical as it is emotional. It’s complete. It’s total. It’s grief.
He was always able to manipulate me and that’s as much my fault as it is his. I allowed him to. I could have, should have, said no a bit more. But I was the proverbial putty in his greedy hands. I cancelled my trip out and met him for coffee. Initially the conversation was stilted and wooden. The natural ebb and flow to our banter had vanished as we exchanged pleasantries like strangers, which, looking back, is what he always was to me. A foreigner. Coffee was insufficient and in order to lubricate the stagnant air between us, we relocated to the local pub and switched lattes for pints of lager.
‘Do you want to split up?’ I asked.
‘I don’t know,’ he replied. The uncertainty in his words went against the tone in his voice and the look in his eyes. The spark had gone.
‘Doesn’t that say it all?’ I asked. I can remember this as though I had the conversation moments ago.
‘You don’t know? I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t know if they want to be with me. Well?’ ‘Get me a Jack Daniel’s and coke. Double.’ I snorted with derision as I got up from my seat and clambered to the bar. My head was awash with conflicting emotions: rage, misery, hatred… But as ever, these feelings were appeased by the love I felt for him. Moments later, I had retaken my seat and sat on my twitching hands as he sat joking on the phone to a friend. I wanted to take the phone from him and smash it into his piggy, disrespectful face. I knew what splitting up meant: deconstructing and untangling the remnants of two years together. I couldn’t face it. Up until that point, it was the last thing I wanted and yet the pendulum of my mindset swung the other way as he giggled down to the phone. This was not a time for fucking laughing. Eventually, he concluded his conversation and as his gaze met mine, his jocular visage was replaced with a stony silence.
‘Well?’ I asked.
‘What do you think we should do?’ he countered.
‘It’s not working is it?’
‘Do you want to be with me?’ I asked.
‘I don’t know,’ he said, unable to hold eye contact.
‘Then it’s over.’
As clear as the conversation still is to me, the rest of the afternoon isn’t. I know that I drank so much that I was still pissed at 9am the next day as I flew up the M1, back to the solitude of home. I know that his friend, Carol, and my friend, Clarabella, joined us and looked deeply uncomfortable as we braved it out. It’s for the best, we said, smiling unconvincingly. At least this way we can still be friends. We will always love each other, we’re best mates! The things you say in certain situations.
What happened next: I moved out and into a repugnant bedsit. I let him have the house and everything in it on the condition that I would either take it when I could afford to move into a flat, or he would pay me for everything once he got his compensation money through from his last employer. As it turned out, I got nothing. He lost my deposit on the house that we shared, he stole my computer, sold my belongings behind my back and walked away from the mountain of debt (in my name) that he’d run up whilst we together.
The first six months after we split was nothing short of dreadful. I hated the bedsit and whilst the point of it was to live somewhere cheap so that I could save for something better, such was the depression that I experienced by simply being there, I was always out on the piss, spending the money I was supposed to be saving. Getting hammered was the happy release. On the nights that I stayed in, I had a bottle (or two) of wine for my dinner and a temazapam. Happy days. Then in November, I spent the day with him. We had such a lovely day together and I was going to stay over. I sat in what I still considered my home, watching my TV and having the back of my neck stroked by the love of my life when I suddenly realised the enormity of the situation. He went to the toilet and by the time he’d come back downstairs, I had my shoes on: I was going home. He pleaded with me to stay. I refused. I couldn’t stay there. I could feel my fucking heart breaking. All I wanted was for him to love me and want me back. He couldn’t do either and therefore, I couldn’t stay.
I stood on the platform of the train station feeling completely nihilistic. I couldn’t think of a single good thing in my life. Nothing. Instead of trotting back to my sad little room in a house that stank and was full of weirdoes and freaks, I changed platforms and jumped on a train to London. That night I got so completely pissed that I fell down two flights of concrete stairs, fracturing my arm and dislocating my shoulder in the process. I’m still in pain today, nine months later, but in some ways that’s a good thing: it reminds me not to lose control.
And I did lose control. I really did. I didn’t know how to handle the injustice of losing him. I’ve done some things in the past year that I should be ashamed of, but I’m not. I don’t have much time for regret at the best of times, but I think I’m allowed to in this instance. It’s not as though I’m absolving myself of self-responsibility, but I simply wasn’t myself. I degraded myself in many ways, I predisposed myself to some potentially horrific and dangerous situations but… I’m here and I’m alright. I have to let go. Cliché-tastic I know, but that was then and this is now. And I’m okay. I think I am anyway.
It’s so hard to let go, though. Trying to marry injustice with acceptance has proved to be more problematic than I thought it would be. It sounds dramatic but I feel scarred by what happened. I know that people split up everyday and for as bad as the break up has proved to be, there are people in worse situations. The thing is, that doesn’t really help me out. I can’t take solace in the fact that my situation is seemingly less than that of a starving famine victim, or someone who has lost someone in terrible circumstances, because it doesn’t make my pain go away. I wish it did, but it doesn’t. Am I feeling unnecessarily sorry for myself? Perhaps, but bollocks to it, I don’t care. I don’t want sympathy, anyway. I just want the ache to go away. And I suppose it is. Gradually. It’s not as bad as it was, but it’s still there. My core still feels cheated and that still fosters a relentless feeling of unhappiness, disquiet and desolation.
I know that time is the only thing that will help. I don’t feel the need to see a counsellor or anything like that, because I honestly can’t see how it will help. Writing is the only effective catharsis in this situation. I know that I’m quick witted and that I’m an expert at coming back with a one liner in a conversational instance but when it comes to (and for want of a better phrase, ironically) matters of the heart, putting pen to paper is the only thing that makes me feel better, hence this (possibly tiresome, melodramatic) rant.
For a long time, I felt emotionally constipated and relied on the empathetic words of others to bring comfort. I still do it now. The introduction to this tirade leant on a song to try and emancipate an understanding to my fraught state of mind. It’s perhaps cringeworthy, but again, I don’t care. The songs and poems that I still lean on seem to articulate my thought processes better than I can do myself. They’re contradictory when put together but that’s the grief process all over…
‘You took a whole lot of loving for a handful of nothing.’
‘Can’t bring myself to let you go, don’t want to cause you any pain, but I love you just the same and you’ll always be my baby. In my heart I know we’ve come apart and I don’t where to start, what can I do? I don’t want to feel blue.’
‘Because of you I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me… because of you.’
‘I thought you had more faith… Everything I’ve done for you - you made the mistakes and now you throw this in my face. And I have worked so hard for you, all of this time and you cast me aside… But I can’t seem to get my head around all the things I feel good about always seem to disappear… And every time I think I’ve got this all worked out, something chews me up and spits me out, but there’s nothing left to fear, I’m better alone…’
‘I was there in the beginning and I was the spirit of love. Now I am sober - there is only the hangover and the memory of love. And only the sorrow. I yearn for happiness, I ask for help, I want mercy…’
‘Needing, needing, all at once turns to silence, begging, pleading – no more emotional violence. The withdrawal into pain: the result to never need again. Is this love? I think not. I want out. This love affair is over: gone, gone, gone. It’s so sad, what we had, gone, gone, gone… Bleeding, bleeding, then comes the recognition, anger seething, I don’t need your permission. I don’t know who you are, and this thing has gone too far. Is this love? I think not. I want out. You’re in too deep, you cannot keep the promises you made, our happiness was brief – the end of love. The end of grief. Gone, gone, gone…’
‘In this life, I loved you most of all. What for? Because now you’re gone and I have to ask myself, what for?’
‘There’s a hole in my heart, no one else can fill it, there a feeling I have, no one can replace. There’s a taste in my mouth no one else can give me, there’s a song that I hear, no one can erase. Why would I want them to? I’m still looking back at you. Why would I want them to be you? You’ll always be a part of me, what you love can never let you go. You’ll always be inside of me, like a flower, you grow.’
‘Where are the stars, the ones we used to call ours? Can’t imagine it now, we used to laugh until we fell down, the secrets we had, now in the past, from something to nothing, tell me, how did we lose our way? Now we both have separate lives, from lovers to strangers, now alone, there’s no one catching my fall, no one to hear my call, it’s like I never loved you at all.’
‘I’ve been so high, I’ve been so down, up to the skies, down to the ground, I was so blind, I could not see, your paradise was not for me. All around me I could not see, who are the angels? Surely not me? Once more I am broken, once more again… I don’t believe it…’
‘You and I had to be the standing joke of the year. You were a run around, a lost and found, and not for me… Take your hands off me… I don’t belong to you, you see… Take a look at my face for the last time, I never knew you, you never me, say hello, goodbye… Say hello, wave goodbye…’
‘Nobody said it was easy, it’s such a shame for us to part… No one ever said it would be this hard… Take me back to the start…’
‘I had all my bets laid out on you – set your stakes your high, you’re bound to lose. Say that happiness cannot be measured and a little pain can bring you all life’s little pleasures? What a joke. I was not your lover, I was not your friend, but you gave me something to remember. We weren’t meant to be, at least not in this lifetime.’
‘Well, I know from experience that if you have to ask for something more than once or twice, it wasn’t yours in the first place; and that’s hard to accept when you love someone and you’re lead to believe in their moment of need, that they want what you want but they don’t.’
I dunno. I feel… What? A bit flat? Yeah. Disappointed? Yeah. Relieved? Yeah. Angry? Not so much anymore. Better than I did? Certainly. I know that it’s a process but there are times that it’s so hard. Most of my friends are all settled and although I’m not envious of any of their relationships, I do miss being part of a team. Although I don’t miss being part of that team. Not anymore. There are times when I thought I was there. That I thought I was over him. I met an amazing bloke recently and for a while he seemed to tick every box and then some. Hand on heart I can say that he was the best bloke I’ve ever dared to get with… And what went wrong? Me. The bruising was still too raw and ultimately I wasn't ready. I was too emotionally fragile and therein it ended… I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I know that I’m healing. It’s just going to take time. How long is it supposed to take? I want it over now.
My life is at a crossroads and I know that I can be whatever I want to be. So… Today is day one. This is the day where I shut the fuck up about what was and concentrate on what can be. I’ve let the last 365 days take too much precedence as it is. I know that we’re all a product of our experience, but there comes a point where enough is enough. And I’ve had enough. I just want to be happy. And a year of wallowing is more than enough, I’m done. I’m spent. Fuck it. Being miserable isn’t going to change anything. At all. And it’s really not me. I don’t wish him any ill-will. I really don’t. Strangely, for all that he (and I) have put myself through, I just want him to be like me: happy. What you’ve loved never lets you go. And to that end, I need to do stuff that will make me happy. Thinking of him doesn’t, so here it ends.