Friday, 16 May 2008

The Water in Majorca…

Crikey. Now there’s a word I don’t tend to use often, if ever, come to think of it. Crikey. I’m saying it aloud to myself right now and feel a bit of a twat if I’m honest. I just can’t pull it off. Crikey. Usually, I’m more of a ‘fuck me furiously!’ type of person. Hee! Anyway, the reason for my contrived, somewhat irritating surprise-infused introduction to this rant is due to the fact that, well… I’m surprised! Still!

I moved to Puerto de Pollensa three weeks ago and I still pinch myself as I ramble through the narrow streets of the beautiful port town. Set in the North of the Island, (a world away from Magaluf that essentially acts as a tacky, hot Blackpool for overly horny, overly tattooed people on a tight budget), Pollensa really is stunning. There are two sides to it: the port and the old town. It’s a small, traditional place that is largely untouched by Brits Abroad.

The decision to become a rep was a good one, methinks. The unrelenting trauma of the last four years (oooh, get me, don’t I go on?) meant that a huge change was needed. A break to attain some much needed perspective and get a focus on the future. In April, I was in Bolton for an extensive training course that never seemed to end and then once it did, we were given our destinations and packed off the next day. When I was first told that I was being sent to North Majorca, I didn’t feel anything. Other people were screaming at the top of their voices that, ‘I’m going to Kos! I can’t believe it!’ Others seemed less impressed that they were off Turkey but I didn’t know what to feel. I was just pleased to be going somewhere.

We arrived on Friday, 25th April and were put in a hotel room overnight in Alcudia. Such rankness. Seriously, it was an utter shithole. Standing at the balcony on the 8th floor, I suddenly realised why some people chuck themselves off. It really did seem preferable to going back into the room that had enough second hand hair in the bath to weave your own syrup.

Fortunately we checked out at 9am the next day. Within forty minutes, I was walking through the front door of my new apartment. I was speechless. I’m sharing with another lad – let’s call him Darren. Why? Well, because that’s his name – and we have two living rooms, a bathroom each and a kitchen that even has a dishwasher. If you come out of the apartment and look right you can see the beach, which is less than two minutes away. If you look left, you can see Spanish Square, a lovely little square (shockingly, given its name) that is lined with cafes, bars and restaurants. I walk around in the sunshine and everything seems right with the world. There’s just an optimism all of a sudden and I feel as though a spark has come back. Admittedly, that flickers momentarily when I forget to look the right way when crossing the road and some conyo almost knocks me over, but hey ho: no harm, no foul. I just keep striding through the charismatic, winding streets with a smile on my kisser and the word crikey inexplicably running through my head on a loop.

Written on April 15th...

Her voice rings in my ears every day. ‘I don’t care what you do as long as you’re happy.’ That was my Mam’s response to me when I asked her what she wanted me to do with my life. She was dying at the time. It’s the last conversation – proper conversation – that I can recall. She died two weeks later.

Come September, that conversation will be eight years old. And I’m not happy. Okay, I’m not unhappy, but I feel in limbo and that’s not enough. I’m not enough. Like I said, those words ring in my ears. I don’t know if that simple phrase was my Mam’s way of acknowledging my sexuality or not, I really don’t know. I hope so. But either way, out of the closet or not, I’m not happy.

Things spiralled recently. Two days before Christmas, a ridiculous, meaningless email was justifiably misinterpreted and I lost the job that I gave up a meaningful, sensible career for. I cringe thinking about it. Christmas came and went, New Year arrived and the optimism I felt as 2008 rang in was extinguished when my relationship spontaneously and spectacularly nosedived. It wasn’t until it was over that I realised how much faith I’d had in it.

On top of this, I’d found a job in a company where the only saving grace was the fantastic people who I worked with. I’d left IT only to find myself back there. The team that I was working with comprised half a dozen soap dodgers who seemingly took exception to me. I wasn’t happy. I was letting Mam down.

It was only recently that I understood what loneliness was. Having spent the majority of the last two years on my own, night after night, in a single room, lent an element of perspective that floored me. Looking back, my life became an existence – and a rather bleak one at that. I felt alone.

I know that I am blessed when it comes to my friendships. I am. I have a handful of amazing friends who I cherish and think the world of. My family are always there for me. But all of them, without exception, are settling down and making families of their own. Being the only gay one exacerbated things. As far as I could see, my life was going down one path and theirs was going down another. One by one, they all seemed to fall away – their priorities understandably changed and whilst I was happy for them a sense of isolation began to prevail.

If someone had asked me at 21 where I’d be in ten years time, I would’ve said the following: a loving, trusting relationship, a meaningful, rewarding job and an overall sense of fulfilment. Ten years on and the reality is that I have none of that. Where I am is not where I want to be.

This is why I’m going away.