Thursday, September 3, 2015

Better/bitter days

Better days of only beginnings and no endings in sight. Those days of smiles forming inadvertently. Those days of loving with conviction. Those days when we believed in the moments dreamt up in poetry. 

Better moments like the linger before that first kiss. The tension and the tiny smiles. The erratic heartbeats and quivering fingers. The moment before something possible became something real. The moment when small steps became great bounds.

Those better days of light and ease. Better moments held in the generous embrace of bedsheets. It was late nights and early mornings. The first of the filtered eastern sun’s glow, your arm under my neck. It was me sitting upright, reading in the orange light, while you nestled in deep next to me. Your laboured breathing always told me you had dozed off again.

Better days of when there was a future. Conversations about great trips across great continents. Better days of cautionary promises and inclusions.

Those better days when we were still in the campaign phase of our relationship - all promise and no accountability. 

Better days compared to bitter days. 

Bitter days when you’re done romanticising that final good bye. Those days you accept the cinematic twist is not coming. Those days the poorly covered facade begins to crack.

Bitter days like when you asked me if we could see other people. My forehead creased in confusion and my breath raced. My fingers trembled as they traced the grain of the table.  I didn’t want to see other people. You asked me if I would allow you to. I held my heart in my throat and I didn’t look up.

Bitter days when all you can do is listen closely to that ticking clock and wait. Bitter days of ‘anymores’, ‘used to bes’ and ‘no longers’. Bitter days of looking back at better days from the outside. Bitter days of comparison. The bitterness of remembering a moment so vividly and drowning in how badly you miss it. 

Bitter days of echoing emptiness. That night I chose to feel it and you couldn’t choose. That bitter moment when I realised there was nothing left to save. 

Those days when we were haunted by the silhouette of unfulfilled campaign promises. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

How I will remember you

I can’t remember the last time I thought of you. 

There were moments in my life when I held onto every tiny morsel of our obliterated relationship. “Don’t leave me,” I would scream. “Let me keep this last thing,” I would beg. I grieved every fine detail or souvenir of you and me. Like a raw nerve, small things would wound me, like the smell of rain upon the air or in the lyrics of ‘Your Ex-lover is Dead’ . But time would start healing that open wound. Despite all my pleading, you and your resonance would edge further and further out of my life.

This wasn't what I wanted. I was disappointed to see time doing its job. I was sad to see you leave because for a long time you were a big part of my identity. You were my first relationship, my first love, my first chance and hope. You taught me disappointment and patience. You were my first heartbreak. You were my first loss. You were still mine, but you just weren't mine anymore. I wanted to remain heartbroken. You would still be a part of me in some way. You would still be my heartbreak. Only mine.

Now I can’t imagine you. I can’t imagine us.

In my head, I can’t hear your voice. I can’t feel your chest rise and fall with every breath. I can’t smell you on my sheets. I can’t hear your laugh. I can’t hear your broken sob. I can’t feel the jealousy that often fired my veins. I can’t remember your middle name. I can’t feel that excitement, that shortness of breath, that fever. I can’t feel the shame or the anger. I can’t feel the tears rolling down my cheeks. I can't see your tears rolling down yours. 

But I still remember things about you.

I remember the shape of your face; the feeling of my fingers through your hair; your nightly ritual. I remember seeing that twinkle in your eyes at the beginning. I remember that dull light in your eyes at the end. I remember your favourite meal. I remember your birthday. I remember your fear. I remember where you hid the presents I gave you. I remember how your voice didn’t tremble as you ended it all. I remember drowning in all your ‘soons’ and ‘maybes’. I remember you like a tattoo, under my skin, painful, permanent. 

And I will remember things about us. 

I will remember our noses brushing moments before that first kiss. I will remember that linger. I will remember our lips hovering so close together. I will remember the auditory drum of your heartbeat. I will remember wanting to bottle that moment between the first kiss and the tragedy of falling in love with you. I will remember that moment when we were the story and not just a chapter in each other’s lives. I will also remember the night you finally gave up. I will remember the night I finally gave up. I will remember loving you. I will remember every broken piece of my life. But even shattered glass needs to be picked up. 

Last night I could smell the rain on the cold evening air. Last night I thought of you. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Moving on from a relationship you were never in

It’s one of those marks that can only be removed by burnishing and time. Accepting the loss of something that was never yours is often harder than accepting that it was never yours to begin with. Whether it was a fleeting moment or conversation that carried weight; a one date wonder that succumbed to a slow death of disjointed text message exchanges and bad timing; or the longing heartache inflicted by the two words “just friends”, the pain is understandable and it’s considerable. 

Too often you are damaged goods. Bound by the heartbreak of a previous relationship, you think you’ll never feel those emotions again. Terrifyingly, you do. It’s too overwhelming for you to like someone again. It’s a myriad of feelings that emerge from one and an other that never quite connect, but you’re too hopeful to see that. There are three stages of falling in love again. The first is desperation; the second, panic; and the third is fate. You are not sure which one you are at.

A lot of time is spent in your head. Creating plans and plot lines. Reading hidden meanings into straightforward text. Panicking over miscommunications and jokes falling to the wayside. Making excuses. Accepting excuses. Losing sleep in hope of that response that’s never coming. Lying. Dreaming. Suffocating. 

The realisation is hard. Often it ends abruptly. A friend jolts you back into reality, a sharp turn and emotional whiplash. Maybe he tells you it’s never going to happen. But maybe you already knew that. Sometimes it ends slowly. A fizzling out. A somewhat limp connection becomes limper. Other times it never began and it resided entirely and only in your head. Just the potential for further connection stoked the fire of imagination.

It’s easy to downplay the pain with logic. Thoughts of, ‘I shouldn’t feel this way at all’; ‘I barely knew you’; ‘it meant so little’; ‘you never gave me any hints’; ‘we never gave it a title’, run wild through an erratic brain. Rationalising occasionally cures pain, but often it helps prolong it. 

Accepting the loss is the hardest. They still appear in your life. In the finer details of other scenarios, or through one of the senses. On your doorstep regularly, just dropping in. On your feed, or your camera roll, or in your missed calls. At your local coffee place with no eye contact. In the taste of Shiraz or the jokes of your favourite TV show. In the hazel eyes of a stranger or the sight of an overweight beagle. In conversation with a mutual friend. In the beer glasses he gave your dad for Christmas or the photos from your trips overseas. In your hatred of camping or manual cars. In the loneliness you feel now you see less of each other. 

Feel the loss of that life. Feel every tiny fracture. But also feel warmth at what you never felt. You never felt the unintentional disappointments that couples often inflict upon each other. You never felt anger at one another. You never felt the anguish of stupid fights. You never felt the tearjerking jealousy. You never felt the fear of the future of the relationship. You were never in the relationship. It was a distant memory and a figurative. 

There are three stages of falling in love again. The first is desperation; the second, panic; and the third is fate. Where one day you wind up sitting next to each other. And in those seats, something real begins.