I’ve tried so many times to write this post. The truth is that the wounds are still fresh, too fresh for me to know the best way to put them on paper for all of you to read. It’s not like it was total devastation, it honestly just caught me so off guard. I didn’t expect to care at all, let alone so much.
Today I see the person that I saw back in November, December and all of the months in between where I knew that I wasn’t who I saw in the pictures I’d painted over and over in my head. Somewhere since then, I almost lost me. But I got tired of each action I took having an ulterior motive. There are humps in the road that are harder to get over, there are things that my rational brain understands completely, yet the receptors connecting that rational brain to my day-to-day, that connection is lost along the way. Finally, the rational side is taking over. And I’m starting to see all of the things that I wanted for myself. All the things everyone told me to stop and really see these past few months. They’re splayed across a Pinterest page, notes written in the notebook beside my bed, and in the smiles of everyone else around me.
This story takes place simultaneously with my last. This story starts with a show…
It was a reggae show. It was a whim, a last minute decision to go. Amanda had it all planned out but my motives were merely to not spend a Saturday night alone, it was in a time when my weekends were defined by the number of bars I could squeeze in.
Amanda had already told me about him. The first time, we were sitting in a cafe, on the corner next to the bus stop in Bondi. We were vehemently avoiding going to work, pretending in the chilly sunshine of a July morning that we lived in some kind of summer dream. We’d run into a friend of a friend. A cute one. When she’d brought him up my thoughts were still with the tall, dark and handsome English man that had just sauntered into my life and just as quickly back out. The photo she showed me was blurry, something snapped at a house party she’d been to the week before. I have snippets of memories of her bringing him up over and over again, each time me feigning even less interest.
I was only trying to look out for myself. I hadn’t been single since 22. I was trying to do the right thing by myself.
What I remember most from the show was Asher’s happy dance. It was one of those actions that inherently made everyone in the room happy. That night was so much fun, that was when I could seem to drink endless amounts and go on not regretting it the next day. I really didn’t think it was going any further than that. A moment shared in a bar, a chair that wasn’t made for two people and a photo taken too close to our faces to paint a clear picture of the night. There was a lot of me talking, about my brother and my job and all these things about myself. I don’t really think I stopped talking. That’s who I really am.
The letter came two days later. In the form of a text, from an unknown number. I’d played it so cool that week. Because the truth was that I didn’t care. It spiraled pretty fast for me. The second that he became the person that I was waiting to hear from, I took a step away from the girl who loved to talk about herself. There were moments in the months from July to October where I was really happy, confidence was just one of the traits added to the long list of reasons why I am who I am. I remember one day, coming home from a day at the beach, where we’d been just outside the city. Coming home to my empty apartment, the feeling of knowing someone for years, of coming home to a holiday beach house after a day of exploring a coastline where you’ve spent all of your summer days.
But as the months went on, the moments of confidence were less and less, the uncertainty bigger and bigger. I found myself waiting for the end.
When the end came, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s an indescribable feeling of waiting for something to happen when you honestly don’t think the moment will ever come. It wasn’t long after I’d finally taken a breath and accepted that he was going to stay. I asked him the question already knowing the answer. And when I was faced with an answer which came from the opposite end of the spectrum, it felt like all of the air being sucked out of my lungs.
The most ironic thing; it ended with a show.
That weekend was the weekend for me, It’d been a goal looming over my calendar every week since we bought the tickets. It was finally our weekend away. But as we laughed, there was a flash in his eyes. He went from someone completely enveloped in this moment, to someone who remembered that there was pain nearby to his world. I didn’t really stand up for myself. I let him win. I didn’t know how to navigate the situation, and he was so adamant in his defences that I just let him win.
When people leave your life, you’re never really sure how it will make you feel. You can believe that you won’t miss them, but the reality is that things change when someone leaves. It’s not always big enough to be a world changed. But it is, irregardless, a life changed. It’s now a memory of an old chapter.
There is nothing to do but to put the pen to paper and start the next chapter, and remember that without each and every chapter, there wouldn’t be a story.
As more days pass, it’s no longer more normal for him to be there than not. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to understand how to get back to the important bit… me. And you know what did it? A lot of words from friends, which at the times, they didn’t realize were sinking in behind my unchanged face.
Then, my shelf broke. Really. In my room, it just fell down and all of my clothes spilled across the floor. My brain began exploding with all of the ways I could fix it and fashion it into what I always wanted it to be, and not something that I chose because it was the easy way out. I’m building a shelf, and a lot of other things that I really want because there is finally, not one person who I’m allowing myself to place in my own path.