Getting into a new relationship is always exciting; you get that fresh start with a new person, you learn about each other, you learn about yourself, and you start to realise that perhaps everything is starting to make sense. You connect, you realise you like all of the same things, you hate all of the same things, and every day is new and exciting and different. Love, lust, desire – call it what you wish. It’s that euphoric feeling of spending all the time you possibly can with one person and enjoying every single second of it. It’s that warm feeling you get when you see their face, that feeling of content when you sit in perfect silence watching the sunset, that idea of being complete when you wake up next to each other. All of the insecurities and frailties we once had disappear when we meet someone who’s willing to accept all that we are. All of the ghosts of our past that we have spent so long fretting over suddenly seem so insignificant and irrelevant. To connect with someone is easy, to connect with someone so deeply and emotionally is a very rare thing indeed.
Together, you embark on one of the most exciting journeys we as humans can experience. A journey of understanding, of liberation, of love. You create your own silly inside jokes that you laugh about knowing that, of the other seven billion people in the world, only you two understand. You start finding your own special places that you pretend only you two know about and they become the landmarks of your relationship. You do things together that you could never have imagined you would do, and it’s perfect.
As if by magic, the mundanity of life starts to make sense; each day couldn’t possibly be overly stimulating or exciting because then there would be no room for the other half of you to bring those qualities along with them. Each time he messages you, your face lights up brighter than your phone. Each time he looks at you, he makes you feel like there’s nobody else in the world that matters. Each time he kisses you, he takes away all the pain you’ve ever felt and replaces it with nothing but the sweetest kind of happiness.
And then one day he takes away the happiness, just as effortlessly as he gave it.
He messaged me saying we should go for coffee in town. I remember waiting for the bus and feeling so excited at the thought of seeing him and spending my day off with him. If I’d have had the foresight to know what he was thinking, I would have wished for that bus to never turn up. I arrived, we smiled at each other, we hugged each other. And then he said a few simple words that were powerful enough to bring everything crashing down, to taint all that had come before it, to draw a line under all that we had.
My mind went into overdrive with questions and queries and thoughts. What did I do wrong? What was it that made you have enough? Why are you doing this? But I stayed silent. I had nothing of value to say. I knew that anything I could say wouldn’t change his mind or make him realise that he was making a mistake. I gave up, just like he did. It’s fascinating, almost unbelievable, to realise the fragility of our emotions when something so good is taken away so easily. Within the space of an hour, I’d gone from the highest of highs to wanting to just disappear. I was crushed again. Defeated again. Alone again.
Thankfully, there’s a finite amount of times you can sit and eat ice cream to numb the despair, or listen to sad songs while staring wistfully out of a bus window pondering what could have been. It doesn’t help, of course, that the algorithms on Spotify sinisterly suggest that you listen to a few more tracks about love and loss and remain in that loop of misery for a playlist or two longer. It’s almost as if it goads you on, “go on, wallow in your pain a little longer like everyone else – we’ve got all the songs you need to feel awful right here!”
There comes that point where you start to drag yourself away from those tainted memories. Having survived the onslaught of overthinking and overanalysing, you convince yourself that you’ll get through all of this. The war is over, you’ve survived. Tomorrow is a new day; all those bullshit clichés that were created by the hurt and lost solely for the hurt and lost. Life starts to get back to normal, and the sadness turns to anger, the anger loses its harshness, the relationship fades to the past.
But I still hope he thinks about me like I think about him. I hope there are moments in his day where he wonders about where I am or what I’m doing like I wonder about where he is or what he’s doing. I hope that one day he gets the urge to reach out and talk to me like I get the urge to reach out and talk to him. And even though I wake up every morning and pick up my phone with the faint hope that he’ll have messaged me to tell me to have a good day or to see how I am like he always used to, I know that with each passing day that slender expectation will fade, just like the heartache.
And then, when I’m getting ready for another day on the battlefield of emotions, I put on the shirt that I wore when I was with him last, the one he said I looked beautiful in. My mind fools me into believing it still smells of him. And it’s then that I realise that all I want is for him to put his arms around me and tell me that everything will be okay. Just like he used to.