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Bittersweet in an Empty Room

Her stuff isn’t strewn around my room anymore. There are exactly 50% less ciggy butts in the ashtray, and one less glass of wine. It’s been a disgraceful, debauched and deeply lovely week.

But now it’s quiet, and empty because G is gone.

More than things, she isn’t here, and I’m even emptier than the room.

She left yesterday. Our friend P came to the airport too. He was picking up a new teacher, so the taxi on the way was free. G and me both share the benevolent luck of coming by freebies easily.

She left, and I won’t be hearing laters, taters anymore. I waved and turned and walked away and felt the physical distance grow. In the taxi back I glanced up at the sky, hoping, like a fool, to see a plane.

I filled my evening with friends and filled myself with drink. Somehow, still emptily.

And she talked of coming back, and she might, but I think it was meant to make our parting easier. I think that I know that it’s over.

It was intense and it was beautiful. Days spent entirely in this now empty room.

We talked each other inside out. Made the most of every moment. We did, for this last week, what people so often forget to do: We lived.

Her wry smile, wit and eloquence are far, far away. And it hurts that I might not see her again, to amuse and be amused, be awed and to kiss. But I’m stronger because of her. And I’ll remember when she said:

You’re gorgeous and you’re perfect.

Not true. But she thought it, and the thought was so big and uncontainable that she said it.  Here in my empty room I’ll always be able to think of her and smile.

Laters, taters.

 “If there’s any kind of magic in this world… it must be in the attempt of understanding someone, sharing something. I know it’s almost impossible to succeed… but who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt”

Celine, “Before Sunrise”

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And She Should Go…

We met outside a bar in a shiny neon night. There were motorbikes and street hawkers and noise and dirt and we talked alone together in a group. My friend L was there, and she sent me a text. The text said something that only a kind and caring friend could send. The text said this:

Body language signs good. Don’t fuck this up, dick.

She – G – has been the best person I could meet. You don’t see yourself with someone else when you’ve been hurt, and broken, and damaged. I didn’t.

And whisper this, but I didn’t think someone would want me. That’s the sort of thing that you really shouldn’t say. And I didn’t, but I thought it. I pushed it down but it was there.

And then I met her, and she was damaged too. Damaged, just like me. The same exact experience, though all of the names had been changed. And is there anything more blissful and reassuring than to meet another human being who understands you?

Yes.

Meeting another human being who understands you, and likes you. And you like and understand them too.

Isn’t that everything that anybody has ever wanted, ever?

Now, she’s leaving. And she should go, she should. I don’t want her to go. I don’t.

It makes sense for her to leave. She hasn’t taken to ‘Nam, and a cosy little role has popped up elsewhere. But my heart is like a child that just doesn’t quite understand. And I don’t want to tell it the truth.

The worst thing I could do is fall in love with you

She said.

And I should have said, “Do it”. Because it would have spoken of our natures. Impulsive and Reckless. A bit fucked in the head. And it would have made her giggle, and I like that sound. And it would have told her how I feel. Again, I feel.

I didn’t say “Do it”. I didn’t think of those words. I lay in the bed and looked at her, and she looked at me too. I think she was thinking what I was thinking and what I was thinking was this:

Stop time, remember the now.

But memory is hard to hold. I don’t even remember what words came next. The moment, like all the other moments, was gone.

I like listening to her. She chooses her words carefully, but with seemingly no effort at all. She makes me think differently about things. She smiles, even when she’s sad.

She’s lackadaisical or passionate but never in between. There’s no concrete plan, she doesn’t know where she’ll be but she wants to learn to trapeze and she will. She floats through life like me. She’s unfazeable. She’s witty. We do silly things together every time we meet. She plays poker. I fancy the pants off her.

But we’ve been damaged, and I don’t think she wants to be damaged again. We’ve met at the right time and the wrong time too.

And she should go.

And she will go.

When she goes, I’ll think this:

Would I wish that things were different when I know all things must pass? I wouldn’t. Who would?

“And I will always wonder how it would be if we never had met,

Life would be easier though dull, I suspect,

And I’d never claim you were mine.

Just if we were words, we would rhyme.”

~ Gruff Rhys ~

Cognitive Dissonance and Ducks

Cognitive Dissonance might be the reason why Harold Camping still believes in the end of the World, and it might also be why I so failed to see M’s infidelity.

She didn’t try to hide it, just relied on my absolute trust in the goodness of her character. I knew something was wrong, but thanks to my brain and adaptive preference formation, I convinced myself that I was being unkindly suspicious.

This evening I went out and felt out of place and lost. I don’t want to be a single person. I did all of the single person things and bought the t-shirt in my twenties and I have no desire to go through the games all over again.

Life as a thirty-something single is daunting. In your twenties the rollercoaster is just an exhilerating ride. Post-thirty all you can imagine are the nuts and bolts coming apart and a vicious gruesome death befalling you at high speed.

Dear M,

You have stolen the happy memories of us, you have cheapened our entire relationship. You have made yourself someone who deserves to be unhappy and you have made me a fool, an idiot and a loser in the eyes of everyone, including myself.

Relationships are, of course, always hard. My friend told me of a friend of hers who had confided a problem with her boyfriend.

“What’s wrong?” She enquired, imagining something mundane. The response:

“He murdered a duck with a stick”

Maybe I shouldn’t worry about being single forever when men who murder ducks with sticks have girlfriends. At the moment, however, I still only want to be with M.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage

~Anais Nin~

Olivia A. Cole

Author. Blogger. Bigmouth.

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