J and I split up. More specifically, J dumped me.
I don’t like the word “dumped”. To me it suggests I was thrown unceremoniously out of a moving vehicle, when in the case of J and I, the vehicle had very much already stopped. It wasn’t an unpleasant relationship to be in, but we didn’t love each other.
I’ve been sad, of course. Life has, as ever, refused to stop, and on top of being terrified that I’ll lose one of the few people (possibly only person) in my life who has seen me the way I do and straight away liked me for it, I have to handle the estrangement of my father, joblessness and pretty much everyone old dying slowly and silently in the corners of life. Some days I’m fine. Other days I cry on the floor. If I knew what made the difference, I could deal with it.
Sometimes it’s just the little things. A last tendril of scent on a beloved jumper sends me into a spiral of thinking about how I must have smelt of him all the time, and how one day soon he’s going to wash out of my life forever. Sometimes, as it was this morning, it is a dream.
This dream jolted me quite horrifically, sending me straight into the uncontrollable slow crying that will probably now be the theme of the day. It was about how much fun J and I should have had when we first met, and how it slipped into us both being so fucking broken by our jobs far too quickly. I would spoon him, playing with his hair until he fell asleep and then I’d hold him and cling on for dear life because we were both sinking.
His mother hated me on principle; his friends disliked me because I was awkward to be around.
Come the new year, I got hit in the head. I was paranoid, dizzy, confused and had such horrendous memory loss that hours felt like days. I was immensely lonely and scared. We began to argue.
He went in for an operation, which meant that he had to take off his grandfather’s wedding ring. He gave it to me to look after, and I felt so very trusted. So I was dutiful. I’ve got some sort of fucking hero complex or something; means I’ve got to look after people all the fucking time.
(I think this might mean I could be a wonderful parent one day, but I don’t feel at this point like I’m ever going to be given the chance.)
I cooked for him, bought him a cushion so he could sit without pain, helped him dress himself. I’m not saying I was everything he needed, or that I made sacrifices. I’m saying it’s what I chose, what I will always choose. But it was shit that I had to choose that.
Because when the filthy cycle of codependency lurched to a stop, we had nothing. No dreams. These two wonderful people never got a chance to be good together. Instead we stuck to the old dreams, the dreams stamped flat by people who never deserved us.
I was so frightened, in this half-chance of a relationship, of admitting there’s nothing I want more in this life than to hold my own child in my arms while my husband looks on like we’re, all of us three, the most fantastic people in the world. I didn’t want him to think I meant him, because I didn’t. And I wish I had been able to think it would be him. Because those moments in between the misery, they showed me a beautiful, beautiful person.
You don’t have to love to be happy. But you have to be happy to love.
I hardly remember the first few months of our relationship. Because it’s easier to call up happy memories than sad ones. And it is this knowledge, that it could all have been so much better if only we hadn’t still been recovering from past relationships, if we hadn’t been struggling against life, that upsets me so much.
We don’t move back in life, only forward. I don’t get to test that theory- that love would have happened if only we’d not been unhappy. It’s gone now. He’s gone now. And he isn’t coming back.