A toast

On our final night together
in a little Italian restaurant we’d made our favourite,
we raised our glasses
and said
“to us”.

Just those two words.
That’s all either of us could manage
without crying in public.

But what we didn’t say was this;

To us.
To all that we were.
To all we could’ve been.
To every time we made each other laugh,
and to sweet Nepali tea.

To every cycling holiday
To all the memories we made,
To every happy polaroid
I pray that time won’t fade.

To every “I love you”
To every stolen glance,
to every morning coffee in bed, every debrief cup of tea,
and to every ceilidh dance.

To every adventure that we’ve had,
to every argument we’d right,
to every sweet guitar melody,
and to putting the world to order, late into the night.

To every birthday we made special,
to each and every kiss,
to every mistake we made,
it all came down to this.

So I hope you still remember us,
before we said adieu,
thanks for all the memories,
“to us, to me and to you”.

x

the silence & the sound

Empty.
Clean.
White.
Silence never sounds like it’s supposed to.

Silence is an echo chamber
of words unspoken,
and anxieties welling up to the surface.
Bubbling, bursting through the millpond of the mind.

Silence is an empty dancefloor
once the music has been turned off
and everyone has left
except you.
You’re left with the ringing in your ears, and a scratching in your throat
from screaming to be heard over that
deafening
silence.

Silence is an empty railway tunnel.
Gaping and anticipating
the next train of thought, coming along
bulldozing it’s way through the temporary vacancy between your ears.

Silence is a forest,
full of moss-covered rocks just waiting to be overturned.
Patches of fog hang despondently between the listless branches
Don’t peer too close, you might scare yourself
with the weight of all the things you do not know
that lie in the gloaming.

Silence is the gap between the thunderclaps.
That is all.
The rain it still pours.
And the echo of the last distance rumble
tumbles around your hollow head.

Silence is the torchlight of the interrogation.
Why weren’t you good enough?
When did it all go wrong?
Why are you like this?
Why can’t you just move on?

The silence
it never stops.

creativity #4

aching, the
body can feel it, the
crushing weight of your absence.
drought for the soul.
everything is
fine, i’ll say, i’m doing
good
how have you been?
i‘ll ask you
just to start a conversation. it’s more than
kind of sad, that we’ve gone from
lovers, to
messed up, to almost
nothing.
only we knew what we had, a
patient love, that grew
quietly, over time, like the confluence of two
rivers coalescing. they
say
time changes people, but i didn’t think it would change the course of
us, and now here i sit, staring
vacantly at the blank
wall, i’ll still finish my messages with an
x
you don’t. you’ve already
zoned out.

unfinished

The final few rays of a dwindling winter sun
The crest of a wave before it rushes up to meet the sand
The embers of a dying bonfire
And an outstretched hand.

A tree clinging onto the last few leaves of autumn
Breath catching in your throat
A question mark lingering in the conversation
Lying back in the Mediterranean sea, drifting and afloat.

The pips of voicemail as a phone call goes ignored
The red wine stains on the rim of your glass
Three dots, typing
A reply that isn’t coming back.

Turned down pages of a book of old poetry
The first few drops of rain before a storm
The hovering second hand of a clock as it just passes midnight
A half drunk cup of coffee, gone luke-warm.

An imperfect cadence
And a chance not taken
The imperceptible sound
Of another heart breaking.

i hope you’ve learnt nothing

I hope this heartbreak has taught you nothing.

I hope, the next time you love, you love with all the reckless abandon that you did almost 4 years ago now.
I hope it doesn’t harden you.
I hope you remain soft, and open.
May your heart remain supple.
I hope it doesn’t diminish your capacity to trust another person with your dearest secrets and darkest memories.
I hope the old clichés don’t play out – once bitten, twice shy.
I hope you remain bold in the face of love.
And still grab it with both hands, fiercely.
And fearlessly.
I hope you have learnt how to love someone deeply, and to accept a sincere love in return.
I hope you have learnt love is worth putting everything you have on the line for.
I hope you allow yourself to be loved again, even at the risk of it all not paying off again.
Because time spent wholeheartedly loving someone is time well spent, and not to be regretted.

I hope this heartbreak has taught you nothing at all.

no one saves you

No one saves you.
Not a boyfriend, or partner, or friend, or family member.
Or therapist.
Sure, they can help. Make you feel better for a short while.
But they don’t fix you.

No amount of love from someone else will amount to anything if you still hate yourself.
I’m not saying we all need to love ourselves.
We can’t.
It’s too much to ask.
But just being neutral would be nice.
Being forgiving.
Not hating ourselves for other people’s misdemeanors, and forgiving ourselves for our own.

Otherwise we’re searching constantly for someone else to say;
“YES! You are good enough!”
“YES! You have value!”
“YES! You are loved!”

But it doesn’t always go like that.

People leave.
People let you down.
Sometimes people just don’t know what to say.
And if you’re waiting for them to put your pieces back into place, you’ll crumble when they don’t.
And then it’s their fault.
But it’s not.
It’s nobody’s fault.
Let’s not assign more blame.

You’re just hurting.
From old wounds, re-opened.
The more you ignore it, the worse it will get.

You can exist outside of other people’s opinions of you.
You won’t suffocate.
And you won’t drown either.

things we used to say

We used to say
“I’m so in love with you”
and
“Would it be okay if I spent the rest of my life with you?”

We used to say
“I feel I can achieve anything with you by my side”
and
“You give me warm fuzzy feelings inside”.

We used to text each other
“Your eyes sparkle”, and
“I feel at home in your arms”
and
“I would trust you with my life in your wide open palms”.

We used to text each other
“I’m so proud of you”
“You give my life meaning”
and “you’re the love of my life, too”.

40 months, and 24 days later.

Now, we text each other, if we even text at all,
“I hope you’ve had a nice weekend”
and “sleep well”
and I wish I didn’t feel this small
without you.

polaroids

I just found a stack of polaroids, hidden in my bookcase. Of me and you. In Nepal. Walking the Marijuana Trail from Nargakot to Bhaktapur. You standing in front of a big golden Buddha in the background, smiling sleepily at the camera, squinting into the sun. And a black and white one of us sat on the floor of the airport in Kathmandu. Exhausted, but happy, and together.

And another set of photos from Towersey. Where we cooked on the trangia, and you exclaimed proudly “I’m a scientist now!” because you’d successfully lit the burner. Back when we wore whatever the fuck we wanted (Towersey mode, we used to call it); silk shirts and hippy pants, topi hats and bandanas, and glitter on our faces every day. Our little tent with our double air mattress, and our fairy lights and homemade bunting.

Back when we were still a team. Do you remember those times like I do? Do you miss us the way I miss us? Do you still think of me, the way I still think of you, the last thought before I go to sleep, and the first when I wake up? Do you?

Or have you moved on already? To somebody new? I don’t want to know actually.

Because I’m stuck.

I wish we’d never left Wales. I wish things were how they used to be. I wish I was still your best friend, your adventure buddy for life. I wonder, do you ever wish the same? Do you still wish things were more simple? Because right now, I feel sick to the stomach with grief.

Where did we go so wrong? It’s not “just how it’s meant to be”. What happened to us? When did I lose you for good?

Please tell me.

sad girl chronicles pt. 2: what if, for me, it’s always you?

(This piece of writing eventually evolved into the poem I posted a few weeks back – two paths)

I miss him. I miss you. I don’t know who I’m writing to anymore.
I’ve realised I’m burying a lot of it so the memories don’t hurt me. And I’m forgetting parts of you, but I don’t want to forget.

I don’t want to forget that first night we got together. The intensity of those feelings. The electricity between us. The static. The chemistry. How it all just fell into place. Kissing you felt so right, so natural.

I don’t want to forget the night you accidentally told me you loved me for the first time. You said something like – I don’t just love you for what you look like. And I said, what did you just say? And then you said it. And I said it too.

I don’t want to forget the sounds of you playing your guitar for me. You are one of the most talented and modest musicians I have ever known. And I’m glad you’re doing solo gigs now. I really hope that goes well for you.

I remember the time when I needed to change the gauze on my leg and I was in agony, and you sat by me and played for me to distract me.

I remember lying in the bath once, with a cup of tea, listening to you play, thinking “I’ve made it”, and “How did I ever get so lucky?”

How did I ever get so lucky?
And I ruined it.

Or did we just grow apart? Like you said, maybe it was never meant to be. But it really felt like it was. I could picture our wedding and our first child’s name. I could picture you playing them lullabies to sleep. And us taking them to folk festivals when they were older. And they’d be musical too, because we were.

Maybe I put you on a pedestal, but I think you deserved it. Maybe no one will ever quite live up to you. But that’s okay. Because for three and a half glorious years, you were mine. We were a team. Adventure buddies. And I will always treasure those years. No matter how many years go by now without seeing each other. Maybe some time in the future we’ll go years without even contacting each other. I dread those years to come.

No one will ever come close to what we were, what we had, and how we loved each other.

Maybe you’ve already started moving on. Maybe we’re already on different paths now. Maybe we were on different paths long before I knew it. Holding onto each other’s hands barely by the fingertips. But I didn’t realise. And I didn’t see the warning signs.

Now our paths have diverged. It’s not our story anymore. It’s mine, and it’s yours. But for almost four years, it was ours. And it was magic. We were solid gold.

I just miss my best friend. But I’m not sure he misses me in the same way. It’s always harder being the one on the receiving end of a break up. Being blind-sided by it. It hitting you like a tonne of bricks in the chest, every morning when you wake up and realise you’re alone again. A cold side of the bed next to you. And stuffed animals as some sort of childish replacement for human affection. It doesn’t help that one of them you sent me in the post for my birthday, after we’d broken up.

I live with my emotions close to the surface. I know that now. I feel things more acutely. And you don’t. You bury them. You always have. That’s how I know that you’re moving on just fine and I’m periodically crying my heart out into the pages of my diary.

I just wished you missed me the way I miss you.
I’ve been trying to distract myself, but no one compares to you. I’m worried no one will ever compare to us.
I’m worried I’ll spend my life wishing it was you I was sat across the table from, you who I was falling asleep next to, waking up next to, making cups of tea for, returning home from work to, kissing.
I’m worried I’ll spend my life with your name on the tip of my tongue, and images of you leaving me at Chiang Mai airport playing behind my eyes.

What if that feeling never goes?
What if, for me, it’s always going to be you?

before & after

I hate to see young women post “before and after” pictures of themselves.
It’s a myth.
There was never a before or after version of yourself.
Only during.

During hardship, during heartbreak, during the best of times, during your apocalypse. During love, and bitterness and beauty and all-consuming rage.

Enduring.

It upsets me so much because it feels like we’re mocking our younger selves. Belittling them. As if our bodies were ever supposed to look anything different from exactly as they did at that point in time. If that was how we were, then that was where we needed to be, and to mock our past selves is to dishonour our wonderful life-giving bodies for doing their most important job of all. Which, of course, is simply allowing us to survive up until that point. Regardless of shape or size.

Posting pictures like that feels like we’re saying “Look at that shameful person, I am not associated with that anymore.”

Like we’re burning bridges.
Like our body was just a fairweather friend anyway, who we can cut ties with when we decide they’re no longer good enough for us.

But, if we burn all our bridges,
how will we ever find our way back home?