We used to say
“I’m so in love with you”
“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”
“You give me warm fuzzy feelings inside”.
We used to text each other
“Your eyes sparkle”, and
“I feel at home in your arms”
“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
is it moving on?
or is it deflecting?
onto someone new.
is it moving on?
or is it ignoring?
so i don’t have to feel the gnawing
pain in my chest.
have i got tired of feeling upset?
or is it resilience?
have i become immune?
to the chronic emptiness?
have i just latched onto someone else as a coping mechanism, because it’s better to be wanted by someone,
than wanted by no one?
it’s not even been 4 months yet.
was last night too much?
did i take it too far?
what was i doing? what did i think i’d achieve?
patching over my fresh pink scars?
it’s done now.
Trees miss their blossoms in the winter.
It gets dark. It gets cold. The nights are inconceivably long. The sunlight barely shines through the overcast greys.
And weeds grow.
They start growing where there used to be daisies and daffodils.
The weeds can tough it out.
The daisies can’t.
They wilt at the first frost.
But weeds can bear flowers too. Unexpected and hardy.
A flourish of colour amidst the gloom.
Weeds accompany the trees through their harsh winter.
and offer them their own flowers as compensation.
It’ll never be quite as brilliant as a spring in full bloom,
but it’s something to cling on to.
The winter will drag on forever.
But the trees are patient.
Their blossoms will return.
When the moon and the sun
decide it’s so.
we once walked the same path.
you and i.
for four years, almost.
the same well worn trail.
there were small flowers growing out of our footprints.
and moss slowly growing on fallen branches.
and ferns reaching for light in the dark of the undergrowth.
we used to hold hands as we walked.
i don’t think i even realised our paths had diverged until i was clinging onto your hand by my out-stretched arm and my fingertips.
and you weren’t reaching for mine anymore.
i looked up, and could barely see you through the thicket that had enveloped the gulf now between us.
i didn’t see the warning signs.
i didn’t see the cracks beneath our feet.
i didn’t notice you veering off on your own course to avoid a fallen tree.
“two roads diverged in a wood”
it is not our path anymore.
it is not our story anymore.
and it’s mine.
two separate paths winding their own course through the forests.
but for four years it was ours.
and it was magic,
because the path we walked together was golden.
sweep me off my feet and take me where I need to be
because I no longer know.
pour down on me in a deluge, a flood
wash away my grief,
let my tears mix with your raindrops on my cheeks
so neither of us can tell the difference
between heartbreak, and nature.
light a small spark in my soul again,
a smoldering ember among the ashes of what I used to be,
to give me a passion
where have you gone?
I used to feel you beneath my feet,
but now I’m sure I’m falling.
Ground, come up to meet me and catch me.
After all, it’s not the fall itself that kills you in the end, is it?
I can see you.
I can still see you.
In the creased spine of a hardback book.
In the frothy head of a pint of beer.
In couples cycling together.
In small, scruffy dogs snuffling about the ground.
In rough seas against sheer cliff faces.
I see you.
In dirty running shoes.
In quirky, backstreet cafes.
And old, hidden-away bookshops.
In the smell of dust after rain.
In tuneful, twiddly guitar melodies.
In beautiful vocal harmonies.
In the setting of the sun.
In the engravings on parks benches for couples who used to frequent there.
In old blankets.
And poorly knitted scarves.
In hazel eyes.
And a good beard.
In the smell of jasmine flowers.
In spoken french.
I see you.
In old world maps, with promises of future adventures.
In well-worn trails through the woods.
In moss growing on a fallen tree.
In big jumpers.
In takeaway pizzas and nights of Netflix.
I can still see you.
In waterproof anoraks.
In the sound of my octave fiddle.
In the Brecon Beacons.
In any mountain range at all.
In fairy lights, strung up on the inside of our tent.
How long will it be before I can unsee you?
I’m not ready to unsee you just yet.
This time, I wrote the alphabet down the side of my page and forced myself to fill in the words in alphabetical order.
after all we’ve
cancelling us the way you
even if i’d had the faintest hint it was coming it still would’ve
get up, it’s been months now
he’s moving on
isn’t it about time you do the same?
just the next right step, one foot in front of the other
kick and scream and resist if you must but what about
letting it wash over you like a wave?
more like a storm
no, a tsunami
please let yourself cry, even if it is just
quietly into your pillow after dark, don’t
run the risk of being heard
start small and
unconditional love exists
validating and unwavering
when, maybe, you stop putting
x‘s at the end of your messages to him, and reserve them for
yourself instead. this is where we begin again at
I wrote the alphabet down the side of my page, and just filled in the letters as the words naturally came out of me, in any order. But, when I finished I kept the starts of the sentences in alphabetical order, just to see if it made any more sense that way. Spoiler – it doesn’t.
and you can’t keep out-running your problems
but I didn’t realise your love was
conditional on my mental health
did you think moving away would fix it?
even in our darkest moments, I thought we could recover
fly to Thailand, that’ll do it
get away from this wretched place
hello, loneliness, it’s been a while, or has it?
i used to think we could withstand anything
just the two of us
kisses that stopped time
love that took us on adventures
mountain top views of the sunrise over the Himalayas
no matter what continent you’re on
one great love, to usurp all that came before
problems are always one step ahead of you though
quietly, and peacefully
stronger than before
turns out i was wrong about that too
unconditional love is what i thought we had
validatory and unwavering
waiting for confirmation…
x – incorrect answer
you’d still be there by my side though, wouldn’t you?
It seems all I do these days is write about how sad I am. So I may as well chronicle it for your entertainment.
We’d promised each other a lot of things over the years.
That we’d never leave.
That we’d always support each other.
That we’d always love each other.
That we’d always be adventure buddies.
I didn’t realise that these promises were conditional.
Conditional on my mental health remaining stable.
Conditional on me not becoming unwell.
Conditional on me not deviating from the adventurous, confident girl you fell in love with.
Well, I’m sorry I changed.
I’m sorry my mental health deteriorated.
But my promises were never conditional.
I loved you unconditionally.
And I still do.
Can anyone really ever promise anyone anything anyway?
Does it all amount to empty words and broken hearts in the end?
It seems that way.
I guess I’m just in disbelief that you can say “forever” one night, and the next morning break my heart. Forever.
Maybe some “forevers” do count.
But none of the ones I counted on.
I think I’m finally ready to share this one.
I heard somebody once say, that it takes
the human body 7 years to replace every cell
in an endless process of
dying and renewing
dying and renewing.
Which gives me great comfort that maybe
3 years from now
there won’t be a single cell in me
not one single part
not between my legs and not my beaten heart
there won’t be one single cell in me
that let you in.
Am I taking this too far?
Maybe I’m over-exaggerating but I saw
what you typed with hands that used to touch me
in that Google search bar.
It’s funny, in a disgusting twist of irony
that in college we’d rib you
that you liked younger girls.
But I saw what was hidden in your computer screen
I saw what you typed on sticky keys
and when I think about it like that
I don’t laugh
my stomach turns.
So maybe I’m not exaggerating
maybe it makes perfect sense
you didn’t feel what I feel so let me tell you how it felt;
You didn’t feel the shock waves of that night, that
Tore down the walls.
Like primary seismic waves
through the heart of my liquid core
You didn’t feel the aftershocks that
through the next 8 years of my life
with silent screams
and echoes in empty college halls of
it was your fault
it was all your fault
you were not good enough
you mustn’t be doing it right
you should be thinner, sexier, curvier, raunchier.
Or more tight.
Forgive me for being crass, or rude.
Forgive me if I’m too close to the line.
But you weren’t there when too close to the line became too close to the edge.
This is not what I signed up to.
I didn’t ask for this.
That warm summer’s night on the trampoline
A first kiss
that I thought was magic
everything that my playlist of country songs taught me it should be.
But not this,
not twisted and broken and tragic.
This is no eternal sunshine.
There is no magic button or cheat code
that could make it skip to the end.
No up up down down left right left right
B A start
So I’ll mend
I’ll fix and I’ll patch and I’ll tend
To this broken head and this broken heart.
And I’ll wait.
dying renewing dying renewing
I’m counting the days
til there’s no more