How can I possibly be scared?
I’ve run out of “scared”.
I’ve done all of the scariest things already.
Saying goodbye to you at the airport.
Leaving you for good.
Even though every fibre of my being didn’t want to let go of you.
Didn’t want to turn around and see you for the final time.
Boarding that plane.
And leaving Thailand, alone.
That was terrifying.
Leaving behind all I knew.
All that I loved.
Everything that I was sure about.
Knowing in that split second that our hands let go of each other, that I’d never hold your hand again.
Never have you to turn to again.
Never share our bed again.
That was terrifying.
That felt like having the earth pulled from beneath me, and realising I didn’t have a parachute anymore.
That was scary.
I came home alone.
Never the way it was meant to be.
But I had to.
There was no other way forward.
And it felt like having my heart broken twice.
That was truly scary.
Surely I’ve ran out of things to be scared of? Surely there’s nothing more to be afraid of, when you already feel like you’ve had it all taken from you?
I wrote this a few months back
Tomorrow should be our 4 year anniversary.
Four years since that night we lay on my bed,
hands barely touching,
Maybe I should reframe this. That’s what a therapist would do.
Four years since you cheated on your girlfriend of the time.
Four years since you were weak.
That kiss was you being weak.
Not owning up to how you truly felt about your then relationship, and instead letting it blow up.
Four years since you broke someone else’s heart.
I really hope she’s moved on now and has found someone who will show her more respect than you did.
I hope she’s happier now.
I hope tomorrow passes without her even thinking of you, because she’s managed to put it all behind her.
You were a coward. You still are.
You shy away from all emotions until it reaches breaking point and then you let it all blow up.
Without any warning.
I bet she didn’t see it coming either.
The way I didn’t.
You did exactly the same to me as you did to her.
You didn’t speak about your feelings, you actively lied about them, and then you threw a curveball out of nowhere.
Poor her. Poor me. Who’s next?
Was I always just a getaway car for you?
Was the magic exactly that – just an illusion?
A trick of the light,
sleight of hand.
I always look back on 13th January 2017 with such fondness – because I thought it was the start of something really special.
Maybe it’s time to take off the rose-tinted glasses?
Things got very dark for me in the six months since I returned from living abroad.
I’m coming out the other side now.
I read back through the poems/pieces I wrote back then, and I feel like I’ve put some distance between how I was then, and how I feel now.
I’m healing. Slowly. But slow progress is still progress.
And I don’t want to delete those poems either. Because my feelings were valid at the time. And still are valid now.
But I’m doing better.
Touch wood. Because I still have OCD, don’t I?
(And for any of you wondering, love exists after heart break. And it’s even sweeter for it.)
i’m anxious about my new job.
and where are you?
i’m crying because my anxiety has become so overwhelming that i don’t think i can go on anymore.
and where are you?
i’m questioning all the life choices that led me here, wondering at which turn it all went south.
and where are you?
i’m looking for a hand to hold beneath the sheets at night, when terrors wake me.
and where are you?
i’m searching a sea of strange faces for your familiar gaze that feels like coming home.
and where are you?
i’m looking for reassurance that i’ll be okay on monday; i’m looking for your support.
but where are you?
where are you now?
seven hours ahead.
almost 6000 miles away.
i left you.
on a different continent.
but how i wish things were different.
how i wish i’d never had to leave.
i’m so resistant to the idea of monday because it means that i’m definitely moving on with my life. it’s the next big hurdle.
and you won’t be there.
beside me. telling me everything’s going to be okay and
squeezing my hand.
it’ll just be me.
and who am i?
i thumb through the pages of our old life.
on the pages
where i’ve folded over the top corner.
to revisit those memories again.
ten y fan.
non-descript evenings spent listening to music, drinking red wine and putting the world to rights.
but i can’t keep doing it.
romanticising the past.
religiously reading back over the pages of the life we once shared.
those chapters are closed now. i know.
and i need to move on. i know.
the more i thumb through the old passages
the words become;
i’m misremembering them.
it’s like rubbing salt into a wound
that i was tending to
it’s like ripping it at the careful,
and leaving it
ugly and gaping.
i know, i should pick up the pen and start writing
for my new life now,
not defined by him.
or anyone else.
but defined by me.
i choose the narrative.
i should grab that pen and start writing immediately.
but my hands drift back to the old chapters.
the warmth of an old flame.
I feel like,
what’s the point in continuing writing,
when your best work is already written?
when you’ve already peaked?
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
You’re left with the ringing in your ears, and a scratching in your throat
from screaming to be heard over that
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?
it never stops.
body can feel it, the
crushing weight of your absence.
drought for the soul.
fine, i’ll say, i’m doing
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
messed up, to almost
only we knew what we had, a
patient love, that grew
quietly, over time, like the confluence of two
rivers coalescing. they
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
you don’t. you’ve already
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.
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.
Not a boyfriend, or partner, or friend, or family member.
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.
It’s too much to ask.
But just being neutral would be nice.
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 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.
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.