an entirely different, but logical, outcome.

I check his laptop. I see the contents. I put his laptop in my bag. I get my things together, calmly, and whilst he’s still making tea, I walk outside.
I ring a taxi and stay in a hotel for the night. I cry a lot. I’ll have lots of missed calls from him in the morning. But instead, I ring my mum and explain what has happened straight away. Then I ring my big sister and do the same. And finally, I ring him back. I explain that I saw the contents of his laptop and that I don’t want to see him again. He wants his laptop back. I say I don’t know whether he will get it back, it’s not my call.
On my way to the train station that morning, I make a stop at the police station first.
I catch the next train back home and leave.
With my head held high.

How would the conversation go?

Do we want reality, or fantasy? Let’s go for fantasy first:

Him: Hi [insert name], I’m so sorry for everything I’ve done. And I’m sorry for cutting all contact with you. That wasn’t fair. 

Me: That’s ok. 

Him: Well, I’ve just had a realisation. I didn’t know what a terrible, terrible affect my actions had on you. It was never intentional, but I know that doesn’t make it any better. You deserved to be treated better than that. I should have been honest with you. 

Me: I really appreciate you calling. It’s not an easy thing to do. I’m sorry too – I know I could be difficult at times. 

Him: No, you have nothing to apologize for. You behaved the way you did because of my actions. I hope that you can find a way to get over all of this. 

Me: I have had to have lots of counselling, but I’m slowly getting there. 

Him: I really hope you can overcome what I did, and I’m so sorry, again. 

Now, reality: 

Him: I don’t know what you want me to apologize for. You were the one that overreacted. Do you not understand how awful you made me feel about it all? I can’t help the way you reacted. 

Me: Ok, I’m sorry.

It’s nighttime, around early March

The room is grey and messy. Clothes on the floor. Unorganised desk. Untidy drawers. Unemptied bins. The bed is small and unmade. The curtains are partly drawn back and there’s a small amount of condensation on the window pane. It smells slightly damp. And of a warm, wet shower room. You can smell weed and cigarette smoke. There’s a very faint smell of grease from the kitchen down the corridor.

You can just about hear gaggles of freshers stumbling past outside, on their way to D-bar, for fresh-faced frivolities. There’s the distant, rhythmic thudding of a house party from a few floors above Occasionally, the big outside door bangs shut and there are footsteps up the stairs. 

You anticipate a cup of tea. 

Then, his phone vibrates.

The screen lights up with a peculiar message. 

sad girl chronicles pt. 1

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.

renewing

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
cracked
my foundations.
Tore down the walls.
Like primary seismic waves
through the heart of my liquid core
every
cell
of my
body
shook.
You didn’t feel the aftershocks that
rippled
no, ripped
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
sixteen.
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
you in
me.

a birthday card i’ll never send

(context: it was my ex’s birthday yesterday, and i still can’t forget the date, as much as I’d like to. This is the birthday card I’ll never send him. Writing it last night was beautifully cathartic, even if it still made me shake with rage.)

HAPPY FUCKING BIRTHDAY
(I HOPE YOU ROT IN HELL ♥)

Oh, there’s no need to be so rude, is there?
People know, you know?
Maybe you thought I’d told everyone immediately, but I had a lot of therapy to get through first.
(Just let me know how best you’d like to pay. I’d take PayPal.)

No, but people know now.

I only told two people at first.
No, three.
No, actually, four.
But people talk. And a rumour like that isn’t going to stay a secret.
Guess it’s not a rumour though is it?

I mean, I had to give a reason for having you removed from that group chat so quickly.
And yes, I could have lied but
I have no interest in protecting you anymore.
I don’t give a fuck about your reputation.
You deserve what you get.

I hope it plagues you everyday.
I hope you lose sleep over it.
I hope you’re terrified of bumping into our old college friends.
I hope you’re wracked with guilt.
I hope it’s a secret that’s destroying you from the inside out. The way it did me.

I hope your new girlfriend finds out.

Raise a glass to the birthday boy!
And many
many
happy
returns.

i hope

Wishing for other people to be miserable won’t make me any happier.
But I’m nothing if not a trier.

I hope every time you look up and see a beautiful cloudy sky, or you watch a sunset, or you see a contrail streak across the blue – I hope you see me. There by your side, with my weather book, quickly looking up the classifications to check if I was right. Kissing you if I was. Kissing you anyway if I wasn’t.

I hope you can’t hear Taylor Swift without seeing me dance around our living room in your shirt and my underwear. I hope you see my face when you see hers. I hope you can never erase that image from your mind. I hope you have to skip the song or change the radio channel.

I hope going to the beach on stormy days brings back memories of Lyme Regis. I hope you taste Cornish Rattler and remember the night we skipped along the beach singing Coldplay to the stars. Amaretto burning on our tongues.

I hope every pair of blue eyes you gaze into pale in comparison to the ocean deep, golden-flecked, vast expanse of mine.

I hope you can’t see a pair of cowboy boots without thinking of the summers I spent never taking mine off. Summer dresses, skinny jeans, tight little skirts, nothing at all, always paired with my cowboy boots. I hope you remember the look of horror on my face as I hurled them across the room at you. One by one.

I hope you can’t go on a long run without remembering every run we had together. In the rain, side by side, stride for stride. Matching each other’s pace.

I hope you can’t watch i-robot, because it reminds you that it was playing in the background the night we both had sex for the first time. I hope you can’t unsee my i heart NY t-shirt, and the sight of my face as we came at the same time as each other.

I hope you do. Because I can’t unsee you too.

For me,
it’s plaid shirts and skinny jeans. Paolo Nutini songs and Dr Who references. The All-American Rejects and Adele. I still remember the gait of your walk, the flop of your boyband hair, the freckles on your shoulders constellations to me. Everything Everything’s first album. Then their second. The smell of your cologne.

It hurts, because I can’t unsee or undo any of it.
It’s on repeat in my head.
Like a broken cassette.
But the music is familiar,
and I’m not ready to stop listening just yet.

c • r • e • a • t • i • v • i • t • y

I listened to an episode of The Guilty Feminist about creativity. Our lord and saviour Deborah got the audience to participate in an exercise of creativity. They simple had to make a sound and see what word came out of their mouth. Not planning the word, just trusting that the right thing (that being anything) would come out. So I did it myself. In alphabetical order, and I wrote it down.

apparently it’s difficult to come by
but maybe the problem is him, not you
could it be that maybe…
doesn’t matter anyway…
even if i tried to explain myself…
for fuck’s sake
get on with it
how about we start over again?

i never pictured any of this happening
just try and put yourself in my shoes
kids
let me get it out of my system, please
much of what i feel always comes back to that night
never a day when it doesn’t come to mind
oh, if i could go back and shake myself
perhaps things would have been different
questions like this always circle around my mind
radiating out from me
shall we go back to it?

text message. teens.
underpinning, undermining, undervaluing
visceral hatred and shivering skin
what happens now?

x‘s at the end of our messages still
you’ve won.

interlude / interruption

i watch teen romance
because i mourn the loss of an adolescence
i didn’t have
whilst i was busying trying to prove something
to somebody
i didn’t need
somebody who wasn’t good enough for me
even before i saw the contents of his laptop
is it possible to miss something you never had?
an idea of what might’ve been, but never quite was?
i miss awkwardly catching someone’s hand
and misplaced, mistimed kisses
hearts beating fast
first touches
drinking too much and making poor decisions
easy, naive heartache
clean breaks
with soft landings
not blood boiling, fists balled, skin crawling, retching fear.

there was a brief period at sixteen
an interlude
from mental illness
from the bird-cage where i was
hostage to compulsion
for too long

an interlude
where
for the blink of an eye
i was okay
i laughed, drank, flirted, played the sixteen year old
and as i climbed atop my pedestal
finally taking centre stage for the young protagonist i’d dreamt of whilst my brain had been wrapped in wires,
i fell
into your arms
and into the fire.

for a while i thought you’d saved me
oh knight in shining converse
but you’d done nothing more
than interrupt me
from saving myself

a 7 year interlude
of something i never deserved.