.

I thought you were my full stop.
The ending.
To all my heartbreaks.
To all my upset.
To all my frogs not princes.
To my unhappiness.

It turns out I was just a comma to you,
a clause,
a throwaway line in your explanation,
of your mistakes.

maybe I’m not even that to you anymore.
maybe I’m actually (in brackets)
.

the little things

It’s the little things
like
the lipgloss you bought me
because you know I love sparkles
and how you say you still love me
when I’m at my darkest.

Like
it’s 3am and we find each others’ hands under the duvet
how you’ll kiss me in public
and we won’t care what who says.

Like
it’s the texts that say
“I want you forever”
not that I know what that means any more.
Trust me, I’m not that clever.

But if forever means
that you’re my last kiss
my last hand hold
my last wish

Then all these little things will have meant something deep
when for the last time
you’re the one who tucks me in
for one last sleep.

X

it was all me.

All the amazing things we did,
I look back on fondly
and I think,
“Weren’t we a great team?”

Doing all those things together.
The cycling, the hiking, the travelling.
I look back and think
“Didn’t we accomplish such great things?”

But we didn’t.
Give me a second whilst I ready myself,
because I’m about to finally be kind to myself…
But it was me.

Whose idea was it to go travelling to Nepal?
Mine.
Who suggested cycling to Brecon in a day, just on a whim?
Me.
Who challenged us both to climb Pen-y-fan ten times in 24 hours?
Me.
Towersey festival?
Me.

Who decided enough was enough at our old school, and we should jack it all in and go teach abroad?
Yep, me.

Who was it who got the job in Thailand first, and subsequently got you your job?
Need I say it again?

The job that you’re still profiting off, in a beautiful country that you never would’ve travelled to
if it wasn’t for me.

And yes, you did acknowledge it,
once,
a few months after our break up,
when I was back in the UK.
When you were high on acid, and floating in a villa pool in the middle of a rainstorm.
And you told me, and everyone you were with too,
that all the great things you’d done
were because of me.

I wonder, do you still feel grateful
for all those adventures I gave you?
Or does your gratitude only show when you’re having some sort of
hallucinogenic epiphany?

Either way,
it was all me.
Because I am capable of great things.
And you know it.

greece

We walked along the pebble beach,
and I forgot
that I’m a teacher, who has responsibilities
who has a job to do.

We kissed in the cold but crystal clear sea,
and I forgot
temporarily that just a few weeks before
I’d been put on one-to-one observation, and sent home from work.

We watched the sunrise over the Aegean
from our balcony,
and I forgot
that I’m terrified to step a foot outside my house now.

We drank beers and read books by the pool
and I forgot
that my anxiety has gotten so bad
that I can’t see a way forward anymore.

We fell asleep in each other’s arms every night,
and I forgot
what it’s like to exist inside my own head,
just briefly.

We parted at the station again,
and now it’s back to reality
and I’ve already forgotten
the feeling of your hand in mine.

slow motion

I think it’s slowly hitting me
not in the way a wave hits you
washing over you
rushing up to meet your skin.
An old friend.

No, not like that.

I think it’s slowly hitting me
the way an HGV would
slowly
hit
you.
All of a sudden.
And in slow motion
at the same time.

I’ve been anticipating this impact
for so long now.
Bracing myself, muscles tensed,
that I almost don’t believe it’s over.

That I can relax now
drop my shoulders
unclench my jaw
let go.

Yesterday,
when I eventually put the phone down,
I could finally
pick myself back up
from where I left myself.

Those 11 years ago.

2020

I would prize Wildwood Kin, from your little sweaty palms,
I would eat more healthily,
I would dance more often,
and refuse to let you talk over me.

I would shake my former self
look her straight into the eyes
and say, is this what you think you’ve been searching for
all your goddamn life?

I would remove those tinted glasses
and see you for what you are,
an emotionally-stunted man-child
who just happens to play guitar.

I’d take you off your pedestal,
where you’d comfortably made your nest.
I’d tell you truths like, I’m not sure I want to have biological children
and bathe in the disgust your face expressed.

I’d stop hiding my truth to please you,
unafraid of causing upset
confidently proclaim my moral views
and calmly watch you sweat.

I’d grab my former self,
lace up my running shoes,
take her by the hand
and run far away from you.

fairweather

Your not texting back,
was a stab to the heart.
But you were drinking cold liquor, with new friends
so you didn’t see that part.
You were already planning how our story would end.

In our story, from my side, we had endless pages.
But I guess you were just filling in the blanks,
until you thought you could escape this
and it came as a suckerpunch when I realised you’d pulled a Shawshank.

Too cowardly to tell me the truth,
that you lied when you said we had the rest of our lives together.
You kept me, like Dogtooth,
hidden from reality.
You were nothing more than a boyfriend for fairweather.

And when the storms rolled in,
and the thunderclaps boomed,
things headed the way they’d always been,
and you ran scared into the other room.

Away from my crying eyes
and into the arms of another.
Out of sight, out of mind,
safely beneath the skin of a different woman to hide under.

Someone sweeter,
someone breezier,
someone who wouldn’t call you a cheater.
A fairweather girlfriend,
and altogether
easier.

red flags

You always said you’d eventually learn how to dance with me, but you always had an excuse. You just didn’t care for the things I was passionate about. Red flag number 10.

You never cared for, or tried to understand, my love of Taylor Swift. I know that might sound petty. But it was important to me, and you openly mocked it. Red flag number 9.

You said you didn’t like tattoos, but you would make exceptions for my small ones. Well, now I have a big one. So fuck you. Red flag number 8.

We had similar tastes in music, but only when it came to folk and country. Anything else and I felt I had to filter my music choice around you. Because it was “too mainstream”. You always took the high ground when it came to music. Red flag number 7.

Your political views were the right ones, and no amount of debating would tell you otherwise. You took the high horse there too. Red flag number 6.

I was terrified of doing my pre-flight injections by myself, so I offered to pay for your megabus and the additional cost of the flight, for you to fly from Heathrow with me. To support me. But you outright refused. Red flag number 5.

You could never have a healthy disagreement. You’d bury your head in the sand at the first sign of conflict. Sweep it under the carpet. Until it blew up in our faces. Red flag number 4.

You made empty promises. The main one being that you’d always support me, no matter what. Red flag number 3.

One night, after weeks of my mental health rapidly declining, you said you’d rather go out and get drunk with another girl than come home to me. Red flag number 2.

You cheated on your girlfriend of four years to be with me.

Red flag number 1.

Stay;

There will be plays you will see, poems you will read, sandwiches you will eat, new friends you will make, new dance moves you will learn. There will be hugs, and there will be kisses that stop time. There will be cups of tea on a balcony with a beautiful view of the sunset. There will be sunrises. There will be holding hands, running through the rain, sheltering under trees, and more kissing. There will be music you haven’t heard yet, that doesn’t even exist yet, that will move you to tears, or become your new favourite track to dance to. There will be weddings, your own included. There will be swimming in a clear blue sea. There will be cold, crisp glasses of New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, on hazy summers evenings. There will be dogs to pet. Films to laugh at. New mountains to climb. There will be warm cosy jumpers and mulled wine at Christmas. There will be a time you see your big sister again. There will be new books to read, that will take you on new adventures from the comfort of your bedroom. There will be more answers than questions. There will be poetry that flows out of you. There will be ceilidhs, and so much dancing. There will be gigs so incredible you lose your voice from screaming the words so loud. There will be new tunes to learn, and to pass on. There will be late nights you never want to end. There will be early morning runs that enrich your soul. There will be new songs to sing.
There will be a time when you no longer remember how bad it got.
Stay.

sorry?

i had to ask for it
i had to spell it out to you
because you’d forgotten, like you do
all the hell you put me through

i had to spell it out
this is what you did to me
and was i supposed to accept that gratefully?
and let you off, so deservedly?

what i lost when i lost you
was so much more than just a relationship
i was a sinking battleship
already losing my grip

no, you didn’t recognise the full impact
that final straw, turned to one almighty blow
i was freefalling, but imperceptibly slow
no parachute, or safety net, into the ground below

does it really count as an apology
if i had to ask for it first?
if you were coerced?
for everything you said sounded performative and rehearsed

you say you’ve changed now
that you don’t do that anymore
don’t go back on words you swore
and isn’t she lucky, the girl you now call yours?

well, i don’t accept your apology
but i’ll pretend i do with grace
i’d rather you’d left me unanswered
but i’ll let you save your face.