chapters

i thumb through the pages of our old life.
stopping
on the pages
where i’ve folded over the top corner.
to revisit those memories again.

nepal.
towersey.
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.
once loved.
those chapters are closed now. i know.
and i need to move on. i know.

the more i thumb through the old passages
the more
blurry
the words become;
i’m misremembering them.

it’s like rubbing salt into a wound
that i was tending to
and slowly
healing.
it’s like ripping it at the careful,
methodical,
heart-broken
stitches
and leaving it
open again.
ugly and gaping.

i know, i should pick up the pen and start writing
new chapters,
for my new life now,
without him.
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 familiarity.
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?

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

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?

i see you

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.
Petrichor.

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.
Or azahara.
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.


the in between things

Memories keep coming back to me.
Bright flashes of nostalgia.
Just normal things,
but normal things that I’ve not thought about probably ever.
Since they first happened maybe.
(It just so happens that I can’t recall any of them right now)

But it’s things like the smell of warm summer air walking home from the rugby club.
Or watching the carnival week parade from the bay window of Mum and Dad’s bedroom in Malvern house.

Or the feeling of warm sand between your toes when you have to put your trainers back on at the end of a long day on the beach.

Normal things.
Easy things.
In between things.

In between the crying and screaming and sleepless nights and multiples of 7 or 49.
Do these things make up for the other things?

The in between things.
Chopped banana and grapes and Rosie and Jim.
Forts made from bushes.
Wind breaks.
Lemon-top icecreams.
Over-sized hand-me-down clothes.

A plaster on a scrubbed knee that you’d wear with pride
LOOK
someone took care of me.