I’ve always thought I was a strong person. That was before I realised that I didn’t, nor would I ever, have the strength to split up with you.
There were several times when I did try to. It would take me half the evening to plan the right moment, if there was any, to say the words out loud. Immediately afterwards I would feel pangs of guilt followed by floods of tears. If I was to fully admit the truth, these feelings weren’t for myself, surprisingly, but rather for you. What would happen to you? It’s as if I felt that if I was no longer in your life you would self destruct. Well, haven’t you?
On many occasions I would lay wide awake, unable to sleep, thinking about how unhappy I was. Yet, I still didn’t have the courage to end things. As an outsider looking in, I knew I would have shouted at myself, even called myself pathetic. I now fully understand the well-known saying “Don’t ever judge anyone until you walk a mile in their shoes shoes”. Some things are easier said than done.
Remember that dreary February evening you showed up outside my work? We had just had a fight over text. It was like something out a movie. I was walking to the station clutching onto my umbrella in the pouring rain when I heard you shouting my name. As I turned away, I saw sadness in your eyes and I knew you had turned up unannounced not to apologise but to break up with me. If I had prioritised correctly I should have stayed to hear you outright; instead I chose to “schedule” you into my diary. Was this to mentally prepare myself?
Two days later I arrived at your house late at night. I knew what was about to happen…the end, officially. You were vague as to why we were splitting up. You told me that I needed someone who socialised more and shared my dreams of travelling. I simply agreed knowing in the long-term it was for the best. Yet, thinking back now, if I thought you were ‘the one’ or you had loved me enough, surely you would have fought for me and never let me go.
In the weeks leading up to our split, you were distant. I confided in my friend that I thought you were cheating on me. Suddenly you had plans with your friends. What friends? You didn’t have any. Throughout our three-year relationship I was always the busy one so it seemed odd when you started having plans on a Friday. When I questioned whether you were having an affair, your grunted response of “you wish” should have confirmed my beliefs instantly.
On Valentine’s Day I arrived overloaded with presents for you. Instead of saying thank you, you were ungrateful. “We don’t do this”. Were the first six months of dating a lie then, when you turned up at my door with an embarrassing bouquet of flowers, chocolates and teddies? I should have trusted my intuition when I opened what would be my last Valentine’s card from you. “Have a great day”; this message signified that you now no longer saw an “us” in this relationship.
At the time, I didn’t weep as much as expected. Despite having to attend my best friend’s upcoming wedding dateless, despite it being my birthday and despite having to justify our split when deep down I knew your reasoning wasn’t enough.
Being single came easy to me. You were my first long-term relationship. And after over three years, still am. If truth be told, I am much happier single. It doesn’t define me but it certainly is a large part of who I am – wild at heart. I hated having to explain my plans for the week or have someone know where I was at all times. I wasn’t up to anything that you needed to worry about, but I have never had to think about anyone else’s feelings before. I am not embarrassed to admit it – I am a selfish person.
It’s for this reason that I was not scared that I would be alone. I have so many friends around me that they could easily fill the gap in my diary. Typing this actually makes me think, that’s essentially what you were. An appointment. May be all of this was all my own doing? Maybe you needed someone who needed you desperately.
After I found out you had a new girlfriend after only six weeks I tried to convince myself that there was no overlap. In some ways, this period of time was more difficult for me than when we broke up. The fact that you could replace me so easily. I found myself unable to eat, waking up in sweats and feeling distressed. Is this how much, or little, you valued our relationship?
Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and within a year and half we had completely lost contact and you even decided to delete me off Facebook. Over time and upon reflection my suspicion that you cheated on me grew stronger. I often told my friends that if I saw you I would imitate Charlotte from Sex And The City and simply exclaim “I curse the day you were born”. My friends told me, rightly, that a mature approach would be to express my gratitude of how far I have come in both life and work since our time together.
Of course, living in a small town and having mutual friends there would be a time that we would bump into each other. When we broke up, you told me that you didn’t want me to hate you. Little did I know at the time that this would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps, you already knew this and that’s why you chose not to acknowledge me.
When you eventually spoke to me (only to ask me for a favour) my need for closure pushed me to pressurise you to confess. A glance away should have been enough, but I wanted to hear your words of guilt come out your mouth.
“Towards the end I did cheat on you”.
It shouldn’t have come as a surprise (you had always carefully avoided the question) but I guess I was still hoping that the person I once knew, and loved, still existed. But you are no where to be seen.
I am glad I walked away rather than throw my drink in your face, like so many would have. Yes, I did cry, but not for us. Partly for the betrayal and naively believing your lies but moreover for the realisation that I should have put an end to our decaying relationship much sooner than you had.
I don’t know you anymore and perhaps I never really did. You are a stranger to me. Someone I could not save. Or tried so hard to.