Before we had ever met, we exchanged long, revealing emails, Lover and I. He thrilled me with his words; they drew me to him. There is, to me, a pleasing symmetry in the fact that after trying, but failing, to speak on the phone through his tears and my wails, we took our leave by email. The closing bracket, concluding our parenthèse enchantée.
And now I have read his words, time and time again, I not only understand what happened here, but can no longer flee the inescapable truth that this ending, however wretched, was a necessity.
I will never regret our paths crossing back in May. Wouldn’t trade the panic-inducing intensity of that first evening, and our subsequent hotel trysts, for all the stability in the world. Searing, all-consuming passion; the awakening of those senses which had been dulled in me for the longest time. I felt reborn. Indescribably happy. The future suddenly filled with unexpected promise.
I remember listening to Gorecki on my iPod in a crowded métro carriage, barely able to contain the physical rush of joy I felt from the tips of my toes to the end of every hair follicle, happy tears streaming down my cheeks, oblivious to my fellow travellers.
We shared some perfect moments, he and I. Moments which marked my life indelibly; moments which my present anguish cannot erase.
If only real world worries, doubts and fears hadn’t come crowding into both our minds with the passage of time. If only the dynamics of a long distance relationship hadn’t made us brittle and fragile. If only that first fierce flush of love had stood the test of time, intact, instead of slowly, silently unravelling.
I was aware of a rising tide of uneasiness, gaining ground on me for the past month or so, but couldn’t put my finger on why I was feeling this way. Balked at giving headspace to those treacherous whispering voices. I was so very in love with the dreams we had elaborated together. The house in the country with a garden for Tadpole to play in. The new life away from the city lights. The fresh start. I wrote a little about my confusion, but in guarded, careful terms, for fear of causing further damage. I yearned to see him more often, seeking some sort of confirmation that we were doing what was right. I needed to be sure about July. As sure as anyone can ever be.
So preoccupied was I, trying to quell my own creeping anxieties, I was blinded to the fact that he was having doubts of his own. Quietly wrestling with his demons. Probing, measuring the depth of his feelings. Finding them wanting.
I think there will be moments in every day, for some time to come, when I will feel his absence so keenly that it will crush the very air out of my lungs. Cause me to falter. To feel utterly bereft. Tonight, a memory of him sitting at my dining table, head bent over his laptop, brow furrowed in concentration as he worked, tore holes in my insides. The sight of Tadpole knocking softly at the front door, calling “Jim, where are you?” when we returned home made me wince and grip the door handle with white knuckles. Once Tadpole was in bed, the long evening gaped ahead, the terrifying emptiness no longer to be punctuated by his calls.
But I refuse to be bitter, because love doesn’t come complete with guarantees. Because no-one is to blame here. Because neither of us deserves to settle for less than what we shared at the beginning.
Before it waned.
Lamb – Gorecki