a great 2008

– which echoes in 2009 and further on

scenes

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It’s not you, it’s me // I think you misunderstood, I just want to be friends // You know what? This is just not working // I’m breaking up with you // I never felt for you that way.

It’s a collection of sentences belonging to the late teen years and early twenties. It’s a collection of words which has made me shed many, many tears. It’s a collection of words that was once so present and is now tucked away in the past.

They make me feel old. I remember when they were part of everyday life. When you expected to get roses on your one month anniversary. When lasting six months was huge. When people who’d been together for a year were “married couples. Whhaaa!” I look back and wonder why relationships were so important, when looking back now you clearly see breaking up was there from the beginning.

***

I’m 16. I have just realised that my love is not returned. It’s a Saturday morning. It’s winter. I wake up early – tired and slightly hung-over. I toss and turn in bed, but can’t find rest. I get up, sit in front of my parents’ fireplace. I cry. All hope seems out. I’m never to love again. My Mum comes to see me. She strokes my hair and hugs me. “There will be other boys,” she says. How does she know why I’m sad? How does she know there will be other boys?

***

I have friends still searching for someone to be with, friends who still occasionally bump into the sentences. I rarely know what to say to them. As I’m getting older, talking about it gets more difficult. “At least you have a boyfriend,” a friend of mine told me recently, when we talked about approaching 30. For a second I felt as if she blamed me, as if I was the culprit because I’m with someone.

***

It’s summer. Mid-twenties. I phone one of my friends to hear how she’s doing. “Not too well,” she answers. “We were supposed to do something on Friday, but he called and told me he was sick. I told him to get better soon. The girls called me and asked me if I wanted to join them. We go out, we have fun. And then I see him. On the dance floor. With another girl. And I go up to him and I ask ‘feeling better?’ He looks at me, shrugs his shoulders, smile. ‘You knew we were heading this way,’ he tells me.” My friend doesn’t cry, she’s angry. I try my best to reassure her. “There will be other boys,” I tell her. But honestly – I don’t know.

***

I think back to when 3 months, 6 months, every month was important to me. It’s strange. It seems you stop counting when you realise it’s serious. Why count if this is it? If this is it, it’s going to go on.

***

I’m not even 10 yet. For some time I have been fancying a boy in my class. I haven’t told anybody. I don’t want him knowing. I want it to be “distance liking”. Still I’m finding it hard not telling anybody. Opportunity shows up when a girl in my class confesses she’s in love too. We spent a happy afternoon talking and giggling; we imagine ourselves in 20 years with new surnames and husbands by our sides. I make her promise not to tell. She promises. A couple of days later everyone knows. I’m confronted with being in love. I’m expected to consider the whole girlfriend/boyfriend thing, kisses, going out. I don’t know where to look. Everyone shows an interest in something that’s so private to me.

***

Past relationships still haunt me, I have to admit. I still find myself needing to tell J stories from past relationships in order to make him understand my reactions in certain situations. I doubt it will ever change. I tell him stories about friends and family as well. It’s part of who I am. But there’s been a change, because even if they were my ghosts from the beginning, my bringing them into our relationship means they can no longer just be mine. I have to accept second opinions and that isn’t always bad.

***

We’re outside a bar. We’re laughing, having fun. I pass one of the windows and for some reason I look inside. The place is crowded. Close to the bar I see a silhouette. I stop. My heart is beating faster and faster – not in a good way. I slow down. The others go ahead. I wonder how to tell J I’m not going in. “Come on,” he tells me and reaches out for me. “What’s wrong?” he asks seeing my pale face. “He’s in there,” I say. He looks at me. “I don’t get you. You’re going in! Who cares if he’s in there? It is ages ago. We’re together now – you and me. Come on.” His hand reaches for mine, I grab it and follow him inside the bar. Within seconds I see the silhouette wasn’t who I thought it was.

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Written by Drew

April 16, 2008 at 4:57 pm

Posted in 2008, Favourites

Tagged with , , , ,

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