Four seasons have passed since the day we visited in the dump.
We had packed up and left our room. The room we redecorated when you moved in. The room where we hid your guitar so the landlady wouldn’t know you’d moved in. Where we had hanging potted plants that we never watered. We packed up that room and put it in the back of your car. Whatever we couldn’t bring, we took to the dump. The day at the dump felt hard and sad, because we were leaving our home for new horizons. I was sad to leave my home, but it was okay because we were doing it together.
Road tripping through Europe. We got on the ferry, hungry for excitement. You drove us through France, down into Barcelona where I met your parents for the first time. I made nice. I made them love me. I loved them.
Barcelona. Valencia. Madrid. San Sebastian. Lyon. Dordogne. Perpignan.
One month with your family, and I was one of them. We hiked and toured and strolled and ate and drank. I was madly and passionately in love with you and with our life. I felt grateful everyday, and told you as often as I could. Every time you came up behind me and put your arms around me, I could have died happy. You ate sushi off my body in Lyon. We kissed in the rain in San Sebastian. Your mom called me your ex girlfriend’s name eight times, but it was okay. I should have been nicer about that. I thought it was funny. When they left us, you cried and I held you. You felt so grateful for them, and I felt so grateful for you and your beautiful soul.
We held hands and spooned and kissed and sang our way through France up through Switzerland and into Germany. We had sex on the German-Austrian border. We detoured to Lichtenstein just because we could. It was a chaotic, beautiful adventure. I felt fat in Berlin and ruined our day, and I’m so sorry for that. What a fool to resent a weight gain that was the result of a month of pastries and multi-course meals gifted to me by your family. What a fool.
The last day: You’re sad and quiet. I push and push until you break up with me. You can’t move to America yet, you say. You need to stay in Europe until February, you say. We should be on a break during that time, you say. You need to learn more about yourself, you say.
The man with six fingers had just moved our room because the ceiling was leaking, which turned out not to be the weirdest thing that happened that night.
Me: naked and crying in the Antwerp hotel bathroom.
You: naked and crying on the Antwerp hotel bed.
Detour to Bruges before we back to London to say our goodbyes. We wanted to emotionally eat. We stayed in a hotel on the canal and had sex with the window open. We went to Hertog Jann for a last-minute romantic, luxurious meal. We were starving from all of the feelings, so had chips from the main square an hour before. We were stuffed when we arrive, our stomachs shrunken from crying and lack of food. We stuffed our faces with beautiful food, cramming it into our tender, pre-filled bellies. It was funny and delicious, and it was a metaphor. Our timing was off.
I’m home in California. I’ve said my goodbyes in London. You arrive for your pre-planned three week trip, only you don’t plan to come back right away anymore. You get a job offer in Germany that will keep you in Europe until the end of May. We say goodbye in the San Francisco airport, weeping. I don’t know when I’ll see you again, and I love you so much and I’m scared. I can feel your distance, and I am afraid that I’ll never see you again.
I’m home. You’re back in London. I miss you. You pull away. I look for clues all over the social media. You have new friends and have not contacted our old friends. I wrote a blog and asked you to read it and you didn’t for days. I was hurt and tried to have a serious conversation with you, but you didn’t tell me you were out with your new friends. You were distant. It made me look crazy, and you should have told me you were with people. I didn’t understand. Looking back, it all makes sense.
I moved to Boston. I needed to do something.
I knew it was her.
Something told me it was her from that first picture she put up of you at the Cat Empire show. I knew because of the way you spoke about everyone else and avoided saying her name. I knew when her friend asked you bring something from her house on Facebook. I asked you why you would be at her house, and you snapped at me for what I was implying. You knew I was scared, and you were so cruel. You knew that I knew, and instead of taking the opportunity to make me feel less crazy, you fed the crazy. You made me feel bad for not trusting you and for sensing a problem. My friends reassured me. You loved me so much, and we could all feel it. Couldn’t I? Not anymore, actually. I couldn’t feel it anymore.
January 27th. You’re distant. I look at her Facebook page, which is not private.
A table with two chairs.
Tagged: you and her
Caption: “thoroughly surprising!”
Location: the restaurant you worked at in Belgium.
She tagged you at a restaurant in another country. The place you were so proud of working. The place you took me the previous Easter weekend. There must be an explanation.
There was no explanation. There was a twenty four hour period of lies, but then no explanation other than the truth, which you never even said out loud. This was a girl you’d been dating for a month while you were still with me, and you took her to Belgium for a romantic weekend… the same two-day trip that we’d taken not a year before. The same place we ended our two month road-trip a few months prior.
Me: “Did you go to Bruges?”
You: “Yes.”- you
Me: “Where did you stay?”
You: “The same hotel you and I stayed in last time we were there.”
Would you fix it? Would you end it? Would you fly here and try to win me back and prove that you were sorry?
No, you chose her.
Winter 2013 shattered my heart.
The snow was melting. I was making friends. The people who were just acquaintances when you broke me ended up being the people who held me up, dragged me to yoga, brought me food and listened to me wail. They became my friends. My partner, my love, had failed me and everyone pitied me. People rallied around me because I’m a good friend. I’m kind and open and loving, and I let people in. My best friends sent flowers and flew to California with me, to be home and heal. I was underemployed, over-eating and drinking and living in a new city. I missed London. I missed my London friends and my family. And I missed you. And I hated you.
Every night in spring, I fell asleep begging my mind to expel the image you having sex with her.
Every morning in spring, I woke up praying that it wasn’t true.
Renewal. Growth. Sunshine. Not crying everyday. Moving forward. Acceptance. Cycling through the stages of grief, but growing stronger. Landing on my feet.
Then there was the bomb. I’m a block away from a terrorist attack, because of course! As I watch bloodied bodies run by the window of the bar I’m in, my thoughts are with you. This is happening to me, and where are you? You are with her, and I’m at a terrorist attack. There is no justice. You emailed and said you were terrified when you heard, and were so glad I was okay. Then you told me about your new tattoo. Fuck you.
My birthday in May. You tell me you’re sorry. You can’t recognize yourself. You’re in a bad way. Last year on my birthday we were in Budapest together, eating goulash in a dive bar at midnight. You made a paper crane and pinned it on the wall.
On my birthday this year you email me a photo of the paper crane from last year. How dare you.
Sunny. Hot. Trip to New York, San Francisco and San Diego. I’m employed. I cry less. I talk about you less. My friends are tired of your name. You visit Australia for the first time since you moved, and are home for three weeks. We talk everyday, and you’re finding it difficult to be home. You still don’t know yourself. You’re lost. We’re in touch and everyone is afraid for me. He’s dangerous, they say. He is not in a good way. You feel comfortable and he should be leaning on his girlfriend, they say. You’ll be collateral, they warn.
They’re right. You cut me out again. You’re going back to London. You’re done in Germany and you’re going to be with her in London. You admit that you still love me but you must move forward, and it’s happening with her. You made your bed and now you must sleep in it. Plus, we cant’ be together and I’ll never forgive you. That’s your argument. I believed that you’d fight for me this time. I believed that we loved each other and you would make it right. I was wrong. Feeling guilty and feeling sorry are different, and you are too much of a mess to know the difference. My friends were right: I’m collateral damage. You are buried in self-doubt and self-pity, and you’ve pulled me down with you. I have tried to crawl out, and you kept pulling me down.
We haven’t spoken in six weeks now. I’ve un-followed you on all of the social media. You still follow me on twitter. You “like” my photos on Instagram. You post photos that are inside jokes with me. Please…no one but me would understand that Alice in Wonderland Syndrome photo. I saw that she “liked” it. She has no idea that it was for me. It’s an inside joke and she’s still on the outside. Fuck you. I keep my distance because you are dangerous. You are poison, and I am still in love with you. I think you’re living with her. You are a mess, and I still want to fix you. I still want to love you. I still want you to love me. And that fact that you don’t makes me hate you.
In one week it will be a year since the day we went to the dump.