By Jen Holmes
“I can’t take this anymore! Why are you acting so weird? Enough is enough! Tell me: what is going on?”
“I’m in love with Sarah”.
My insides just caved into a black hole.
A crater has erupted in the centre of my heart.
Heavy eyelids, dizziness, a full stomach somersault. What feels like my last and final gulp for breath. A high pitched trill in my ear. And then silence.
The Ice Age has arrived.
Day 1 – 10st 9lbs
In my mind’s eye I could see my life with you rolling out in front of me like a glorious rose carpet, the butterflies and ivy of your love enshrining me.
This is the Thing that was supposed to erase all my insecurities, all my fears. It promised me the end of my struggle. Didn’t it?
We (I) still wanted to try. We (I) needed to try.
This is a problem that just needs to be managed, we can overcome it.
Did he even mention wanting to overcome it? *three second quizzical look.
Day 20 – 10st 6lbs
I think my brain has been put into a food processor. On turbo speed. And there’s no damned off switch.
How did this even happen? What had I done wrong? When did he first know he felt that way about her? Over and over and over, questions asked into an echoing abyss.
“Why did you say you loved me? Did you not mean it?”.
“Well, I meant it when I said it. But things have changed…”.
YOU MEANT IT WHEN YOU SAID IT?! If you say it once, you mean it forever!!!
(But there is no guarantee on love).
Another stolen night sat at the foot of the bed in our spare room.
Muted sobbing, watching the moon rising silently against the navy sky.
I’m thinking about you. Even though I can hear you breathing in sleep next door. You feel closer to me in my mind.
You said you loved me.
(But there’s no guarantee on love).
Day 30 – 10st 4lbs.
I’m living in a state of frantically rising hysteria; I’m grappling to find a dock-yard for my sanity.
I’m not sure what I’m fighting for anymore.
All advice from friends and family falls upon deaf ears, all comfort caresses numbed skin.
I must be left to create and learn my own lessons.
Your presence used to stretch me to bursting with love, I was expanded and full to the brim with affection, bubbling and vibrant. Now, I’ve become a stretched and withered husk.
On this day, a perfectly crisp blue-sky day, I find myself alone.
I slowly shut my eyes and lift my face to the last rays of warm autumn sun.
There’s one last corner of my being that is struggling for my Right To Life.
She’s nothing but tissues, tendons and bone but – on this day – she has summoned a final pulse of strength.
That night, I say:
“I can’t do this anymore. It’s over”.
Day 38 – 10st 2lbs.
That anchor on my gut finds a wave to ride, I’ve caught my breath. None of it matters anymore.
I don’t need to give two fucks what he’s doing, ha ha!
… So why are all the fucks I’m giving about what he’s doing?!
I’m always aware of where he is, picturing each part of his day (he’s having sex with her).
9.30am is the best time to call, he’s on his break (or maybe he’s having sex with her).
“How was your morning?”.
(Please love me again).
“Mmmmhmmm oh good! I bet Buttons [the cat] fell off the window ledge again? Yeah? Ha ha I knew it!”.
(Look how much we had? Look how much I know you! Look how much I care! Please love me again).
How much longer can I continue this stage show?
Day 51 – 10st 0lbs.
Another day, another empty phone conversation. I’m trying to find a grip on a lost life.
This time there’s silence.
The call has no purpose. There’s nothing more to be said.
Yes I have been betrayed, what’s worse is that my plans and daydreams have been stolen from me.
Now, my thoughts float about in my mind like mutilated homeless children, knocking on the doors of other ideas to find them hostile: “I’m sorry, we cannot accommodate you in here anymore”, or empty.
By night back home in a single bed, my parents are sleeping next door. My shoulders shake softly and quietly against the sheets, my pillow is damp from tears.
Sleep is intermittent, and tormented when it arrives. The first few moments of waking hold a cruel respite, before reality floods into consciousness.
By day my eyes are permanently inflamed. My clothes start to hang off me.
I’m thinking about you.
You told me you loved me. But now I realise, there is no guarantee on love.
Day 176 – 9st 4lbs.
The weeks pass. The dust settles.
I’m walking in my world, but it’s seen through a lense of cold, frosted glass. I’m in a state of listless derangement.
Friends show up, alcohol is sipped. Then it is drunk. A perfunctory smile appears a few times, for social oiling. It disappears just as fast.
New lovers arrive, and they depart (forgotten), intoxicated by the intangible memories that hang heavy in the air around them.
The motions have been gone through. That’s good enough.
Tonight I dreamt I stood before you. I reached for your hand, you recoiled in disgust, turned and then walked away.
I awoke in a stew of my own sweat and tears.
It’s hardly surprising, as there’s no guarantee on love.
Day 201 – 9st 0lbs.
The seasons change.
In the quiet: on my bicycle, standing in queues, waiting at the bar, your face is the size of a hot air balloon, billowing around my mind.
But there’s something more now, a speck on the horizon behind you, I have to squint to see it, and it only comes through in waves.
It’s a little question mark, wondering… What now?
Day 301 – 9st 5lbs
The gaping hole of the crater remains carved upon my heart, but it’s no longer a squelching, raw, bloody, muddy, mess. It remains a quiet cavity, a respected testament to the pain endured.
The cramps have gone, the stabbing pain has subsided. There is no more stomach flips, or acidic taste, and each day that passes it all ebbs away a tiny bit more.
There is a pervasive mournful sadness that lingers, but it’s not crippling.
People are seen. Things get done. Holidays are taken. Each event is like another spin on a rinse cycle.
Weeks can pass and you don’t even cross my mind.
Then suddenly you do: a place, a person, a smell, and I think “Wow, who’da thought?”. I snort a little and smile at how far I’ve come. Then carry on with my day.
I’m surprised, it doesn’t feel so bad.
Day 396 10st 0lbs.
Sacrifices have been made, and a path abandoned.
But where something has been taken away, it seems something has been bestowed in its place.
Career progression, laughs with friends, kisses on beaches, treks through mountains, cycling in the rain, dancing and candle-lit dinners, countless stories exchanged.
It’s all adding up, it’s starting to tip the scales.
There must always be a return to balance.
From the ashes within me arises three things:
Day 521 – 10st 5lbs
I had a dream about you today.
I walked over to you, and took your hand. You looked both confused and disinterested.
I was smiling. I kissed you, and regarded that familiar gaze you have.
You didn’t care but, then again, neither did I.
I turned and walked away, it was goodbye.
I woke up and, at last, I felt at peace.
Day 726 – 10st 7lbs
In this messy grope for love, I have cast off the need for perfection, the need for answers.
There was a time I thought you could be the solution to my every struggle, but that can only ever be my cross to bear.
This life is a perpetual state of becoming. I can only ever become more me. You played your role in my journey, and I’m grateful.
726 days ago, I never thought I could sit here, and write these words, tell my story, and smile in content.
Yet, here I am. I live and breathe another day. I continue to forge my own path.
There’s no guarantee on love.
Isn’t that a wonderful thing?
Because every moment of love I share today is a moment more than I had experienced yesterday.
And is a moment more than I could have tomorrow.
There’s no guarantee on love.
I’m so glad.
There’s no guarantee on love.