A Close Brush with Disaster

For the past few weeks, I started using different techniques to process my breakup with the man I love. I had started out with yoga some months back, and I found that it helped me a lot on the days I was overwhelmed with emotions. Later I opened up to guided meditation and mindfulness, in addition to reading about dealing with grief.

This helps at times, but at others I just need to stop and let the pain of missing my beloved go through me like a tidal wave, until it crashes on the shores of my soul and leaves me at peace. Today was one of those days.

Perhaps part of it is hormonal, in addition to factors of stress and dealing with planning and problems alone. We are traveling on a short trip for Easter and there are tons of things to arrange before then. On top of that, yesterday the gearbox of my car gave way completely as I was on the way to work.  The security guard had waved me through after a brief check at the office barrier and when I handled the gear to put in first it was a uselessly swinging pendulum. By some miracle I could drive the car home (it was possibly stuck on 3rd gear), but it had to be towed from there to the mechanic. Huge amounts of money are needed now to fix  it. It is a British tin of rubbish, but I have grown attached to it, for all the care and nursing it needed. Later in the day I also had to deal with my son’s anxiety about his upcoming dental appointment, and today when I took him to the dentist I was greatly unsettled by the size of the cavity hole and the procedure the dentist followed to remove the pulp of his tooth (the equivalent of a root canal in an adult).  And again there was a huge bill to pay.

My son handled the treatment surprisingly well, and managed to go on to music lesson right after.  But when I finally sat down to process my stressful situation, I was overwhelmed by sadness and the need for a shoulder to cry on. I felt the pain of missing my beloved more acutely and sharply. I stopped to meditate and felt my tears flow freely, and it was a relief perhaps to let go of all this grief and sadness. My day however stayed unsettled as I went on to work after sending my boy back home with a take-away lunch of Sushi to make up for his discomfort.

Throughout the day I fought the urge to text my beloved. I had lunch then coffee and checked again that he hasn’t shown up online since last night. I ran to the bank to replenish my balance, as I did not have enough Kenyan pesa (money) to pay rent. I checked again with my son to see whether his numb jaw had resolved. I made a toilet stop after the bank and I rested my phone and wallet in the stall. When I finished I just collected my handbag and left everything else there. I stopped at the mail drop point to see whether I had any uncollected letters and chatted to a colleague there at length about my upcoming trip, and what I could get her from there, then went on to my desk to continue my paperwork. Only when I checked for my phone did I remember that I left it in the bathroom. I ran to the bathroom downstairs like a madwoman. A uniformed cleaning staff was busy mopping the floor, but there in the last cubicle I saw my phone sitting on top of my brown wallet and the deposit slip from the bank (both of which I had not yet missed). I almost stumbled on my feet to retrieve them and hurriedly retreated out the bathroom nodding thanks to the cleaning woman. Later I discovered that there were a few bills missing. By coincidence, I had counted my change at the bank to see whether I had enough for taxi fare to the airport (I had some change amounting to a 1500 Kenyan Shilling or 15 dollars). The kindly thief left me with 500 Shilling, which was the largest denomination bill  I had in cash, and it was enough for taxi fare home. I was shaking all over when I went back to my office and I think I randomly babbled about the incident to some unknown people in the corridor. My colleague from next door came to inquire and we both agreed that I was extremely lucky. Kenya again has been good to me. I had the fortune of meeting with a kindhearted thief. She is wholeheartedly forgiven, for leaving my wallet alone. I cannot imagine what losing it would have meant for my travel plans tomorrow.  I would have had to cancel our trip for sure. That would have broken my son’s heart, and perhaps it was his guardian angels looking out for my wallet, not mine.

The incident left me shaken to the core, and gave me a reason to text my love. Again, I reached out in my state of shock to complain in one short text about how bad I felt. I only mentioned the car and how I nearly lost wallet and phone. Again the answer comes back completely detached. He told me that when he nearly loses things it is a warning to be more careful. I know baby, I wanted to say, I was just having a bad day, I miss you. Heck I might have even said something along that line, minus the terms of endearment.

Another meditation session followed, some more tears flowed. It is perhaps that time of the month, the turbulence of the change years. I crave chocolate, sex, and perhaps some attention. I pine for my beloved like a teenager, only I am grey, wrinkled and pathetic. At least mediation teaches me to accept what I cannot change. I just breathe through the pathetic rush of emotions.

The storm is all but passed now. He just send me a message meant as usual for someone else, a friend, unlike me. He invited them to drinks because he and his wife are around for the hols. I know I did the right thing to leave this guy, I just need to convince my heart.


What it Means to Be a Dad

On the rare occasions my son speaks with his father on Skype or Facetime, I often contemplate his distant role in my child’s life, and what it really takes to be a proper dad.

I have a very loose relationship with the father. I allow him as much (or in this case as little) contact as he wants with his son. He initiates the contact when he has time, and when he is not travelling somewhere. When he makes an appearance, it is always via a video call once every five, six o sometimes eight weeks, depending on whether the father has something to say, or whether he wants to find out how the child is doing at school or on a holiday.

The last time the two met in person was on my initiative, when we were ready to move out of New York in August 2015. I have so far failed to get the father to visit again or meet us in South Africa, even though there is a pressing need for his presence to sign the forms for our son’s South African passport. It is always too expensive, or there is no time. I try to process, and get over,  my resentment at how little my ex contributes, and how much he complicates our life by the mere fact of his legal status and existence as a father. It hurts my pride that I have to pursue this futile effort of demanding his cooperation on some issues, passport approval and travel permissions for instance, when in fact he bring next to nothing to our lives.

I know my son enjoys the long or short conversations he has with with his father. The man is technically savvy, and a bit of a nerd when it comes to subjects that interest my son. Yesterday evening they spoke about aircrafts, airlines, international aviation and travel. They shared information about YouTube videos they both follow, and opinions on recent air travel trends. My son is quite knowledgeable in these things. The problem that I see, though, is that my ex teaches my son certain attitudes. They spoke, for example, about germs and how they spread during air travel. According to my ex the worst places to carry germs are the tray tables, the magazines, the safety cards, the carpets and the top of the headrest where people usually grab a hold to get into their seats. This information might be of some importance, but I fear that it will make my son into the kind of germophobe my ex is. I have nothing against people who are aware of the possibility of contagion. I always carry a hand-sanitizer in my backpack, although I rarely use it. I do, however, look askance at people who make a show out of opening and closing bathroom doors with pinky fingers or using a paper towel. The action itself is not a problem, it is the attitude that underlies it that bothers me. And this is one of many things that eventually eroded any pretense of companionship I shared with my ex.

For me what is most important in a dad is to show moral leadership. My ex shows nothing of that. He is a man with an attitude and a grudge against the world. He is critical of people of certain body types, grooming, intelligence and sexual orientation. He does not come outright against them, but he has this poisonous attitude of one-upmanship. This poor parenting style is quite different from what I experienced as a child. My father is an old man now, and he is quite set in his opinions, attitudes and mind. He is quite inflexible on some moral arguments to the point of rigidity and sometimes extremism. He has always been, however, a principled man, who can show deep compassion. His love to us, his children, is the one constant that always shines through. He can argue with us for hours over petty things, and a minute later offer some huge amount of material or physical sacrifice if he felt we needed help. I could never expect any of my son’s needs to trump his father’s sense of entitlement or comfort.

My son loves his father. He said that to me, with a bit of an accusing tone, “I will always love him, no matter how he is”, and my heart ached for my little boy. I know that he enjoys what little the father offers. But I truly wish I could have brought a better father in his life.

Son, I wish you had a good man for a father. Someone who can teach you to accept and love people, the way they are, without judging them. Someone who could love you in the same way without judgment and accept whatever choices you make in life, and whatever path you follow. A man who would teach you how to respect women, protect their rights and treat them as peers and equals. I would not trust your father to teach you these things correctly.

I am also sad that I could not offer you someone to step-in as a father figure. Good men are hard to find, and when I did find one, he was already taken.

Still Missing You … Fifty Days On

You remain my beloved, even when you rejected the opportunity to become my lover.

Everything I know about love, are the feelings you have taught me. I will never reach out to claim you, steal you or borrow you, but I keep you within me, and missing you is my silent companion. I feel like I belong to you, and as time passes I wonder whether the thoughts of you will ever set me free.

Before I met you I neither knew nor touched the depth of my intensity. During my first year in Kenya, I met a young Kenyan man, who was attracted to me physically. He claimed that he felt my intensity, the way my eyes spoke, he called it. I almost laughed, and considered this some innovative pick-up line. Eventually, I let him down easy after two dates. He was married and much younger than me, and I did not want to complicate my life.  I always thought that men mistakenly felt this vibe from me because of physical attraction or plain lust. Then I met you, and your eyes were twin mirrors reflecting back the intensity of my own soul. If I had imagined this, I would have never stayed for that first coffee, and avoided meeting you again. But I got addicted to that connection, because I recognized you, beneath all your uppity exterior and snobbery. You are my emotional twin, a mirror to my soul.

One night last week the pain of missing you made itself felt again, and I lay awake torn apart by longing. The hours dragged past, as I tried to breathe slowly and deeply through the agony. Eventually sleep arrived, but not rest. The next day I caved in again and texted you. You were your usual nonchalant self, speaking how you are sick of having lunch alone, and you even mentioned your solo birthday lunch. You will never know how much it cost me to say no to meeting you on that day. I spent the lunch hour outside in the office garden, away from people. I put down a mat on the grass and lay face down in the afternoon sun, weeping silently into my folded arms.

You offered me coffee again, and said that you will be happy to see me “when you feel better”. What if I never feel better? I know that I cannot meet you anymore in the open, without letting my arms reach out to you, without hugging you so tight that I crack my ribs, or yours. How dare you try to make a friend out of me when you are my beloved? It is not fair. Love is still steering my course, I set it free, I breathe it in and out, and send it out to you on the wind, with every silent tear. I send it out to you at night when I put my head down to sleep and in the morning when I first open my eyes. I do not resist it, nor resent it, I just accept it along with its suffering.

My longing is deep and powerful, and I treat it like a wild and unpredictable animal. I let it fight and pull against its restraints, I let it act out its wild nature, in the hope that it will become tamer one day. Sometimes I wish I was dealing with something as natural, primitive and elemental as lust. Because physical desire is a wild animal that I can understand. It just needs to be fed and satisfied. My longing for you defies understanding, and it can neither be fed nor forgotten. I try to survive one day at a time as Zen teachings dictate. There is no past and no future, I just need to survive this moment, without you.

One day I will stop counting the days since I last had coffee with you, but today I still know, it has been fifty days.





The Memory of my Beloved

My son has had a belated fixation with the Titanic for some time. Because he was born a mere decade ago, he missed all the hype that ensued decades ago, with the exploration of its wreckage. He was also a bit young on the centennial of the disaster. I remember we went to the Titanic Exhibition held at the Cape Town Waterfront in 2015, and he was only mildly interested in it then. We both held reproduced tickets for actual passengers of the Titanic and looked them up in the passenger list, whether they survived or died on the day. We also tested the temperature of the water in which the last people on board plunged into after the ship foundered. It was a dramatic expo, but he spoke about it for a few days and then it was forgotten for a while.

Recently his interest was revived when he watched a few YouTube documentaries on the ship. He looked for the artifacts we got from the Titanic Exhibition and wanted to watch the Titanic movie. I was surprised by his stamina a few weeks ago when he stayed up for the full three hours of the film. Later he rattled off trivia and information about the ship, and its captain Smith who perished with it, and was supposed to retire after its maiden voyage. Of course I knew the movie very well from decades ago, and did not want to watch it again, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed seeing it with his younger eyes, and I was also struck by the emotional effect it had on me again.

Twenty years ago, I watched it on the big screen. I remember I visited a movie theatre in Dubai, or Sharjah, and took myself there alone. At the time I had my fresh heartbreak to process. My first boyfriend got married and I had to leave the scene because I could not stomach becoming the girlfriend on the side, or the other woman. It was no surprise that I was touched by the love story, and the idea of having a lasting connection with someone even after their death. I do not know whether I internalized the love story to my own situation but I know that even then it struck a deep chord in my sentimental and romantic nature, otherwise I wouldn’t have paid three times to see it in the theatres.

Titanic was a great movie for its time. My son recited to me many facts about how it was filmed and how long it took to produce the special effects at a time where computer graphics lacked their present sophistication. At it heart, however, it is a cheesy love story, that appeals to lonely and broken hearts. I could have watched it perhaps a year ago without shedding a single tear, but I sobbed when I watched it for the first time with my son and then cried a bit again when he repeated it this weekend. I wondered about the universal hold that love has on the heart, and how perhaps there are some types of connections between people that survive parting, distance and even death.

When I wrote about the Emotional Affair, I found many articles that treated it as a form of infidelity.  Most counseling sites argued for the preservation of the married relationship and advocated for actively trying to connect to the long-term partner, investing in this partner emotionally, rather than expending emotional energy onto the outside emotional connection. One article in particular thought that love, or at least the real and lasting form of it, is similar to stirring oatmeal; a comforting, necessary and simple activity that promises nourishment and has elements of meditation and requires some effort. It might not produce any form of excitement such as the flush and attraction of the affair. The article goes on to state that people who jump into the excitement of affairs are those who read books like The English Patient and Bridges of Madison County, where the great love makes a larger-than-life entry and then leaves in an emotional storm, never to be seen again. I blushed while reading this because both stories affected me deeply. The story of Jack and Rose is a cheesier version of the same theme, a great love that comes and goes but leaves indelible marks on the life of the person who had experienced it.

So who is right? Does true love really leave an indelible memory in the heart, or do we idolize only the loved ones we have lost? I am undecided on this matter. I do believe, however, that time is the answer. The men I loved and lost previously did not leave their marks in my memory. I do not take refuge in nostalgia for the memory of my first boyfriend. I do not lovingly recall us lying in each other’s arms and crying over the sad words of an Arabic love song. I do not remember the look in his eyes, nor the thrill that it once gave me. When love is mentioned there is only one person that comes to my mind. The heartache is still fresh, I know, and I hope that it will fade with time, but I fear that I will remember him for a lot longer than the heartache. For me, he might be the one love that I will remember and long for into old age.

Time might heal the pain of true love but the memory will stay. There are millions of love songs, and love poems that speak about love being deep and endless, they cannot all be totally wrong.


“And think not you can direct the course of love…”

When I was young, it was easier for me to fall in and out of love. I also found it easier to recover. Even when the first man in my life decided to get married to his fiancee and I carried the guilt of our relationship with me out of my home country, I was sure that I will love again. I cried endlessly, and I disintegrated into a thousand pieces every time he called, but all this never obliterated the certainty that somewhere there will be love for me again.  I was only 27 and my whole life was ahead of me, with endless possibilities. It also helped that I had a future career to look forward to, and no burdens. My only responsibility was to guard my future and mend my heart.

I am finding it much more difficult to recover from the love I found unexpectedly, later in my life. Now instead of looking forward I can only look back to realize with dismay that all the things I felt before were small tremors of the heart. They do not compare to this major earthquake. I had long given up on the notion of romantic love, content instead with the love for humanity in general, the love of my child, my family and my friends, until I was struck with this lightning bolt. I was a love agnostic, an atheist even, and then god chose to speak to me. I still try to reason that this was only an illusion, something that my wishful thinking has conjured up, but my heart knows it was real.

As its newly converted disciple, love opened me up to joy and pain, in ways I never imagined. It was as if I lost a layer of skin, and started to feel everything more keenly.  Pleasure, pain and loss magnified to a point they became unbearable. I now see beauty more clearly, and feel deeper empathy.  When I cry now, I cry not only for myself but for everyone who has ever loved and lost. I even touch the pain of the boy who once read me a poem he wrote to my beautiful eyes, about how much he loved me, and whom I rejected and laughed off as silly. I now know how he felt all those years ago.

Sometimes I miss my ignorance, and my dismissal of love as a passing ailment, no more destructive than a hailstorm in the middle of spring. I was content in rejecting it as overrated and unnecessary, before I figured out that I have been passed a sugar pill instead of the genuine drug. Now, instead of my cynical dismissal, I am left with despair of ever finding it again.

Now I think that love is exceptionally rare. You have to quit looking for it to find it. It has to find you, and when it does all you can do is just surrender to it. Whether you get over it or not is a matter of destiny.

Khalil Gibran — ‘And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.’



Foolish Little Thing Called Love

When I wrote the post about how cynical I was about love, I think I was already half in love with Aquarius II, and in denial about it.  Since then I have experienced all the symptoms that I once thought came about only in romantic novels and women’s fiction. Yes, I did have butterflies in the stomach and stars in my eyes whenever I met him. I felt euphoric and fully content just looking into his eyes. I became bereft whenever he left for a longer trip or mission, and I lost all of my excess weight because of heartache over him.

I wish I could say that my intention of not seeing him has alleviated some of these ailment, but no, it did not.  At least on two occasions, I felt my heart drop into my stomach and start racing when I thought I saw him during the first few weeks of avoiding him.  Even now, I am not sure what my reaction will be if we ever meet by chance.  Yesterday I was very sad after his impersonal text, and today I saw him from afar, walking past the window of my office. He was his usual tall thin self, texting as he walked down the path. I have no idea why he thought he needed to be on a diet. I watched him, taking in his usual pastel-colored shirt, his tailored pants and brown expensive shoes. He was too far away and I could not discern the expression on his face, but seeing him from a distance made me happy. He was there, we were within each others line of sight for a few seconds, and then he disappeared around the corner.

How foolish can you be when an impersonal text from your love makes you sad, and seeing him from afar makes you happy? And I did not even mention watching out for his “online” appearance on messenger apps, letting your fingers glide lightly to caress his screen name, or profile picture. Crazy I know. But I do it like a bleeding teenager.

I am still trying to get over him, but there is no treatment regime for the foolishness of love. There is no rehab for its addiction. There is no therapy to replace the sweetness of its drug, and there are no medicines to alleviate its pain.

I still miss him, and it is now day 36 since we last met.



I Hope You Are Ok

I got a text from you today. You just said: I hope you are ok. I replied that it was not the common cold but I was getting better, although I still missed you. I asked how you were. Good you said, you just wanted to say hi, and you were trying a no-carb diet. I said you must be suicidal since you did not eat meat either and added that I  hoped you were not sick. Not sick, you replied.  I told you what I was up to, gym instead of lunch, a lot of reading, and I suggested you read the Lucia Berlin book, adding that it was just powerful stuff and not literary snobbery like the English Patient (I cannot resist those barbs, where you are concerned). You thanked me since you always needed something to read. I ended by saying that I appreciated you checking in and that I always thought about you, as I was sure you knew.

Apart from opening old wounds and resetting the counter I keep of days passed without contacting you, those texts are bittersweet. They tell me what I already know, that you care, and that you probably miss me too, even though you do not say it.

I will cry again today with the pain of regret, the knife that twists in my heart with each “what if”. Even through this little text, I feel you close to me. Like the day you lent me your jumper, it felt like a physical touch, a tentative embrace.

In our short acquaintance, I felt as if I held your heart between the palms of my hands. It trembled against my fingers like a frightened bird, and as much as I wanted to hold it in warmth and comfort, it had to be set free. My heart breaks daily because I know that behind all your snobbery and pretense there is a soul, a twin to mine, a soul I have glimpsed through your eyes and recognized. Where do I go now after I recognized you as my own heart?

I did appreciate you contacting me.  But it still hurts, and I forgot to ask you, since you were an expert before me in matters of heartache and heartbreak, will it ever stop hurting?

When you texted today, I told you to quit worrying and that it was all part of life, but the simple truth is this: No I am not ok.


The Language of Heartbreak

I have been taking refuge in reading and writing. Sometimes I come to type my thoughts here. I also keep a daily counter of the days spent without my love addiction. The need and the craving are all still there, but at least I am keeping to my intention, no seeing him, if I can help it.

The trouble comes when I remember him. An image passes before my mind’s eye, or I cave in and let my eyes roam over his public Facebook photos. I read or hear something and it reminds me of something he said. I see his name somewhere, a curse because his first name is quite a common one, and I feel the stab between my ribs or the fingers of pain and regret squeezing my throat. It happens daily and I just need to breathe and let it pass, just like withdrawal symptoms of drugs or alcohol. It is quite painful to let go, and it will take a long time. For a recovering alcoholic even a single drink risks a return to addiction, so I might also be in for a lifelong battle.

My reading journeys are taking me into other people’s stories and lives, some real and some imagined. I have discovered a new empathy for the dysfunctional and heartbroken. Now it seems that there is a new language I understand, that of heartbreak, and I find myself quite touched by the stories of love and loss, especially love of the variety I found with Aquarius II. I am painfully aware of what I have lost, and I can empathize and recognize when one of my fictional characters is about to experience the same loss, whether they themselves realize it or not.

I have spoken before about my reaction to The English Patient. Aquarius II told me he loved the book and read it more than once. I loved it too, and this is perhaps a testimony to our twin emotional disposition. But even before I experienced my wild attachment to Aquarius, part of me hungered for a deep love connection. I was still married to my emotionally distant husband when I saw the movie Bridges of Madison County for the first time. I watched it on late night television, while my husband slept in our room. I should add here that this did not happen often, because he rarely allowed any light, television or any other noise or activity after his chosen time for lights out. Fortunately,  the movie was gentle and quiet, so I was able to finish it without disturbing the sleeping husband. When it ended, I quietly wept, knowing that I also craved these feelings, a love that transcends its temporal limitations and lives in the heart long after the lovers part. I might have eventually got my wish. Pity though that my love affair was completely devoid of love scenes.

The latest book that hooked me with its raw emotion is a collection of short stories entitled A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin. I usually find story collections hard to get into but these stories read like scattered experiences from the author’s life. After reading some, one begins to recognize the author in her many guises, her dysfunctional family, her lovers, and her wild and free life. Her creativity is electric, fueled by a free spirit and substance abuse. I admired her courage in raising four sons, while working odd jobs (including as a cleaning woman, ER nurse, receptionist, and teacher) and battling alcoholism. I was also emotionally bowled over by her experience of love. The fleeting love affairs she had with a Mexican diving instructor, the love of an older student in her university days, or the affair she had with a much younger man. All this, in addition to the men she married. Those lovers were not perfect, there were one or two losers and at least one addict, and all were broken and imperfect. Nevertheless the love itself is perfect in its time and place, in the way two people connect and become more than the sum of their individual selves. I am slightly envious of her emotional experience, and her abiding faith in the power of love. She describes the singular power of love even in the face of death. Her sister is experiencing and enjoying love even while having chemotherapy sessions for her terminal cancer. In almost all her stories, however, the hopefulness of love is intertwined with desperation. Lovers sometimes abuse, betray or abandon. And love does not survive poverty and abuse. The stories are sometimes strange and funny but they mostly left their emotional imprint. They spoke to me in the language of heartbreak.

This Online Dating Thing

A month or so before I decided to stop my emotional affair, I downloaded and paid a subscription for some online dating platforms. It was a distraction I thought. Now, whenever I am terribly heart-sore and missing him I get to swipe NO on the good, the bad, the ugly, the sexually deprived, the searcher for sugar mommy, the wanna-be mysterious (no photo no details only initials), and the gross (photo of a badly beaten up face – I have seen this yes). I have also learned to swipe left on people with selfies of bare torsos, lying down in bed, and selfies in mirrors or with huge glasses. In addition to all these, I systematically reject anyone wearing a pilot uniform. I reason that these are usually looking for a stop-over hookup. I am not into that sort of thing, although sometimes I wish I were. It is as uncomplicated as it gets. You sleep with the pilot, who is probably married and has done this sort of thing countless times, he flies away, you never see him again. Good riddance.

Occasionally I swipe right on somebody who looks half-decent or somebody who is mysterious but interesting. But even then there are the people who put you off from the word go. Someone once started his messages to me “Hi Beb”. I never responded. See I have this thing about good grammar and spelling.  Moreover, sweet-talk and flattery puts me off instantly.  Another guy started saying: You are so beautiful. He never heard from me either. I know I am above average in looks but I dislike it when men lay it on too thick.  I still entertain the distant hope that someone would be more interested in my mind than in my body. I found this in my hopeless love connection, and it moved me deeply. I now know that a profound emotional and intellectual connection is the only type of love that will work for me.

Most guys on those dating platforms are liars. Once I engage them in lengthy conversations they sometimes get caught in their web of lies and stop talking to me, also good riddance. Other worrisome types are those who come across as too needy, excessively romantic, and want to find a soul-mate immediately. These people bore me quickly and I find their sentiments insincere at worst or irrational at best. If you are a hopelessly romantic type, please consider that it took me 30 years of my adult life to be truly moved by love, and you think that you have found it after chatting with me for two minutes? There is no good way to tell you this: You are delusional, and we have very little in common.

I have been online for almost two month now. I met two people who could become good friends for a coffee and chat. I will never find love with them. Not the love that will make me forget my heartache. When I look at these people I chat with, a stifling sense of futility comes over me. I have chatted up this anonymous person whose handle is Aquarius and whom I found a bit interesting and witty. We banter back and forth, and I do not know who he is. He wrote for a living he said. And I caught myself wishing that he was my Aquarius trying to reach out to me again anonymously after I turned away from him publicly. I examine this secret (and futile) hope in my heart, and it saddens me. I think the online dating thing is part of my sickness, and definitely not the cure.



A Month After

I have a little journal where I scribble every day. I count the days that have passed since I last saw you. It has been 31 days now, and a little less since I last texted you.

The intention of walking away from you has been waxing and waning from the moment I met you, but even a month ago when I saw you before you traveled on your latest mission it was still a half formed thought. It did not take shape fully until your birthday in mid-February. It has been a fight since then. Each day I struggle with the urge to text you. Every morning I wake up to your memory and every night I sleep with emptiness of grieving over you.

Last night I could not sleep. I managed to nod off long after midnight. I still cry a lot. I have you inside me, beneath my ribs, in the tiny space that separates my lungs from my bones. You let me know you are there by the stab of pain that stops my breath in broad daylight. Like the stitch I get while running. I am forced to stop everything and tread slowly until the pain passes. You also have a habit of grabbing my throat, choking me into a tearful halt. I struggle to swallow the grief that comes with memory.

Yet, I do not have any shared memories with you. It is just that part of me that you took with you when you left. It is horrible to love someone this much. My whole existence has turned into a shadow. I watch and take in the shimmering wet pearls of newly wet grass after the rain, the birds chirping around me, the bright blue or dark metallic sky viewed through the lacy leaves of African trees. I observe pairs of geese waddling around a green pool or gliding onto its silent waters. I see all these things, yet the color has drained out of everything for me. I see beauty with my eyes but not with my heart. My heart is forever lost wandering around with you, wherever you are.