So we gave up ‘forever’ for a principle. And now everything I feel is immediate. In the becoming of this new me, I am moment to moment. Like a wasp constantly beating myself against a window, never understanding the ‘science of walking through windows’. And they lie when they say that the ‘here and now’ is psychologically the best place to be. What do they fucking know? Shrinking everything down to the most fashionable phrase. A psychiatric finger on the pulse that monitors the vibe of the most recent global anxiety. It can be just as disorienting as the others, the here and now, and that’s the real reason new born babies cry: they have no concept of past and present. The now fucks with their little heads. I don’t know what I’m doing from one moment to the next. Because in ‘the moment’ there is no time for thought or planning, so you act on impulse and when your instincts drag you away from the party your brain was planning, it splits you in half. Who’s friend are you really? Where do you really want to be?
Unlike a civil war, my head and heart don’t aim to kill each other. But like a marriage, they nag at each other till neither can know with any certainty whose fault it was to begin with. Two game-show contestants: slam-pressing that buzzer, sweat under their fringes, dry lips catching against snarled teeth. But the heart directs the body far faster than the brain can. And when the heart gets its way regardless of the rules, the brain feels begrudged and fights back. Restless nights, bad dreams, deep rooted anxiety and the uncomfortable inability to look at your own reflection. So instead you’ll bask in the gaze of others. And the better they see you: the better it suits you. But when you’re alone, that’s when it comes flooding back with full force. ‘you just wait till we get home, then I’ll give you something to cry about’.
The problem of ‘feeling’ is like a mesh of string. It’s hard to find the end…or the start…or how many other threads are tangled in with it. Do I miss him? I do. Do I regret my choices? Hard to say. I regret that the longer you are together the easier it is to stop seeing each other as you need to be seen, the less you can hear each other and the less likely you are to choose each other over everything else. Because when you have something so permanently and confidently, you stop seeing how easy it would be to lose it because you don’t really believe it can be lost. I regret that we couldn’t make it work…and suspect maybe it was just that we chose not to. But guilty is how I feel regardless and that has always been true way before the break up. Mediterranean blood in my veins dictates I’m either hungry, worried or guilty. Guilty your honour, because the smugness of my brain likes to remind the heart how kind and loving he was. Replaying scene by scene everything wonderful that he’d ever done for me. The whispered happiness in the ear of morning before your eyes are properly awake. The comfort and contentment that comes with having a joint plan, having a world and a lifetime together. Having had a history and a romantic photo album of memory to back everything up. Brick by brick, eventually you create a safe place to live together outside of the real world. Somewhere way better.
But romance is like a light turned off. Fades to black and retracts with the slow blink-tut of your eyes. Head turned shoulder-wards, body pointing towards the door: who’d have ever thought we’d both give up so easily? And who’d have thought I could be just as stubborn as him? We always said if we fought it would last a lifetime. And some days I feel I could settle for a foe in place of my Phil. Because it makes it easier to move on, and there is something cool about it to have loved and hated so intensely in the one lifetime. But in my heart I cant hate him. I’m talking bollox when I say I do. I am angry, don’t get me wrong I have the bitterness and anger and fury of a generation of in-held breaths and unspoken thoughts, why wouldn’t I? After all I’m a woman and I didn’t get the romantic ending to the fairy-tale romance that hours of Wimbledon and Love Actually promised me I would have. Of course I’m pissed off, who wouldn’t fucking be? But I have no valid reason to hate him, not in the true sense of the word. No matter how hard I try I just cant, and more succinctly put, I wont. Not just because he made me a mum and not just because he married me, but because we grew up together. Because we got stoned together. We saw corpses together. We dealt with heavy shit while we walked to work together. And eventually, after 16 beautiful brilliant hilarious unusual years together: we created one almighty mother fucker of a stalemate together. But truthfully and painfully and joyfully, I properly enjoyed the game while it lasted.