Last night was an interesting Wednesday night.
It existed inside the studio, or my hiding cave. You can find me here everyday from 5pm to 11, guaranteed. And sometimes until the early hours of the morning- given ideas are flowing and fingers haven’t been pricked by too many pins.
It seems when phycological disasters strike, muddying the vibes inside the house, I revert to habit.
I hide myself as far away as possible. My dad to this day, inhabits one half of his home while his wife lives on the other. He’s currently trying to sell said house, and joked to her just the other day that they should buy a plot of land with separate houses on it, so they can live how they like without disturbing the other. He said, she replied with fresh sparkles in her eyes. “Yes!” She squealed, before running off to call her best-friend Theresa.
It’s kinda sad. It almost feels like grieving the other person before they’ve even left or having this weird, break-up happen that’s final as it’s feet, and yet no one moves. At least that was how it felt, in my broken flat-share.
We couldn’t have been the only people who had a blow out with lockdown restrictions keeps us all feeling pretty caged and uncomfortable. Hopeless even; with cases just sticking like velcro on everything and everyone. I think we’re all wondering at this point if we’ll make it out by Christmas, die by blot-clot from a vaccine or catch the disease by Christmas.
It’s all very up in the air, so to speak.
Earlier today, the clouds finally cleared after it rained for the past two days straight. Thus, me and the dogs ran as fast as we could outside, to bask in any patch of sun we could find.
I also washed my hair today, feeling suddenly optimistic that the world was feeling less apocalyptic than ever. As the wind danced its way across the grass, my hair danced too. Light and golden, like it was a ray of sun trying to get back to its home in the sky.
I hadn’t dyed it since before lockdown, so it should be a Scottish-red. However it seemed time spent on runs and out walking dogs saw it golden on the ends. It kind of reminds me of my hair when I was a kid.
My daily in-person conversation yesterday, was with a barista who said that she won’t get vaccinated despite having a large clientele of elderly people, pissed me off. Making me think I picked the wrong person, the wrong shop, the wrong day to leave the house.
“ You can still die with or without it, and I’m not a sheep,” she said, stupidly.
“Hmmmmm.” Was all I could say back, getting annoyed at her overt selfishness and yet I couldn’t say how I felt and risk losing the one in-person convo I would have that day. I needed it too much.
“ I mean, I’m healthy. I’m 26, on my feet everyday and it’s all about your immune system.” She says as she puffs on a cigarette, and the smoke finds it’s way to my face.
“Well nice talking to you, I better go.” I said, not bothering with -‘ This will all be over soon!’ Or ‘Stay safe!’ since both statements wouldn’t matter to her.
Since it was sunny, I thought I would carpe deim, the day and found myself straying off the usual walk home, in search of something else. The water. It was high-tide and I decided I would meditate on the floating wharf, as the dogs had a chance to sprint off their pent-up energy of two days.
The wharf went up and down, feeling like I was floating when I closed my eyes. Or adrift somewhere even my imagination couldn’t find before today.
After 15 mins, I felt better as the clouds started to give and it began spitting. So I collected my puddle of poodles and we made our way home.
Later that day, I found that blissful feeling got lost on the way home as I tried to sew my project and found the elastic wasn’t working. In the studio, I decided I would add some wine into the mix, as one glass turned into three and my mood lifted for about 5 minutes before dropping again.
My cousin then FaceTimed me, or should I say her kids did. Two beautiful girls both under 7, as screams pierced the silent walks of the studio, filling them with life. Together they had the energy of a live-fish, plucked straight from the ocean. And for once, I enjoyed it. The something different.
We played with the phone filters as they showed me their new gymnastics moves, all done using their poor dad. He flipped them forward, back and even got on all 4’s to be ridden around the lounge room like a pony, with his eyes never straying once from the news.
They laughed, as my elder cousin ( their mum ) seemed upbeat for once; probably happy with the slight variation to the nights which seemed longer in lockdown, and like the days, much the same.
We then had a chat about the house and I told her how I was hiding and it wasn’t seeming to get better.
“Yeah- no, she’s a child. Let her be. I never had any positive flatmate situations, unless they were friends first, ” she said.
“Yeah it’s a good time, haha.”
After I exited the call, I felt lighter. I think I forget how much of an extrovert I am, and how even just one deep conversation feels like the equivalent of popping a whole row of milk chocolate into your mouth.
So I tried and failed again at sewing the waistband, with this time around it being even worst, as I started slicing off parts in frustration.
” Fuck! “
My phone then lit up with life, as I turned it over and found my ex-boyfriend’s name on the screen.
” Of course you call me now. ”
” Bad time?”
” This waistband belongs in hell.” I said.
” Yeah I agree. Whatever that means. ”
I asked him about my new Stan TV show I was glued to, called Ramy. Ramy is a comedy/drama/romance about a young 1st generation Muslim boy from Egypt, living in today’s culturally divided community of New Jersey. He tries to find his place in the world and love at the same time, making it the perfect drama, comedy, romance for lockdown. During said quest he ends up sleeping with a married woman from the mosque, his cousin and then a bunch of Jewish girls 🙈.
“No – a lot of that’s probably wrong,” my ex from Dubai said.
“You haven’t even seen it! I mean, do you wash between your toes? Apparently that’s important.”
“Hahah, no I don’t.”
“See… I’m just saying. Ramy is a great Friday night.”
He told me how he was two months off finishing his masters and obtaining his law license in Australia, and then he’ll be off to Hague for International law school.
“Right.” I said, imagining his future life, and how exciting it would be. He always made friends easily, so I was pretty sure he would do it again.
He also told me how he had just made a website for his new online business- selling dog life jackets.
“But you don’t even like dogs?” I asked perplexed.
“No, Loui didn’t like me, okay.”
“Loui likes everyone, you were terrified,” I said.
I then tell him about my work situation, with my manager at my new job. And how after I rejected him lightly the first time, I had just told him a second time (more thoroughly) that nothing would happen.
“You didn’t voice-note him to tell him that did you?”
“Yeah. I’m not leading anyone on! I was straight from the start… ”
He laughs. “Savage.”
” Hey! I was trying to do the right thing, it just didn’t turn out that way…”
” I always enjoy hearing you reject other men, and not just me. “
“Oh- Ha, ha.”
The conversation ended after he hung up, whilst I was mid-song, belting out Dolly Parton’s ‘Working 9-5’.
It was weird having dialogue with him, or unusual should I say- after our messy break-up. Which ended on the off note of him not wanting to be friends and then appearing out of nowhere for my 24th. He arrived incredibly high, with a unicorn balloon, cake, instant camera and a love letter that he said he forgot he wrote on the back of my card….
But M kind of operated that way- he was hard to figure out. A tapestry of Palestine, Dubai, Boston, London and now Australia. He was adaptive and smart, just not relationship smart.
I texted back, a few hours later to let him know that him not letting me sing was why we weren’t together.
“Yes, but there were lots of reasons why we were.
Not that you remember that.” He replied.
“No I know that. I just think we were and then we weren’t meant to be. “
“Well I still like you though.” He said.
And I smiled, reminded of how forward he was. Unlike most guys, he had no problem telling you how he felt and trying even with the possibility or certainty, in this case, that he would fail.
There was something so unnatural about being friends with your ex.
Like, the idea was sweeter and simpler than the reality. You had to pinch at certain parts of yourself, quickly wipe away residual feelings that you didn’t know you had, and try a less complex way of seeing them, after seeing too much.
Kind of like having exclusive backstage access and then, being escorted with a nice cool beverage to the main crowd. Where it’s busy, people step on feet and it can be quite uncomfortable when you find yourself in the mosh-pit. But other times it’s right where you want to be, surrounded by strangers and warmth, with no ties to anyone.
I’ve never been friends with an ex, and it certainly is unlike any other friendship I’ve had. It has this extra floor of trust attached from being their person, even possibly loving some parts. But that side also comes with the duality of a power imbalance – which can be volatile, and tilt based on the facts of who loved who more and who ended it.
However, a weird part of me thought, why not try again? Here is a man who loved you. All of you, even after you dumped him.
” Did you write about me, in your blog posts? Our break-up?” He had asked me, earlier that night.
” Yeah. I did.”
“Should I read it?” He asked me.
” No, I wouldn’t.”
But I think the real reason I didn’t want him to read it was because I didn’t want him to have access to my head; and what thoughts floated in and out of it. Because he didn’t really understand it; me. And if you don’t understand something, you can only really love the idea of it, not what it actually is.
M didn’t know himself, and I didn’t know that until months in. And when I realised it, it all made sense of why we were so wrong for each other, why he gaslighted me during arguments.
However, I still enjoyed imagining him in Holland. Being his lawyer-self, stretching his mind-muscles with another tall, (possibly) blonde-haired lawyer. And he would smile and think of me before he asks her out, and she says yes.
Because what wasn’t as obvious to him was obvious to me; his friend here weren’t ambitious or overly into thinking. They were kind backpackers, with different backgrounds who liked to party. And that was a side to him but not really who he was.
I think why we got on so well was because I was the only person in his life in Australia who valued his thinking-side. And what lawyer doesn’t like to feel smart?
And when he arrives in Holland and is surrounded with his people, I think he may just find his place. I imagine him sending me a postcard of his family one day, as he stands in front of a beautiful apartment block in Amsterdam. Next to a bike he cycles to work on, and holding the hands of a couple fair-haired kids with gorgeous dark skin.
M’s life would be beautiful and big, like his heart- but I wouldn’t be in it.
I would be a doodle, he thinks about every few years when a poodle prances by or he buys a salad bowl, like the ones we sold when we first worked together.
M reminded me of how surprising it is- that just because people don’t necessarily belong in some parts of you, doesn’t mean they can’t fit well into others.