A friend just broke up with someone she’d been with for 11 years. I don’t mind telling you that’s a significant multiple of the total amount of time I’ve spent with anyone (while suppressing genocidal tendencies or otherwise). Not that the guy was any good, mind you. The first time I met him he started making fun of her in front of me. And he cheated on her. And he was going bald. And I think she always laughed a little too much at the token “I bet he was terrible in bed too” jokes.
Still, when I talked to her last, she was in tears. She’d been that way for the last month.
Of course, it’s not surprising. I mean, 11 years? Most people don’t get 11 good days between them, try as they will. (At this point, kindly insert your condescension about my maturity in relationships into an orifice of your choice)
When I started this, it was going to be about exes. Those people you can invoke in every single prayer; be it to the God you like best (available at leading pantheons everywhere); or the forces of death and destruction that populate the blog of a 13 year old these days.
However, in doing my research (Facebook quizzes), I thought it’d have a little more meaning if I made it about that person who everyone hates and still wants to be. While I know you’d simply love to read a little bit more about Daler Mehendi, I’d like to make this about the person who moves on. Or perhaps, moving on. The sense and maybe the blasphemy of it.
Moving on, not just from the relationships that didn’t work out, but from all those other things too. Things that have made you cry and wish that you hadn’t thrown out that last soft toy. Big things that nobody else seemed to get. And the little things that just added up.
So, between you and me, I know that it must hurt.
I know it must feel like you’ve walked barefoot on gravel for miles on end; leaving behind footprints deep and bloody enough that one knows you must’ve been walking on your toes the entire distance.
I know that sometimes all that remains feasible is to just tell yourself to stop feeling anything at all.
Finally, I know that what hurts more is the question of what “could’ve been”. The question of finding destinations down paths not taken, of paths that now lay broken. (I’ve read your blog. You know what I mean.)
But I also know that underneath all the stifled laughter and the self applied “Cynic” tags, there’s still the idealist of 10, maybe 15 years ago. Someone who just didn’t know any better, and ironically enough, was better off for it.
Someone who was made happy by looking at kids who smiled, who danced when he didn’t know how to, who looked forward to finishing the box of chocolates so that he could buy another one.
In fact, if this someone was anything like me, I’m fairly certain all he wanted was to walk into a garden of Cherry Blossoms and watch shadows get longer.
As it stands, your pain is your own. It always has been. But it doesn’t have to be. Not for much longer.
Reach out if you can. There are always people willing to listen. Sometimes, there’re even people willing to help. If statistics are anything to go by, someone has effed’ up just like you in the past. And that nobody should let Sreesanth bowl.
Make bad jokes. It keeps you on the right side of sane. Plus, it gives the people around you the benefit of the Temporary Insanity plea at their murder trial.
Give someone a hug. I'm sure you know lots of intensely huggable people. The fact that some of them carry pepper spray really shouldn’t stop you.
Most importantly, remind yourself of the people you want to be happy for. And of those who’d rather share cheesecake than see you happy. (I find the latter helped a lot more. But I’ve led something of a sheltered existence)
Whatever you do, just keep in mind that you stand as a warrior. And as this warrior you fight demons. Demons that will not relent. Demons that will bleed a river before they yield an inch.
The warrior thinks of the times of peace. He wishes he didn’t have to fight. He is tempted by the prospect of going back to glowing mornings when the dew has not yet left. Of closing his eyes in the middle of battle to think of Cherry Blossoms shedding in a shower of pink and white. In an autumn of browns and yellows, punctuated by greens.
Yet he knows he must kill, but knows not the weight of the sword he must lift. And as it happens, the sword is heavy. It’s easier to drop than to lift. And the fight is easier to run away from than to actually stay and fight.
It seems that even when the solution is by far, the easiest thing about the whole problem, it’s the sticking to it that remains the most difficult. But then again, it also is the most important thing in the world. The warrior did plant the Cherry blossoms himself.
So lift up the sword and try it on for size. They tell me it was made for you. And they’re usually right, even when they aren’t.
The past is right there in your head. Come back to it when you feel like it (or knock yourself hard enough on your head that you don’t have to). When you do, I recommend you stand at a window and give long meaningful glances to the world outside with a glass of Sprite in your hand. But in the meantime, look at the present.
It wants you to look at it too. And give it a compliment or two. It’s a little insecure like that. But take my word for it, it makes for a great date.