Piano & Tea

Today I’ve not been as enthusiastic as usual. I thought it would be sunny but the clouds plague the sky. I know that doesn’t sound sad, but this time last year I’d just gotten home from sunny London with my Monochrome Man and spent today in Botanic Gardens in Southport. He told his brother about me that day and had to repeat my name about 4 times on the phone. We talked about how he would make my next birthday special. My birthday came and went and I never heard from him. That’s okay. I didn’t really expect to. 

I keep hoping that he remembers every date like I do, and that maybe that date will trigger him to talk to me again. It never does. I doubt it ever will but my eternal optimism stays with me in the back of my mind pushing me to believe that it might. 

Back to it being cloudy… I have to sit indoors when it’s cloudy and sit alone with my thoughts and have less distractions. I realise that I have no job and, my money is dwindling, and I’m about to spend summer completely alone with my friend leaving the country for a month. I am terrified of not getting into university for my master’s course. 

I think about him all the time. I used to send him text messages every now and again even though I know he’s blocked my number (the message never says delivered and the last time it did was October 18th). The last time he spoke to me was on October 17th – the anniversary of Chopin’s death – and that’s what we spoke about. I said that I constantly read about Chopin. He said that me doing that makes him so happy. That was the last thing he ever said to me. I said that I’m selfish because I want to see Chopin everywhere since he reminds me of you. He never responded. The next day I came home from my ChildLine shift and told him to look at the moon because that evening it was beautiful. He never responded.

Time went by and I thought that giving him distance was what he wanted since that’s what he told me. He told me I was The One but he “just needs time.” I thought giving him the time and space would be better than my previously failed method of contacting him all the time. 

Christmas came and my heart was in pieces because we were supposed to spend Christmas together. He’d invited me home with him. I was supposed to be in Kent.. but I wasn’t. I was at my house and it was silent all day, just the way it is every Christmas. Then I was working the next day, but at least I wouldn’t have to be alone again. 

January 7th was a hard day. Demi died. I miss her. Her passing is what prompted me to start texting him again. I sat in my car ticking the engine over when I had an overwhelming urge to talk to him. I text him to tell him about what happened with Demi and that if anything should ever happen to me that I needed him to know that I still think about him, I still miss him, and I love him with all my heart. It’s bizarre how much I still love someone who I’ve not spoken to for longer than I knew them.

We met April 13th, in person on April 27th, I became his girlfriend on May 6th, I went to his house for the first time on May 14th, I told him I loved him for the first time on May 25th, the first time he cooked for me was June 31st and it was a butternut squash soup. He called his mum for the recipe and it was wonderful. The first breakfast he ever made me was bacon, pancakes, maple syrup and natural yogurt. He introduced me to lemon green tea and elderflower cordial when I visited him at home in Kent on July 12th. I bought him a suit on July 16th and on July 17th he graduated with his friends. I even got to go and I cried when he walked on stage because I’d never been prouder of anyone in my life. On August 2nd we made steak and scones from scratch. We celebrated my half birthday because he missed my 22nd. I told him that my half birthday was the best birthday I’d ever had, and it really was. All I could ask for was to be home with him. I wanted to drink tea and listen to him playing piano. I would constantly record him playing and he’d hating hearing himself “play badly.” I still listen to those recordings today and nothing gives me frisson like it. 

I don’t memorise these dates on purpose. I’ve just always been good with them. It’s a blessing and a curse. I never forget anybody’s birthday, but every tiny anniversary is ingrained in my brain and when the day rolls around I can feel myself becoming sadder and sadder. The day comes and if something doesn’t distract me all I can think of is what happened to mark it as an anniversary. It’s similar to knowing that you were supposed to be going to an event you have to miss and when the day comes you feel crestfallen because you were supposed to be there. He invited me to a wedding for 2017. He asked me when we had dinner in Las Iguanas. He told me the first time we ate there that he looked at me and thought I was out of his league. Is he joking? He must have been. He was perfect in every conceivable way. Of course he had imperfections (I’m not stupid) but they were something I loved him for, and not in spite of. He was always late. Always. I didn’t mind because if I was running late I knew I could afford it. It also meant he would take me home later so I’d get to spend longer with him. He would wear the same clothes all the time, but they became so familiar that if I see them in public on other people I think of him. A child wore his Nietzsche t-shirt once while we were at the zoo and I thought it was hilarious. “Without music, life would be a mistake.” I didn’t understand that until the first time I fell asleep to the sound of him playing.

He would always complain that his bacon was “pumped full of water.” Babe, just buy better bacon. Stop buying 24 rashers a packet and you won’t have anything to complain about. He would constantly lose his keys, but I’d always find them. It used to give me the “what would you do without me” feelings. All you ever want is to be with someone who is afraid to lose you. He wasn’t afraid to lose me but I was terrified of losing him. He knew but I’d never tell him that. I was his first girlfriend and I didn’t want to frighten him off. I’d been in a relationship prior to him for 6 years and I knew commitment was something I was looking for because I love it. I can’t help that. When you know, you know, and I knew with him. On September 22nd he told me he didn’t want the commitment. “What if I want to go to Spain for six months?” I wonder if he ever actually planned on going to Spain. I wonder a lot of things. But, one of the things I wonder most is why I couldn’t still be part of his life if he went to Spain for six months. He didn’t have the past of a casual hook-up kind of guy, so why couldn’t I have gone with him? Obviously it’s not because he wanted to go Spain for six months, but he didn’t want me. Coming to terms with that has been truly devastating and sometimes, like today, I don’t think I’ve come to terms with it at all. 

He wrote me a letter saying that it wasn’t me, it was him. Everything I did was perfect, but he’s not in a great place. Something like that. But was it me? He told me when I bought him a Barbour for his birthday that they need replacing every 8 or so years. I said in 8 years I’ll send him one in the mail. He’ll open it and his future partner would be really confused about why he’d be receiving a coat in the post of an anonymous mailer, but he would know. He replied “babe, if I’m gonna be married in 8 years, it’s probably going to be to you.” After 6 years of “IF we stay together,” “IF we get married,” etc, you have no idea how great it was to hear that sentence. He was wearing his green jumper that he bought from a charity shop and I was in love with it. He was leaning against his cooker. I held him for about 5 minutes after that with my head safely nesting into his shoulder. 

It was less than a month later when he went to Berlin and ignored me for 2 weeks. He got back and broke up with me the next day. I’m sure you can partly understand my confusion about where this breakup came from. I have my pillows in his house, I have makeup in his house, I have shampoo in his house, and he gave me a house key the day he left. The day he left. He came back two weeks later and broke up with me. What. We’d not long bought concert tickets for December. The confusion hasn’t quite left. Notice that I said “I have XYZ in his house.” For all I know they’re still there (he’s probably burned/donated/binned them by now) but I never got them back. A week after he broke up with me he told me he still wanted to be friends so I was open to that. He completely ignored me again for the week. I noticed that on his Instagram he deleted the only picture he’d ever posted of me anywhere. It was a horrible picture with the worst caption ever, but it was the only public display of our relationship anywhere except my Instagram and Snapchat. So he couldn’t answer my texts but he could delete my picture – nice. I went to his house unannounced (I tried to call but he was ignoring it) to ask for my things back.

He opened the big, red door that filled me with such joy for so long and there he was, wearing that green jumper that I loved so much. I burst into tears the second I saw him and managed to splutter out that I want my things back. He held me as I sobbed and brought me into the house. He told me he was sorry and to please not take my things back because this wouldn’t be the last time I’d be at the house. It was the last time. The house that I still love with all my heart, filled with some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met. They probably never ever think of me, which wouldn’t be surprising, but I think of them all the time. To the son of the lady I sat next to at graduation: if you ever read this, I saw you going home from labs one evening this month as I walked past you. I said your name but you didn’t hear me. To Fave: you said you missed me on Snapchat around the beginning of April and that meant more to me than you’ll ever know because I miss you all. You 6 boys made me so happy and gave me a home I’ll never forget for the time that I got to spend there. 

My Monochrome Man once said to me that he didn’t think he was doing the boyfriend thing right, but I couldn’t have been happier. I was happy watching him play piano, sip tea, tie his bloody shoelaces, or play his favourite Clash Royale game. I didn’t care what he was doing. I could never take my eyes off him. My heart was so full. 

The last time I ever saw him was when he picked me up from work one evening to give me the letter he wrote. He said he thought he needed time, and maybe he’d realise what a huge mistake he’s made and he thinks he has. That’s what he said. I read the letter and when I saw that he said I was The One I genuinely held out hope that we would be okay. I don’t think he ever meant it now. When Fave contacted me one day to see how I was, I said I was holding hope and he replied “it’s really tough and upsetting.” To me that meant he had spoken to my Monochrome Man and he had disclosed that he didn’t actually think things would be okay but nobody could bring themselves to tell me. I’m grateful for not having the pain that would have come with that. 

At first I was glad for the hope because I needed it to hold on to, but like people say: “it’s the hope that kills you.” I know life throws loopholes so I’m scared to wish for this, but every day I hope I see him. I hope he calls, I hope he texts, I hope he shows up outside my house, or I see him walking down the street. But I know that life is cruel. I don’t want my perfect memory of him tarnished. I don’t want to see him walking down the street with another person. I don’t want him to show up outside my house just to drop off the things I left there. I don’t want him to text or call with reasons about why I wasn’t good enough for him or why he left. 

I wrote to him until April 1st. Sometimes I would write every day, sometimes I would write once a week. I re-added him on Snapchat and sent him two pictures the day I stopped writing. One was of his coat that I replaced with the Barbour, one of them was of me. He hadn’t deleted me so when I re-added him his name came straight up. He deleted me after he got those pictures. I don’t even know if he opened them. I also found out just before Christmas that he blocked me off Instagram. His Instagram’s private so I never understood that. He took time out of his day months after we split up to stop me from viewing “this person’s account is private.” Maybe I don’t want to know why though. I’ve been so hurt that if I can avoid any more pain, I will. 

I wrote to him because he was my best friend. I knew the messages weren’t getting through to him so at least I could still say the things to him without actually bothering him. After he deleted me I realised how toxic it was to talk to him like he’d never left. I’d tell him when certain songs came on the radio, places I’d been, thoughts I’ve had… 

And here we have arrived at the reason I wrote this post. On my MacBook is every message I’ve ever sent to him. On my iMessage I never deleted the chain that we had. His first ever text to me is on there. I never read them but one day I might want to. More importantly, and for some deluded reason, I think he might want to one day. Demi died so fast. Her car battery cut out on the motorway and that’s so scary. Failed technology doesn’t discriminate. I’m not sure about the impact that my demise may have on him. If it did have an impact and I was in that position, I’d want to see all the messages someone who loved me had sent that I hadn’t received. I’ve saved every picture to a file with his name and put them on a memory stick in case I ever lost them on the Mac. 

I realise how crazy this is, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. He inspired me to do so much when I knew him and I’ve carried that since he left. He was genuinely the most wonderful person I ever got to know and I have no bad feelings towards him. I appreciate everything he ever did for me and all the love he gave to me. I only hope I ever gave him even half as much as he gave me. I’ve dated a couple of times since he left and nothing compares. I see a lot of the things I hated in myself while we were together in the new guys I’ve dated and if I could apologise for whining too much, being needy, overdramatic, indecisive… I would. I wish that I was a stronger person when I knew him. He picked me up and carried me for the whole time we were together. He was my love, my support, my happiness.

I wish I’d have been braver. If he did something that I didn’t love or that hurt me a little (like cancelling plans after I’d gotten ready), I wish I’d have said something. I was too busy walking on eggshells because I didn’t want to upset him. I didn’t want him to be upset with the confrontation and call it quits. He wasn’t a fighter, and neither am I but some things need to be battled. We never battled once. Even during the break up he told me wished I’d just call him names, but I would never. I respected him too much and I respected his decision no matter how much it broke me. I still don’t call him names and I jump to his defence if the girls ever mention him negatively. 

I don’t know if I’ll ever see him or hear from him again. I hope it’s positively if I do. However, I’d like this message passed onto him should it ever need to be. He was the light of my life and I hope he knows that he brought me more joy from April-September than I’ve ever had in my life prior or after knowing him. 

To my Monochrome Man: I don’t know why you’ve left such a lasting impression but I’m glad to have known you the way I did. Loving you was nothing short of the greatest thing I’ve ever done. 

Eloise

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