Nine is a number that reminds me of you. It’s your birthday, it’s my house, it’s both our phone numbers. It’s the amount of months you’ve been gone.
On June 6th at 2am I accidentally call you. I swear it was an accident. I didn’t even know there was a call tab on WhatsApp. When I found the tab and saw your number and a new picture I wanted to see what it was… I had no idea clicking the number would call you. All I wanted to do was look at your picture.
I prayed that the call wouldn’t have gone through. No matter how much I wanted to talk to you again nobody needs to see a missed call from their ex at 2am. Nobody.
Who on earth would have thought that I’d wake up the next morning with a message from you at 6:33 asking “how’re things going?” Certainly not me. I explained the call was an accident, we talked about the gig you were supposed to go to with me, your new status as an uncle, the weather, and the election. Small talk, y’know? You did mention that you were sorry for the pain you caused. I wish I could have told you how much pain I’m in, but you said you were doing well and I was so happy to be talking to you again that I couldn’t do that to you.
A couple of days later your picture disappeared, so obviously I googled what that meant. It meant you blocked my number. One of the last things you said to me was that you’re sure we’ll keep in touch going forward. Then you blocked my number. I was really confused, but then you were never simple so there was no surprise really. Then another few days went by and your picture was back. I text you explaining that sometimes saying hello was harder than saying goodbye… hello.
We talked again about pets, the weather, what you’d been up to. Empty. None of it has any substance. It’s weird because every time I thought about us talking again I imagined a lot of emotion. I imagined you telling me to never contact you again, saying things that would cause a lot of pain, or the complete opposite where you’d tell me you’ve had enough time. I wanted it to be the latter. I didn’t think you’d acknowledge the accidental call if you weren’t ready to actually stay in touch and… I don’t even know. I’ve deluded myself for nine months into thinking that you were coming back that I hadn’t even entertained the idea that you would still chat to me about nothing in particular, nothing that matters. I can’t really explain it very well.
You asked what I was doing that day and I don’t do anything anymore, so obviously nothing. You said you might go to the park while the sun is up. I loved going to parks with you. I knew you weren’t going to ask me to go, but you know when you let the wildest thoughts sneak into your mind for just a split second? It was like that.
A couple minutes later you said you had to shoot, and then your picture disappeared again. I don’t really think there’s any other explanation for that other than you seeing someone. I never want to find out though, so please don’t tell me. I told you the last time I ever saw you that I couldn’t bear to watch you love someone else when I am still so deeply in love with you. Is it possible that you block my number when they’re around and unblock it when they’re not? I wouldn’t want to deal with notifications from the ex I left if I was with somebody else either.
I genuinely cannot explain the state of perpetual sadness I feel. I feel empty. I feel apathetic in almost everything I do. I used to love painting my nails and would change them every couple of days and do new designs and work on my creativity. I do them now just to keep up appearances.
It’s really easy to fake happiness, you know. You smile when people look, you paint your nails, or continue making lemon green tea. You get excited about elderflower cordial and dogs in the street. You tell people you just washed your face if they ask if you’ve been crying. You watch the only show that distracts you, even if there are only 20ish episodes and it’s one that you showed me. You tell your friends that you wouldn’t even entertain the idea of someone coming back into your life even if it’s the only thing you could ever want. You tell people the weight you’ve lost is through a new health regime of cutting out processed sugar and added fat, when in reality it’s the appetite you lost 9 months ago and you’ve never been hungry or full since. You learn how to sob quietly. It’s probably the most useful thing you learn when faking happiness. When you can cry at the drop of a hat anyway and now you spend a good 35-40% of your day doing it, it’s a trick you have to nail fast.
I started re-watching Sherlock the other night (as if I didn’t need anymore heartbreak). At the beginning John Watson’s therapist tells him to write a blog about everything that happens to him because it will make him feel better, she promises. I thought about that when I started these entries. They haven’t made me feel better. However, re-reading them makes me feel something. I feel devastated and the grief is crushing, but I can still feel it, which makes a change. I don’t particularly feel joy anymore, but when I read about how much I can love someone I feel slightly hopeful that I’ll ever get the chance to care for someone so much again.
After seeing your picture disappear again, the pain was so much I genuinely Googled how to heal a broken a heart. I know you’re not supposed to trust the internet but apparently heartache only takes 3 months to heal. Sometimes it’s quicker, but it’s not common to be longer. It’s been 9 months. My heart has been broken for the length of a typical pregnancy. I have been broken for three quarters of a year over somebody who I knew in person for just over a third of a year. I know that’s not okay. I know something isn’t right in this and it’s my fault and I need to move on but I don’t know how.
The advice from the internet was to cut off all ties completely with you. I hadn’t heard from you for 9 months. Doesn’t that count? I’m supposed to let myself feel the breakup. I don’t think I could have hidden this pain from myself. I’m supposed to hold out hope for a better future. I did, but it had you in it because you told me it would. Even when I came to a semi-realisation that you would never come back, I still knew that one day things would be okay, but I just didn’t know when. I’m scared of living every day in so much pain. I know you’d rather cut off communication again. I don’t blame you.
The problem is me. I’m so selfish that I’d rather cry myself to sleep every day and have an absolutely meaningless and empty conversation with you that leaves me so unsatisfied than know I will never have the pleasure of talking to you again. How am I supposed to move on when you’re my whole heart? I know that one day I will, hopefully. But, for now, my thoughts are all of you.
I said that saying hello is harder than saying goodbye. I still think it is. However, maybe saying goodbye could be the kindest thing I do for you. All I ever wanted was for you to be happy and now I know you are. Finding out you were happy, that you got Glastonbury tickets, that your pets are well, that your brother had a daughter… they were the only things that have brought me joy for 9 months. I don’t want to be a burden to your life any longer. I know you’ve never given me a second thought since you left but I don’t want you to be worried that one day I’ll just show up somehow.
I read once that to see what somebody is truly afraid of losing, you should look at what they photograph. I hope you’re flashing back to the constant camera in your face, behind your back, from a distance, at your hands while they played piano and even recording the cat as you talked about grocery shopping in the background. Prior to you all I had were pictures of me. Sometimes I go through our 6 months worth of pictures and I never feel like there’s enough. You photograph what you are truly afraid to lose because in the end, when they’re gone, that’s all you have… just pictures. I could have recorded every second with you and it wouldn’t have been enough because human nature is too selfish and greedy to ever be satisfied.
I never wanted to imagine a life without you in it, and it’s hard to believe that I have to. Before I go, I want to thank you for giving me July 2016. It was the best month of my life. You went back home, got your braces off, told me you wanted to “wife the fuck out of me,” I finally got to see Kent, we climbed to the crown and walked around a church at night (just the most exciting thing ever), I watched you graduate, you spent a few days at my house, and we went to London again. Who knew heartache could be this physically painful.
I don’t think I could ever tell you how thankful I am to have known you. I love you more than you could ever know and I miss you more than you could understand.