At first, I cried my eyes out and bawled words of hatred hysterically in my head. I swore and cursed and wished for people I detest to die. When I feel like I’m going to implode, I crawl into bed, assume a fetal position, and furiously scribble in my Talk To You Later book, translating my rage into uncouth words and profanities. More often than sometimes, tears from my right eye would dribble across the bridge of my nose into my left eye before hitting my pillow. So don’t ever judge stained pillows. I made myself revisit every moment I got my heart broken, ruminated and immersed myself in those thoughts so I could recall exactly how I felt. But I get distracted oh so easily – sometimes it was when I marvel at how my incredibly smooth ink pen is all inky but still doesn’t seep through the page, or when my half-drunk Dad insists that I share the (single) packet of mixed vegetable rice he brought home, sometimes it was because the end of the page is uncomfortable to write on, and I struggle with the dilemma of dealing with the discomfort and continuing to write regardless, or leaving that disgraceful bit of white space and skipping to the next page. Then I forget what it is I was angry about, and decide to make a cup of hot tea for myself. Forgetfulness is at times, a virtue.
I listen to songs on repeat and seek refuge in morose poems and depressing lyrics. I listen to lyrics more than the melody. I feel heartened whenever I find a song with lyrics describing exactly what I am going through. “I am not alone,” I think. I love reading the words in the songs or poems so intently it reminds me of how pathetic I am that it makes me cry. I love the whole wallowing in sadness thing, I am quite a masochist in this aspect. Then I resist the perverse need to photograph myself crying because I am so fucking addicted to telling the whole world how I feel. Because there are many studies concluding that people who share photos of themselves working out or crying are psychopaths, and since I care so deeply about what others think of me, I pretended to be reticent and reclusive, and that I disregard the opinion of others. Truth is, I feel loneliness not solitude, and I fucking hate this intense feeling of forlornness. I cannot stand knowing I am all by myself.
On some good days, I wake up feeling brave. I start unpacking suitcases filled with clothes because I want to quit seeing my home as a halfway house; as if it is just going to be temporary, like after a while I’ll be whole enough to reintegrate into my old life. I bought new bedsheets and a new fluffy light pink throw. Bought flowers, carefully de-thorned them personally and put them into under-utilised vases. I repainted my room – 1 black, and kept 3 white – although I felt more like 3 black walls and 1 white. I bought new clothes because I wanted her to see a different me, or perhaps to take a second look at me, or ask me where I got those new shoes from, or give her the impression that I am getting along so well I even had the leisure to shop for new clothes, or.. I just wanted to feel good about myself. I had no idea what my true intention was, I just felt a pressing need to look and feel brand new. I asked friends out and I flirted with people. I felt like people actually still appreciated me and sought after when someone compliments my hair or how fresh I looked, or how I had lost weight and asked for my secret. “Just eat less and exercise” was my usual answer. I didn’t want to let them know it was because food does not interest me and eating was the last thing on my mind; that I just long to vegetate on my beautiful bedsheets with my eyes shut and listen to spoken poetry all day, that I wake up at 4pm so that the day would be shorter and most of my friends are only free at night to keep me company. It was my idea to leave, and I was supposed to stick to my plan even after it had backfired; when she agreed that this short separation might be a good solution.
I left my wedding band at her place. And every time I see her, I’d notice whether she still wears hers. She doesn’t. To somebody who reads too much in everything, that is a sign. I’m such a paradox. She brings me my clothes so that I can still live comfortably at home with everything I might need. That wasn’t how I read it. Perhaps it was really because I victimise myself. I allotted to myself a specific amount of time to mourn, etched the end line on the calendar inside my head. I repeated my story to anyone willing to listen. I air my dirty laundry online. It was selfish to a certain extent, because I know my voice is louder than hers, at least in the virtual arena. It was my way of gaining some meagre support. I would always end the story with, “Well, that was only my side of the story. You haven’t heard hers” to further schemingly convince my listeners that I am an impartial person who had tried umpteen times in vain to put myself in her shoes.
Then 5 months went by like that. 5 months of soul searching and pursuit of loving oneself.
They say time heals, but they forgot to include the fact that before it heals you, it numbs you. The blows weren’t fatal enough – you were not strong but you were brave enough to grasp on to life – your heart learns how to numb itself and you gradually need to fight less and less hard to stay afloat. In that numb state, you heal. The body works in miraculous ways indeed. The gaping hole fuses. The scar it leaves behind becomes a badge of honour. My friends tell me I would one day look back in time and laugh at myself. I sure as hell am gonna get there.
There is no shortcut to the end, no way of bypassing the grief death brings. I coerced myself to frolic with the pain, savour the fear, quit asking myself why, stare at the ghost of our love affair in its eyes and acknowledge its demise. I focused on working with the centrifugal force to swing myself out of this vicious cycle of denial, anger, bargaining and depression. I know full well I’m going to exit all beaten up because I have never felt more alone and my self-esteem has never been lower in my life. I feel like the once-juicy plum still left on the vine.
The next person I need to fall deeply in love with is myself. I must not stop believing in love.
A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor, right?