As many of you will know from my previous post, I am packing up The Cave after living there for almost ten years to move back to my folks because Dad is ill, although coping very well – something for which we’re all very grateful.
In the clean-up, I came across a postcard that Charlie sent me for my birthday one year, while he was sailing in Alaska. It read “Hello there, from the other side of the planet. Happy birthday. I hope you get a jam-filled cake.” I read it, smiled, reminisced for a moment, and then placed it in a bag with other papers for recycling. After all, it’d been years since our paths split. He got married last year on October 8th Shannon, the blonde American who swept him off his feet in just three days of meeting him. He felt bad, but ‘the heart wants what the heart wants’. When I happened upon the wedding photos on her Insta (it wasn’t difficult to track her down), I finally summoned the will to delete our entire chat history of almost two years, along with his number. I felt an inexplicable numbness, a tiny tinge of horror, and a pinch of relief. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the feelings I was having, weren’t ‘it’.
Back then, when he video-called me before work to ‘chat with me’, I knew something huge was coming when he removed his glasses. He always spoke about people’s tells – I wonder if he ever realized that his was that. Truth be told, the writing had been on the wall for a few weeks, I knew something was amiss when the tone of his messages changed, and he became remiss in replying at the usual pace (despite the time difference). I asked him ‘are we okay’ to which he replied, ‘yeah, we’re good.’ During the call, he mentioned that, and it hurt because his reply had lulled me into a false sense of hope. I don’t know what hurt worse, being replaced or lied to. The shock of him and Shannon sent me into a major depressive episode, resulting in me being sedated in the hospital for three days. With psychotherapy and a daily dose of Escilitopram, I managed to cope with life. Most days anyway…
In August last year, I couldn’t afford to see the psychiatrist for a renewal of the prescription, so I just stopped drinking the meds. Cold turkey. The withdrawal was a silent hell. I didn’t tell anyone about ceasing the use of the pills until I was over the worst.
Having booked the cruise for my parents and I in April, and chatting to Shireen about it this past Thursday, Charlie came up in conversation because he works for a cruise line (not the one we’re traveling on). I told her about the fun things he’d shared with me, the laughs we’d shared, and the adventures we’d planned that never happened. It felt easy to talk about him. Was my heart finally healing?
I went back to The Cave to pack some more things yesterday. I do not recommend packing in ‘installments’ because it feels like one is never going to get finished. I came across two books he gave me as gifts, both with personal inscriptions. One I decided not to keep (the content is racy and reminded me too much of what was), and the other was a book about writing. One thing about Charlie is that he supported my dreams. The message inside read, ‘I hope to be at one of your book signings soon, Charlie x’. I quashed the emotion of missing him as quickly as it started to surface.
Last night I was listening to a sleep song on my meditation app. ‘It had to be you’ was what played. The song is randomly selected. I smiled despite the sadness I was feeling, because it was a song I always thought we would dance to one day, somewhere. I dreamed about him. I was standing on the deck of his home, overlooking the green farmlands, silently sipping coffee that steamed up my glasses. He came up behind me, placed his hands on my shoulders, and pulled me toward him, that my back was to his chest, with his chin resting upon my head. It felt safe. The next moment I was on the outside of his house knocking frantically at the door, with nobody answering, despite the laughter I could hear coming from inside. Thankfully, I woke up before it could get worse.
This morning The Toppie asked me to help him move some boxes from their storage unit to mine (because it’s more accessible for them where it is now). In one of the boxes, we found an exercise book The Bean used to keep cut-outs of recipes. Some show the ‘price per serving’ of the recipe, which in today’s terms many of which have increased by almost a thousand percent! One recipe caught my eye, kicking me in the gut: Vanilla cake with jam filling.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m genuinely happy that he’s happy. Shannon clearly is a special woman who loves him as he deserves to be, but there are days when I miss him. For no reason at all, and these are the days that the memories knock the wind out of me…
Sounds, to me, that such a good relationship, is worth fighting for.
I tried, but it was just too painful. Besides, he has a new life with Shannon…
The season has ended, and at some stage, it won’t hurt to think about him anymore. I’m just hoping it happens sooner, rather than later.