Grief is Sneaky

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’.

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A ‘Mouse’ Squatting in my Boob

I’ve always been aware of #breastcancerawareness but after this, I am a lot more serious about it. Ladies (and gents), please check your boobs for irregularities regularly. If you don’t know how, speak to a local healthcare practitioner.

It was a normal Monday morning shower. Until it wasn’t anymore. There I was, warm water cascading down over me, yet I was ice-cold with an indescribable feeling of dread; I had felt something unusual in my right boob – a hard lump. Could it be cancer? Nah, surely not?! But maybe… no, don’t be stupid! There’s no history of breast cancer in the family…but what about on your biological father’s side? It could be cancer… you’re at that age… These are just a few of the things that milled through my head the entire day. Needless to say, I hardly slept. I kept waking up during the night poking my boob. As sure as the earth rotates on its axis the knob was still there, feeling to me to be about the size of an old one Rand coin.

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Heartbreak Autopsy

Does the hurt you caused me ever sucker punch you unexpectedly?
Do you ever feel enveloped by a storm of sadness?
Do you ever wonder if I’ve wanted to die because of it?

Your broken promises are splinters of glass in my mind
“I’ll never hurt you” – the salt in my wounds

Do you ever have to stifle screams of terror at night
As the memories choke you with their icy hands
Their bony fingers squeezing the throat your lips often caressed

Silent tears flow as panic threatens to turn to hate
“I’m sorry” – the word I damn to Hell

I try to sleep to silence the voices in my head
My rest plagued by inescapable rooms
Every door I open leads to another dungeon of heartache

My bed is cold, a sanitized, steel slab
You make the Y-incision with the diamond of her engagement ring

Did she stand beside you as you cracked my ribs
To remove my still-beating heart?
Our end: your start

Moodboard Monday: Purple

A long while ago, I was tasked with making #moodboards for work. I decided to do some research on the Psychology of colours. It turned out to be an incredibly fun, creatively soothing exercise for me. Not being much in the mood to write of late, I lay in the bath wondering what I could do to inspire some blog posts. One of the things my therapist told me is to remember things that invoke good feelings and repeat them. It was then that I decided to write a series of colour-related posts.

I think it fitting to begin with my favourite colour: Purple.

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Day 123: Wyn vir die Pyn (Wine for the Pain)

If there was a Pandemic Prevention Olympics, South Africa would be on the podium taking gold medals by the barrel full. We’ve had the longest #Coronavirus lockdown in the world.

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Day 41: Movies, Veges, Gutter Dogs and Moods

I watched Contagion on Monday night. What a stellar cast! The movie itself was spooky in a sense – how a work of fiction released nine years ago is so close to what’s happening today. I keep wondering if any of the clever people have checked the DNA sequence of our novel virus with the fictional one. With the truth being stranger than fiction, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a match. Anyone who hasn’t seen it, should watch it. It puts things into perspective.

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To Love, or Not to Love…

…Either way, you’re going to end up broken-hearted.

While Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote the poem, In Memoriam A.H.H. about his best friend who died while travelling abroad, it is often mistaken to be about heartbreak following a breakup.  After all Tis better to have loved and lost,/Than never to have loved at all is one of the most famous lines.

I was triggered into a spiral of sadness this morning, by a well-meaning colleague who joked, “is it age that’s making you forgetful?  Or are you in love?” I merely replied, “Being in love brings trouble.” He laughed and said, “Not too long ago you were so in love you were glowing.” I wanted to reply, something witty of course, to hide the stab of immense pain I suddenly felt at his correct observation, but my mouth had turned to the Sahara and my brain was completely blank: an empty, dark void.  In that moment that felt like an eternity, I could feel the burn in my eyes and the longing for being in love with my best friend, who just wasn’t able to reciprocate my deep-seeded starry-eyed passions.  In those fleeting few seconds, I felt like a complete failure, wondering why I’m always the proverbial bridesmaid, but never the bride; why I’m always one of the boys, but never the one for the boys.

I don’t have a bad life; not at all.  I have abundant blessings:

Incredible parents; solid, reliable friends, a well-paying job with decent colleagues, a car to drive, a comfortable flat, food when I’m hungry, my health and opportunities to see new places and experience new things (not as often as I’d like, but still).

I embrace my singledom, because I know many people would love to be in my shoes; not tied down by a husband, wife, kids or even pets, but sometimes it is lonely.  Sometimes there are things that would be so much more enjoyable coupled with a romantic partner.

So today I’m in a mood of reflection… was Lord Tennyson right?  Today it doesn’t feel like it ☹


Say What?! Arrogance & Stupidity

I’ve taken to writing once a week at a new spot that opened in town. They serve killer cappuccino and incredible fare. The fact that the spot I’ve made mine is close to the fireplace has nothing to do with it. I’ll admit, as I was driving here this afternoon, I had zero inspiration. I even asked Allan to send me some random topics, but nothing jumped out at me. I don’t know how some authors, like JT Lawrence, who I was at school for a while does it – the woman is a machine!

I was going to write a piece about something Elizabeth shared with me about a guy in an open relationship being dosed with an experimental drug by his date for the evening – because seriously, what could go wrong, right? Said experiment stupidity has resulted in him having had an erection for ten days already and he is concerned that he may not be able to have sex again. First thing that popped into my head is that he has Viagra poisoning (because if you take the little blue pill, and you have a boner for more than four hours, you need to call the doctor) or he has a spinal injury resulting in this priapism. The spinal injury theory had my picture-brain spinning colourful theories of kinky, pretzel-bending sex. I was ripped from this porn-fest when an ambulance nearly took me out on its way to the scene of an accident.

Now, that I’ve got your attention…

It’s been said that there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity, which is kind of illustrated by the example above. There’s also, in my humble opinion, a fine line between self-assurance and arrogance, and between arrogance and stupidity too.

Four years ago, I met someone, who I really cared about. Things were complicated. Long story short, it didn’t work out, because about six weeks after his divorce was finalized, he got engaged – to a waitress who is a decade younger than me that he met two weeks earlier at a party he’d attended with me. I admit I was stupid to have become close to him while he was still married, but the rejection still hurt. I woke up one morning and forgave him because I was drinking poison expecting him to die. The best thing to come out of this disaster is that I made friends with his (first) ex-wife, Angelique. For those of you a little slow on the uptake, he is now divorced from the waitress too. I heard what happened from Angelique and it sounds like anything but a fairytale.

So, imagine my surprise when I got a text out of the blue last week from him, which read “Hi P, it’s me D. I’d really like to catch up with you again. Can we talk, please?”


Stunned doesn’t begin to describe it. Neither do speechless, gobsmacked or flabbergasted. I suppose aghast is close. My knee-jerk reaction was one of immediate animosity. Elizabeth and Angelique both told me he’d asked them for my number but they were unwilling to offer it up without having spoken to me first. Turns out he got my number elsewhere from another friend who wasn’t fully acquainted with this particular episode of the soap-opera that is my life.

I spent that evening with Eliza and Nathan, and slept on my reply, because therapy has taught me that knee-jerk reactions often lead to regrets. I expected that I might toss and turn during the night, but I rested, like the Sleeping Beauty.

Staying with what therapy has taught me, I put myself first and sent an honest, to-the-point reply.

“It seems that in almost five years you haven’t learning anything about respecting another’s wishes. You asked both Elizabeth and Angelique for my number and when you didn’t come right with them (because they respect me- and our respective friendships), and Elizabeth told you I’m in a fragile state of mind, you forced things and got my number elsewhere. I have no desire whatsoever to see-, nor ever hear from you again. Please don’t contact me again.”

I didn’t expect a reply, but seconds later I got this:

“I am truly sorry. I got your number from someone else and did not get an answer from Angelique and Elizabeth, that’s why I contacted you. I did not know that you didn’t want to speak to me. I do apologize P. I was a dick. I know that. You were only good to me and I hurt you. I pray that one day you may forgive me for what I did to you. I AM SORRY.”

I suppose many of you reading this may be thinking Ah, have empathy with the guy, but my reaction was the opposite. My blood B.O.I.L.E.D to the point of me feeling I could knot a rattlesnake with my bare hands – and I was out of CalmTheFuckDown capsules. The arrogance and/or stupidity (or both!) of his whole approach had me seeing more red than a livid bull being taunted by a tiny matador, triggering me into a spiral of binge-eating and sleeping during the day. Thank God I’m not allowed to drink on my medication, because I might have ended up day-drinking too.

Catch up – as if we are buddies.

I didn’t know you didn’t want to speak to me – Hello?! What. The. Actual. Fuck? Is this man serious? The tragic thing is, is that he probably is.

I opted for the final word. Possibly cut-throat, but the self-care of my mental health is number one on my list of priorities at the moment.

“I’m sure you are, but seeing or talking is not going to change the past. You can make peace with yourself as far as I am concerned knowing that I am making this decision on your behalf, the same way you made a decision on mine when you walked away to be with (the waitress). There is nothing left to say. What’s done is done and no amount of “I’m sorry” will ever bring me to a point of trusting you. I accept your apology and I forgave you a long time ago – for my own peace. I wish you well for the future, but ask that you respect my wishes and don’t contact me again.”

He’s heeded my request at least.

So, now it’s back to the recovery board, and re-answering some of the same questions I asked myself five years ago. I’m glad to report that the answers have changed, and that they now reflect growth, acceptance and excitement about the future… particularly my upcoming solo-vacation to Victoria Falls – a destination I’ve dreamed of since fifth grade! But that dear readers, is another post, for another time.

For now, I’m going to bid you all adieu, I have a Coq au Vin to enjoy.

‘Til next time…