My little sister got engaged yesterday and as I was tasked with cooking our big family Sunday night dinner, I decided to cook up a big vegetarian meal for her and her new fiance. I decided to make potato au gratin and for some reason decided to dig out the mandolin that I hadn’t used in years to cut the potatoes. I was literally two minutes in to prep, and I sliced a chunk of my thumb off. I felt the razor sharp metal bite into my flesh. I immediately pressed under the wound to stop the inevitable pooling of blood. I watched the cross section of the cut, white flesh with pinkish specks. It hadn’t started bleeding yet because I was cutting off the supply of blood with my other hand. I stared at this open wound, wondering in vain if there was a way I could avoid the bloodshed. I knew there wasn’t. As my mother helped bandage me up, I released my hold on the cut. Blood rushed in and, as expected, pooled within the bandage. I dabbed at the blood, soaking tissue paper in my shockingly red claret but knew I would have to leave it alone if I wanted it to congeal and scab over. I held my arm in the air, continued prepping dinner, and waited.
Today was also the day I cut N out of my life.
And it’s going roughly the same way.
We had been messaging. It started when he was travelling. He was in Japan at the time and I DM’ed him and it went from there. We continued to talk throughout the remainder of this travels. I held onto some faint hope that he was going to end up in Sydney and it would be a reunion of sorts. Part of me knew he wouldn’t come. What could be achieved by visiting me? Circumstances hadn’t changed. I knew it’s looking more likely that I’ll be going back to London there is no guarantee and no concrete date.
And I was right, he didn’t come to Sydney. The next thing I knew I was watching his Instagram story of his first day back in London. I was disappointed but knew that it was illogical sadness. I also figured our exchange of messages was also to end now that our time zones were back to being almost diametrically opposite but we ended up having one more round of conversation last weekend.
Throughout our conversations over the past few weeks we had referenced how things used to be, how we missed certain things, how nice things were back then…I’m not going to lie. I was getting invested. I liked knowing that he dreamt about me, as I did him. I liked hearing him reminisce about our relationship’s heyday. I gave me hope that not all was lost – that this inexplicable anchorage I felt with him was mutual. Kindred spirits. Twin flames.
Then yesterday I watched his Instagram story. He’s in Amsterdam this weekend.
There’s only one person he knows in Amsterdam: this women who had deep-liked one my Instagram posts months earlier. I watched her public Instagram story. He was there with her. He had gone to see her and undoubtedly sleep with her again.
I felt jealously burn in my belly. As much as I reasoned with myself that he had every right to see and sleep with this woman because we weren’t together, the anger and sadness overwhelmed reason.
He had been messaging me only last weekend. He made it all the way to South East Asia, and didn’t visit me but he flies to Amsterdam to visit this chick, with enthusiasm? What a stunning rejection. What a slap in the fucking ego. I know we’re not together but that’s fucking cold.
So I did what any spiralling woman does – called my best friend.
And boy did she spell it out for me.
He doesn’t respect you.
It slapped me harder than his callousness had.
Because it was true. It was something I had always feared and had tried to explain away with his mental health struggles but I couldn’t run away from it anymore. He doesn’t respect me. Maybe that’s what he meant when he said he didn’t think he could love me. To love someone you need to respect them. It’s a Captain Obvious situation and I feel pitiful for saying it like it’s something I’m just realising.
All throughout our relationship I feared that he was ashamed of me. He didn’t care for me like I was a treasure to him. He didn’t hesitate to hurt me. He questioned our compatibility: even questioned my authenticity. Our relationship was a public secret for 90% of the time we were together. He never boasted about me. I don’t think I can recall him ever praising me. The only thing he enjoyed about me was the sex.
I can’t allow myself to be valued in such a base and one-dimensional way. I mean I could, in the same way as I could totally do heroin, but I really shouldn’t. If he doesn’t respect me, at least I can.
So he’s been blocked/unfriended/otherwise excised from my life.
Like the cut to my thumb, I had been applying pressure to the wound all this time. Don’t let it bleed. If it doesn’t bleed it’s almost as if the cut’s not there.
But it needs to bleed. It needs to bleed so that it can coagulate and a scab can form. Then that scab needs to flake away to reveal tender, pink flesh and a newly healed thumb.
I’m bleeding right now. A delayed and overdue letting to purge the toxins that had accumulated and allow for the painful process of healing.
I thought he was worth it. I thought he was worth fighting and waiting for but maybe he’s not. Maybe I was overly optimistic. Sometimes people don’t develop into the people you hoped they would. Maybe the person you thought they were was a mirage, a projection of your own messed up shit. Maybe he really never loved me.
I’m still bleeding.