Now they are gone

Well it’s been two months since I last wrote, usually this means that things have been going well and I haven’t needed the catharsis of writing, but between the 23rd April and now, a lot has happened.

So, when I left you I was picking myself up after breaking it off with a guy with whom I’d spent three wintery months hibernating in a sort of placid, platonic intimacy that I think comforted us both, excited neither of us, and which certainly wasn’t ticking any new boxes for me. Then he drove me into a lamppost on Valentine's Day and things rapidly went downhill. Since then I've celebrated my twin sisters' birthday with a fancy meal in Birmingham, visited friends in London (one of whom is pregnant and the other who has a gorgeous new baby boy), and been to Brighton where I utterly failed to keep up with the partying but got to hang out with friends on the beach. The weekend that I last posted on this blog I also saw the fantastic production of Jane Eyre by the National Theatre, and spent a wonderful afternoon at the Spa with (yet more) pregnant friends, having a relaxing massage.

Just two days after that post however, on the 25th April, my Nana died.

I realise that is abrupt, but that is how it felt. She had been ill very recently, and we were all worried, but I don’t think any of us expected the situation to take such a sudden turn. My only comfort was that when she died, she was surrounded by all her family until the very end. Living so far away, I was unfortunately was not able to make it at such short notice and I don’t think I’ll ever lose that confusing sense of guilt, even though I know it wasn’t possible to travel that far in such a short amount of time. I am told that I was there “in spirit” though, and that she knew I was thinking of her, so that is a sort of relief. I have since sorted through many of the wonderful photos she kept and may write a more in depth post soon including some of those because it feels wrong to try and cover everything that I remember about her, and everything that she meant to me in the midst of this one blog post. I love that in the photo, at the top of this post, tiny little me is practically dragging her into the sea; the sea and Nana always have been and will always be inextricable for me so it's a perfect photo. For now though let me say that my Nana was a brilliantly strong and feisty woman, there was plenty of sparky controversy over the years but in the end every time I spoke to her I never felt less than deeply cared for and listened to. Many a time she told me to keep my chin up when I was despairing and feeling alone, and assured me that there was someone for me out there. I believed her and I was fortified by her love and belief in me.

That someone was not however ... let’s just call him … Jock. I met him just as my Nana became ill; he was in the city (Mon-Fri, London at weekends), originally until November and was looking for people to hang out with. After chatting for a while, I suggested that he might like to come and see The Handmaiden with me. I’ll let you google the film for yourselves because it's basically brilliant but also an 18, and pretty … graphic. At one point he leaned over and said “Urrrmmm …. what have you brought me to?!” Not sure if it’s normal to think it’s hilarious to wave goodbye to a stranger, at midnight, after you were watching two bad ass women being very intimate minutes before, but I’m pretty sure it piqued his interest at least!

Safe to say, he may have been intending to just hang out, but we both pretty quickly revised that plan. Over the next couple of weeks we went to the theatre, watched the (sickening) GE2017 exit polls come in, chatted over numerous G&Ts, and made out, all the while both of us knowing that he would be leaving. It transpired though that he would be leaving a lot sooner than either of us thought, July in fact, to go to the US for 4 months. As I’m writing this it is his last day here, and I guess that’s why I’m writing at all, trying to process that familiar sense of being alone again. It helps that there’s a lot to be thankful for this time instead of a grinding sense of disappointment. 

It was admittedly a very frustrating few weeks at times, he was obsessively private due to his job, prone to disappearing for days, just plain inscrutable at times. He was so emotionally distant too which I guess is to be expected, and maybe appreciated in a cruel way, when he knew he was leaving. There were brief flashes of unexpected intimacy though, and he was also generous, intelligent, funny, understanding, a bit nerdy, and kind. He listened to me throughout the heartbreaking process of my Nana dying, and the funeral, and together we did a lot of things that mean I can now approach dating with much more confidence. The impact he had on my life was really quite disproportionate to the amount of time we actually spent together.

It is a strange thing to try to be close, but not too close, to someone you like but know is leaving. It is even stranger when you are grieving and everything feels a bit numb, and surreal, and things you've waited for, for a long time are happening in the midst of it all and nothing feels how you expected it would. Right when I badly needed someone permanent and supportive I got almost the exact opposite. At least I now know I’m definitely not a one night (or I guess … 8 weeks) stand kind of girl! Various people have said to me that "he’s only away for 4 months", and that "London isn’t really that far", and who knows, but I can only go with my gut really. I have had enough experience with men telling me they don’t want a relationship right then to know that just because something feels to me like it’s worth having, like I could easily care for someone, it doesn’t mean they feel that way too. 

I hope we’ll keep in touch, he says he wants to, although half of me doubts that will happen given his flakiness and general lifestyle. I have thoughts of going to stay with him in Paris or wherever he goes to next, having short … “fun” … breaks in foreign places whilst I look for someone more permanent but again, who knows what will happen? Or if I can even handle that? I can but wait and see. 

… Meanwhile … I have been talking to this guy on Tinder who seems nice …

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