Monthly Archives: May 2021

I have a confession to make.

I haven’t been writing this blog in real time. But I can bring you up to speed pretty easily. My mother is still insane. Mia is still the centre of my world.

And I'm completely and utterly heartbroken.

I took a calculated risk when I decided to get involved with a man exactly twelve years and eleven months my junior.

I gave it six months.

It was supposed to be a fling. I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with him. He wasn’t supposed to become my best friend.

I tried to end it on more than one occasion. But he stopped me every time. He kissed my fears away.

He told me I was the most beautiful, complicated woman he’d ever met. And that we’d always be together.

So I overcame my fear of water and climbed into a small boat with him. And I trusted him enough to let him row us to the middle of the ocean.

We made it to four years.

Then he just dived into the sea and swam off. And I’m not sure I can find my way back without him.

I feel so lost.

If only I’d known that our trip this summer was going to be our last. I would have cherished waking up with him every morning.

It could have been our beautiful long goodbye.

Instead I quietly obsess about the way the sun highlights the lines on my face. And I become moody and withdrawn.

I can’t keep competing with girls half my age. It’s exhausting. And expensive; dracula therapy and bull semen don’t come cheap.

I’m so wrapped up in my own unhappiness that it takes me a while to notice Jake has become distant.

Then everything starts to unravel ridiculously quickly.

“This isn’t working is it Jake?” There’s a long silence on the other end of the line. He finally speaks. And it all comes tumbling out.

He’s been struggling with it for the last few months. His life’s changed. His career’s taking off. There are new paths opening up for him. He wants to move overseas when he qualifies. He wants to raise a family.

And it’s clear that there’s absolutely no place for me in his future.

But he can’t let me go. He’s confused. He asks for more time to decide what he wants.

It feels like a stay of execution.

I barely eat for days. I have one sleepless night after another. I feel sick and totally detached from everything around me.

I'm driving home when No Doubt’s 'Don't Speak' comes on the radio. 'I really feel that I’m losing my best friend, I can’t believe this could be the end’.

By the time it gets to ‘It’s all ending, I gotta stop pretending who we are. You and me I can see us dying...are we?’ I have to pull over because I can't see through my tears.

This is killing me. I can’t wait for him to make a decision. I send him an email.

I love you sweetheart, I always will but sometimes all the love in the world isn't enough to make a relationship work. And our relationship has run its course. We both know that. You taught me that I could climb a mountain. I'll never forget that. And I’ll never forget you. Goodbye Jake.

He calls immediately. I don't pick up. Everything feels so surreal. I knew this was going to happen. But I still can't believe it. He sends me a text 'I'm seeing you on Friday – whether you like it or not'.

He arrives Friday evening looking tired and sad. His eyes fill up as he tells me he's not strong enough to deal with this right now.

I hug him. Then we kiss, slowly at first then passionately, desperately. We make love all night. We both know this might be the last time. I try to submit every touch, every kiss to memory.

I wake up in his arms in the morning. I ask him how he feels now. He tells me he’s still confused. He still doesn’t know if he wants to be with me.

And that stings like hell. I had thought, for one moment, that perhaps we could find a way to make it work.

That’s when I finally realise the blindingly obvious; there’s always been a part of me that believed this would last. I honestly thought we could defy the odds and stay together.

How utterly bloody stupid of me. And Demi. But at least she gets to hate Ashton because he cheated on her. At least she gets to be angry because he behaved like a total prick.

All Jake has done is what I always said he would do; he has grown up.

I gather all his things together and put them in a bag. I give it to him and ask him to leave. I refuse to exist in a state of limbo.

This is the first time I’m breaking up with someone I’m still in love with. And it's unbearably sad.

We’re both crying as he tells me how much he loves me. How certain he is that he’ll never meet anyone like me again. But he doesn’t try to stop me ending it this time.

He knows it’s the right thing to do. He just didn’t have the strength to do it.

I watch him dive into the ocean. And I can only hope I have enough strength left to find my way back safely.

Then I remember that I got into the boat wearing a life jacket....

Matthew’s one line message “I hear you’re looking for me” accompanied only by a telephone number is confident, playful and endearingly succinct.

But who the hell is he?

He certainly looks fit from behind; in his profile photo he’s walking away from the camera holding hands with two small children.

Then I notice we have a mutual friend in Melissa. She saw the tongue in cheek request I posted on my wall and decided to do a little match making.

Matthew is 40, ex-military, recently divorced with two children aged eight and three. She assures me he’s as attractive from the front as he is from the back and, as far as she knows, he’s free of ‘issues’.

I’m not sure about that. The man is ex-military and recently divorced. Surely he’s riddled with issues?

Then she mentions that he lives over two hundred miles away in a village that is very middle England.

And that immediately and inexplicably makes him very attractive. I send him a casual response.

He asks me to have dinner with him. I’m mulling over whether or not to accept when my mother phones.

“I had a dream last night”.

That’s always been my mother’s way of seeking confirmation for something she either already knows or strongly suspects.

I used to think she was a witch when I was younger because her ‘dreams’ were always so frighteningly accurate.

I was ten when she told me she had a dream that I used my father's razor and cut myself;

I developed embarrassingly early. So I always held a towel around myself when I got changed for swimming.

But I had accidentally dropped my towel that morning. I was so mortified that instead of picking it back up, I just froze to the spot.

They gawped at me as the room slowly fell silent. Then they started chanting “Kitty has a hairy fanny”.

That in itself may not have been quite so terrible but as the only ‘ethnic’ child in the entire school, I was already considered a freak.

My father and I had walked in through the gates on my first day and almost immediately, a boy ran up to me, shouted ‘paki’ then spat in my face.

I remember waiting for my big, strong, father to give him a clip around the ear.

Instead he pulled out a pristine white (ironed) handkerchief, bent down, wiped my face, whispered to me to stop crying and told me to hold my head up high as we continued to walk on.

And I had been holding my tears in and my head up ever since.

But my clumsy hands had just undone all those years of effort in the space of a few minutes! I could feel the hot tears running down my face as I hung my head.

I went home, tried to (dry) shave it off and cut myself quite badly in the process. It didn’t occur to me that the bloodied razor and towel I left in the bathroom had given me away.

My mother cleaned the cut and put a plaster on it, telling me that “being hairy is the price we pay for having beautiful olive skin”.

I still repeat that mantra to myself at my fortnightly almost-all-over-body waxing treatments.

I take a deep breath and ask my mother what her dream was about. “I dreamt you’d split up with Jake”. My sister must have told her. “Well, did you?”

“Yes”. She tries to make me feel better by telling me a story about a single mother her friend knows who also had a relationship with a 'much younger' man.

He finally ran off with her sixteen year old daughter. "That could have happened to you in six years time so it's lucky you split up now really isn't it?"

Then she asks me if I'm ok. I tell her I'm fine. She's not convinced, "Have you lost weight?"

I always lose weight when I’m unhappy.

It’s not deliberate. It just feels like I have a permanent lump in my throat and I can’t get any food past it.

She invites me to spend the weekend with them while Mia is with her father.

I have visions of being tied to a chair and continuously force fed whilst being made to watch one diabolical Turkish soap after another.

Thank god I’ve already made plans with Charlie. I haven’t seen him for over a year but we effortlessly pick up where we left off (in a way that you can only do with very old friends).

We met in the Union bar in our first week at University when he asked me for a toke of my spliff. He was cool so I shared the rest of my stash with him.

That was almost twenty years ago. And we’ve sinced moved on to sharing bottles of fine wine over dinner in our favourite French restaurant.

But some things never change; by the time we get to dessert, we’re ruthlessly analysing each other’s unsuccessful love lives.

I tell Charlie his problem is that he’s only attracted to women who are unhinged in some way.

He prefers to call them ‘kooky’ but concedes that a few of them have crossed over the line into ‘deranged’.

I helpfully point out that he has a sub-conscious fear of commitment which is why he chooses women that it’s impossible to commit to.

He retaliates by reminding me that my only significant relationships since my divorce have been with a Greek Cypriot and a man almost thirteen years my junior.

I concede that they were unfortunate choices. But insist that I do not have a fear of commitment, sub-consciously or otherwise. And to prove my point, I text Matthew and accept his offer of dinner.

Then I remember that I only got really excited about him when I realised that he lived over two hundred miles away.

I decide not to mention that to Charlie.