Monday, January 16, 2012

The Familiar Road to Recovery

"And she was
Like a blade of ice
Like a lonely road
Clearest day alive
Always sharp and cold
Always beautiful
I am such a fool"

Even If She Falls (2011) by Blink-182

It's been seven days since I was unceremoniously dumped by my now ex-girlfriend, and I still do not know where the crack started and what I could have done to stop the fractures from enveloping our relationship. To be honest, I don't really want to know. I abstained, almost to the point of callousness, from asking beyond her succinct answer of "we drifted apart". Knowing what I could have done differently will simply intensify the regretful sense of 'what-ifs' and 'if onlies' that now percolates the static of my daily preoccupations. Is it selfish to pretend that it really was her and not me? If it was me, why wasn't I told before it tipped across the point of no return?

One of the thing I didn't realise - but is now obvious to me - was how much she figured in my everyday life, even when we are always hundreds of miles apart. She's the reason why I have not felt even a fraction of a second of loneliness in the past four years. I call her when I'm driving. I call her when I walk anywhere, even when I walk from one building to another at the hospital where I work. I call her after I come out of a movie theatre or finish reading a book, just so I can talk to her about it. For the longest time, she was my sole confidant. Now, several times a day, I would absentmindedly try to dial her up, only to remember that we've "drifted apart", whatever that actually means.

So I deleted her number.

"Can we still be friends after this?" Phoebe asked.

"Yes," I said, not realising at the time that I was lying. I don't think I'm matured or level enough to maintain a friendship after breaking up with someone. I tried that once and got myself stuck inside a purgatory of self-pity for most of a whole year, and I only recovered after I purged my second ex completely out of my life by asking her to never talk to me, call me or even make eye contact if we run into each other on the street. It's drastic and cruel, and it worked. Maybe, just maybe, I don't want to risk the chance of knowing that Phoebe can be happy without me, true as that may be. I don't want to hear how she fell in love with someone else a couple of months from now. I don't want to know how great a guy he is, or how I'd totally like him once I get to know him.

I realised after the fact that this separation must have been planned long before Last Monday, and that Phoebe probably decided that it should not ruin our last week together, one which we had planned since August. She knew just how much I looked forward to her visit. It hurts terribly to know that through all those final days, behind the charade of normalcy; beneath each of our conversations and comfortable silences; at our many dinner tables and in bed, she knew we were heading towards the last page of our story. I resent how she had led me to believe that everything was alright when they were not. And most of all, I resent the fact that she didn't think I deserve to be told this in person, one lover to another - not even in our last moments together.

I need to be the architect of my own recovery. I need to be methodical, cold, and calculating. I had already taken myself apart once in my life and rebuilt myself from the ensuing wreckage of shame, heartbreak and self-harm. I fear I will not survive another reinvention.

Please forgive me. I'm sorry.

Surviving it one week at a time,
k0k s3n w4i


Ec5618 said...

Scary. If it happened to you, it could happen to anyone.

I don't like to think about it.

Anonymous said...

poor u :( might seem corny but it will get better.

nicoletta said...

the thing with deleting the number of someone you love is you've probably got it memorised and it keeps flashing in your head every time you look at the phone. well at least it was like that for me.

but this really is the best thing to do, completely erasing the person out of your life. It took a lot of restraint for me not to contact my ex but it did work and I didn't even realise it'd worked until much later.

look after yourself.

Anonymous said...

Your story reminds me of James Blunt "Goodbye My Lover" a way though.
Anyway things will get better. Life goes on - GBH

jjme said...

Hang in there, dude. I was once in a long distance relationship, and it ended because of the apparent "we've drifted apart" reason too. Only, I didn't see it coming. And it was cruel for him to let me know, at the arrival hall of the airport, when I haven't seen him for 8 months. And funny, we always try to blame ourselves ... could we have been better? Could we have been more understanding? If only it was as simple as math.

yuhhui said...

hang in there. hope you will be ok soon.

shanaz@RS said...

I had lumps in my throat reading your post as I just couldn't believe that this had happened after my last reading of an entry you wrote about the whole anticipation of waiting for her to come see you last Christmas! Your posts on relationships have always had a lasting effect on me that this is the saddest I've ever been in the history of blog reading! Hang on Sen Wai. Sending positive energy your way.

c3rs3i said...

We broke up over the phone, too, after a few months of long distance. I didn't understand why he didn't wait to tell me face to face; In a few weeks we were to finally live in the same city after 2 years living apart, not to mention I thought I deserved at least that much after 3 years together.
But it doesn't really matter. Once it's over, it's over. It doesn't matter how or how-could-he; it doesn't matter why. All that mattered was he didn't want to be with me. Wasn't as bad as it sounds. Turns out others did.

Chin up and walk tall, you'll be just fine.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Ec5618: i always knew phoebs wasn't ready to settle down anyway.

Anonymous: yes, it will. i will make sure of that.

nicoletta: deleting her number wasn't merely a symbolic gesture for me. i never memorised her number. i didn't memorise my own properly either (causing me to accidentally give wrong digits to people on occasion when i try to summon it from memory). i feel like a heel doing it, though. phoebs is probably the nicest, most patient girl i've ever met but i need to forget her. and this is the only way i know how.

GBH: are you who i think you are?

jjme: welcome to the didn't-see-it-coming-club. maybe i didn't want phoebe to just unload it on me at the arrival hall, but i do wish that at the moment we ended, i can see her face and she mine.

yuhhui: i'm okay. don't worry :)

shanaz@RS: sorry for those lumps in your throat, and sorry i brought you down too. i tend to dwell in dark places a lot, given my obsessive personality.

c3rs3i: i can't help questioning my own worth when someone can just get off me and walk away. i imagine it helps to have a string of guys waiting to take the place of whichever stupid sap it is who dared to ditch you (my second ex had a replacement within the month) - but being an average-looking male, i don't share that comfort. i'm not exactly a catch, y'know.

Anonymous said...

5 years from now, you'll wonder what you ever agonized about ... trust me, I've been through this. Phoebe will be just another face in your past ... and you're not even 30 yet, still to hit your prime years and the peak of your profession.

Still, I find it cruel of her to tell you so before the Chinese New Year. Or perhaps she thought you're a doctor, you can treat it as a bad cut to be stitched and rested and recovered.

Just carry on being the person you are now. Don't use other women as remedial therapy; it will never exorcise Phoebe's face. Take care.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Anonymous: i know that too. don't forget that i've been through this as well. and i completely disagree that reaching for rebound relationships will not help me forget phoebe. psychological research says otherwise:
on the rebound: focusing on someone new helps anxiously attached individuals let go of ex-partners. not that i would stoop so low as to use another girl as a band aid - i honestly wouldn't enter into any relationship unless i'm in it for the long haul. i'm just pointing out that some long-held wisdoms may not actually be wise at all.

c3rs3i said...

The fact is, breakups suck and they don't discriminate.
Maybe there was a line, maybe I was a catch but that's a small consolation when you don't care about any of that and would give/gave it all up for that person who let you go.

Anyway, I think you'll find the dating game at your age is different - I've seen guys who never thought they were a catch become quite sought after simply because some girls of the same age range started getting serious about settling down and straightened out their priorities.

k0k s3n w4i said...

c3rs3i: i'm the sort of guy girls dump when they are getting serious about settling down and straightening their priorities.