Her eyes, which before this were looking at me, were now staring down at the floor.
“We’ll probably never talk to each other,” I said. “We’ll occasionally bump into each other since we know the same people, but it would just be a simple ‘hi’ and ‘bye’.”
Her slender ebony legs were perched on top of the dashboard. They rhythmically reflected the streaks of scintillation that cascaded down from the street lights all along the road I was driving down. Upon hearing my explanation, her head jerked slightly as if she wanted to respond but thought against it.
Instead, she continued to look down at the floor, her fingers fiddling with the seat belt snuggled comfortably between her well defined breasts.
“So we’re pretty much going to be strangers?” she asked.
“Pretty much,” I said without an ounce of emotion.
Her long black locks bounced merrily on her shoulders following the movements of the car she sat uncomfortably in.
“And during each others birthdays, we’ll send a simple birthday message out of courtesy through some social networking platform. And if we ever need help from one another, we’ll go through a long list of people who we think can help us out but can’t, just so we don’t have to swallow our pride and ask each other for help,” I said.
Glancing at her, I assumed that there must have been a thousand and one questions racing through her mind since there were about the same amount going through my head at that very moment. Neither one of us wanted to voice them.
“But you told me we’d always be friends,” she said, her voice almost pleading.
I hesitated to answer. Not because the words were so difficult to say, but because I didn’t know what to say. In the end, I continued my silence and she understood well enough to know that I wouldn’t be saying anything more.
I pulled her in close and kissed her gently on her forehead.
This was several months before the break-up. We both wished it could’ve gone more kindly (for lack of a better word) but break-ups are just that: harsh.
Three years down the road and we ended it with a hug as each of us held on a few seconds longer. Too long for our own good.
The days ahead were grim, more so for her than they were for me. I didn’t understand it. I’ve never understood it.
My lack of emotions acted as a barrier during the initial break-up but would be taken down, brick by brick, throughout the grieving process. It wasn’t meant to be up forever, just so I could shield myself when I broke up with her. I’m not emotionless, I just find ways to protect myself. It’s an evolved fight or flight response. I always choose to fight, with my shields up.
Prior to that however, I would go through what is known as the Kubler-Ross model – the five stages of grief – at the end of any relationship.
First I would be in denial that I ever thought there was a problem with the relationship. I would tell myself I wanted to be with my partner, force myself to be with them. It would work up to a certain point.
Then, I would get angry at myself. However, pride gets the better of me and I would turn that anger on her. I would have a shorter fuse each time. I would get angrier and angrier at the simplest mistakes she would make, until my own anger and how fast it emerged scared even me.
I would try to bargain. Tell myself that I should compromise more and more and more and that what I was doing wasn’t enough to keep this relationship afloat. I would bargain with her and tell her that maybe, just maybe if she didn’t apologize too much or wasn’t too accommodating with me, this relationship would be better. Then I would create excuses for myself.
After that, I would be overwhelmed with a deep sense of depression. I would hate my work, my friends and everything around me. I would become angrier (if I wasn’t angry enough) and I would blame everything on this relationship. I would fall into this vast hole that I wouldn’t even want to climb out of because being in that hole meant that I didn’t have to face the world or face reality and the truths that came with it.
Then acceptance would kick in. The realization that there was no other way.
The break-up would happen.
Slowly but surely, my post-break-up symptoms revealed themselves one after another — withdrawal, pride, abandonment, hatred and finally, loss. It’s like the 5 steps to depression, with no recovery in sight.
My withdrawal began with a playlist.
Looking through my iPod, it would always be songs from John Butler Trio, The Album Leaf, James Vincent McMorrow and Jack Savoretti. Az Yet’s ‘last night’ and Aizat’s ‘lagu kita’ would be on repeat as Sad Angry Babies would finish up the list like a back alley whore wiping off the last traces of cum off a client’s cock (no offense).
This continued for a decent month before I realized John Butler Trio or any of the others I was listening to can’t possibly empathize with me. And so I would ditch my iPod and listen to The Breakfast Grille on BFM radio. There was something about people talking about business that came off as obnoxious and ultimately made me feel better about myself. Financially lacking, but better.
Pride would come next. It would be the start to the gradual decline of my already sad and morose day to day life post withdrawal.
My days would start with me telling myself that I was better without her. How many women I would get to fuck and how free I was that I didn’t have someone to pick up and drop off. But then, I would start feeling lonely and abandoned and then hatred would boil up inside me for having to feel that way. And I would always blame her for it, for everything.
This period however, would be short-lived. I would go through my phone scanning its phone book for numbers and it would always fall on her number, which I’ve always had memorized. I would be overwhelmed by this painful hatred of abandonment and there was nothing anyone, myself included, could do anything about and that would only make me angrier. Deep down inside I thought this was all because of her and despite knowing the opposite, I would continue telling myself that in order to stem the pain.
This would go on for several weeks – a back and forth tug-of-war between pride, abandonment and hatred that would slowly eat away at me. But I knew it was never her fault.
Then a few weeks ago, I felt it. A blunt traumatic blow to my entire existence that made me keel over and weep. My lungs tightened up, my bowels roiled inside me and my muscles along with my sinews felt like they were being stretched and compressed all at the same time. I felt helpless. I felt abandoned.
I spent the next few days continuing my existence as best I could. I believed that everyone I knew during our relationship were my enemies and no longer my friends. I would resent the people around her. Her best friend, her acquaintance and her brother. I would recall the times they did me wrong and imagined how beautiful it would be to hurt them back. All I wanted was the worst for them. Then I felt guilty for feeling that way.
I looked back at all my past relationships. This was the exact same trend that I went through for each and every one of them. The songs, the emotions were all the same right down to the time I endured them all.
I slowly started to blend logic with emotions. I tried to do the stupidest thing which was to make myself understand what it is I was going through in order to quell the pain. Then I realized, logic doesn’t exist where emotions reign supreme.
It was then I gave up. I told myself I would ride these emotions like a bucking stallion being broken. So far, it’s all been words and empty promises.
I still miss her at night. I still dream of her when I close my eyes. And the decision to write this homage, this explanation, was to find what little closure I never deserved to get.
The white washed walls of my rooms reverberate the emptiness I feel inside. It dices up the sounds and scatters them to the four winds leaving the small space a noiseless void. This is the prison where I hold myself in for days on end looking for whatever little piece of salvation I can find from this murmuring inside my head echoing your face and voice.
It seems that the old adage, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” doesn’t hold true for me. When life gives me lemons, I squeeze them into my eyes wasting them and hoping for a pain far worse than the one I feel as I tuck myself in each night, waking up to gather my bearings each morning.
With this, you are immortalized. It’s the best I can do to respect the memories we had together.
Featured Image by Dhiyanah Hassan and Muizz Adam.
Writer by day and social recluse by night, Haziq locks himself up day in and day out protecting society from his own destructive tendencies.