Three years ago today, my destruction began. Nothing lasts forever.
Once upon a time, I was in a very long, monogamous relationship with a man. Including the agonising death throes, the relationship lasted a hair under five years.
Three years ago today, the death throes began.
I knew exactly what was happening, that the comfortable, happy reality I had inhabited for much of my life was falling apart around me. He was cheating on me; I knew with whom, I knew when it had began. I am not the most perceptive person, but this was blindingly obvious to me.
I decided not to rock the boat. I did not want a confrontation, then. I was afraid to let go and shake up everything that I knew.
For two months, I stayed in that relationship, insisting to all and sundry that it was just a rough patch.
I knew it was not a rough patch. I was afraid to let go. I still believed us to have a future.
It occupied my thoughts perpetually, the fear of change, the knowledge that I was all of a sudden cast off and thoroughly unwanted, unloved. I cried a lot.
He was miserable, too. He was afraid to let go.
It was never the cheating that bothered me. It was the lying, the sudden gulf that had opened up between us.
In the end, I had to know. It had turned to an obsession. I broke the last taboo of being a trusting lover and looked at his phone. I felt awful for that. It’s just not the done thing, is it? It’s what bonkers bunny boilers do, isn’t it?
So I finally confronted, by email.
I walked around all day with a weight sitting on my chest, frantically checking my emails for a reply.
I was afraid to let go. I fervently hoped I was wrong. Perhaps I would receive an email which told me I was wrong and featured a marriage proposal? Or what if I’d completely fucked everything by my confession of Going Through A Mobile Phone? Shit. I could have ruined it all by my refusal to trust.
None of this happened.
I had been right with my suspicions all along. We agreed to “a break”.
I insisted on a break, rather than a break-up.
I knew all hope was gone.
The mourning began in earnest.
I spent the best part of two months in my dressing gown, alternating between tears and numbness. My ashtray looked like a tar-stained porcupine. All the while, a vast knot of wretchedness wrapped itself around my guts. My body ate itself.
We were not even friends any more, me and him. The link was severed. We attended one last festival together and I have not seen him since.
The universe is riddled with cycles of destruction and rebirth. Stars bloat up and explode, spewing their innards out to create new stars, planets, life. Fleetingly-sentient blobs of matter die, and become new parts of life; maybe some blobs of their matter become sentient, too.
Having eaten my body, phase two began. I was an unethical slut.
I made sure I never fucked anyone I liked.
I had some blindingly good sex during that phase. I was still unhappy, albeit getting lucky.
It was a nebula; my new self was coalescing. I was disillusioned with monogamy; I just had not quite learned how to have functional, happy connections with other human beings.
I was a spinning mass. The star at the centre had not yet ignited.
When it did, it was not the dramatic, sudden explosion of illumination. It grew slowly; a phoenix egg incubating in smouldering ashes.
My reality, what I had accepted to be real, had been torn away. I reshaped my reality.
I am unfamiliar, now, with the woman who cried and held on. I see her as weak, even though she was not. She was working with the options that she had available.
I feel intense sympathy for people who have experienced being cheated on. It seems alien, though, that I was one of them.
Yet I am still that woman who wept and ate herself. I am still the woman who would not let go. It is all the same materials, just as we are all made of the remains of an exploded star. It is reconstituted into something different, yet it is all the same molecules.
Destruction and rebirth. I am grateful for it.