next morning, I cancelled my birthday drinks and took the first train out of
London back to my Dad’s. Tears silently rolled down my cheeks for the full
two-hour journey. Was it really over? It didn’t feel right to be over. Dad
was waiting for me at the station. I didn’t say anything, just walked up to him
and he held me for five minutes whilst I sobbed into his jumper. Once back
home, I took myself upstairs and slept for most of the Saturday afternoon, my
dad bringing me cups of tea every couple of hours. So British. I hibernated there
for the rest of the weekend. It took all my energy to head back to London on
the Monday and face the reality of a potential break up.
True to my word, I gave B his space to think. After a couple of days of radio silence, I decided to bite the bullet and message him to ask if he would like a phone call; just to talk. B agreed to the phone call on the Tuesday evening. As we talked it was like nothing was different, even laughing at a couple of each other’s jokes. B suggested we meet in person on the Thursday. Maybe B meant for me to be comforted by the call, but as I went to sleep that night something niggled at the back of my mind. He’s already made his decision, Jess. He just hasn’t told you yet.
week I couldn’t sleep or eat. I lost half a stone in 10 days. My eczema flared
up on my hands – a true sign that I was stressed out. It didn’t help that the
flat I had been living in for the past two years in Southwest London; once my
safe haven was now somewhere I dreaded going back home to. I’d had some tense
encounters with my flatmates over the past few weeks and in all honesty, I
couldn’t see a way back from it. I tried to keep myself busy with work, but I
lunchtime whilst sat in the breakout room, Margaret was watching me
absentmindedly stirring my rice on my plate. “I know you really care about him,
Jess, but there’s plenty more fish in the sea.” I looked up from my plate and
paused. “Yeah… but he was my fish,
Mags” I said.
Thursday I was a nervous wreck. I had convinced myself that it was all over and
B was only going to confirm that horrible truth to me that night. 5pm hit and
my phone flashed up with a message from B saying that preparations for his
event that weekend were running over and he’d have to work late. He apologised
and asked if we could reschedule until the Sunday, and in the meantime, he
would call me later that night.
That evening I waited nervously for B to call. 10pm came and he hadn’t called. 10.30pm, still nothing. By 11pm I’d had enough and decided to call B instead. It went straight to answerphone. Hot tears streamed down my face. It was 11.30pm before I gave up hope of a call and went to sleep. The next morning, I sent B a message telling him how I knew he was busy but that I was really hurting, and it felt like he’d already made his decision, and nothing indicated that it was one that which involved me. B read the message but didn’t reply.
that day I headed to my mum’s place for the weekend. The whole of that Friday
went by with no reply from B. Saturday came and went with still no response. I
stared at the two blue ticks feeling anger and hurt pulsing through me. I
don’t understand, this was so out of character for him. Why was he treating me
dropped by Mum’s that weekend. When in crisis, call in the cavalry. I sat
across from him in my pyjamas, staring at my phone screen.
will be OK, Jess. You’ve done it before, and you’ll do it again. You’re strong,
stronger than you give yourself credit for,” he said.
know…but I don’t want to keep doing it, Dad. I’m so sick of getting hurt. My
heart can’t take it,” I whispered.
that’s one of the most beautiful things about you. Despite having been hurt,
you haven’t become a cynic. You let yourself fall in love again, and that’s a
brave and wonderful thing.”
help if the guy felt the same way though.
I listened to my mum on the phone to my sister. She was currently in Next with her husband and was asking about different sofas for their new house. God, our lives are so different. Dad was watching me.
Jess, if you wanted to have a baby on your own…I’d be OK with that,” he soothed,
stopped sniffing abruptly and roughly wiped my face. “What’s that got to do
with anything?!” I asked, perplexed.
I’m just putting it out there,” he replied, holding up his hands defensively.
rolled my eyes. Like my biggest concern
right now was whether my father minded if I had a child out of wedlock.
found out that this stemmed from a whole conservation my dad had with my aunt
on the opinion that if I had a baby (donor sperm or otherwise) all my problems
would be solved! (On hearing this I manically laughed at the ludicrousness of
this conversation, if only to stop myself from crying). When was it that my
parents went from doing anything to make sure I didn’t get impregnated to practically
shoving pamphlets for artificial insemination down my throat??
this isn’t about kids! This is about losing my fish!”
looked totally bewildered and I wandered off to wail at Mum instead.
Sunday evening, I still hadn’t heard from B. In a state of shock and hurt from
his lack of response, I dragged myself back to London. He clearly had no
intention of meeting me that day. It was 9pm when my phone flashed up with a
call. It was B.
Oh Jess, I’m so sorry,” He said. “I’m sorry I didn’t respond to your message.
I’ve just been so busy with the event and I know that’s not even an excuse. I
have been thinking about you, but I just didn’t know what to say, and I’m
I was emotionally exhausted. I just needed him to put me out of my misery. “B, please…just tell me. You’ve made your decision, haven’t you?”
I have.” He replied. And I heard the tears catch in his throat.
B and I
agreed to meet in person to properly talk things through. So, on the Monday
evening I ordered an Uber to B’s house. I wanted to be mad at him; mad for not
replying to my messages when he knew I was distraught, mad for promising
Switzerland then ending it only three days later. I wanted to be mad at him for
making me believe that I’d finally met someone that felt the same way I did. I
wanted to be so mad that I could scream at him at how fucking unfair this all
was to happen, again. But when he
answered the door and I saw his face; I felt my anger instantly evaporate. B
wrapped his arms around me, and I inhaled his familiar scent. God, I couldn’t be mad at him. He had
been stupid, and cruel even, not to reply to me, but I knew it was never to
deliberately hurt me. I could see in his face that he was hurting too.
upstairs to B’s room. B sat on the bed and pulled me in between his legs, and I
tucked myself under his arm. “I’m so sorry, Jess,” he said, tears beginning to
form in his eyes. “I just have to do this.”
know…” I replied quietly. “I just wish I was a part of it. I really thought we
had a future together.”
looked up and held B’s gaze. He started to sob. “God, I don’t know what’s wrong
with me, every time I look into your eyes I start crying!” he said, rubbing his
face with his sleeve. I laughed softly even though tears were silently rolling
down my face too.
fine, its OK to cry; I’ve been doing it all week!”
know, it’s just that I haven’t cried in years… and I can’t seem to stop now.”
B and I
stayed on his bed for the next hour holding each other, tears falling,
whispering memories and inside jokes to each other.
getting late, we should really get you home,” B said, softly.
stay here with you tonight?”
you can’t. That’s not how this works.”
do anything, I just want you to hold
can’t…I’m sorry, Jess, it would just be too hard to then let you go.”
And then the realisation that this was really over hit me like a giant wave and I broke down in tears. “I don’t know if I have the strength to walk away from you and go home,” I managed in between rasping sobs.
gently wiped the tears from under my eyes. “Ok…how about I come with you and
I’ll put you to bed?” I nodded silently. B ordered an Uber and we sat in
silence cuddled up in the back seat, my hand in his whilst he kissed my
At 11.30pm we arrived at my flat. B sat patiently waiting on my bed whilst I took my makeup off and undressed. He wrapped his arms around me from behind as I brushed my teeth. Once I was ready, B pulled back the duvet and let me climb into bed. He pulled up the covers and rested his head on my stomach, looking up at me through teary eyes. “Don’t ever forget how amazing, funny and beautiful you are, Jess.” B whispered.
don’t want to lose you completely,” I replied stroking his hair.
you won’t, I meant what I said. I’m not running out of the door, never to see
you again. I promise.”
with that B got to his feet, lent over and kissed me, and it felt like the
closed the door and I heard every step he took, as he made sure to walk and not
run out of the flat. And my heart shattered, as I knew I loved him all the more
was 24, I quit my job without having another lined up and moved to London. At
the time I thought I was having a quarter-life crisis. I now recognise it as
the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Now, it feels like I’m entering my
third-life crisis. Losing B had turned my world upside down. The dream of a
future I would no longer have had been pulled up from underneath me leaving me
emotionally crumpled on the floor. I had to get out of my flat; I had to get
out of London. So, in a desperate attempt to regain some control in my life, I
called my landlord and told him I was moving out in three weeks. Instant relief
flooded through me. Fuck it. I then picked up my laptop and booked
flights to Mexico for the following month. My brother was currently out in
Guatemala learning Spanish, so I planned to meet him in Mexico and travel down
the Yucatán Peninsula together. I’ll be away for most of November, hopefully
enough time to help sort my head and heart out.
intervening weeks before moving out went by in blur. Flat viewings kept me
occupied for a couple evenings. Once they were finished, I would head upstairs
exhausted and be left with nothing but my own thoughts, usually resorting in me
crying myself to sleep. I spent the days keeping busy at work and the evenings
attempting to pack. B and I exchanged a few messages over this time, checking
in on each other. It was amazing how a single message from him would lift my
mood, and how if he didn’t reply it would crush me. The news filtered through
my friendship groups resulting in a flood of supportive messages; offers of
cooking me dinner or taking me out to lunch. They were all insistent that it
was nothing I had done and any guy would be lucky to have me. A reminder of the
amazing friends and family I have around me.
It was weird;
I’d never had a break up like this before. Most of my previous relationships
had ended because the guy had either cheated on me or treated me badly. I could
use my anger at them as energy to get over them and move on with my life. This
time was different. I still have a huge amount of respect for B. He taught me
that there are good men out there; men that will treat you right. I want him to
do what’s right for him; I want him to be happy.
I miss him
so much. It’s funny how when you lose someone, certain words and intimate
details you shared flick through your mind like a show reel of your
relationship. Isabella Plantation, rhubarb gin, Pergola, yummy buns, belly
button, Jeffries chicken burgers, grey hairs, Tooting Common, pain au raisins, Borough
Market, pancakes with bacon, Kew Gardens, Oyster Bay, Daquiris, gritty bits, Tango
Blasts, The Hurlingham Club, Longback, Littleback, Basement Sate, escalator
kisses. All these little things, so insignificant to anyone else but carefully
woven threads which formed a relationship between two people. Thoughts of them make
me both happy and sad all at once.
the age of 31, for what felt like the hundredth time in my adult life; I boxed
up all my belongings and moved out of my flat. The sexy black lingerie with its
labels still intact was carefully folded and packed away. I left behind the
small housewarming cacti from Dennis and donated the watch Seb had given me to
a charity shop, but I took the orchid B had given to me. I felt weirdly
protective of the orchid. Which is
annoying as they are notoriously hard to keep alive.
mad at B for his decision. I’m sad for what could have been. I mean, what do
you do when you’ve found your person, but it’s the wrong time? One evening
whilst on the phone to my dad, he shared his wiser words of, “I really believe
that if it’s meant to be and that if it’s true love, you will find a way back
to each other, Jess.” Maybe this isn’t the end for B and I; maybe it’s only the
beginning of our story. But I know for now, whilst B pursues his life dreams in
other countries, I know I have to move on and live my own.
I leave for Mexico, with just my passport and backpack. Any extra baggage? Just
a broken heart.