Monday, November 1, 2010

The yawning abyss inside me

The empty desolation inside me waxes and wanes, like a canyon that yawns and then narrows, then yawns again. I am stretched wide, like a mouth fixed in a shriek.

In the month that's gone past there have been days where I haven't thought of him at all. And then there are nights like last night, when I moan my way through nightmares and wake up in the darkness, my heart pounding and tears bursting behind my eyes.

Half-remembered dreams plague me through the morning hours as I bury my head in my work, trying to concentrate and forget at the same time.

I must tell you the story of how we met, how we came to know each other. How we got to this point - how I got to this point, this lonely and solitary point. Deep in a marriage where only a sliver of my self is present, and dreaming of a man, an idea I have in my mind, whom I've only ever spent a single night with.

How can I be so utterly in love with him? This has never happened to me before.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A dream come true

Horrible, horrible dreams last night.

My subconscious isn't subtle. I dreamed of him, and he had his arms around another girl, it was as if I wasn't even there, and I knew it was my instinct telling me to let go.

This is the truth of things now.

I even know why I had the dream. I sent him an email yesterday against my better judgment.

Over the course of a fortnight I crafted it carefully - not heavy, not whiny, not accusative. A little dusting of  humour, a reference to something we used to laugh over. A gentle outstretching of my hand in friendship. I shaped those words fiercely, polished them endlessly, wrote and rewrote and edited and refined until I saw perfection in them.

In it, I said that I hadn't known what to expect afterwards, except that I had hoped we would emerge from it as renewed friends, if nothing else. That we owed each other nothing except the courtesy of having been friends once, if not anymore. 

And that I wondered if, having revived the friendship so briefly, he might have made a decision to punctuate it altogether, instead.

I hoped - powerfully hoped, hoped in spite of myself and that instinct of mine - that he might reply to it. Just something short, an acknowledgment or a recognition, a note to say we are still friends. A note to say, All is not lost, on that front at least.

Twenty-four hours later, my inbox is still hollow with his absence. And I suppose, actually, that not replying says more than any words ever could.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

On waking in the mornings

On waking this morning, my first thought was of him.

This isn't unusual. For the past seven and a half weeks, he's been the first thought in my mind each morning, and the last thought at night.

I once had a boyfriend who used to say that to me. He was a one night stand that lasted two years, unfortunately - I'll call him The Drunk, because that's what he was. 

"You're the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing at night", The Drunk used to say to me, in between implying he was planning to hurt me physically and actually wielding the emotional violence that left a far deeper scar.

And I thought he only said that thing because he was a psychotic alcoholic. Don't get me wrong - I am not exaggerating here. The Drunk was an alcoholic, and he was psychotic from time to time, in a clinical sense, and that is part of the reason it took me so long to leave him. But it's another story, and I'll leave it for a later time.

First thing in the morning and last thing at night. I didn't really understand it then, but now I do. The Drunk was obsessed with me, and in turn I am obsessed by a man I haven't heard from in nearly two months - a man who actually knew The Drunk, I realise with some surprise as I write this - and I am reminded of it every morning and every evening.

Each morning his name pops into my mind, unbidden. I open my eyes to the weak morning sun shining through the lace curtain and falling across the bed where I sleep with my husband, and it's his face I see instead. I'm sleepy and warm and happy thinking of him, and then as the truth rolls across me like thunder it's as if I've been stabbed. The second thought of him makes my insides curl with disappointment and longing, his eyes reaching deep inside me and gripping my heart, squeezing it dry with agony.

How melodramatic of me. I justify it with the fact that it's because I'm barely awake.

On the cusp of consciousness, everything that is buried below is so much closer to the surface - and it only takes the lightest raking to expose it; and there it is, my amputation, raw and leaking blood.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Every drop of sweat a tear

Sitting there in the gym clinic, with the cuff wrapped tightly around my left bicep, my blood pressure reading was 109 over 73.

So it seems that while my heart may well feel like it has been crushed to a bloody pulp inside my ribcage, all scientific evidence appears to point that the grim reality that it is not, in fact, broken.

On the contrary, it's intact, steadily pulsing away with involuntary electric shocks every second ... well, less than every second actually, as I was also informed that my resting heart rate is 55 beats per minute. How's the irony of that? Not only is the thing apparently not broken, it defies me by appearing to be in top condition. .

Pshaw. Science. What do they know? You can't measure heartbreak with instruments.

After ripping the cuff off with a satisfying tearing noise, I climbed mournfully onto treadmill. These days, I use exercise as a panacea, a longing attempt to distract myself from the inside of my own head for a single hour. I run, and run, and run; and I never get as far away from myself as I would like.

Today, 60 minutes and 8.5 kilometres later, every drop of sweat that fell from my forehead felt like a tear.

The Story So Far



To suffer heartbreak within a marriage must be one of the sharpest agonies of all - especially when the truth is that your heart is shipwrecked upon the shore of a man who is not, in fact, your husband.

But I'm getting ahead of myself already, and it's only my first entry. Too much, too soon. I need to retrace my steps, and let you know how I got to where I am - once again, this hauntingly familiar place.

So, where to start?

Let's go back in time. It's been seven and a half weeks now.

For seven and a half weeks I've lived only for the ping of email arriving in my Inbox, bearing his name and carrying with it the sound of his voice. Only seven and a half weeks ago, I was perfectly happy.

At the beginning, I was eager to boot up and log on; sure that the cool crackle of electricity connecting him to me across the seas would deliver something warm and tender that I could keep next to my heart. I knew of course that I'd have to delete all evidence of it, that I'd never be able to keep a memento of our conversation.

First though, I'd fall on his words and devour them - read them, and re-read them, and feel them resonating deep within me. I'd savour the sound of his voice like salt upon my tongue.

And then I'd ruthlessly remove all evidence of their existence, and it would be as if they were never there. I'm not stupid.  

That's the thing about affairs, you see - the idiots who get caught usually do something silly, like leaving a trace behind. Like criminals, it's the little things that trip you up. A forgotten text message here, a saved email there; they're all crumbs that lead back to the cottage in the woods where the fairytale takes place.

And you know what happens to the villains in fairytales, don't you?