The last couple of days I’ve been stuck on the last time The Ex and I went out, a last date if you’d like. We drove up to Barrenjoey Head with the dogs and wandered around in the rain. I have this picture of a blurry Coco jumping on me and its the last photo I have of her when she was still mine. Is this delayed grief?
I remember we drove around looking at the shops and thinking “I’ll come back and look at those places one day when its not raining”. We had fish and chips in the car with the dogs stealing chips and we then drove back to St Ives and stopped at Max Brenner for a hot chocolate. I remember saying that if you want to keep me happy, Max Brenner was a good place to start. I wasn’t long out of hospital and i think this was an attempt to be normal and hold things together that were already crumbling . The dogs curled up on the backseat and went to sleep while I watched the houses, the trees and the rain from the window. I remember The Ex being attentive and wanting it to last.
I see flashes – the Barrenjoey lighthouse, Coco jumping on me, the main street of Palm Beach, the pub on the corner that had jazz on sundays, walking back to the car with hot chocolates and overexcited dogs.
It was the kind of day I’d always envisaged as a weekend spent together – going somewhere nice to walk the dogs, chatting, drinking nice coffee and just being together. We were a shipwreck and I was still sporting a bandage on my left wrist. No one would have known just looking at us that we were on the brink of divorce. Funny thing about facades – you can never tell what lies behind them.
Its surreal to think of that day now. On the surface the perfect ‘family’ day. On the underside distress, desparation and turmoil. Finding joy in the dogs and hot chocolates, but not each other. I think I still wanted to believe we could work, that our marriage was secure but in truth was I just trying to cling on with my fingernails? I don’t think it was long after that day that I made the decision to leave.
Why is this day coming back so clearly right now? Its the last day of many things and perhaps its about letting go. This idea of the ‘perfect’ day. What can look like the perfect day is not always the case. The idea of the ‘perfect’ partner, perfect dogs, perfect life. Its not real.
I haven’t spoken to The Ex in 6 months and I think of him every so often but in alot of ways I’m not interested. From so desparately trying to hold onto him that day to now not caring its hard to reconcile the two. I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with him.
And maybe that is the crux of it. That was the last ‘together’ day. The last time I was part of a couple, of something bigger then me. The last time I was married. I still struggle with the idea that I am here – single and on my own. Not having another half to support me. Not being part of a couple: ‘Willow and —-‘. Having to go to sleep on my own and wake up on my own. No one to hold me or just kiss the top of my head to let me know they are there. Its not the same with your family and its definately not the same online.
I know its not going to work with Angel. Tau even came back the other night and just seeing him brought back the intensity of emotion that I felt for him. But none of its real. None of them will be there when I need them. None of them will hold me. Its just not real.
I am jealous of older couples walking hand in hand. I gave ten years of my life to The Ex building those foundations of a future I thought we would share. And its not going to happen like that. I’m not saying that it may never happen because I don’t know what is around the corner. Its just hard to reconcile in my heart this being alone thing. I know breakups, deaths and separations happen every day and I know everyone goes through heartbreak. This is my truth and it hurts and I think that is why I still see that day.
It was the last day I wasn’t alone.