Spend more time with mom and dad.
Get more green into the diet.
Learn the violin again.
Get back to reading more books.
Travel the Golden Triangle with my best friends.
Complete the novel I have been writing.
Get over the love of my life.
They say that if you sit by Time’s Square long enough, you will see the whole world pass by.
Now I have never physically been to Time’s square, but I feel something similar about life itself.
It has been my deep belief that if you stick by the same spot patiently for long enough, you will come across what you were looking for. Because the world is in constant motion, and some day, those who passed by one point are going to come back there to complete their journey full circle. And if you were there to meet them when they returned, you never know where things could go from there.
It was January the first, 2016, Friday.
New Year’s. You know, that time when we all beckon to the million calls we ignore all year (or most of our lives) and decide to make everything in our lives right.
Some people call it New Year’s resolutions. I find that definition really binding, so I call it my ‘Yearly Bucket List’. What makes the two different is that a resolution makes you feel as though you need to strive all year long to deem it done. Whereas a bucket list gives you the illusion that it just needs to be done once, and you can strike it off.
So I fill my list up with all sorts of things that seem like a great idea on the first of January. I even toss in a few that I am certain I will never strike off. Like finishing that novel, who am I kidding?
And then there are a few you write down that you are not even certain how to accomplish. You know which one I am talking about, you have it on your list too.
This year I decided that I needed to move on from the man I had been head over heels in love with for close to a decade.
I met him eight years ago, and we were together for four. The years after are a blur of claiming I was over him, realizing I was not, accepting that he did not wish to speak with me any longer, trying to be friends, deciding against it, thinking that someday we would wind up together, thinking that someday he would want me back, fearing he forgot me entirely, trying to remind him about my existence in subtle ways, dating other people, trying to convince myself that other loves were as big as what I felt for him, wondering if he cared that I dated others, stalking every woman he has been with since, accepting that his love will always be a part of me.. you get the drift.
Even though we barely speak, as most estranged lovers/friends/family members do, we mostly send each other a text on three occasions, birthdays, Christmas, and New Year’s because you know, it would simply be inhuman to not if you actually remember. And I always remembered, with him, always.
‘Happy new year you!’ I said, it had to be said. He said it back.
Our conversation didn’t last for more than five basic exchanges. But it got me thinking. Maybe if I texted him often enough, we could actually become friends.
I was hell bent on changing his mind about me. I didn’t want him to actually fall back in love with me, I think, but I wanted him to see me as the person I had become. I wanted him to know me for who I was at that moment, and realize that I was everything he ever wanted me to be when we were together. And then?
Who knew? Maybe he would regret not giving us a shot, and say it to me in a moment of weakness. And maybe then I could finally move on, I think. Or maybe we could just transition into those exes who become friends-who-will-always-be-more-than-friends to each other. I knew those kinds of exes. They were, as we millennials love calling things, ‘goals’.
The years we spent together was a time I spent on a quest to strive harder, to become someone he would want to be with. All those years later, the man still had me striving just as hard. This time, I decided, I would strive to make my way back into his life.
All I would have to do was wait. Be patient, wait, and let him know that I was here. So on that first day of the year, I decided that I would text my ex every single Friday for the rest of the year.
It began well enough. I don’t think he noticed anything at first. Just the psycho ex’s umpteenth effort to get him to talk to her.
Our conversations were brief, and never really went beyond pleasantries. I would ask him how his week had been, he would give me an answer squeezed dry of any real emotion. I would ask him what plans he had for the weekend, and he was always up to nothing much. Nothing much that he wanted to share at least.
Like clockwork, every Friday my mind would go off with an alarm to send that text. Sometimes it was right at the beginning of the day, I would assume that we would be in his classroom. Sometimes it was closer to late afternoon, tea time. Sometimes it was right before I left work, I would picture him reading my message and keying in his half hearted response before he proceeded to drink the night away.
One Friday morning in February, I went to work, plonked on my favorite blue couch, and opened my laptop. The screen was blank, it wouldn’t start. I went insane. The entire day passed in a mix of apprehension and planning what I needed to do to repair my most prized possession as soon as I possibly could.
It was around 8 pm when my phone lit up in my hand. I was trying to locate my best friend after handing over my laptop to a dingy little store which I prayed could do magic for cheap. Make my baby breathe again, somehow.
‘No have a nice weekend message?’ So he had began to see my pattern. I smiled.
That day we came quite close to a real conversation. I told him about how awful my day had been. And then I told him how I had recently written an article about long distance, inspired by him and our relation, of course. My boss said he liked it. I felt the need to thank him. I think we spoke for twenty minutes that day.
Things returned back to the same after that evening. I used several spare computers until mine was fixed, and I still wanted my ex to have a good weekend every Friday.
Somedays, I would sit back and smirk at how it must bother him that I didn’t want more, I didn’t even try. I would think to myself that it probably drove him a little nuts not knowing why I was doing what I was doing. I think that was half the fun of it.
But then there were days he would make his snide little comments that were almost mean but not quite. Not enough to make him a legit bad guy, but if you read the fine print on the Being A Decent Human 101, you’d know better.
I hated that it still got to me, but I didn’t realize how each time I voluntarily shook it off, I shook off a little more of his hold over me. But I still needed that one shake, the one jolt that would set me straight. I got it when I least expected it.
I work at a dating app. I know, it’s an odd sort of job to have, but I love it. One of my personal favorite things about working for love is that you get a chance to retrospect and place your past into neat pockets, structured articles, with clean closures. But that can sometimes be a double-edged sword.
When all day, every day, you are trying to help people find the love of their lives, sometimes you wander into that lane you always get lost in, no matter how hard you try to steer clear of it. The love of your own life.
It was March 11th, Friday. I was on a ride back home from work when it happened. I don’t know what the trigger was, but I found myself bending over, holding on to myself for dear life, wishing that it would stop, the love. It had to stop. It had to leave me, all of it, all of me.
Was I going to spend the rest of my life a little in love with someone who would never love me back?
I couldn’t breathe. Something inside me was contracting, shriveling up, and I could feel it’s weight, ounce by ounce, coming together and knocking me down.
I don’t know how I made it through that ride.
The next day was a big day because of the day after. The day after was an even bigger day, it was the flea market day, and we had spent close to two months preparing for it. I was on yet another ride to a friends place when he texted me, out of pattern. An extra text on a Saturday, I wondered what was happening.
And then he said something to me that I will never forget. And suddenly I knew that I would never love him again.
You see, that was when I realized just how difficult moving on could be, or just how easy.
When we were together, I had confided in him a certain something that I rarely ever tell anyone. Oftentimes I have felt the silence on his tongue want to throw it at me, but until that day, he could never bring himself to say it out loud. Not even when he looked me in the eye post-breakup and said to me “Let us tell each other mean things and get it out of us”. I had nothing mean to say, and he chose to taunt me with what he would always leave unsaid.
That silence was what kept me hanging on for years. The hope that that silence meant something else, or perhaps nothing at all. But on March 12th, 2016, Saturday, I realized that it meant exactly what I thought it did, it always meant that. He never understood and he would never understand.
My only regret was that he didn’t say it sooner. So long, nice guy. So long, my love.
After a lot of thought, I decided that the only way to honestly know if I was over him was to keep at my Friday ritual. This time it was more a test I had set for myself than a snare for him. I had to know if the feeling would ever return if we remained in contact, or if it had indeed left me forever. For good, as they say it, and I finally know why.
Weeks that turned into months passed, there was more jeering from his end, and each time it only made me happier. Whenever he tried his usual antics to rile me up, I thought to myself how I was not with this man, and I never would be again, and how that was downright fantastic news.
It was June the second, Thursday.
That evening I thought about my ex and suddenly it dawned upone me. He was never my love, my love was mine and belonged solely to me. But it chose to wrap itself around him, and until it came back to me, I would never really be able to give it to another. And right then, I decided that I would give it to someone new because I finally felt that I had it back, all of it.
Along the course of all these strange events, there came a man I fell in love with. Head over heels, madly, passionately, ridiculously, insatiably in love with. That afternoon I mustered up the courage to say it to him and he returned the sentiment.
I think it was my favorite June second, it was also my current boyfriend’s birthday.
Speaking of birthdays, you know what they say about those things. It’s one of the few times in a year when you get to talk to those people whom you talk to only on Fridays. Okay they don’t say that but I did.
It was August the second, Tuesday. My birthday.
I thought he would wish me but he didn’t. So I asked him to. I had a lovely day. That was the last time I texted him.
I realized, along the way, that in all those Fridays, he may or may not have seen me for who I had become, but I saw him for who he had now become. Or perhaps I finally saw him for what he always had been.
It was December the second, Friday.
The day before had been his birthday and I didn’t wish him. I believe it is inhuman to not wish someone on their birthday, if you remember. But that’s the thing, I didn’t.