I planned each chapter meticulously. Every plot and goal carefully detailed and dictated. It would be a masterpiece, a best-seller. It couldn’t possibly fail, not with this level of attention to detail. There was only one part of the narrative I couldn’t control. One detail I couldn’t write into the climax. The great loss that was my mother would be a bitter, unexpected tragedy, so everything else had to perfect, to allow for this huge demise. I would finish my PhD exactly as planned, on time. It would be a portfolio of meaningful, scientific, impactful work. I would find a job with equal meaning, making a difference, fixing things to make up for the one thing I couldn’t fix. I would always strive for more. Pushing myself to be better, stronger, more determined. I would marry at a reasonable age to a reasonable man, a man with good morals, a man my mother would approve of. I was ready for all of it. I was almost ready to publish when you disrupted my entire plan. I didn’t write you into my story. I didn’t have room for you. Every character had already been accounted for. I didn’t think there was room for you. What I didn’t realise at the time was, you weren’t a character I would write-in last minute. You, you were the entire story, the entire plot. Now, the story I didn’t write or plan for is the only one I care about and you and I are the main characters. And now, none of the other details, storylines or plots are planned. The only thing we can count on, is us, You and I. For the first time in my entire life I am unsure of everything, everything but you.
I tell him all about you. I laugh at your attempts to set me up with a Starbucks barista who really just wanted to take our order and never see us again. I cry at your pain. It is all mine. Your moments of pure joy, were my moments of pure joy. Your pain cut through us both like a sharp knife. I tell him so I won’t forget. I tell him because one of the saddest things in the world, to me, is the fact you will never meet him and he will never meet you. He would make you laugh. He does that self-deprecating, underdog thing you would have rooted for. He would have admired you in every way because you are the literal meaning of the words ‘strength’ and ‘determination’. You would have debated and playfully argued. He would have feared you. And loved you. I tell him about your past. I tell him about your journey. I tell him about your final destination but I tell that story with tears strolling down my face and onto his.
I tell him because with each passing day you get further from me.
I tell him because I am scared.
More than anything I am petrified that one day I will wake up and I will forget how you would sip your tea.
I tell him because you were mine and now he is too.
- Relationship counselling.
It might seem like you are jumping the gun a bit but as soon as that fifth date hits, get yourself a good, objective professional to help you guys work through your issues. Your friend Sarah who is a law graduate who has seen over forty episodes of ‘Cheaters’ is perfect. Get ready for relationship bliss.
- Social Media.
Be sure to post every relationship update on Facebook. It lets the world know how in love you are and it is fun!
- Make sure you are his social life.
Friends? Lol, that was pre-Christina hun. He doesn’t need anyone else if he has you. You provide him with all of the social, emotional and physical needs he could possibly require. I don’t care if Rob has been his bestie since birth, he is annoying and interferes in your super healthy relationship.
- Passwords and Privacy.
Just download a decent app to track his movement and whereabouts. What’s that babe? You visiting your granny? That’s funny cos I’m pretty sure she isn’t residing in a downtown strip club. Ima lose my shit in about 2.5 seconds.
- Keep him guessing.
Men love it when you mess with them. Remember that thing I said didn’t annoy me? Today it enrages me and tomorrow, I probably won’t care. Am I off my meds? Am I on them? He loves the mystery.
- Tell him your opinion on absolutely everything.
It’s hardly your fault his sister decided to have her engagement party on your dog’s half birthday. Don’t be afraid to share it with him and everyone else at the party.
- Get drunk.
5 mint leaves
1.5 teaspoons of sugar
500g of Cereal
It started on a hazy summer night. Two incredibly broken people and one bottle of champagne. Nobody else understood. We danced beneath the moonlight and everyone else melted away, we were the only ones left. We celebrated our flaws and embraced each other’s broken pieces. Turned out that my missing pieces almost fitted yours. Where had you been this whole time? I had no idea this dark utopia existed until you came into my life. You were that music that penetrated the vacuum. We moved fast. Trauma does that to you. It binds you. It bonds you. It’s kind of a permanent thing. We danced in that same moonlight until your mind started to wander elsewhere. Suddenly our safe haven wasn’t enough. It was too safe. You craved the broken, the wild, the untamed, the unconventional. All I ever wanted was a peaceful existence. Not you though, you craved the noise, the lights, the entire world outside ours. The same world that never understood you, was now pulling you further and further from me. Why? You wanted me because I defied your expectations. You celebrated my loud voice and brash opinions, remember? The same opinions that you are now trying to shape, the same voice you are now trying to silence. Where did I lose you? Were you ever mine? Was it just circumstance? Was it just a bottle of champagne and pure chance? Was any of it real?
I wanted the man that danced on the edge with me, the one who was raw and authentic and totally flawed. I don’t recognise you now. You are bored. You seek a new trauma, a new life-changing event, a new partner in crime. I am finding it harder and harder to listen to your remarks and critiques. Remember when you craved my flaws, creating poetry out of each one, letting them melt into us? My flaws are now the butt of your jokes, your tired, over-used jokes. You perform to this non-existent audience. We used to be on that stage together but there isn’t room for me anymore. You take my trauma and turn it into funny anecdotes and droll party pieces. When did that happen? I’ve heard a lot about love and this isn’t it.
When I was nine years old you told me I could be an astronaut, in fact you told me I could be whatever I wanted. I now realise that was ridiculous since I was almost legally blind and got car sick.
That is when you planted the seeds. You were raising me not to settle. You encouraged all of my whimsy and ridiculously free-natured mannerisms. I didn’t realise it then but now, I understand. You told me never to accept what I find to be mediocre. Not in love, not with my passions, not with my friendships and especially not with my dreams. You made me laugh when I was sad or angry. You gave me my sense of humour. Now, after a day of lab work that has gone wrong I make a joke and we both laugh. I got this quality from you. When I am broken you help me find the missing pieces and you constantly tell me I could find them without you but I know that isn’t true. You push me when I am on the verge of quitting and you tell me to run when it isn’t worth fighting for. You never doubt me, even when the world is telling me I’m taking the wrong path, you trust me, blindly and totally. This is where I get my blind faith from.
Most importantly, you taught me what true love and mutual respect looks like. When I was growing up I always knew I wanted someone to love me the way you loved mum. It is because of you that I know what I deserve. It is because of you that I didn’t settle in love. I wanted the blissful existence you both had even when times were hard. I wanted someone who looked at me the way you looked at mum even until her final day. Others would say that love like this is fictional and unrealistic but having seen it first-hand I know I too can have that. You made me want someone that really would love me in sickness and in health. You know what? You knew that mum might not live until old age and you didn’t care. You watched her brother lose his battle with CF and you threw caution to the wind and followed your heart. I wanted that. You taught me that love doesn’t involve logic or science. Love doesn’t follow any rules or any perfect path. When everything in our lives was dictated by timelines, rules and regimes you showed me that this one thing wasn’t. None of it mattered. All that mattered was this indescribable thing you felt for her. For all of this, I am eternally grateful. You taught me endless lessons. You are the unsung hero of our story, did you know that? I really mean that. You held us all together when we were almost falling apart. When a mean boy hurt my feelings you drove to my university campus to take me home and when mum lost her damn good battle with CF you promised me everything would be okay eventually.
Thank you for being my best friend, my role-model and my inspiration.
I love you.
-Your favourite child by default,
Is this letter three or four? I can’t bring myself to keep track because with each letter a huge chunk of time has passed. A chunk of time in which I haven’t seen your face or heard your voice. How crazy is that?
I’m angry today. It’s the kind of anger that’s tinged with sadness though so it isn’t very intense. I thought when you left this earth that all the uncertainty would go with you. Isn’t that naïve? You left and so did my opinion on almost everything. I’m stuck in this place I never thought I’d be. The fence. On all things. What am I doing, mum? If there was ever a time in which I desperately needed your guidance it is now. You left me and soon after, so did he. Now, I stand here, shocked like I’ve been in some tragic accident. Winded and bleeding. You see, at first I thought you threw me a lifeline. A loud, unhinged, fun, glittering lifeline. It was right there, handed right to me and I grabbed it with both hands. I was grateful, relieved, I was alive again. I could hear the music and see the blinding lights. I laughed until I cried again and remembered the concept of pleasure.
But then, suddenly, I saw the lights flicker and the music that I once enjoyed seemed brash and a little too loud. I hadn’t anticipated it. You see I thought that it was my life boat, I thought it was the glue that would piece it all back together. I thought, just maybe it was the solution. I realise now that was naïve. I always have been a romantic though, you know that. I wanted this to be it. My silver lining. Now, mum, I’m worried my silver lining will rain on me. I fear that this silver lining is capable of hurting me just as much as the rest of it. Maybe I’ve just been lucky until now. I just don’t know. Are you watching it all? Have you seen the entire thing? Have you seen the exciting beginning and the delicate and sweet climax? Have you seen the end? Is there one? Who am I mum? Is this really me? I pretend to have a hold on it all but it’s slipping away like sand through my fingers.