After our night of passion, the genius and I part ways. No one’s hurt or angry. There are no bad feelings. But we both recognise that this isn’t and probably never will be love. There’s no point flogging a horse that, if not quite dead, is very unwell. She does leave me a parting gift though when she messages later to say:
“I had fun last time so feel free to call me in an emergency 😉 x”
I smile and slide the gift under the bed. Just in case.
The truth is, there’s another reason this won’t work: Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Thai. At the time, I was so hung up on the Friend I never gave us a proper chance. Every time we kissed or laughed or got close I’d feel guilty and back off. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see it was the Thai who made me feel good, who treated me kindly, who left me in no doubt that I was the one she wanted.
I regret deeply what I missed out on. So I text her one night, drunk:
“Don’t know if you want to hear from me or if you’ve moved on but I’ve been thinking about you…”
A few days later, I text again. And again. And again. Not one word.
And then it occurs to me – maybe I’ve hurt this woman terribly. Maybe she’s furious. When we were dating, the Thai told me she didn’t feel safe and I gave her endless reassurances that she was.
How can I be so naïve to think she would consider me again? I treated her like shit. Seeing myself through her eyes, I’m shocked.
So often, what I write about is the failings of others and why they weren’t right for me. But, given the chance, what might my exes say about me?
Maybe that I don’t see the pain I cause. That I can rip through a heart like hurricane and because I’m unscathed, I don’t see the gutted schools and homes in my wake. I’m oblivious, a blithering idiot who floors someone with a joke when they’re already on their knees: Oh did I…hurt you? Oh right. Sorry about that. My bad!
Maybe that I want to be wanted. I want to be loved. And so I claw at things that are dead and buried, drag them up, desperately trying to find warmth in their shrouds. I’m selfish. I give hope where I shouldn’t. I don’t let them move on. I confuse and befuddle and worry the women I claim to care about. Blue Eyes was worried at the end. She could feel my inauthenticity. She knew I was lying when I held her. And it didn’t matter how much I yearned for it to be true or how good my intentions were – it was still a lie.
Maybe that I judge. I punch holes in other people’s characters but I’m always holier than thou. Who do I think I am? I hold people to the highest moral standards and dismiss them if they even wobble on their pedestals. I forgive myself for my failings over and over and over again but I don’t grace anyone else with the same generosity of spirit.
The woman I choose to see in the mirror is the airbrushed one. The hard, dark, ugly parts are there, as they are in all of us, but they’re slotted under the bathroom sink: out of sight, out of mind. And mostly, that’s fine. But then I meet someone like the Thai, who probably could have made me really happy if I’d let her, and I lose her.
And I can’t avoid looking in the mirror any longer.