She saw the notification for a new friend request pop up.
“Jackson would like to be friends.”
She felt her heart sink to her stomach.
Of course, there he was, the kind and sweet man from the other night whom she had abandoned in the hopes of never having to see or hear from him again.
“New Message from Jackson”
“Small word hey runner?”
Backed into a corner, she reluctantly opened up the conversation window.
“Yeah.. about that. Sorry.”
Really? That’s what you choose to say? He is going to flip!
“That’s alright, I got the feeling you weren’t into it, or me, you could’ve just told me, you know. I’m just glad you’re okay.”
She was stunned, she had given up on the idea that people like him still existed. But as much as she was in awe of Jackson’s kindness she was equally frustrated with herself.
Why don’t I feel anything?
The two started chatting and they agreed to meet again; with a view to be friends this time. His unconditional kindness reminded her of the girl she used to be. She secretly hoped that spending more time with him would bring her back.
Over the next few weeks she would meet Jackson for coffee or dinner and they would chat about their days, their goals, their hopes and ambitions. While the company was appreciated it was clear that Jackson still held a vigil for her and her conscience couldn’t allow their meetings to go on.
“He’s holding onto hope for something that will never happen, ma. You are too. I don’t want to date, its exhausting. I don’t want to get married. I don’t want to be in a relationship. It’s not a big deal.”
She had repeated those words to herself as she lay in her bed.
Its not a big deal.
But it was a big deal. She did want to be in a relationship. She wanted to love and be loved, but she just hadn’t felt that way about anyone in a very long time and all this time with Jackson had made her wonder whether she ever would again.
She went to bed as she had the night before and several nights before that; hopeful.
My time will come.
I recently re-started writing (again). For the record, I never intended to stop, but it happens. Cyclically, actually.
The cycle is as follows:
Usually, it starts when I’m feeling a little over and/or underwhelmed. Then, as I write and release all of those pesky feelings, I create room for better things and that’s exactly what happens: Life gets better, and I write less and experience more. I get caught up in the experiences and the writing stops. Then too much life happens and/or life spirals and I feel like I’ve lost my bearings (again), so I return to writing (again).
What, rather how, I write also follows a pattern:
- When I have experiences, stories and sadness that I need to share (read: catharsis), I write (usually in the third person).Some feelings, experiences and stories reflect my own; others are figments of my imagination, but they’re all pieces of vulnerability. Every (published) post is an opportunity, or platform for criticism or judgement. While the alternative could be argued; that being, that each post is also an opportunity or platform to receive praise and attention, writing has always been intrinsically motivated for me and most times, quite personal.
- When I have something particular I want to share and write about, I write (exclusively in the first person). These are usually reflective or rant pieces. (For example, this post).
So, what has sparked the return to writing this time? Work. (work, work, work, work, work…)
My job has been mentally and some days physically taxing. I was starting to feel like all I did was train, go to work, eat, sleep and repeat for 6 days of the week… but with little to show for it. Very robotic. Very draining and very, dare I say, borderline depressing.
I also live alone and away from my family, so coming home to an empty flat day-in and day-out can get lonely sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love living on my own and I don’t quite think I’m ready to be ‘domesticated,’ but no (wo)man is an island.. and robots need love too.. among other things.
It’s safe to say, I needed a distraction, or an outlet and let’s be honest– Tinder does not satisfaction bring. Frustration, disappointment, bewilderment, yes. Satisfaction, no. But I digress…
Ironically, it was a Tinder date that inspired the return to writing, so I guess it’s not all bad. Nonetheless, within days I was writing again (although it was only recently that I started posting) and here I am on several days later reflecting/ranting about it.
See, cycle! 😉
“Mmhmm…. Oh, that’s interesting… mmhhmm… oh, great” she pretended to pay attention as she continued reading the screen in front of her.
“Well then? What do you think?”
She paused for a moment. What is she going on about? What do I think about what? I have a lot of thoughts. For example, I think this letter is overreaching, no way they have any evidence to back these claims. They’re just trying to intimidate the client. I’ll have to draft something up…
Right. Focus. What were we talking about. Just tell her she’s right. That’ll take care of it.
“You know what’s best, ma.”
“Exactly. So you’ll go out with him?”
“I thought you said you were listening? Your Aunt called, she met this lovely lady at the temple this weekend. She has a son, only child, he’s an accountant and he plays guitar. You like guitar, remember? You wanted to learn– he can teach you! He’s very interested; he’s seen your picture and says he’s seen or met you before? Where did you meet him? Are you dating? You should be dating! There are so many potentials!”
“Are we back on this again? I told you, I’m not interested. I’m not dating anyone. And what picture? I didn’t give her any pictures.”
“She found one from your Facebook page, by the way, you need some new pictures. Some with other people, wear something flattering and no more gym photos, you have to show variety.”
“I’m hanging up now.”
“Honey, listen, just add him on Facebook. His name is Jackson.”
Years ago, a dear friend, let’s call her Ms. G, told me of her experience after having finished her post-secondary education. She said she was so stunned by it all, she ended up buying a bottle of wine, taking it home and drinking it by herself. In my undergrad, my mentor often suggested having a relaxing bath with candles and music after presenting at a conference or a workshop. Recently, another dear friend, we’ll call her Ms. F, recommended lighting a candle and blowing it out, as grievance of a lost relationship.
Whether it’s a drink, a bath, or the blowing out of a candle, they all symbolise the same thing: closure. We all need it; sometimes we seek it from others, other times we have to provide it for ourselves, but without it we are left incomplete. It’s a homage, really. An appreciation of what once was, but no longer is— it demands celebration, grieving, something.
Today, I handed in my last assignment for my Masters degree and unlike my undergrad, or my law degree, this one marked the end of my ‘schooling’; at least in the traditional sense. After I handed it in, I went for a drive and ended up at the beach. Staring out into the tide as it began to rain. Closure, interrupted.
I came home and opened up the bottle of Ballentine’s my dad left behind. I lit a candle. I took out a glass, dropped in three ice cubes and poured just enough to cover the ice. Those who know me, know I don’t drink. Or smoke. Rest assured, I have plenty of other vices. But it felt like one of those occasions, you know. I swirled the viscous fluid and brought it up to my nose and felt a shiver through my entire body. Nope.
I sat alone in silence. Accompanied on occasion by the oh-so-unpleasant squawking of birds. I watched the ice cubes melt by the light of candle. I watched the flame flicker with each breeze from outside. I watched the flame engulf the wick from its blue base, to its yellow body, to the orange ember tips. I sat and watched as the wax melted into a puddle. Until eventually, the flame burnt out.