They say there are five stages of grief… First there is denial. Everything slows down to an almost imperceptible crawl, leaving you with the numbness of disbelief and a full blown Fariku Singularity. You replay that final scene in your head again and again until it is etched in your mind like an indelible tattoo. You deconstruct the words hoping to find an iota of comfort; and when the lads ask you about her, you pretend the phone lines garbled that bit of speech, or mutter various incomprehensible answers.
After a while reality bites, and Anger rears its head. You want to do something to hurt, something that will somehow in your mind atone for the loss, even if it is irrational. You delete phone numbers, wipe out emails, cut off social connections and add details to block lists. It is all to no avail, like a giant worm chewing away at the insides of your mind, the dull ache of her name – and her face – remain, never mind the fact that you have dialled the numbers and emailed back and forth so much so that you know the details by heart.
In a rare moment of lucidity, you decide that Bargaining is an option after all. You convince yourself that you both had so much invested that at least one more punt – however unlikely it is to succeed – is warranted. You fire off the first salvo, it takes all of six days for a reply to come back. When it does, it is cryptic, impersonal and reads like something spat out from an automated answering machine. When you finally get to talk, it is clear there is still a mental connection, only the original issues remain and time apart has deepened the chasm.
Then depression comes in swingingly wildly; self-loathing hits you in the solar plexus and like a bag of potatoes suddenly cut loose from the weighing string you crumble. You mope around for days on end, make sloppy mistakes at work and even get pulled up by the boss. You go over all the events again, playing various what-ifs and what-mights in your head: if you hadn’t forgotten the birthday, if you had braved the odds and flown over for a face-to-face, if snow and work hadn’t conspired to pare 14 days down to barely six, if playful conversations about wanting only one child hadn’t taken on an unintended palor of seriousness, if…. if… if… It doesn’t help that normal life continues, and the odd lad still brings her name up in conversations. Each night, in the bits of solitude that the minutiae of the life she once shared excitedly used to fill, there are alternate overpowering urges: to call her, to cry, to kick a door in, to overdose on cokes, to just do something. In those unguarded moments when you lie awake till the wee hours of the morning tossing and turning, you wonder what it is she is up to, if she still thinks about you and if she’s moved on to another bloke.
In midst of it all, there’s you, and the one bloke who can relate, he of the listening ear who has walked these self same paths before. You talk, and cry, and finally find the release that unloading the hurt brings. You let go of the hurt and accept it wasn’t meant to be, and that only time can ease this pain. In the detached clarity of your new found pragmatism, you recognise the differences were always going to be an issue – red herring or not, and that there is no way back now.
Life’s finally come full circle, and with it a semblance of normalcy, the only reminders of the season of heart break are the holidays you never took and the sense of de ja vu – you’ve been here before and you survived, even back in 2009.