Something had been gnawing at me all day, but it was only in the evening when daylight had gone and everything had turned to sands of dusk that it hit me. It was August 18. The day I met L seven years ago. Has it been seven years already? How did seven years go by so quickly?
Then at that point, a wave of sadness came over me and seemed to engulf me and break my current consciousness. All of a sudden, I realized what had happened. Something that had been my life had died – in the way someone had a sudden heart attack and disappears from your life, your reality. And it seemed to have happened in a flash over the last couple of months.
I had been anticipating this moment of realization. When I wrote my post “Breaking Up” in June, it had struck me how removed I was from my “former” life, as if it had all been a dream that was somehow banished into a storage area of my heart and mind. But with the end of everything comes the need to grieve, to mourn the loss of all the hours, minutes and seconds that were lived and shared and everything in between. Because how else are you able to move forward? Every moment of your life from that point forward would be haunted by the shadows and ghosts of your former life, your routines, motifs and themes that exist in your memory bank. At every instant that you get that feeling of deja vu, like you’re back in that former life, it freaks you out, because you wonder if your present reality is real, if it’s not afterall a temporal state that has usurped the former.
Those two selves are always struggling to conquer the other – until you come face to face with your fears and accept that something has ended and that you had a huge part to play in taking away its last breath or chance of survival.
Truth is, I don’t think my marriage could have survived longer than a couple of months even if San Francisco and K, my new love, hadn’t happened. We were too different and a gulf had grown out of our innate differences. Every couple has differences between them, but somehow, some people fit and are able to make it work. We were not one of those couples. We were the kind of couple that grew out of indolence since we were together, we might as well stay together.
But we had our good times and it’s not like I never loved him. It’s easy to see something as inferior or unreal when you are dangled with shinier, newer objects of fancy. But it’s been hurting me in discontinuous pangs of guilt mixed with loss, heartache and general unease in the past week. A friend who’s going through a nasty divorce right now asked me if I miss him or wish we were back together. I replied a definite no; my pain is not borne of a desire to go back to the way we were, because the way we were was less than desirable (see countless blog posts). My pain is borne of the fact that we have been each other’s closest dependant for 7 years, that we share family, friends and memories and intimate knowledge of each other. And of course, we share the occasional moments of private laughter that can only be shared by people who know each other exceedingly well. That’s what makes it sad, because I not only broke up with him, I also gave up all those comforts that come with a long-term relationship.
And I can’t help but reassess the situation again and again and examine my own actions, wondering if anything could have been different. I don’t know that it could have been different, but knowing that doesn’t make me feel better at all. I guess this is all part of the grieving process.