26th March 2012 - 7 mins read
I spent the next four days after the break up with Charles in a very bittersweet state of mind. I still couldn’t believe it was over in that way, but somehow I was calm. Later I came to recognize this stage as denial. But at the time, I was at peace. Scary peace.
It didn’t last for long. Less than a week after we broke up, one of Charles’s “friends” messaged me on Facebook, despite the fact that me and her never really spoke before. Charles had told me that she used to like him when we were together and before we met, so I knew she wanted to burn me. In one sentence, she said: “Hey! How are you? I just wanted to know did you hear about Charles and Rose? And how do you feel about it?” I didn’t give her the satisfaction she wanted, told her we broke up and he was free to do as he pleased. But inside, I was boiling with rage. My denial was over.
I spent those few days so upset over losing Charles and wondering how two people who were “so perfect for one another” couldn’t be together. But after this happened, I was suddenly slapped with reality. And it was harsh. Charles was not perfect. Charles left me for another woman. Charles threw me in the trash without caring for anything I had ever done or sympathy for my feelings. Charles was an asshole.
I picked up my phone and texted Charles. I knew he was traveling so I said: “Call me when you’re back. I need to talk to you.” And sure enough, the next day around 10:00 p.m., my phone rang.
Despite being a person with a wild temper and every inch of my existence shaking with anger, hurt and longing, I spoke to Charles in a calm, cool, collected voice. I was amazed at myself. After a series of formalities, I said: “Charles, when we were together, I did everything I could in my ability to make you happy. I never gave you trouble, I never picked fights with you, I never dumped my problems on you. Even when I found out what happened with Rose, I told you I forgave you and I let it go. But I don’t need to be hearing about it from your friends.” At first, Charles got defensive. He said that we were broken up so he could do whatever he wanted. I responded to him saying: “I’m not talking about you dating someone else. Do as you please. I’m talking about your friends rubbing it in my face. Don’t you think I’ve been through enough?” Charles gave in when he realized how much pain I was in and how I really had done nothing wrong to him. The guilt overcame him. He apologized over and over and begged me to tell him who the person that told me was. But I refused. I honestly didn’t care if he went and yelled at them. It wouldn’t have taken back what had happened. The damage was already done. So he persisted. But I still refused.
“Charles, it doesn’t matter who told me. It’s been said and no amount of you yelling at them will change the pain you put me through. All I’m asking is that you make sure your friends leave me alone. My friends wanted to talk to you after our break up and tell you what a big mistake you’ve made, but I wouldn’t let them. I expect the same courtesy of you. I did my part and deleted all your friends, every single one of them, from my Facebook. I’m talking to you now to tell you that this time I let go. This time, I was nice. Next time, I won’t let it go.”
I could hear Charles’s voice breaking on the other side of the line. But I stood solid. I didn’t want to give him a hint of weakness on top of what he had already put me through. All I heard on the line was apologetic explanations filled with sorry’s and rationalization of: “Rose is not my girlfriend, we’re not dating.” But I didn’t care. It was all background noise to me. To my surprise, Charles then asked to see me and I refused. He went on and on telling me that he wanted to give me back my things. Fed up, I finally said to him: “What part of this conversation makes you think I ever want to see you or speak to you again? Keep the things. Throw them in the trash. Burn them. I don’t care. I can’t believe that after everything we’ve been through you’d think I care about some insignificant items.” He kept persisting and I told him to call one of my friends to pick it up from him. He still didn’t listen and claimed he “had a present for me” he wanted to give me himself. Finally, just to shut him up, I said, “fine, we’ll see.” I never did get around to seeing him though.
It was the last time I ever heard Charles’s voice. I spent almost two years after our break up in torture. The strange this is, I didn’t miss him. I couldn’t even remember what he looked or sounded or smelled like. I would squeeze my brain trying to remember anything about him but save a few flashbacks, it was all a blur. What killed me was the strike of reality, of how evil people could be. I couldn’t stomach the fact I had let my guard down and trusted him, and he just threw me away in an instant. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again - Relationships are not a business contract. Just because you break up with someone, doesn’t mean you don’t owe them basic human decency. And it killed me that he thought he could do that and just walk away. Some people would think I sound like a bitter ex. But in reality, I’m a believer in human morality and honesty. I didn’t mind that Charles stopped having feelings for me because I think that’s normal and it happens. I was upset that I gave him a chance to walk away and he didn’t take it. I was upset that he believed that by lying to me, he was making me feel better. I was upset that being the one who didn’t walk away, I was sitting here tortured while he had already moved on. And most of all, I thought it was absolutely inhumane to cheat on someone, or whatever it is he wanted to call it. It was my first experience of cheating and being stepped all over and I was crushed.
One day, three months after our break up, I mustered up enough rage and pain and sat myself down in front of my computer screen. I typed him up a dissertation of a Facebook message with words so harsh it would melt stone to fluid. I asked him not to bother responding and naturally, he never did. Maybe he felt guilty. Maybe he didn’t give a shit and didn’t bother reading past the second sentence. Or maybe he was just a coward.
I thought sending him an angry message would alleviate my pain. But it never did. In fact, nothing did. Friends tried to console me and I even tried dating other guys. But nothing worked. The harsh reality of what happened with Charles was this: Nothing ever could or ever will relieve a woman of her pain of being left for someone else. I don’t know if it’s the same for men, not because I am sexist, but because I am not a man so I don’t know. What I do know is that when a woman is left for another, she spends an eternity blaming herself for something that wasn’t her fault. And it will always make her feel like she is not good enough for anyone else because in that situation, a part of her femininity is stolen and can never be given back. In my eyes, it is the single worst feeling a woman can have. And I spent forever drowning in that torture, stalking his pictures on Facebook, feeling like I wasn’t even half the woman she was. I found her beautiful and because I had known her in person, she was perfect in my eyes. Every passing thought of her drowned me worse in my own low confidence. And I don’t think I will ever recover from that.
I learned to co-exist with my pain after a few months and to my surprise, one night, I got a message on my phone. I was getting ready to go out on a first date with a guy I met a few days before and I looked down at my BlackBerry Messenger to see a message from Pixie. “DS, please, please, please don’t be mad. Charles gave me all your old things.” My heart sank all over again. It had been seven months after we had broken up and here he was returning my things long after I had told him I didn’t want them. I don’t know if he felt guilty having all those reminders around him. Or if he had just forgotten for so long. Or maybe he was trying to reach out to me. Whatever it was, I didn’t care. It was then I decided that Charles was mentally deranged.
I went to Pixie’s place to pick up the huge box of things I had given him throughout our relationship. As I looked through the contents, every item broke my heart just a little more with a flood of memories. Some of the things were mine, like blankets and pillows I had given him when his friends crashed at his house, and some of the other things were gifts. Very personal, thoughtful gifts that had no place in my possession. And some of the stuff was just plain weird. Like gum and chocolate I had given him a billion years back. On the spot as I stood staring into the box and feeling like crap that our seven-month relationship had been reduced to a box, I gave away some of the valuable things, took some of my personal stuff and drove home. Right outside my house, I lifted the box over my head with most of the things still inside and tossed it in the trash, where Charles and the memory of him belonged. In a moment of rage, I texted Charles saying: “You had no right to return those things. They were gifts and gifts are not meant to be returned. Don’t you think you’ve caused me enough pain? Anyway, since you insist on being this way, all your things will be on your doorstep tonight.” But I never did return the things he got me. I gave them away. And that was the last time Charles ever heard from me.
It has been two years and one month since Charles and I broke up. And despite telling me that I was the girl of his dreams and that he was leaving me because he didn’t want a commitment, him and Rose are still together till this day. The moment I found out about them, I prepared myself for the possibility that one day they would get married. And I don’t know if they will, but what I do know is that with the end of Charles, came the death of my fantasies of magical love and breathtaking weddings.
Kisses and hugs,