MY YEAR OF GETTING OVER YOU

The crazy things people will do to forget about love.

Day 1

Chris is in the bed, next to me. I smile to myself knowing that at any moment I’m going to feel his breath on my neck and his hand grip my thigh and pull me in towards him. Instinctively my back will arch to meet him. He will whisper “come here baby” and, as always, I will melt at his touch and crave him with every fibre of my being.
Suddenly I’m aware of an unfamiliar smell and of a heaviness in my chest. My eyes sting and feel swollen. I try to open them but they are sealed closed with sleep and puffiness. I pat the space in the bed next to me. I’m alone. And then I see it. The avalanche coming towards me. It gathers pace and I am powerless against it. I curl up into a ball as the momentous events of the previous 48 hours crash into me, and knock the air out of my lungs. I let out a muffled scream as I am pinned down by the force of the painful memories. The affair, the sobbing, the utter betrayal by the man who only six months previously had asked me to spend my life with him.

It’s Sunday. Sands has gone to teach a yoga class. I stay in bed as long as my bladder will allow. I walk into the tiny but immaculate bathroom and pull the cord to turn the light on. I brace myself in preparation for the reflection that’s about to greet me in the bathroom cabinet mirror. Instead, when the light goes on, I see a post it on the mirror that reads:
“EVERY JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES STARTS WITH A SINGLE STEP :) love you, Sands xx”
I smile. “Bloody hippie” I say out loud and note that my voice is hoarse.

I remove the post-it and come face to face with my reflection. My dark mane is tangled and frizzy, my eyes, usually so bright and alert today are bloodshot and dull. I peer out of the tiny slits and take in my appearance with a sigh. Looking particularly ratty today, I note. My skin is blotchy and my lips are cracked. I am the physical manifestation of my broken spirit. There’s another post-it on a neatly folded creme coloured towel that reads “For you xx”
I stand under the shower and allow myself to feel some pleasure in the hot water pummelling my head and shoulders. I indulge this feeling until eventually the water runs cold.

To try and lift my mood I put some music on, but every song I find, even the most trite throw-away pop, seems to have suddenly developed new meanings that rub salt in my wound. It infuriates me to hear feelings of betrayal, heartbreak and despair be reduced to a catchy ditty to 145BPM.
The silence is unbearable, and allows the thoughts in my head to be all the more loud. I walk into the kitchen to make a cup of tea and turn the TV on. A morning chat show is on, a young man with messy black hair is talking animatedly. His leather jacket creaks every time he moves, betraying the fact that it has just been bought, and blowing his cover as a genuine “rocker”. I recognise him from a terrible scripted reality TV show called Camden Brawl, which followed the lives of young artists and scenesters in London. He was the token rock n roll character, Jack something. The tabloids loved him. Dumb, arrogant, womaniser. I open the cupboard to look for teabags and find another post-it; this one is stuck to a packet of milk chocolate digestives “For you, gorgeous girl xx” The gesture, and choice of biscuit, warms my heart and brings a tears to my eye.

I’m tuning out of whats happening on TV when when I hear words that suddenly jolt me. “Yeah, it was pretty amazing how quickly that whole thing happened. One day I’m Jack the lad about town, the next I’ve got a record deal with Action Records!”
Oh no. Please god no.

FLATTY

My finger stayed on the buzzer far longer than I meant it to, but as had so often been the case in the last 48 hours I had once again become lost in space and time. Luckily the bell emitted a series of fairly pleasant, chirpy bing-bong sounds rather than a long, continuous harsh ringing. Rather like Sands herself. Can I read anything into Sands’ doorbell being as upbeat and pleasant as she is? Probably not. If my doorbell was to reflect my current situation, it would emit a low, crackled groan. Or maybe a sigh. As it stood, though, I had no home, no door. And certainly no bell.

I let my hand fall away and grabbed the suitcase to my right, as I heard Sands’ footsteps approaching the door. I clenched my fits tightly round the handle of my bag and held my spider plant close to my body, giving myself a secret hug in the process. I took a deep breath in and steadied myself. Please don’t ask me if I’m ok. Please. Don’t ask me if I’m ok. If there was one thing guaranteed to make me lose it, it would be to ask me if I’m ok.

The door swung open, and Sandy stood beaming in front of me, like a mirror image of everything I wasn’t. Her blonde, shiny hair hanging like silk curtains over her bare and perfectly toned shoulders, a tiny pale blue vest cupping her tiny perky tits and matching her huge eyes, twinkling with excitement. Seeing her made me stand up a little straighter for a fraction of a second.
“ROOMIE!” She shouted as she embraced me.
“Sands we’re not American” I said into her neck, paralysed from the force of her embrace. “If anything it’s flatty” I said flatly.
She released me and put her hands on either side of my face and smiled
“Ok flatty, let’s get you settled in then”
She picked up the suitcase to my left and I followed her in.
“Thanks for not asking if I’m ok”
“Well the text you sent me was pretty specific about that.”

I followed Sands into her spare bedroom. The bear wooden floorboard creaked under my feet as put my bags down and took in my surroundings. White woodchip wall paper, a wraught iron bed, with a stripped mattress. A white bedside table, a chest of draws with a tv on it, and old dusty blue curtains hanging on either side of a window that looked onto shabby back gardens, over-grown and unused over the winter months.

I sat on the edge of the bed and felt a wave of despair wash over me. I pushed my fingers into my eye sockets and slid them across my eyebrows, stretching the skin over my face so I looked like a feature in a women’s mag about “When Surgery Goes Wrong”
“I can’t believe he did this to me Sands.” I said, through my stretched lips. She crouched down in front of me, her long white cotton trousers brushing the floor, and placed her hands on my knees. “And I can’t believe I have to do all THIS again” I said motioning the room with my arms.
Sands stands up. “One thing at a time, babe” she walks out of the bedroom and into the only communal room in the flat, the kitchen. “You look like you haven’t eaten anything for a while, so first things first, I’m going to make you a raw juice, it’s good for your serotonin levels!”
“Make sure you put plenty of vodka in it then”