In the Real World

When you broke our relationship, I was trying to let you in.

I’ve built a lot of walls in the last few years. I’ve nearly perfected the art of seeming to be an entirely open book, someone who easily lets people in on the insides of the deepest, darkest parts of their soul as easily as breathing.

But I know that as soon as you dip below the surface, you might realise I’m further away than I seem. There’s a whole maze of walls and towers, and a lot of the doors I think I’ve lost the key to.

Standing in the middle of them, sometimes I see them. Sometimes I can run my hands over their rough surfaces, acknowledging every scar where someone has beaten fists against them.

And sometimes I bury myself away so I don’t have to look at them.

I know you were on the other side of them for the whole time we were together. Hell, you even inspired some of them. I’m sure for most of our relationship, I was an emotional tempest you seemed to be caught in, unable to understand the pushings and pullings of the wind.

For the most part I was fine with you being outside. I thought I could live quite fine that way. It saved a lot of work, trying to navigate my way around pulling those walls down, and if you couldn’t understand what barely simmered towards the surface, I knew you couldn’t understand what raged below. So I tried to protect you from it.

But you picked holes. 4am skype messages, rambling monologues about how bad I was making you feel, from instances three months ago where I happened to raise my voice a little when you interrupted me in the middle of something. I would try to explain them to you, tell you the stories about the inside of me…but it was trying to explain a cartographers masterpiece to someone who wanted a satnav. Eventually I began to feel guilty, and the promise to change was not the promise to change but the promise to build another wall so you would never see that part of me again.

But then you complained I was distant. I went away and tried to work out how the maze worked so I could let you in. I threw you messages over the wall…

But the real world is much less romantic.

In the real world, you refused to sleep next to me, and painted sleeping on the couch as the superior option. I tried for compromise. Sometimes, I said, sometimes, so I could feel comforted by your weight next to me. You did once.

In the real world, I wanted stability, and your promises of this were gone as soon as you were bored. You promised to support my attempts at gaining access to University, you said you wanted to look after me. But then at a time where you’d already threw my access to funding, my access to an income, into disarray, you decided, degree in hand, that this one didn’t suit you and you wanted another.

In the real world, you stayed up until 6am while I slept, then my route to tea and breakfast was always hampered by your sleeping form, simultaneously making me feel guilty about wanting to eat and drink and reminding me that the position of scorned husbands was better than by my side.

In the real world, you started to drink every night after work, once getting so drunk you puked at 2am in favour of spending your day off with me.

In the real world, when I told you that your drinking was a trigger to me, trying both to explain why you needed to stop and that I was hurting. Instead of apologies and comfort, I was ignored for two weeks.

In the real world, I escalated into illness.

In the real world, the sound of my breaking was met with “but I was not the one who traumatised you”, it was met with, “I’m hurt”.

In the real world, when I said “this isn’t working”, you didn’t even attempt to fix it. You assumed it was gone. So I bit back tears and told you to get out my life, opting for easy platitudes over voicing my real feelings.

In the real world, you offered advice to my friends on why living with someone was different to talking to them, thinly-veiled attempts at telling them what a crazy, horrible bitch I am.

In the Real World

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