Chapter 3 When you broke up with someone,
When you broke up with someone, it was rather surprising that it wasn’t the heartache that bothered you the most, at least not in my case. You know that one of Britney Spears’ world famous songs had a lyric like: “………my loneliness is killing me!……” something, which was so true. (I do listened to pop songs, I was quite shameless to admit it. You would be surprise the number of people who loved pop songs but far too scared to admit it, just because they were afraid others might think they were low class. Ended up they all being forced to fake their interests on some metal rock, insects singing, or some truly boring music) For next few weeks, the enormous lump of loneliness took over my life. No, I was still awfully busy, the semester had begun and I was running all over the place like a horse. I actually purposely took two extra totally non-nurse related papers (Linguistics and Introduction to Buddhist Philosophy) and one extra shift during the weekend. It just that you’ve been spent the last couple of years of your life with someone and suddenly that person was no longer there. The emptiness, usually followed by the loneliness, was really awkward. I had this urge every day to let Carl knew I missed him terribly and I want him ditched that Daphne woman and came back to me (there were actually a couple of times I was almost going to do so. Luckily my normal logic sense managed to pull me out of it before any massive destruction was done.) The feeling of totally alone on this very planet was so overwhelmed sometimes, I actually reckoned I would be better off just died.
When you had such a powerful loneliness and emptiness in your heart, like rubbed salts onto injuries, heartaches were hurt like hell. It was like if you were run over by a spacecraft, dipped into some boiling oils and then dropped into a pool of lava; or someone cut your chest open, pulled your heart out with all nerves still attached and poked it with knife. (not if any of you were going to experience this in your lifetime, I was just using this to make you had some kind of references about how painful the heartache was). Carl and I had known our relationship had come to an end, but until the grand finitio I was sort of hoping it would still turned out to be all right, maybe Carl still loved me, maybe I was just overreacting, maybe…you know, all those “things will sort out by itself”, “whatever will be, will be”... that kind of rubbish (and I never thought of, not even once, that maybe this was the way things meant to be, funny that). When this actually came to an end, I was actually surprised that the pain I’ve experienced was as bad as those who have been cluelessly dumped. It was like jumping off the cliff. You started with walking towards the cliff. You knew you were going to jump all along, not that you didn’t know anything and you were suddenly in the mid-air and fell off at high speed or something. But when you finally jump, the feeling of fear still shock you and you still ended up shattering to bits.
I spent the next few days nearly cried my eyes out. No, seriously I nearly cried my eyes out. My skin was allergic to almost everything. Since I was a little girl, my mum had to go through a whole lot of trouble by applying sunscreen every time before we went out (almost every time, after all, this was Australia we were talking about). And I was forbidden to touch anything when we were out, just in case I encountered something that would make me allergic (lord forgave my mum, the trouble of going through all those tests to figure out the source sometimes scared the hell out of her). When I was in the adolescence, you know, when we all became very image conscious, this problem had given me quite a bit of headache. Well, imagined you couldn’t wear makeup at all when you went to the ball; or couldn’t chose the beauty product in front of the fully stacked supermarket shelves, just because they all made your face allergic; worst of all, whenever you had a late night sleep, your face looked like a vampire had a chicken pot. Believed me, this was not very pleasant. Now you could picture when I cried my eyes were all allergic and red and puffy and that kind of stuff. I had to bury my face into a sink full of ice every day before I left the door. Anything could set me off into riverbank-bursting flooding drama, children having injections screaming their heart off, cute puppies, pop stars, reality shows (“that poor lady wasn’t picked by the bachelor!”), love scenes, massacres, even war on Iraq (“those poor beheaded hostages…”). This almost drove Zoë nuts whenever she came to visit.
“Oh Christ! Cut it off! Will you? These were just ‘Postie Pat’!” She nearly hit the roof when she spotted me weeping.
“But…..but that blackandwhite cat was so cute!” I weakly defended.
“They were puppets!!!!!” I swore Zoë must have cursed me a hundred million times behind my back.
Then I had to hide it from Carl while I was still in his place. I didn’t want him to know my true feeling towards him so he wouldn’t trap in some kind of love triangle maze. He no longer loved me. If I made him come back by showing him my feelings, then I was a very selfish cow. Plus thanks to his Italian genes (his family was second generation Italian immigrants), the full-on raw emotion to Carl was like air to us (no, he wouldn’t cried because of the puppy looked adorably cute. That was a bit too extreme to a normal human being). If he saw me cried, believe me, he would cry harder. Ended up we all needed icy water.
Although Carl insisted I didn’t have to, I still moved out of his flat within two weeks. What? After breaking up with your boyfriend, I didn’t think any girl in their right mind would still stay under the same roof with him. It just not right. Don’t you think? Pardon? Going back to your parents? Are you mad? If I went home every time I broke off with my boyfriend, I might as well not move out at all in the first place. No, I just needed a place by myself to heal my pain.
I was quite lucky, a tiny villa in Posonby needed a tenant urgently because the owner is going to his new job over the United Kingdom in two weeks. Everything was included. I even got a cat and a dog (owner couldn’t afford to bring them overseas, he had to leave them behind. I promised him I would take lots of photos and sent it to him every month). And can’t you believe it? I didn’t have to pay any bond, either. All I had to do was moving in asap.
The day I moved out was another emotional event. Carl and I both cried buckets. He insisted I shouldn’t have to move out, I insisted I should have. Persuasion and resistance back and forth, a simple one-morning event ended up taken nearly whole day. Almost the entire neighbourhood came to watch. I swore I heard our friendly next-door old Gary told one of the I-stick-my-nose-in-everything grannies that this was way better than Shortland Street and Coronations Street combined.
Why do people break up? If they knew all of these hassles they had to been through after, would any of them bother to break up?
If they know all the pain they had to been through after, would they consider not falling in love at all?
The strong tidal wave of our break up wasn’t ended there. It still took me a while to settle after moving out. Without a day went by I woke up in my new flat I was almost always having a hard time realising I was no longer in my old flat and Carl wasn’t in the house or even next to me, which lead to more crying campaign and more icy water to bury my face into. When the tears finally retreated slightly, I suddenly turned into an anti-social freak. With an exception of doing some essential groceries shopping (mostly for cat and dog), the only placed I would go were hospital, lectures and my flat. Pub? Sorry! Not interested. I’ve got plenty of stock myself. Gym? Why bother? No one was watching me anyway. Catch-up-with-your-friend lunch? No, I was not going to listen to other girls showing off their newfound fella or the graphic details about their love lives. I mean, why would I bother to socialise when the most important person I cared about was no longer there?
“You might meet someone new and much better.” Zoë tried to defence after setting up an Friday night outing with her and bunch of other guys and had me under the impression there were only me and her.
“They all look like handicaps to me.” more weeping.
“What about Doctor Owen? You know I can ask him to come as well.”
“Thanks, no thanks. I am not going to use him as painkiller.”
“Are you sure? You know he will be over the moon for you asking him out for a drink.”
“Yes, I am positive.”
“He’s not bad looking fella, you know.”
“Are you sure?” Now she was going around in circles.
“Have I made myself clear? I-ONLY-WANT-CARL!!!” Oh Christ! Why couldn’t she just leave me alone?
“Come-on! You and I both know this is just part of the process. You will get better one day. Join us! We will help you to get through this faster!”
“But I don’t want to get better.” Now even I started feeling I was a bit annoy: “Just piss off!”
“Is that how you treated a caring friend?” Zoë used her final straw.
“I don’t have any friend and I don’t need ANY!!”
Now that announcement cost me one whole week’s non-stop apology, a very expensive lunch and one of my favourite LV dresses. But that was another story and let’s just not dwells with that.
My self-alienation last about another two to three months.
No, really only two to three months, let me assured you.
What you heard about other people said their heartache last a couple of years or even lifetime was totally nonsense. “My heart was dead after that.” or “ He took my heart and destroyed it” that kind of thing, if you were with me (I would be really worried if my heart was really dead. That means the whole human race was actually weaker than we thought). The actual moan lasted only a couple of months. As long as you avoid it carefully (NB: this was the key), don’t touch the wound whenever you feel like. You would surprisingly found out at the end even though it still sore and badly bruised, it was no longer bleeding.
At least that was what happened to me.
Amazingly, day-by-day, I found myself got slightly better (just slightly, unfortunately this was not going to happen overnight like most of the literatures we’ve read and sometimes the progress was so small, even a snail could moved faster than that). And before I realised, the whole event no longer took a central part of my daily life. To my astonishment and delight (no one really want to stuck in that kind of misery forever once their common sense fully restored from the pain and misery), I started laughing at some comedy on the tele, managed to arrange my facial muscles to pose a smile at my new neighbour (Tony and Crystelle, an accountant and a recruitment consultant) when I was out walking “my” dog (I decided to name him “Gizmo”), last but not least, once I actually chat with Daphne on the phone for a good half an hour without trying or attempting to make any excuse to hang up or puked.
How did that happened? You might ask.
How did Daphne in her right mind would ring me?
It was Carl who rang first.
“Hey.” I just arrived home from one of my “non-nurse related” lectures, the phone rang.
It was Carl.
To be honest with you, I didn’t expect he would call, either. I almost dropped the phone when I heard his voice.
“How are you?” Goddamnit! How come his voice could still sounded so nice and gave me a great deal of comfort on the phone?
“I’m fine.” After a few seconds, I managed to squeeze my voice out of my lung: “Why do you ask?”
“Zoë told me you were not well. Are you sure you are all right?”
That cheek of her!!!
“She might be on P when she told you that. No, I am all right.”
Carl laughed: “All right then!”
Five seconds’ silence.
“What about you? How are you?”
“Oh! I’m well.”
“What are you doing?”
“Just finished dinner with Daphne. She’s doing the dishes.”
“How come you are not doing the dishes?............. Hey! You had dishwasher there, the cheek of you!”
“The dishwasher was broken! This is not the first time it happened. It happened once when you lived here, remember? You know this machine in kind of historic heritage. It was almost as old as this house.”
“The kitchen was flooded again?!!!” I laughed: “Far out! Do you remember last time I nearly cried when I saw the kitchen was flooded when I came home from the uni?” Arh, sweet memory.
“Yeah, and I had to move all the stuff around to wipe off the water. Now it’s my turn. You could have imagined what my face was like when I found out there was water coming out of kitchen. That was it! I chuck the dishwasher out and bought a new one. They are going to install it next week.”
I smiled: “And meanwhile, Daphne the angle came to rescue.”
“Yup!” Carl laughed, then he paused for a while. Sound like Daphne was talking to him.
“Hey, Bella.” He still called my nickname! That almost put me to the edge of another crying disaster: “Daphne wants to talk to you.”
“What does she want to talk to me for? She .....” Before I had a chance to finish my question, a female’s voice chimed at the other end of the phone. I had to say she sounded very nice: “Isabella? It’s Daphne here. How are you? Carl told me so much about you.”
“He does?” I was a bit surprised.
“Yeah! He always told me how sweet you are and what a funny person to be with. That make me soooo jealous, you know. He talked about you so much for a while I actually thought you and him still had a thing.”
“Oh really?” I would truely happy if we indeed still had a thing.
“Really. We’ve got to meet and have a couple of coffee together sometimes. Now tell me, Carl had a favourite dessert called………chocolate pudding? You know, with melted chocolate in the centre and when you dig the spoon in, they will come out over the plate thingy…”
“Yeah…he loves that stuff.”
“I know. He had described to me and told me how to do it several times and I still can’t do it properly. He told me you are the one who’s the master of that. Can you tell me how to do it?”
“What did Carl taught you? You know he had such a bad short term memory these days, sometimes I wonder if he was on some kind of recreational drugs........” Ended up I gave her a lecture over the phone on how to make Carl’s favourite chocolate pudding plus how to defeat his cheeky tricks on avoided doing house works. I cried whole night after that (as I expected. What did I told you? Don’t touch the wound.). But to my own disbelieve, I actually got up and went to work the next day, humming with the song on the radio on the way. You know, if this call came about three weeks earlier, I would have to call for a sick day off.
Last Sunday I even went for a whole day shopping spree with Zoë. The real walk-around-try-a-lot-and-break-my-wallet one. I bought myself an awful lot of new clothes.
“I see,” Zoë gave me a meaningful look: “here comes the mighty cure-all retail therapy.”
“Maybe I am.” I thought for a moment: “Maybe I am.”
I felt a bit guilty. Nearly 5 years’ together with Carl only lasted two to three months’ moaning? What happened to all those emotions I had all these months ago? What happened to the loneliness and heartache? Was that meant I no longer loved Carl?
I believed I still loved him and I still felt very sad when I remembered Carl. I still missed him terribly and I would still very happy if he was back to me. But since crying and self-pity couldn’t solve anything, I mean, Carl still with someone else, what was the point kept doing all this? They only gave you some internal injuries and achieved absolutely nothing. We lived in a 21st century these days, you see. Dragged around with those was so pre-historic.
Life goes on.
Sad, isn’t it?
The phone rang.
I answered the phone. It was Zoë.
“Heeey! It’s me! Since you had made some visual recovery. Do you want to come out tonight for a couple of drink with us?”
“Urrh... Okay!” I found myself replied.
“Sweet! I will ask Doctor Owen out as well.”
“NO!!” now she went a bit too far: “ Now listen to me, young lady. I only agree to go out with you tonight, not Doctor Owens. No offence, but I don’t not have any feeling towards him whatsoever at all. Okay? I do not need any male company. If you asked him to go out with us tonight, I swear to god our friendship will be officially finished and we will never ever see each other again. Now do I make myself clear?”
“Yes! Madam!” Zoë laughed and giggled like a 12 year olds: “Man! Now I see you’ve fully recovered. My glorious days are over!”