Without a Paddle

DSC_7824I drove Russell home and pulled up into his driveway. “I’ve been thinking….” oh dear, this can’t be good news. I put my foot on the brake. “I feel like there’s been a bit of tension between us lately…” he continued.

That’s how it started, in the next 30 minutes Russell broke up with me there in my car.

You’d think I’d be pretty used to it by now. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but it seems like people always break up with me within a month of my birthday.

I cried.

I tried not to, but I couldn’t help myself. I clearly remember that moment when I was telling my boss Irene about Russell, explaining to her how exciting it all was and how real it all felt to me. “Wow, you’re going to be so upset when it ends” came her prediction.

Like most of my friends, Irene saw it coming. “Oh, I didn’t think he was right for you.” “You deserve better.” “Plenty fish in the sea”. These have been the platitudes my well meaning friends have offered in the face of the void I now have in my life.

But the reality is: I don’t want perfect. I never wanted perfect. I was quite happy with my imperfect little relationship. More than that: I was overjoyed with my imperfect little relationship and my imperfect boyfriend. We lasted 6 months and as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, that’s a personal record for me.

I had to put the hand brake on and put the car into park. He reached over and hugged me close as I continued to sob uncontrollably. I managed to regain my composure for long enough to make it home, to explain the situation to a bewildered flatmate and get to bed.

I really don’t ever know what to do in this situation. Do I try get over him as quickly as possible? Do I try to get back together, no matter the cost? Do I just mope around the house feeling sorry for myself for the next few years until I’ve forgotten what he looks and smells like? I’ve tried all of those options before, they each have their merits.

It’s as though a little colour has drained from the world and everything is just that little bit less vivid. I go through the motions at work, I smile, laugh and get stuff done, but it’s not OK. I’m not OK.

I recently scanned the dating websites, in the hopes it would make me feel better. I didn’t. The world is full of selfish, mean spirited people and I don’t think I really have the stomach to go out on the dating circuit again.

Russell called me last night to confirm the breakup. I could hear in his voice that he was having a hard time with the situation as well. It seems so remarkably unfair that the two of us aren’t fit for one another. The superstitious Christian in me wonders if it’s some transgression I am guilty of. I thought I’d already paid for all of my mistakes, but maybe there’s yet another lesson I need to learn, which is why this guy who seemed so right is suddenly not a part of my life.

This morning, I woke at 2am. I couldn’t get back to sleep so I went in to work. As I approached the sink to do my ablutions, I touched the necklace around my neck and the greenstone Taonga I’ve had there for 5 years came off in my hand. I stared at it for a moment. The greenstone is teardrop shaped. I’ve always seen it as a paddle that represented the fact that I would return from my trip to Texas. The shape also means healing and comfort.

It seems quite fitting that my pounamu pendant is broken right now. It seems fitting that I don’t have a paddle. Some day I will be OK again, but not today.