It happens, and it feels shit.
Eyes lose their sparkle; words stop flowing. The iridescent glow from soul-filled happy cheeks is absent, replaced by a poor over-the-counter imitation. You’re fooling nobody. We know the ‘glow’ is painted on. We’ve seen the Fake Radiance bronzer on sale at Harvey’s (the box is funky and exquisite – and it should be at that price.)
The blissful sheen that had adorned all things in a bright, hopeful hue is replaced by a duller shade of beige. Grey and beige and varying degrees of other muddy, earthy shades.
Laughter is there, but it’s forced. Things are still funny, but it takes a while to register the comedy value and make the effort to concur. What was once a raucous belly laugh is now a muted gong: someone is holding the triangle in precisely the wrong place, compromising the purity of the ‘ping’.
It becomes harder to drag yourself around the supermarket. The blissful sheen that had once made the cattle shed purchasing factory at least tolerable has worn away to reveal the reality: gormless, aimless others weaving an uncontrollable trolley around with at least one tired, irritated child in tow, piling unnecessary crap into a corner whilst trying not to squash the bread (the child threw the bottle of juice on it three aisles away – it went flat a good while back, but the mother is too jaded to care.)
You’re not bouncing anymore. The legs are like hams dangling from a hook in a continental charcuterie window: large and swingy, heavy and dead.
The Carpenters songs no longer hold any water either: birds do suddenly appear, but the incessant squawking right next to the bedroom window is unwelcome at that ungodly hour. And they’re no doubt shitting all over the car. Again.
And so here’s where I’m at. I’m falling out of love.
And it’s really, really sad.
But, surely there’s hope. There’s logic, common sense, and hope for the flames to be reignited. That HAS to be the case. Where real, soul-filled love once existed in its truest, rawest form, it MUST be possible for that to come back.
So, what are our options here?
- Accept it’s happening. Yep. This is actually happening right here, right now. All of the above symptoms tell me so. At the very least, we must look each other square in the eyes and be honest about the muted triangle ping / charcuterie ham legs reality we are both experiencing.
- Give each other some space: leave each other alone for a while. Let us go off and meander and do our own thing. Let’s not enter the silent-dinners-across-the-table arena. We’re worth more than that.
- Think of a possible trigger / cause of our fallout: has something happened? What changed? Did I forget his mums birthday? This is where logic is allowed to step in and deliver a rationed, sane response – if indeed there is one. “Well, you did run a marathon less than two weeks ago, Rach. Could that have any bearing, do you think?” Yes. Yes it could. I fucking railroaded myself through that marathon. I actually ran it ON charcuterie ham legs. I finished broken, deflated, and tired. I slept on the proverbial couch that night.
- Find the joy in other things. Once there was just him: me and him (or me and IT in this case.) Now, I’m back to just ME again. Just me – for a while, at least. What ELSE do I enjoy? Where else can I find joy? Walks in the autumn, Friday morning yoga, and Percy Pig sweets? That’s a start, at least. Go, venture forth and do those things. I feel like it’s a sign. (and walking? Who knew, I could actually ENJOY ‘just’ walking?)
- Don’t overthink it. It never helped anyone – least of all, me. I simply cannot ‘think’ myself back to a place of joy and wonderment in this relationship, right now. That is a fact, and it remains so no matter how much angst, self-berating and unqualified blurts of ‘…but WHY??? Why US? Why NOW?’ I make myself endure. Is it that I don’t need running anymore, or that I simply don’t want it? Is there a difference? No answers come, and therefore the questioning must stop.
- Recovery. This is painful. It hurts. It’s a loss, and it feels real. It IS real. It saps energy, and feels like rolling along with a slow puncture. You know it’s there: progress is pitiful and laboured, whilst waiting for the time when you can stop. Stop the car, and spare any further damage. But you know you must.
And so, I am experiencing the muted triangle ping, the charcuterie ham legs, and the slow puncture. I can’t face more than 15 minutes in Asda (at non-peak times), and I can’t listen to the purest, haunting voice of Karen Carpenter telling me about love and loss and all things in between.
BUT I have a plan. It is my favourite time of the year – beautiful autumn, and it’s Friday morning. I am going to walk to my yoga class. I will stand and stretch and reach and breathe. From there, I will walk home again, whilst tucking into my little bag of Percy Pig sweets.
My plan doesn’t go much further than that for now, but maybe it doesn’t have to.
I won’t give up on ‘us’, but more importantly, I won’t give up on me.