Hurry up and wait

It took an hour to put on this “I’m not wearing any make-up” make-up. The only exercise I got this week was running halfway around town to get these (uncomfortable) shoes… I may not eat for a year, but goddamn, my feet have never looked so fine.

The specially-designed playlist croons in the background, my house looks as groomed as I am, I have a DVD selection to die for, Helmut Newton’s mammoth book on my coffee table (that means I _must_ be cool), a full fridge and I am sipping on cognac. This is heaven, right? So, what am I waiting for?

Being single is a funny little thing. And not at all cute.

Whether we Noughties women want to admit it or not, half of your identity lies in the relationship you channel so much time and energy cultivating. Making sure you listen to his peeves about work (*yawn*), getting his favourites when you grocery shop, folding his t-shirts ‘just so’, pretending to like his best friend when you really want to give them a knuckle sandwich, watching that mind-numbing crap on TV because he wants to, calling his family every week and hearing the _same_ story about the dog, mentally rehearsing what he HATES you saying in an argument (I wasn’t very good at that), cooking dinner when you’d be happy to drink a bottle of red wine (high in antioxidants), tolerating their singing the wrong words to your favourite song, nursing them when they’re sick (their pain thresholds never EVER cease to amuse me)…… Oh, the list is endless.

There’s always a risk the relationship won’t work. But I still fantasise about having a heads-up: I would’ve used all the hot water, changed the channel, eaten chocolate for breakfast, burped when I felt like it and scrunched all his t-shirts into the back of the cupboard. Oh, and told his best friend’s girlfriend how many women he’s shagged behind her back.

So, I understand why it all went pear-shaped despite me being a nice, good Catholic girl. I dissected and examined. Been there, done that, scrunched the t-shirt.

I’m home safe and sound, chilling with my familiars, planning my rosy-hued future, choosing furniture and contemplating having a holiday fling in a far-off land with some impossibly delectable fellow who can’t speak English. (And then I remember those shoes (and their 400 friends) have put me in debt.) 

For all intensive purposes, I should be happy. I’m not. 

Instead I’m thinking what X and I were doing 4, 7, 8 weeks ago. Wondering if he’s languishing at home, unbathed, wearing that shirt I hate and the jeans with the tear at the knee, eating Ghost Pops and drinking that 1% guava juice. He’s probably not wearing deodorant just to spite me. Hoping he notices I’m not there. “It’s 4.30pm on a weekday which means he’s watching a movie on his Mac at work, waiting for the boss to go home”… Jesus, why the freak do I care?!! I’m valiantly fighting the urge to ring him and force him to fly down just to give me a hug- seeing him in those atrocious jeans and sweaty shirt will no doubt be more than enough consolation. (Maybe seeing me in these ravishing heels will make him want to stay?!)

Can X really be the first man I have really missed? Like, you know, that gut-wrenching, Romeo & Juliet, writing poetry and chain-smoking brand of missing?  I miss him, all of him, from his falling asleep in 5 minutes if left alone with any soft surfaces/that he puts 7 sugars in his coffee/that he doesn’t fight fair or say sorry and mean it to his perfectly folded goddamn t-shirts and the Ghost Pop crumbs on his outrageously sexy facial hair (yes, I seem to have this “thing”).

Am I lonely? What is it about that word that conjures grey-haired, cat collecting widows who eat Marie biscuits for dinner? Being lonely is something people whisper about other people, like an unnamed medical affliction. That can’t be me! I lived on my own in a huge house overseas for 2 years in a place where I knew much fewer people than I do now. I was elated and I loved my life- drinking milk from the carton and watching Oprah episodes back to back.

You go from being deeply engrossed in someone else’s life, sharing bathwater and eating off each others’ plates, to sleeping in a new big bed alone (why doesn’t this feel as good as I thought it would?!) and forgetting to eat because you’re too coma-fied to even remember to wash your face. Surely this can’t qualify as loneliness yet because a part of my heart is still in intensive care? 

Paradoxically, in defence of genuinely lonely people out there, it has nothing to do with how many people you’re surrounded by or how many scintillating social events you attend. It’s the quality of your interactions with others, and more importantly, the perspective you have on your life.

I’m not lonely yet. I’m in a “cattle-prod coma” as I like to call it. When the life you knew (and were quite content with, thank you very much) goes for a ball of shit and you are left, stumped, mouth gaping, going “WTF was that exactly?!”. But, should I get lonely after I awake from this coma, I will remind myself that Ghost Pops and red wine don’t qualify as a balanced diet.

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