Continued from Part Two…
I was pretty confused. I loved what I had with The Marine but A had made me think too.
But I was moving and A wanted more, both from me and from a relationship, and so made the decision for both of us by starting to see someone else. As much as I knew we weren’t going to be, it hurt. Because I knew then I’d lost my friend. And that hurt a lot. That’s another story. I still miss him immensely, even now.
I needed to move away, something in me had to go see if I could create a life somewhere new, and it was really important to me to do it by myself.
So I made the decision to stop things with The Marine. It was just before Christmas and he was coming to take me out for dinner. My heart was heavy and I was nervous. I had no appetite and I remember being distracted while he chattered away, about stuff I can’t remember. I still had no idea what I was going to say or when, and waited for a suitable moment. That didn’t come until we’d finished dinner and went for a drink afterwards. It was now or never.
“I’ve been thinking.”
“I think we need to stop this.”
“It’s got to the point where is needs to be something or stop. And I’m not sure I want it to be something.”
“You OK with that?”
“Oh, sure, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Sure. Whatever.”
But I knew he wasn’t. I wasn’t really. Right people, wrong timing.
We carried on chatting but about 5 minutes later he wanted to go. He took me home, a quick hug and off he went.
We didn’t message for a bit and it was strange. It wasn’t unusual for us to have days between contact but this felt odd. Different. There was a big gap, that wouldn’t be filled.
But it also felt right somehow, I needed a bit of space. I needed to figure stuff out, and deal with all the emotions swirling around as a result of him, A and the impending move.
He got in touch after a couple of days wanting to talk, and we met up one lunchtime when I was working from home. We sat, like teenagers with nowhere private to go, in his car in a lay-by on a country road. He told me how, if I wanted, he’d be up for having a proper relationship. How he really liked me and would regret it if he never told me.
This blindsided me completely. It might seem like it shouldn’t have, and writing all this back I can see that. But at the time, I still really didn’t think he was that into me.
I didn’t know what to think. I needed a bit of time. I was SO fond of him, but I needed to go do my own thing.
I missed him.
So we ended up spending most of Christmas together, and he helped me move house on the 2nd January. Everything was pretty much back to how it was, but yet there was an air of disquiet. The elephant in the room may as well have been dancing with a drum and cymbals waving a big flag.
He stayed with me that first weekend, sleeping on an airbed on the floor because I didn’t have a bed yet, drinking red wine and eating steak. Crack den, Cheltenham style.
We were in a bubble. A wonderful, new, exciting bubble. My new life was starting, and I loved being able to share that with him. I know he loved it too, dropping into conversation that he’d even been looking what types of jobs were available in Chelts to match with his Uni course. We were chasing that elephant away down the street, but for some reason I had it on a extendable lead.
He visited me once more, about a month later. I knew what I had to do. We never spoke about it face to face; he left earlier than I was expecting and I chickened out. One last phone call and that was that. He never came to Cheltenham again. This time I cried.
I didn’t find it easy those next few months. I questioned my choices. I had a few months of downtime to try and figure stuff out. We weren’t really in contact, but it felt like there was unfinished business. After about 6 months, I was in London with work and he came to stay with me for a few days. Reunited briefly, but it was clear we’d both started to move on and were still in different places.
This time it was goodbye for real, and I knew that. Sitting through breakfast, my stomach churned, my throat burned and my eyes blinked as I tried so very hard not to cry.
Stood outside on the street, one last embrace and I couldn’t stop the tears from falling as I walked away without looking back.