One Laughed One Cried

At times like this, once the storm has passed, it’s hard to truly reflect on the events that happened.

It seems to me that the length of time I can hold onto a relationship is 11 months, I guess when I was younger it was 3 weeks so I suppose I’ve gotten better with that, but I still don’t think I’m old enough to know better.

My life was not unfulfilled but there was a certain emptiness I couldn’t help but carry with me, there was something waiting for me in the future, I thought the excitement came but I’d like to think it’s yet to come.

I spent the night with a married man.

In some cases, an affair would be too strong a word to use, but having said that maybe what happened was far worse than what an affair could propose, I suppose it would be fair to say he was unfaithful.

There was a young man I loved; I still love him, but feel when my heart is 21 and young-and-free, why should I suppress the limit of my love, I want to be full of love and want to share it with everyone I love. However, in the pit of my stomach I wonder to what extent what I did was wrong.

Temptation is a curious bastard.

***

 

I have a childhood sweetheart. Without a doubt he is a sweetheart, and with all my heart really I loved him, until I suppose you look at the bigger picture for a moment. You can’t help but wonder if it’s healthy to feel so miserable when you’re apart, to feel so aimless and to not even consider you’ve begun to care about their happiness and wellbeing whilst neglecting your own.

Although home for us is local, the distance between us at university has been a struggle – for me I felt as though I was now living two lives simultaneously, one in the north and the other back down south but without really fully living a life in either.

I couldn’t enjoy my independent life as a young adult because I didn’t really feel independent. In fact I feel like I depended on the relationship a lot, I don’t want to say too much as I think there needs to be some level of dependency in a relationship, but at the end of the day it’s hard to do that when your lives are so far away – especially to make such a commitment at the young age of 20. It felt like a grown up thing to do, which didn’t make me feel very grown up at all.

I know that what we had was love, I hope to some extent it still is – I suppose our break up was premature, in my eyes breaking it off before we drove each other crazy would preserve our love, I hadn’t really considered this was something that had been playing on my mind a lot longer and heavier than it had been on his. Again, I didn’t consider what sort of shock this would be to him, but I do think it would be wrong to say the break up didn’t hurt me too; I believe we are allowed to have different ways of coping with it.

For me, dealing with mental health problems that have worsened with my move to university has been difficult. At the bottom of my heart I know that I love my parents, but with all due respect I think I can honestly say that my journey to recovery has been relatively alone. I couldn’t diss the endurance and compassion my friends have shown me over the years, and I suppose although I’m not openly a very touchy person, I am incredibly sentimental about my friendships and hold them close to my heart – I guess with some of my girlfriends growing up, we have had the sort of friendship where we need to look out for each other, and support one another when our parents maybe have been blinded by what they believed was best. Shoutout to all my sisters and brothers, they are for sure my rocks.

To some extent, my reason for going to university was to move away from home; although I took my time with it the process of choosing a course, applying, and arriving, was rushed. And I think that was reflected in my moods since moving away; however, for a while now I’ve noticed that my focus whilst I’m here should be on enjoying being here, and getting my degree. I think that expanding my independence and learning to become the person I want to be when I’m older are good motives to have.

***

 

Some people would look at me and say that I seem very organised and together, I suppose if you lived with me you’d be the first to say that I’m not. My brain is all over the place, and seen at the right moment, it would be fair to say that I am a very lost girl.

The week my boyfriend and I broke up, I’d say I began to feel somewhat liberated, I no longer felt so lonely because I chose to be alone. My stride was stronger, and my housemates had said they’d never seen me so relaxed; although sometimes I would be rather sad on the whole, I saw breaking up with my boyfriend as a positive step towards getting better and being happier.

Actually, my happy daze blinded me from the pothole ahead, when I missed a flight to Spain, having to dump a mini-break I’d planned with my girlfriends, it was pretty fucking stupid.

Missing my flight changed the itinerary of my weekend, whereby on Friday night I ended up at a nightclub in town, and there I met a man.

I remember looking up at the ceiling around 3am and realising there was a disco ball in the middle of the dance floor, I looked over at him, I thought about my life. I thought about the stories adults have told me in my childhood about their experience of nightclubs and the sin which goes on behind closed curtains, to me it felt no different to the 80s or 90s say and I definitely felt like I was in my 20s. There’s something about this nightclub to me that is notorious for having pushy girls sizing you up in every corner for a bum-fight war, which sometimes I find annoying and sometimes I find hilarious. That night was a weird one, I’ll be honest by then I had already taken quite a lot of drugs.

Later on in the night I spoke to the man, and even at this point I’d say there was nothing sexual about our conversations or behaviour. Well, maybe there was a lot of eye contact, and some touching and he was feeding me champagne and cocktails, and keys of powder.

By now it was around 05:30 and everyone else was gone, we were alone and in the derelict street; the air was icy but still. We wandered up the road slowly, I stood in front of him and held his gaze, he’d crack first and smile at the ground shyly, or maybe I did that. We were smiling and laughing softly, suddenly there was talk about sexual energy, about things he wanted to do but couldn’t. He asked if we could hang out for a while longer, I said yes, and we hailed a cab in the road. I opened the door, and he held onto my arm. ‘I can’t’ he said, as I sighed and probably made no effort to keep a poker face. We said goodbye and he grabbed my face, everything happened quickly but I remember it now in slow motion, he kissed me on the lips. To some extent I expected it, but regardless, I was shocked.

Without getting into the cab I shut the door, and stood before him. We smirked and smiled, we said we could hang out without sleeping together. He said he didn’t want to take advantage of me, and I understood where he was coming from.

***

 

As a young girl, Françoise Sagan’s protagonists enchanted me. I found them unapologetically selfish, charming and honest, I guess I also enjoyed Lynn Barber’s An Education, there was just something about these girls that I felt I could relate to. I suppose that was the whole point of their writing but needless to say I believed their emotions could be felt on a universal level. A sense of desire and longing, a search and struggle for happiness and love.

I suppose when I think of myself, I still see that 14 year old girl who is curious about the people around her, a girl who has silly crushes on boys she’s never spoken to and falls over or drops something when she sees them. But when I look in the mirror, I am sometimes taken aback by the woman who stares back at me; she doesn’t look like me in my eyes but I never really have to look at myself anyways, so it doesn’t really matter what I think.

That night, I was intrigued. Here was a man who spoke to me as if I was an adult, and I guess not just in the usual sense where it means they’re not telling you off… Here was a man who spoke to me and smiled, as he looked me in the eyes. He was friendly and accommodating, we would talk about world affairs and the gross existence of racism in 21st century Britain; we talked about my dreams in life as he gave me advice on how to reach them.

***

 

Back in the hotel room, everything was surreal. Nothing felt weird about the situation, but of course it was; we wandered around it separately and chatted about the lighting from different rooms until we met in the bedroom. The bed was grand and I sunk into the middle of it as he climbed onto me and we kissed and held each other. I sat on his lap and the kisses grew softer and began to spread all over as we very slowly peeled layers of clothing off of each other.

The experience was intimate and I was fascinated. I would lay in his arms and ask him about his life and what growing up was like, he’d let me natter on and kiss and squeeze me telling me to never change until I was on top of him again.

I got home at around 9am, I needed to sleep more than anything, but I sat at the kitchen table staring into space, I was still quite wired but also so confused. I knew what had just happened, had happened, but it felt like a distant memory and not real. I called a friend who had simultaneously returned home from a one-night stand, we spoke on the phone over a spliff and a coffee as we nervously laughed about how fucked up being 21 is.

***

 

He never mentioned a wife but I must confess I googled it a few days later. I told myself not to do it, but finding out really wasn’t that hard. I didn’t know how to process that information.

I think I am quite grounded with my morals, I would never cheat on someone but I do believe I can do what I want because I’m young; I’d never given thought to what that would mean when I am old.

I lay in bed and stared at the ceiling, I didn’t feel guilty because I didn’t know, I didn’t want to give it too much thought and regret it, nor did I want to make it my problem. I felt the most reassuring way to consider it was that when I’m forty-something, karma will bite me on the bum and my husband will cheat on me for a younger model.

I thought about how awful she would feel if she found out, did she already know? I mean, saying ‘I never really do this’ could be one of your chat up lines. I thought about how one night of trouble could compare to decades of marriage and life, I wondered if I should be sad over it. I was still startled and tried to forget everything that happened.

The End

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