I realise it has been 3 long years since I last published a post on this blog.
It was unforgivably rude of me and I do humbly apologise.
However, the time that I’ve abstained from my writing certainly the same does not pertain to the sordid and remarkable feats of my dating repertoire. I can and will assure you, the stories have increased tenfold… and I have been left dumbfounded and time and time again broken and alone.
But therein lies the beauty of everything I believe… the unerring ability to pull into oneself and, piece by little piece, put yourself back together until finally, through the cracks, little parts of the person you once were begin to shine through. And this is what it all boils down to, this is why I was pulled, tugged, pushed towards this blog- I am finding little bits of who I was again. I know I am not myself, I have not been for a very long time it seems, and perhaps the change I have undergone over the years since I started this blog is indeed irreparable, but though a person can change perhaps the foundations are not so easy to shake. I am, and probably always will be, a writer, a story teller, and hopefully there is someone who will read these words and be amused, touched, even healed.
Who knows? Enough morbidity. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
A lot has happened in 3 years. Perhaps the best way for me to reflect at this moment is through this particular gif:
Let’s narrow it down. Oh, I adore the simplicity of lists… it’s as if you can minimalise the absolute atrocious fuck wittery that is your life into organised pigeonholes with which to tackle each problem individually (ha! ha ha ha!). Nevertheless, in no particular order here it is:
- Endured two long-term relationships.
- Immigrated (so I have dated in both the Southern and Northern hemispheres).
- Been engaged.
- Been jilted.
- Increased the number of guys I have slept with tenfold. Fuck.
- Lost myself.
- Found myself (in progress).
Maybe, if I think of more, I’ll add to this list, but right now those appear the most pertinent.
When I first thought about the concept behind this blog, I contrived of some fluffy notion that I could categorise the events of my dating life in the order that they happened. However, sometimes the timelines of each person I was seeing intermingled with another and so on… and now, three years down the line, I would struggle to grasp at the seamless flow of things. Hence, I will begin (again) with the most important.
I can not bring myself to provide my ex-fiance with a suitable alias, so I shall simply refer to him as Fuck Tonsil. Now, I can assure you that even in my lowest hours I can at least empathize with another individual and allot him an ounce of humanity in which I at least grant him a respectable name, but Fuck Tonsil does not deserve that. No, he does not. And I shall not allow him one for it makes me monumentally pleased to dub him that publicly despite the fact that all of this is completely anonymous.
So, it was a year ago to this day that I met Fuck Tonsil.
We met online first, of course. I had been living in my new country for 6 months, resplendently single and dangerously promiscuous (I jest, I err on the side of scrupulous safe practices- I’m the type of girl to always wear a bra during the deed and exclaim ‘ew’ when a guy pulls down his pants). I was on edge due to the trauma of my last relationship and emotionally susceptible to any far-stretching gestures of romance.
Enter Fuck Tonsil.
We had agreed to meet at a bar close to my apartment in the city. I remember driving past and recognizing him from the pictures he had sent me- I could not find fault in his appearance, that was for sure.
He was Arabic, Moroccan to be exact, with swarthy skin and dark hair and eyes. He was also a fitness trainer in the military. His body wasn’t built like most weight lifters but it was toned and well-formed with a taut abdomen I could pound rocks on. On paper, he was almost too good to be true except there was a slight issue with a language barrier. But we maneuvered around that easy enough. Oh wait, he also had appalling taste in music…
Anyway, Fuck Tonsil was literally my first and last whirlwind romance. I do not think I can ever look at a bunch of red roses without acute suspicion and hate. He wooed me and swept me off my feet and I was helpless to resist. He was so lovely and endearing… surely this was what it was like to be wholly and fully loved without doubt?
Because of his occupation with the military, he spent one week on base and one week off base where he could leave his accommodations and do as he pleased. It became a quick adjustment that he would come to spend those weeks where he wasn’t on base with me in my apartment. Well, let me tell you, I am not a tidy girl. If there is a dish to be cleaned, chances are it won’t feel a drop of water or soap until I get so tired of looking at it that I call in a cleaner to deal with the matter. Fuck Tonsil had no qualms about keeping the place clean. He would also have a meal waiting for me when I got home from work. More often than not he would have acquired flowers, chocolates, gifts of varying sizes and expenses.
Until one day I came home to a ring. Why not? He was already calling me his wife. A ring just made it official. I was taken by him and the thought of dating… I can’t bear it anymore. Fuck Tonsil was more than I had ever hoped for and I remember being so happy that there was very little that could bring me down. The only warning bell I had at the moment was the fact that it was very soon and very sudden.
We had only been seeing each other for 3 months.
However, due to the fact that both our families were overseas and our holiday times could only coincide for a short time during each year, we opted for a lengthy engagement and would be married in August 2017.
We progressed happily in our relationship. Our weekends were spent at parties, brunches, beaches or romantic dinners. It was perfect. I had begun planning for the wedding, going as far as to reserve a wedding venue in South Africa, acquire bridesmaids, photographers, and even a dressmaker… Family and friends abroad were told to reserve a date to be in South Africa for the huge event.
Well, fuck me, right?
About four months into our relationship, Fuck Tonsil’s mother’s cancer appeared to take a turn for the worse and there was an overwhelming amount of medical bills inundating my future husband. I was with him while he transferred his entire salary to his mother and when that wasn’t enough, I could only comfort him in his despair. What little money I could offer, I did. Who wouldn’t? Besides which, the sum total wasn’t extensive or crippling, so I did.
In June 2016 the country entered into the holy month of Ramadan and I began to have the first tentative creepings of panic settle under my skin. Nothing was amiss, nothing had given me indication that something was transpiring under the surface. We had a plan, a purpose. For the month of July and August I would join Fuck Tonsil in Morocco to meet his family and enjoy a lovely holiday in a foreign country. We would return to the city together to commence with the new working year.
Due to his mother’s illness and the fact that his holiday began sooner than mine, he prepared to depart two weeks earlier than I. All was going according to plan. I literally had a PLANE TICKET to Casablanca, so why was I feeling uneasy?
I began to project my edginess, causing little tiffs that spiraled into full-fledged lunacy. During one spat, I threw my ring at him and the delicate sapphire came loose. Fuck Tonsil pocketed the ring, vowing to fix it once he was in Fez.
Because of Ramadan, we hadn’t slept together in two weeks. I felt uncomfortable if we did as he would not share a bed with me, unwilling to break traditions, so I avoided it.
People would always tell me to trust my gut. My gut was practically screaming something at me but whether I was just plain ignorant or unwilling to listen to the fundamental instinct telling me that SOMETHING was wrong, I do not know. I’ll never forget the night it ended, though.
I had said a teary farewell to Fuck Tonsil before he had departed for Morocco and the same evening I attended a farewell dinner for a colleague who was leaving the country. It was an Iftar dinner cruise and afterwards we went for some quiet drinks at a nearby bar, followed by more rowdy indulgence with a close friend at her apartment (the month of Ramadan doesn’t allow for any loud music or drinking of alcohol before sundown and any that is is seriously low key and kept out of public eye). It had been close to 18 hours since I last heard from Fuck Tonsil. I had his flight details and I knew that he was already in Fez but I granted him the benefit of the doubt that he was probably enjoying time with the family that he hadn’t seen in a year.
When I still did not hear from him, I sent a message to his close friends and brother who I had spoken to before and who I knew would be in contact with him…
Not long after this, I did receive a message from him.
“Ash, I not come back.”
I can look back on that moment as if from a distance, as if a bystander grimly curious at the scene of a macabre accident. Even though the message was plainly enough written before me, I couldn’t mentally accept that is indeed what he meant.
It is interesting to behold the moment that is one’s undoing. I can write about it now because those feelings are distant- remembered but not felt- but I know that if I had tried to formulate in words just how damaging the situation had been for me… well, I might had been subjected to a straight-jacket and padded walls.
Anyway, that was the precise moment that changed me. CHANGED ME.
It was established over the next two weeks that he had been fired from his position in the country we were in and he was not going to return from Morocco. This had happened in April. When shit hit the proverbial fucking fan it was June. Ya would fucking think he could have mentioned this to me? I bought the fucking plane ticket in May. Cunt. Boom- bye-bye cancellation fee that cost almost half the actual ticket price. Boom- bye-bye money I had saved to spend on holiday that went towards a ticket back to South Africa where I would return, tail between my legs, to lick my wounds. So long money I had loaned him to help pay for his mother’s hospitals bills. So long. And thanks for all the fish.
I had a broken heart before but the clean up of those two relationships had been pretty much effortless- a few friends lost to the opposing team here or there. But this… Jesus. Each time I had to tell someone I was no longer getting married was like a painful and vehement disembowelment. Dealing with the repercussions was more than I could bear. I began to hide from the world.
I became a miserable cunt. I don’t like people any more. Honestly, I don’t. There are a select few I allow close now. I projected my hurt onto others and honestly there are a few relationships I may have ruined with people close to me. I am an arrogant and obnoxious drunk, picking fights with those closest. Alcohol is at once consoling and detrimental. It’s role in my life has become minimal at the moment.
I am still healing from that experience and occasionally I still have to endure the odd email from a wedding vendor who is inquiring about the progress of the impending nuptials. Those are setbacks that throw me but for the most part I am OK.
I don’t recognize the person who I was 3 years ago anymore. We look the same, but we are not the same. Change, in some ways, is good, but in others… well, we will see. I kinda miss the girl I used to be but I appreciate the one I’ve become.
So, I guess the whole point of this post is to say that… I’m back. Maybe not whole and maybe not the same, but I am back. I do not know where I am going, I do not know if I can find the humor in any situation (certainly not this one), but I am going to give it my best shot because there is a damn lot to write about that has left me dumbfounded, furious and amused.