It has been twelve days since my girlfriend and I broke up. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Ironically enough it was International Happiness Day, because the forces that be have a cruel sense of humour that on any other day I may have appreciated.
It was difficult because at that moment I was still very much in love with her. It made no sense why I was, since she had kissed another guy, lied about it, and continued to trade love poems with him while she was still with me. When I think about it it makes me furious. If he wasn’t in another country I’d happily knock all his teeth out of his disgusting mouth.
Let me rewind to the beginning. We met at uni about a year ago. I had never been attracted to blondes but she was cute and quite dorky. She thought I was gay. We liked each other and began dating at the end of November. My beloved dog Roxy had just passed away quite suddenly, in fact the day before we had our first date. In a way I used our relationship to heal that loss. We spent all our time together and scoffed at the fact that we had become one of those sad couples who were constantly kissing in public. But after a few months she had fallen out of love with me, something she says was no fault of my own. Even with the eventual discovery of her betrayal I still fought for our relationship until our break up became as inevitable as the setting sun. On the day that people around the world celebrated what made them happy I was faced with the reality that the woman who gave my life warmth no longer wanted me in hers.
She holds out hope that one day we can still be friends, while in my dreams I am haunted by the ghost of her loving embrace. Every morning I wake up feeling that pain lingering, some days it’s worse than others. I distract myself with my daily routine; scour job websites for some full time work, help my grandfather with his medicine, speak to mates who do their best to sympathise with me, then head off to Woolworths to pack shelves at night. I get home after midnight and watch a few episodes of Naruto. I’m tired but going to bed isn’t an option. If I try to sleep I am instantly consumed with thoughts of her. I’d lie there and analyse our relationship trying to pinpoint where it all went wrong, even when I know it was not my fault. So I force myself to stay awake until it is no longer physically possible to do so and I drift into an immediate restless slumber. Repeat.
This cycle is starting to take its toll on me, yet I do it to myself again and again without fail. I just can’t understand how she could fall out of love with me, yet not give me reason as to why it happened. My best friend Pat says I need to push these thoughts out of my head, but what do I fill those spaces with instead?
Two of my girl mates who are also single say that now the three of us can go out to meet people, that meeting a new girl will help me. The prospect of chatting up a girl in a bar terrifies me. I was never any good at it. I find small talk pointless and quite shallow. If I am to find closure it won’t be by hooking up with a random, it’s just not my style.
But I have begun to realise that maybe I had found my closure the day we parted ways, I simply had not realised it until now.
Next to my house were some overgrown bushes that were prickly to the touch, but were under the lacklustre care of the local council and therefore for the best part of ten years untrimmed. Countless times we had lost tennis balls and the like to the deep confines of those bushes, but recently council workers uprooted those bothersome plants once and for all. As Liv apologised for hurting me and I muttered goodbye, I noticed a small ball where the bushes used to be. The ball used to be Roxy’s. We had lost it years ago. It was so bizarre to find this toy, on this day of all days.
As I held it I remembered all the good times I had with that insane golden retriever. Sometimes when I’d come home from work I’d open a beer and sit in the backyard watching the stars. She would saunter up next to me, then lazily plonk herself down on my feet and stare at the stars with me. I don’t know if she could actually see the stars, but I like to think that she appreciated their beauty anyway. She always had a knack for making me feel better, and finding her toy was almost as if she was trying to cheer me up from beyond the doggy grave. Creepy, but sweet all the same.
I loved that dog more than I cared for most people. While losing her was a real punch in the gut, over time that feeling stripped away leaving only those good memories. And now when I think of those times the pain of losing Liv slowly leaves me. If I could find happiness star gazing with a golden retriever then I know I can find happiness in my life again.