It was raining so hard that day. The kind that people call “raining cats and dogs”. What a funny expression, that one! But still, would it make sense? Yes. Similar was this nonsensical debauchery of a relationship we had. And yet, that rainy night, they told me good bye.
No, no. Do not get me wrong. They did not die – though that would have saved me a lot of pain. They just left me drenched and cold and alone in that downpour. My wild hair that they loved so much now looking subdued. My edgy clothes plastering like a second skin to my shivering body, a useless armour that could not shield me from the searing pain of loss and betrayal I was about to feel. I stood panting, when they looked into my eyes and told me that they were leaving me. I stood bewildered under the neon signs of the night life we lived and I felt bleached like an over exposed photograph. Poetic as fuck – years later I would tell people. But that day it felt anything but.
I remember reaching out to take their arms and then the same cold eyes and sharp tongue that I loved in many ways than one whipped at me. They told me that “badasses” would not be so clingy. That they loved me because I would never need them. Precisely four months later would I realise that I had been in an emotionally abusive relationship. Me – a vocal advocate for early detection of abuse and rehabilitation. Me – who told my friends that abuse was not just physical. Me – who prided in being very good at spotting all the signs of abuse in any relationship. I could scoff at myself. Then six more months later, I would build myself back up. My walls would be built taller and when people asked me “Jeez, who hurt you?!”, I would smile an enigmatic smile.
But that night, under the stormy skies, my heart shattered into million pieces and their name was etched into each one. I wept along with the heavens, thankful for the rain slapping down on my face and my water-proof mascara for hiding my tears from the people we called friends and other curious onlookers. I marched – yes, for nothing else could better explain how I stomped through the small roadside puddles in my combat boots – angry, confused, questioning myself, more importantly swearing to exorcise their remnants from my life. That is precisely what I did all night long – ridding their physical reminders from my living space. Removing their scraps from my mindscape took too longer than I would like to admit. While my colleagues and friends pointed me out as an exemplary example of “How To Get Over A Heartbreak” – I wept at night and took evening boxing classes.
I did everything I always wanted to do. The very first thing I did was cutting my “wild hair” that they liked so long. I cut it and coloured it till it matched my image and not what they wanted to see in me. I dressed like me – not how they wanted to be seen in public with me. I embraced my vulnerability along with my “badassery”. I started learning and unlearning – a lot. I rejected every single romantic advance until I was one hundred percent sure I would not be blind to red flags anymore. I built my inner circle tight and got that degree. I was finally happy.
Then, eighteen months later, they popped up in front of me. Candy coated words, crooked smile that could pass for a half-assed smirk – for nothing was whole with them, nothing was all in, nothing was complete – and those haunted eyes that looked so bored and always so in pain. Looking at them now, I could see it – why I should have not loved them, but I did anyway. Their hands itching to hold me closer and then pick me apart like they always did. Their eyes travelling all along me, taking in every part of me, the wholeness of me and I could see the hunger for destruction lit up their face. I hugged them and told them it was good to see them again – I was not lying, as it was refreshing to see my progress. I healed as I stood there not feeling angry or sad. I walked away after thanking them for the time we shared together and leaving them my calling card, with a promise that I would see them in professional capacity – as a Clinical Psychologist. They could use a lot of help. As I walked back to my friend, I smiled contentedly seeing my friends’ expressions change from concerned glances to proud smiles.
I could finally tell myself – I survived.