Readers of TT may be pleased to hear that while Sam's inner cynic has died, mine has been ripped from the grave, reassembled itself like Terminator 2, and is currently lurching around and scaring kiddies, utterly impervious to bullets and guided missiles.
Long story short; for more years than I dare admit, I have been wondering with creeping dread about how I would react when my ex - the woman who I consider to be the love of my life, the first and only I-want-to-spend-the-rest-of-my-life-with-you, I-can't-wait-for-you-to-meet-my-Mam-and-Dad, when-are-we-having-kids partner, the one I still dream about and tell friends never to mention in my presence, the one who it still feels like I'm cheating on whenever I'm with someone else, the one who... fuck it, THE ONE, full stop - got married. I have spent an embarrassingly huge chunk of my adult life with a self-imposed gun to my head, waiting for the bullet to strike.
Said bullet arrived six weeks ago, approximately 110 pixels tall by 200 pixels wide, due to an accidental click of a mutual friend's Facebook profile and saw a thumbnail I could have done without seeing. So that's it. The door - that was slammed, locked and bolted a long time ago - has now had a lorry-load of wet concrete deposited against it. There is absolutely no coming back from this one, even though I knew there never was.
So, this is how it feels;
1. You feel numb as fuck.
2. Then, you have a million questions, even though you know that the answer to any of them would be like a knife in the chest. What song did they dance to? (was it something I introduced to her?) Was her Mam happy? (I hope so - I miss her almost as much as I miss her daughter) Did her Dad (who never liked me) lump me in with the abusive shitbags she went out with before and after me in his speech? Did I cross the mind of anyone there who knew me?
3. (The one question you don't need to ask, of course, is 'Who did she get married to?'. Because it doesn’t matter. There's only one proper answer to that; 'Not me')
4. Then you want to thank all those mates there for not telling you beforehand, as you don't want to think about what you would have done that day if you'd have known.
5. Then, when its sunk in, you refuse to talk about it, for fear that 'Yeah, I heard my ex got married' will come out as 'Oh, by the way, I really fucked everything up, did you know?'
6. Then, you resist the urge to mentally lacerate yourself by playing this, this, this and especially this.
7. Then, when some semblance of lucidity returns, you calmly and rationally despise the world and everything in it. And then, through a process of elimination, you whittle that number right down to one; yourself.
8. Then you feel the urge to apologise to every girlfriend you’ve had since, for pissing them about and letting them go because – despite the fact that they were all attractive, intelligent, considerate and understanding – they all committed the crime of Not Being Her.
9. Then you feel the urge to apologise to every one of your mates who went from one relationship straight into a better one, as you realise that, no, they weren’t being heartless bastards while you were keeping the faith – they were behaving like grown-ups while you were continuing to be a hopelessly naïve martyr.
10. Then, you let on to your friends why you’re being such a horrible, pinch-faced shitbag, and try to accept their sympathy with as much grace as possible, even though none of then could ever understand your predicament because what you’re going through has never been experienced by anyone else, ever. And you bite your tongue when they try to cheer you up with videos of fat dads dancing really badly, not realising that every clip is set at a wedding reception (it made me laugh, though).
11. Then you don’t feel like updating your sex and relationship blog for ages, because you don’t want to think about either. Ahem.
12. Then you write a massively rambling post, stating that you’ve finally realised that you can’t live in the past, what you had is gone forever, it’s never coming back, and you know that. Yes, you’re still numb, and you know that one night - when the beer’s been consumed and someone says the wrong thing or the wrong song comes on - it’s going to properly hit home with an outburst of remorse and regret and snot, but at the end of the day, there’s still time to find what you really want, the world is rammed out with amazingly brilliant women who could make you happy, so you’re going to have to remove the crushing weight of your past, get hold of one and do it right this time.
13. Then you start worrying about how you're going to react when you hear she has a kid.