All good things come to an end. One minute, you’re in a speedboat, cocktail cruising — sipping champagne on a remote lake in deepest New England, with no phone or internet reception to ruin the vibes. The next you’re squeezing spots on the Piccadilly line, sobbing at the Great British Bake Off and blocking twitter profiles your ex-boyfriend has set up in his baffling, ceaseless attempt to solicit communication. Or else you’re swiping left on Tinder, eating anchovies from the jar and wondering out loud whether a Moon Cup would make your periods a more or less pleasant experience. Real life is fucking exhausting, and it only stops for death, or, occasionally (but only if you’re very lucky indeed), brief vacations to international beauty spots.
I’m back and I’ve had it with my real life, especially now the summer’s just about over, which means no more exotic electric storms at 3 am, no more sleeping until midday (because only losers work from May-September), no more titillating retired neighbours with my garden-ready bikini body. We now return to work: to coats, scarves, biker boots and to freezing sideways rain until next summer, which will come around soon enough, although the inevitable breakout of World War Three will no doubt put a right dampener on bikini-wearing come 2015.
I am not coping well, post-holiday.
I am no good at endings. As I well know from the horrific break-up that led, in a round-about way, to the creation of this blog.
How long does it take normal people to get over things? It’s more than two weeks since I got back from holiday and I’m still blue; it’s almost twelve years since I laid eyes on my first proper boyfriend and I still occasionally dream about him, sexually. And my last proper boyfriend – that was a long time ago now, too. I am not going to tell you how long because it’ll freak me out, but if you were watching a documentary and a woman of my age, with my pert breasts and big blue eyeballs, told you that she’d been single for as long as I have, and that her heart was still broken – with a hairline crack, just visible, right down the middle – you’d tweet about it, and mention it to colleagues in hushed, incredulous tones, instead of filling in important spread sheets, or filing important reports, or whatever it is you do, the next day at work.
‘It’s time to move on, Kate’, I tell myself, about the holidays and the men and the frenemies I keep shedding. ‘Maybe if you left the house today you’d meet the love of your life.’ And then I roll over and fall sleep with my mouth open and little bit of dribble oozing onto the pillow. Or I put on another episode of Dance Moms and congratulate myself because at least if I never have children, I’ll never put them through that. Or I do leave the house, but only for dreadful social obligations held in venues where the love of my life would not be seen dead.
Yes, some people are capable of getting over holidays ending; the same people who get over heartbreak and rejection at Olympic speed. These people are able to look at an ultrasound of their ex-boyfriend’s soon-to-be-born baby without it causing actual physical pain, just below the sternum — they bounce from lover to lover as if none of it meant anything in the first place. And maybe they’re right. Maybe other people are just there to provide a conveyor belt of regular sex, targeted resentment and financial support. You return from holiday, you book another. You lose a lover, you find a lover. It’s almost beautiful in its simplicity.
But not for me. For me, it’s complicated, and ugly. My tan hasn’t faded, my heart hasn’t healed and I know from experience that embarking on anything means misery, somewhere down the line. It’s better not to bother, I’ve started to believe, than to enter into situations (holidays, relationships, dinners in restaurants where main courses are priced above £30) which will inevitably serve only to highlight how depressing your real life is. Why would I want to spend two weeks in five-star luxury, with housekeeping and fresh-cut flowers I don’t have to water, when the other 50 weeks involve mouldering bedside crockery and dirty knickers at the bottom of my handbag? Why would I want to lie curved into my lover with the covers thrown off, when that lover is bound to fuck off with a better behaved girl and get her pregnant sooner or later; leaving me to die all alone, with images of his unborn child burned onto my retinas?
And that’s why I’m still single. In case you were wondering.
* Image is “Sunset Over Mountain And Sea” by samuiblue at freedigitalphotos.net.