Firstly, I’d like to apologise. It appears that I have taken to bastardising song titles for my blog headings and I simply don’t seem to be able to stop, so if it offends anyone, I am truly sorry.
A few weeks ago I was visiting a very cool friend who lives on a houseboat overlooking Tower Bridge. There were four of us and we had a couple of afternoon beers before starting on that ancient discussion, boys. We were all single and as we talked about our various love lives one thing became clear…every one of us was plagued by a long and complicated nothing.
Most of us have one. It usually starts with a spark or attraction to someone or even stems from a relationship which we feel could really become something special, but for many different reasons it never fulfils that potential, and we are simply left with the bitter taste of disappointment and, essentially, nothing.
My personal long and complicated nothing can be summed up in two sentences. He loved me but I didn’t love him. Several years later I loved him, but he no longer loved me. It’s that simple. However it can often take me an entire bottle of wine to tell this story, and in my mind it is still not over, I have still not achieved ‘closure’ (if I’m going to live in America I need to get with the terminology), I probably never will. The crazy thing is it was never even a relationship, it was a complicated friendship, sure, but within the boundaries of romantic love it was always, basically, nothing.
What distinguishes the long and complicated nothing from an ex-boyfriend or a crush/affair which didn’t work out is almost indefinable, but its root lies in the fact that we believe that this one has a real chance, this one is ‘the one’, our soulmate and if this is what we believe, in our bones, then how can it possibly not work out? The answer is, we were wrong. We must learn to say these words – I was wrong about him. Or even better – game over, I lost. It’s okay, it doesn’t make you a failure – what makes you a failure is not being able to let it go. Not being able to recognise it for what it is. Nothing.
I have a strange habit of remembering lines from films which no-one else remembers, and not remembering the famous lines. In Wayne’s World, when Donna from Twin Peaks is running after Wayne, Garth stops her and says ‘Get over it, go out with somebody else.’ Donna from Twin Peaks (I can never remember her name) quickly takes this on as a mantra, repeats it twice and then grabs the first guy she sees, snogging his face off. How I wish I could be like Donna from Twin Peaks!
I have, of course, been out with several somebody elses, and I have never become stalkish about my long and complicated nothing because I am too forgetful to obsess but in the dark times my mind always returns to him, wondering why? and what if? and if only… And all the other staple questions which give rise to life’s eternal conundrums and which basically mess up our heads.
I have come to the conclusion though that my long and complicated nothing, which has lasted for nearly FIFTEEN years now, has to stop. It’s not funny any more. It came to a head 18 months ago with several hand written letters and lots of tears and tequila, but I still haven’t let it go. I will always love him but he is a completely different person from the man I knew so well in my youth and what breaks my heart (more to say it, than the simple fact of it) is that I feel he has failed to fulfil the potential I saw in him when we were 21 – and if I believe that then I could never have been happy with him, or made him happy…I don’t know much but I do know that disappointment is not a good basis for a relationship. He is now with a girl who I suspect he will settle down and have children with and who I am sure makes him happy and I wish him well. It gives me hope that there must have been at least some honesty in my feelings for him as the idea of him being happy makes me very happy. But I must accept that this is no longer any of my business.
Now that I have decided to embark on this exciting and unpredictable journey ahead of me, be it New York or an attempt at a writing career (preferably both), the next few years are going to be full of exciting somethings so I need to remove all of the nothings from behind me – starting with the long and complicated ones so I can make room for that wonderful super-something which will inevitably (cock-eyed optimist anyone?) come.
I know that one day I will be able to echo the words that Fraulein Maria so wisely sang:
Nothing comes from nothing,
Nothing ever could
So somewhere in my youth, or childhood
I must have done something good.