The January of 2012 was a turbulent time for me, whenever I thought I was happy I was really borrowing the feeling from a distant memory rather than truly feeling it. I did that well enough to fool myself once or twice. Other points of note would be the friendships that I had during this time and the people that would come out of the woodwork to offer the support I needed.
After my diabolical rebounding episode I wasn’t completely turned off the idea of meeting people online. I’d been thinking to myself that I needed to spend more time at home in Somerset among the people that really seemed to care for me. I had friends I could go out with there, I wasn’t so alone. I even made one or two new friends back home around this time.
I spend a lot of time on the phone with my parents when I was away in London and made sure I went home every weekend to fill my life with distractions. I’d keep myself busy with friends old and new, mostly old. My friend Michael of course was instrumental in my recovery process and we enjoyed a night out with some old colleagues, I remember the night out in Glastonbury quite well despite all the alcohol I consumed. My college girlfriends could always be counted on for a night out if they were around and it’s usually with them that I’d have the most fun.
Some people were more surprising, some fleeting friendships and some have lasted. A few of my rugby teammates would be there for me and then when word started to get around about the break up other people started to get in touch. I remember being home one weekend and not actually having any plans and couldn’t stand the idea of staying in, so I put an open invitation on good old Facebook to canvas for people to join me in a night out. It worked.
By the end of the night Laura had been in touch, we had known each other for years but hadn’t been especially close friends yet I soon came to realise she was someone dependable who also enjoyed a night out like I do. There was also Lotte (Charlotte) who seemed to be a similar acquaintance, the three of us would spend several nights out in town together getting drunk and they would loyally be outraged with the way Lara, Heidi and Daryl had made me feel.
By this point I hadn’t given up hope on sustaining the friendships with Heidi and Daryl, I thought maybe we all just needed time for things to settle down. Although I’d cut them off socially and deleted all their phone numbers I was open to the idea of a reconciliation. One thing that I remember very clearly was being out with the rugby team, which included Heidi, and she got emotional. Heidi was in tears telling me that she didn’t want to lose me as a friend. I was already bitter about everything that had happened and far from willing to forgive at this point, however I didn’t rule it out. If I remember rightly I said that I might be able to forgive her over time and that I wasn’t turning my back on our friendship but being honest I couldn’t see how it would ever be the same again. I felt that was a fair statement to make.
After that night, after I left the door open for Heidi to try to patch up our broken friendship I didn’t hear from her. Sure I’d made the communication channels harder by blocking her on social networks and deleting contact numbers and not giving them out again, I still knew that I’d be able to reach her if I really wanted to and vice-versa. They all knew my work email and my personal email, everyone on the planet seemed to have a smart phone and we still emailed to sort the details around the holiday.
Using the friendships that were blossoming for me I tried to buy Lara out of the holiday but it didn’t really come together. My new friend Sophie who had just moved to Bath would have liked to go but couldn’t get the time off work, the same situation occurred for one of my best friends Farrrah. I even asked someone who’d very recently come into my life, someone I wasn’t really sure about letting back in. That would be Megan.
Around two weeks after Lara and I had split up Megan sent me a private message on Facebook attempting to reconnect. Over the years that had passed since Lara and Rose had betrayed us both it wasn’t the first time she’d attempted to get in touch. However during the previous attempt she had still been with Rose and I Lara and it felt a bit like too much for me to deal with. Yet now there was no Lara in the equation, I recognised that Megan and I were good friends and I’d sacrificed that for Lara many years before. So I let her back in.
Megan and I got quite close very quickly, confiding a lot in each other. She let me know things with her and Rose were on the rocks and that they were on and off a lot of the time, more often off. I knew I didn’t like Rose for my own reasons so I tried not to be too judgemental in my advice, yet from what Megan was telling me she would be better off single or on another continent than to stay another day in the relationship with Rose. I didn’t know how candid I could be with her yet, if I could afford not to censor my thoughts, so to begin with I’d just listen.
So I couldn’t find anyone to take Lara’s place on the holiday even though she was willing to pass it up. In the end I let the guys buy me out of the holiday. My only stipulation was that it shouldn’t be Emma taking my place, as time drew nearer they found it hard for someone to take the my place too. Eventually one of my rugby teammates took it over, at a bargain basement price and I was even more embittered by the fact that I was now several hundred pounds worse off because of this break up.
During this time I found it so hard to be away from home, I would prolong my weekends as much as possible. Heading home of the Friday straight from work and only returning to London after watching Downton Abbey on a Sunday night. I wanted to be around my friends and family and when I returned to London I couldn’t be further away from them. So I asked for my job back in Somerset, even after spending 6 long years there there was no place for me unless I was to re-apply and start over again. That wasn’t an option, I wouldn’t be able to afford to live on the basic salary or holiday allowance.
Instead I looked at joining Michael at the company he’d moved to. It was a small phone and broadband provider for business users. I had enough experience to get myself an interview and I had a few days booked off and I went for it. In that moment I would have told you that I wanted to be with my friends and family during hard times, however if I’m completely honest my motivations were also a little sinister.
There was something to be said for being home, my very presence made certain people uneasy, guilty and spoiled all their fun. No more than I felt they deserved and I took pleasure in knowing that by taking no action at all except just being a constant reminder of a nasty side of themselves that they couldn’t ignore. It’s this feeling that fuelled my stubbornness and I continued with previously arranged engagements such as rugby, going paintballing with my rugby team and other social engagements. I think Emma thought she’d be my number one target at paintball, however I preferred the kill them with kindness approach. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t easy to get along with and completely amiable, I wanted them to know what they had done was unacceptable, I wanted other people to see them the way I did, I just had to be quite calculated about it.
I began to strengthen my resolve for coming home because my very presence would stake a claim with all the things that I didn’t want to lose, all the things I’d worked hard at over the years. This included the friendships I’d made with Heidi, Daryl and my rugby teammates. I knew that if I returned I could force Lara out of that world, if I really wanted to.
I blitzed through these emotions and feelings quickly and impulsively. I didn’t deliberate or think through what I was doing or stop to dissect my motivations like I have today. I just went with my whims and wishes, I wanted a quick fix to all the emotional baggage I was working through and I was plotting to do the cowardly thing of running home because things had gotten tough. Would that be the right thing for me to do? Did my reasons for moving to London really apply anymore? Was there really no place like home?