Scratch the Surface

Sometimes life can feel just like the movies. We’ve all watched those perfect chick-flicks with the happy endings. I quite like them, I’d much rather watch a feel-good film than be scared half to death watching some sadistic horror movie. Well just as I was turning 27 I felt like I was in one of those chick-flicks where even though the odds seem insurmountable it will all work out right in the end.

Now if we’re type casting people here I guess I’d be the slightly cynical self-conscious one who doesn’t ever really expect that stunning girl to look twice. Megan, well she was the gorgeous, scatterbrained, naive heroine with a killer smile and a ticking time-bomb of baggage just waiting to blow up in our (my) face. It’s like that scene in Notting Hill when Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant debate whether or not he should go up to her room, “Well, there seem to be lots of reasons why I shouldn’t…” and yes, with Megan there were lots of reasons not to even consider anything further than friendship.

For the first time I remember talking to my Mum and my friends about Megan and I taking things further and the situation we were in now. There were five years between us, it didn’t really feel like a big age difference. She was more mature in many ways, less mature in many others. Megan had experienced things in her life that I could never have imagined, and she claimed to be insufferably shy and lacking in confidence.

The baggage that was weighing her down seemed pretty manageable at the time. Megan had been referred to a psychiatrist for a long while to help with some early-life traumatic experiences, we would talk from time to time as our friendship grew stronger about how that was helping her. Megan made out that she’d already worked through most of her earlier issues, her biggest problem now was why she seemed to try and break away from a relationship that was destroying her bit by bit only to be sucked back in.

Megan’s early life trauma did seem to be a big part of who she is today. When she was very young she had discovered her older sister dead in her bedroom, it really did a number on her. The whole family really. Further to that there was an experience in her teens where she’d been assaulted by some guys on her way home. Megan claimed it was too painful to discuss, I never tried to after that first revelation. If she ever mentioned it in passing I’d gloss over it and focus on something more positive instead.

Megan’s sole focus seemed to be quite simply being herself again. She’d seemed to lose sense of who she was over the years that she’d been with Rose and now her first part in breaking away was to claim back her individuality. Wear what she wanted, reach out to her family again, make her own friends and actually spend time with them. It was a gradual thing, but by the time she’d let me know that me and her could be a possibility she was already ready to break away.

It was something that I’d tried to discuss with her from time to time as friends, I just didn’t know how to be completely impartial anymore. Every time I saw her I hoped a little bit more that she’d see sense and just break away and never look back. To me, the key was in the never looking back, it’s what had been so healthy for me when I had split up with Lara. I didn’t need any reminders of her in my life and after the way she treated me I didn’t harbour any hopes of ever being friends. If anything, from what Megan had confided in me, Rose had treated her a million times worse and would go completely off the rails when it ended, a clean break would be required.

Not to mention that almost every time I came home there was another story from Megan about Rose’s Dad. He’d text her asking her to meet up with him, he’d compliment her somewhat inappropriately and suggestively. Megan never felt comfortable to be around him one-to-one and they lived right on his door-step. Megan had confided this to me and to her friend from work, she’d shown us text messages he had sent and only then did I decide to tell her that she would need a clean break if she was ever going to end it.

Megan was also chronically ill, her pancreas has/was failing and she was on about a million pills a day, there was also a history of rather severe depression. Megan was still undergoing tests to figure out what the root-cause of her illness was and it was a very stressful time for her over-all. Stress didn’t seem to help her health at all, she’d also take herself on and off her meds quite regularly being convinced that they weren’t working, she’d ended up in hospital with severe pain at times. Yet Megan seemed convinced that she’d never let her illness from her enjoying life.

So it seemed to always come back to the same thing. Just one thing stopping her from moving back home to her parents, who by this time would welcome her with open arms, that was her sense of independence. There were parts of her life with Rose that she didn’t want to let go, things like having her own home (even if it was a trailer-trash kind of static caravan, I had already been told off once or twice for calling it a shed) she was proud of making it her own home, having pets and none she loved more than her black lab Echo. In her mind it was all a lot to let go. So she continued going backwards and forwards on the matter of breaking away from Rose, even when the reasons to end it kept stacking up higher and higher.

They weren’t together anymore, as far as I knew. They were on another one of their breaks and busy shouting at each other all the time, Rose trying to win her back with emotional black mail and all sorts. Megan would confide in me about how Rose would play on her weaknesses by telling her that her family wouldn’t want her back, that she’d be too shy to make any kind of life for herself, that she couldn’t go home and couldn’t afford to live on her own. Every time they were off-again these tactics seemed to work less and less.

As I talked this all through with my friends and relatives I was encouraged to keep up the friendship but to be wary of getting more involved. I was already wary of getting more involved, the problem is I was already falling and I hadn’t even noticed. I was cautioned about becoming her rebound, I was advised to give it time and let her be herself before we could explore these feelings we seemed to have for each other. All of it was really great advice… so why didn’t I take it? Well, that would be because it was already too late, I knew that the next time we saw each other she’d be expecting that first kiss, we both wanted it to happen. I didn’t want to miss another chance if it presented itself.

It turned out our love wasn’t really a bit like the movies, sure there would be moments of bliss clouded over with spells of drama and interference. Yet there would be no ‘meet-cute’ we already knew each other too well. We’d grown closer as we were supporting each other through times in each of our lives that were less than perfect, now we were both looking to the future and looking for something that would make us each happy, it just turned out at that time we wanted the same thing, each other.

Megan was beautiful, seriously could be a model beautiful. All I saw by this time was everything to love about the girl, her generous nature, the friendship we shared, the similar interests we had and so much more. Sure I knew if I scratched the surface and let my head rule my heart I would most likely have run a million miles, I didn’t want another project of a girlfriend. My heart told me, you want this, it will work. Not for the first time, my head didn’t win.

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