This is the end

It takes a rare and rational human to take actual comfort in being told “time heals all wounds”, that “you’ll get over it eventually” and “you’ll meet someone new”.

One of the few things my 30 years on this planet have taught me is that all of those things have proven to be true, and yet they don’t make reality any better when you’re deleting pictures at three in the morning reasoning that “it’s for the best”.

Rivers and Roads: The Head and the Heart

Nothing is as it has been/ And I miss your face like hell/ And I guess it’s just as well/ But I miss your face like hell

I used to call you for the big, small and tedious — promotions, confrontations, loves, losses, hiccupping tears, bowel movements, idiotic purchases and insignificancies — now your number pops up and my face stretches into a grimace. You protected me from everything including the most dangerous game (men) and my deepest fear (me) and you were tasked with the “accidental” act of device arson in the event of my untimely and likely deserved death.

You knew all the weird, wonderful and woefully stupid things I did because we did them together — and now you’re just a person I actively avoid. Between us are years of emotional belongings that can’t be hidden in storage. For us the punchlines floated easily and no one else could possibly get them. Yet here we are with a chasm of silence and pain, acting like strangers who reached for the last sale item and accidentally touched fingers.

The heart has chambers where love and poison seeps but the ensuing blood-letting coloured the way I perceived you and your role in my life. Irony couldn’t delay the drop of the other shoe when you would say, when it no longer serves you, bin it.

For the longest time, in you, I saw the woman I aspired to be but the glacial drift didn’t happen overnight. We saw it but tried to excuse and wash out the stains, hoping it was a phase, despite the tether between us. We buried it in the shallow grave of small talk and missed opportunities.

There’s no real manual or method on how to conduct a friendship. No one huddles with you in the kitchen explaining the care and upkeep of a friend. No one explains how to get past selfish mood swings and the terrible descent into indifference. No one asks how you met or celebrates another milestone as part of a pair held together by sheer will.

Not a soul offers counselling for me and the boisterous girl I met when Chester Bennington first screamed about something pulling beneath the surface.

Love Will Tear Us Apart: Joy Division

When the routine bites hard/ And ambitions are low/ And the resentment rides high/ But emotions won’t grow/ And we’re changing our ways/ Taking different roads/ Then love, love will tear us apart again

Friendships, like romance, can be fraught because of the same back-and-forth between unwavering trust and stifling confusion that can make romance both exciting and excruciating. Does she like me? Did I come on too strong? Was that too much? Does she still love this heaving sack of disappointments after all these years?

Emily Rapp posited “friendships between women are often the deepest and most profound love stories, but they are often discussed as if they are ancillary, ‘bonus’ relationships to the truly important ones.”

What else do I have when men’s love and support often hinges on my attractiveness and suitability to their current and fleeting needs? My biological family makes me oscillate between homicide ideation and unconditional love. But who do I have? Is it fair for me to want so desperately to preserve our love in amber when I feel you drifting away?

Maps: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Made off/ Don’t stray/ My kind’s your kind/ I’ll stay the same/ Pack up/ Don’t stray

The pithy, repetitive lyrics Karen O choked out through that affecting, weepy performance of the Maps music video captured the tongue-tied desperation that lives between denial and acceptance. It’s over. It has been over. We have outgrown our intentions.

I Will Always Love You: Dolly Parton

Bittersweet memories,/ That’s all I am taking with me/ Goodbye, please don’t cry/ We both know that I’m not what you need

In 1967, Dolly Parton was invited by the country star Porter Wagoner to co-host his TV show. After being on ‘The Porter Wagoner Show’ and recording several duet albums, Parton told Wagoner she wanted to strike out on her own. He had essentially launched her career and her talent began to eclipse his star. She realised she could never grow as a person or a musician with Wagoner in tow.

Lawsuits were filed, songs were written and the end of their friendship was well underway. She wrote the song for him to show her appreciation for the time they had worked together.

“I wrote that song to say, ‘Here’s how I feel. I will always love you, but I have to go …” Parton is quoted as saying.

I have to love you from afar because I can’t keep second-guessing myself. I will always recite in whispers the ‘Any Given Sunday’ “Inches” speech for you because I want you to win, but I also have to accept that maybe this is something neither of us could win at.

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Kiri Rupiah
Kiri Rupiah is the online editor at the Mail & Guardian.

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