There comes a time in every break up, when you suddenly stop hearing the onslaught of excuses, the world goes still and you find yourself thinking: fuck, I am going to end up a strange old spinster with cats, living above my best friend’s garage and being invited for pity-dinners by all my happily married friends. The eccentric - and by then safely asexual - token gay at the table, that all their future kids think is hysterically funny and confide in about their teenage crushes. It is usually at that point that I start to cry.
But there was an interesting twist in Friday night’s scene. Out of nowhere, it forgot to shatter my self-worth. I felt the usual shock and despair, obviously, and disbelief. And that nauseating feeling that I was about to lose someone who meant so much to me and defined so much of my life and experience in the past few months. The loneliness that pounces before the door has even closed behind him and the frustration that all the shared moments and imagined futures were for nothing. But not once did I think I had screwed up, or, as per previous self-flagellations, that I deserved it and it was obviously going to pan out that way.
Have I reached the end of teenage angst? At 26, have I finally grown up and learnt the Oprah (or was it Buddha?) lesson of valuing oneself and not taking things personally? It was a much healthier relationship than I have been in for years. Easy-going, natural, respectful and equal. Perhaps healthy relationships translate into less damaging breakups. Which is counter-intuitive, as there is more being lost. Or perhaps the man in question, a gentleman to the end, just put more effort into softening the blow, so the bruising will take longer to show. Whichever it turns out to be, I am going to hold on to the fact that my flat is too small a place to start collecting cats.