The Break-up – Part I

Not many things I do have an ending. As a matter of fact, if one was to stick one big scarlet-lettered sign on myself to designate my most flagrant flaw, it would be this lack of perseverance, this ability to start one too many things and never wrap them up.
One such thing was my relationship – can’t complain really – an ongoing relationship is like a gift from above. It doesn’t happen every day. It’s simple true bliss. Warm and cozy, comfortable and reassuring. It’s all we hope for, after all, to be wholly and unconditionally loved by someone we love in return. The given relationship sprung from an incidental meeting between two individuals of – oddly enough – the same nationality – yet living in sleepy Suffolk, a strange and most foreign land to both individuals. It couldn’t have started on the worst terms – at a beer festival – none of the German organization and grandeur – none of the palate-teasing brews of Belgium. In lieu of such merriments, we contented ourselves with the local entertaining batch of tractor boys meddling about several dozen casks coming as far wide as Norfolk (a mere 50 miles north) and perhaps the daring potion from Boston (still no more than 200 mi) or Newcastle. Do pitch in the rare perl from Scotland and mainland Europe to be quite fair. Nonetheless, one can hardly argue a beer festival is quite the place for two young souls to meet. Surely CoEs and popes alike cannot condone such behavior.
Getting back to our flock of sheep, as indeed this story is not about hops and malt, I met Laurine in September of 2005, my mind astray after 11 months in Portugal hacking away at the last year of my Master’s degree in ‘Informatics’. The hacking involved hard work at times, with long endless nights of project report writing in the cold empty lurid (though this may be stretching the discourse) university hallways. One cannot deny it also involved parties, moments of self-discovery, and long winding walks through the narrow Porto cobbled passages. Friendships were cemented over long sips of ruby-hued glasses of Port; love was found and lost at a pace Eros himself would find hard to keep up with. The candle of life was joyously burning at both with no end in sight. The wick was mighty and strong indeed. New languages were discovered; others invented; apartments filled with echoes of laughter. This balance of work and play would have seemed enviously appealing to Jack; the scorn for the next dawn, the mere lack of respect for Chronos and its grinding spirals, the youth’s ignorance of tomorrow’s decay cast on Porto an unforgettable phosphorescence of true felicity. Glimmers of true love accentuated this ethereal feeling. Returning to Ipswich, starting a new job, stepping into responsible life with bills, salaries, credit cards, income tax, social security, pension funds, and whatnot doused the wick and the polaroid tones of blithe. The grey tones of this English town, the biased view of a Frenchman, and the dark red brick of the seemingly derelict train station led to an incurable sense of saudade. One may assume the change from the life of a student to that of a full-grown person may lend to many a philosophical question on the meaning of life. And no Monty Python pun is a match for doubts of that nature.
And so, in this odd unbalanced climate of hesitation, growth spurt, and sudden respectability undermined with responsibility, there came Laurine, radiant, young, innocent, truthful, aspiring, glowing. A redhead – a mysterious smile à la Julia Roberts – a mastery of the English language that would leave more than one puzzled – a capacity to listen and understand that outpassed many a talkative mouth of the locals. From the first kiss under the Statue of Liberty’s green bedsheet to the last one on Naples’s train platforms, a blizzard of fond memories, passionate love, quirky moments, and darker shades have come and gone, consumed by the very same Chronos once defied, now bowed to. There is nothing left of these three years but a basket of mixed feelings that manage to seep through the loosely woven wicker to embitter the present day.
Much later, months and years have passed. Today, Sunday, February eight, after a week surrounded by friends, I realize all this has been pointless. The breakup she triggered may have been salvatory. Or are we all merely masquerading ourselves into a false sense of security and comfort?
Today, Sunday, February the eighth, I have learned the news that belittles this story, irremediable facts of life that suddenly wake you in the bitterest of ways. And I love all the more those people close to me.
Today, Sunday, February the eighth, I read these words and wonder why I have never seriously studied the classics, philosophy, and literature in general. It is so easy to write gibberish and kill the essence of a message in a surplus of meaningless phrases. There is no contempt or hubris in doing so, merely the awkwardness of a fairly illiterate young man of the XXIst century.
Today, Sunday, February the eighth, I have started reading Goethe’s Werther.