Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day


I wake and walk calmly to the bathroom.  I kneel on the hard tiles, lean over the toilet bowl and throw up.  I rise, rinse my mouth, brush my teeth and go back to bed.  It’s 2am and I promptly fall asleep.

At 6:30am my alarm sounds and I systematically get ready for work.  I put on my coat, close my front door and head out.  I step forward to cross the road and a cyclist zooms by, almost hitting me.  He screams out abuse.  I’m not startled.  I’m unnervingly calm.  It wouldn’t have mattered if he’d hit me.  It doesn’t matter that he didn’t. 

The work day passes in a trance.  I’m watching everything through thick, soundproof glass.  I hear my colleagues and politely chat, but I can’t connect with them.

I go home, I eat my dinner.  I watch TV, I go to bed.  At approximately 2am I will wake, feel nauseous, go to the bathroom and throw up.

It’s 1998 and this pattern will repeat itself every day for over a year.  The year my heart was ripped through my chest, beaten to a pulp and thrown adrift in the ocean – left to bob up and down, stinging and alone in the dark, cold salt water.  Dramatic?  Yes.  But to simply say it was broken doesn’t do it justice.

Each day I felt cold, contained, impotent rage.  I didn’t kill anyone, I didn’t commit any lesser crimes, and I didn’t irreparably destroy my life; all three were a distinct possibility and I’m still astonished one or all three didn’t occur.

But each night the anger left and pain spewed forth, literally.

Weekdays I worked, weekends I did jigsaws.  Countless jigsaws.  The quantity of mental focus required was perfect; my empty mind robotically scanned for “The blue piece, the blue piece, the blue piece ….”.   My jigsawing (breakdown) obsession was inflicted on my friends who were obligated to partake when they visited.  (Thanks Simon for hours of dedicated and silent jigsaw work.  I do laugh about it now).

I sleepwalked through a year.  In April I sent my sister a birthday card, in May I went to a wedding, in June I sent my mother a birthday card.  I followed social processes; doing what was required with dispassionate inertia.

This is the aftermath of love.  This is love when it’s ended for one, but not the other.  It’s excruciating.  It’s agony.  It’s worse than any physical pain I’ve ever experienced.

People tell you you’ll get over it, that you’ll be fine in time.  Fifteen years on I conclude that they’re the lucky people who have escaped true, crippling heartache.  What they should be saying is that you’ll feel happiness again; your emotions won’t be forever restricted to only despair and fury.  Most importantly, an interest in things will come again. (You also might lose the desire to kill every human you encounter … but that’s an individual thing and I still frequently yearn for the power to make peoples’ heads explode simply by looking at them).

Love at the start of the cycle is bliss; the days are bright, there’s a spring in your step and nothing can bring you down.  On the rare occasions I’ve experienced this stage I’ve entered it without giving thought to the death stage.  It’s always possible the grim reaper will never arrive and I genuinely hope (and even believe) that I won’t see him again; I definitely wish his head would explode.

So if you’re at the start of the love cycle this Valentine’s Day, enjoy it.  If you’re in the middle, comfortable and undramatic stage, appreciate it.  And if you’re nursing a skewered heart, survive it – you’ll feel happiness again.  Or maybe you won’t.  What do I know?


If you’ve recently had your heart obliterated and someone tells you “there are plenty more fish in the sea” … punch them in the face.  Hard.  If you manage to break their nose (fingers crossed), don’t apologise.  I regret not doing that.  And perhaps remind them that all the world’s fisheries are due to be depleted by 2048, so the expression is both infuriating and grossly inaccurate.

Vengeance and Valentines

First, thanks for your emails encouraging my recent romance.  Alas, I won’t be providing the intimate details you requested (you lecherous bunch of pervs!).  I apologise if this is frustrating but I’m exercising a degree of censorship because:

  1. My mother reads this blog.
  2. So do some of my colleagues.
  3. I would like to cling to a smidgen of dignity.  

Anyway let’s get down to business and see if it’s possible for you to be entertained without X-Rated content (seriously, shame on you!).

Courtship is on my mind and not just because of Cafe-Man.  Many of my friends have recently embarked on new relationships, Valentine’s Day approaches, and in my family home I’m surrounded by paraphernalia from relationships past.

In December Mum touchingly toasted my arrival in Australia with champagne in glasses that, in a previous life, were an engagement gift to me.  My stomach lurched when I saw them and I hoped she’d forgotten where they’d come from.  She hadn’t.

Mum:  These glasses were an engagement present to you from Tom’s sister, remember?

(Yes, yes I do).

Mum:  It was such a shame about the two of you.  Do you think you’ll ever get in contact with him again?

I closed down this conversation quickly.  Tom’s divorced and working in Sydney; thankfully enough time has passed for me to smile at my ridiculous behaviour after being dumped, but I still don’t leap at the thought of seeing him.

My break-up meltdown was classically psycho; when young love turns sour the wounded party often loses their mind.  However one instance of my bunny-boiling conduct continues to trouble me.  A few weeks after I’d moved out I agreed to drive Tom to work.  I sat on his waterbed (yes, waterbed – it was the nineties) and waited while he was in the ensuite showering.  Tom always wore a silver ring, however on this occasion I saw it resting on his bedside table.  In a moment of inexplicable insanity, I picked up the ring and heaved up the corner of the waterbed (it’s possible you’ve never lifted a waterbed mattress – believe me, they’re heavy).  I calmly threw the ring onto the base and lowered the hefty mattress.  What on earth was I thinking?!  When Tom emerged ready for work, I carried on as though butter wouldn’t melt.  Nothing was said about the ring until later that week when I ran into him in a shopping centre.

Me:  Hey, you’re not wearing your ring? (Knowing he’d be puzzled and frustrated by the lost piece of jewellery wasn’t enough – I had to hear him say it!)

Him (with a look of confusion): Yeah, I can’t find it and I’ve looked everywhere.

To this day I can’t explain why this caused me such delight.  Love, or lost love, had temporarily made me crazy.

I’ve known aggrieved exes to do far worse (both illegal and dangerous), but guilt has stayed with me about this little incident and I want to make amends.  During our years together Tom wrote a book (a fantasy novel about a green elf and an angry dwarf – I didn’t say it was a literary masterpiece).  This book is on my laptop and I’m determined to retrieve it (he never saved it to a “floppy disk” for his own possession).  Unfortunately the software is museum-artefact ancient and I can’t even switch it on.  I’ve taken it to an IT professional who’s old enough to remember DOS to sort it out.  Will I actually send it to Tom?  I don’t know.  I don’t want to cause him unnecessary shock but I do want him to have his piece of creative work.

Luckily I’m at peace with almost all my other past loves and haven’t engaged in any vengeful or sociopathic behaviour for fifteen years.  Okay, at the start of the millennium I may have indulged in a few phone calls where I hung-up without speaking, but it’s been a good few years since I committed so much as a drive-by (you know, just to check if he’s at home …).

And as for the International Day of Romance, well my Valentine’s Day date is with my dentist.  At 2pm on 14 February I’ll be having a root canal, so any X-Rated action will be gory rather than lewd.  I’m sorry to say that you’ll have to get your dirty titillation elsewhere.