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Goodbye Is The Hardest Word

And then, Rafael said to Jane, “I can’t… we can’t…”

Jane replied aghast, “Why not?”

Rafael: Last night got me thinking too. And I realized that something has changed.

Jane: What?

Rafael: I just don’t love you the way that you love me. That’s the problem. That’s why this won’t work.

Jane: I don’t believe you.

Rafael: Look, I know that this hurts to hear –

Jane: Why are you saying this?

Rafael: Because I thought I did. But I guess I got caught up in the idea of us being a family… But I’m seeing things clearly now. I think that we should end things.

*

It has been a few months since your relationship ended, a few months since you embarked on the tortuous journey of healing, riddled as it was with memories, ‘What if’ questions and ‘If only’ doubts. You are finally ready to start dating again. You think you are.

And then you watch that episode of Jane The Virgin, and that dialogue slaps you with a painful reminder of the past. The reliving of that moment dreaded by anyone who’s ever been in love – the breakup.

One of the hardest things to get over in life is a breakup. It is even harder when you are not ready for the end, when you don’t see it coming. One moment, you are still secure in the knowledge that you have someone, that your heart is filled, that you do not belong to that coterie of singles hounding the online dating sites, randomly hopping from one bed to the other. You feel sorry for them, because you know that life is more fulfilling with that one special someone. Never mind that it is starting to feel like work, that the laughter and camaraderie does not come so easy anymore, and that in its place are the questions and doubts and the struggle to get back the magic that was once upon a time.

And then, that moment passes, and the end is upon you like the decisive slam of a judge’s gavel. The reality you’ve always known is irrevocably altered, and you find yourself being thrust into an adjustment to a new reality – one without the man you’d shared your life with for whatever amount of times past. If you were not ready for the end, this adjustment can be a very hellish one.

You remember how you vacillated between a cocktail of emotions, emotions you heard the narrator on Jane The Virgin speak of. The seven stages of grief after a breakup – that was what he called them. Shock. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Guilt. Depression. And (Non) Acceptance. The narrator reeled them out with the comedic, tongue-in-cheek undertone you’ve come to expect from the show, but you can identify with them. With all of them. You can recognize how you lived each one of them after you were broken up with.

Shock that such a horrible thing happened to you. Things like that didn’t happen to people like you. You were supposed to be different. Your love was supposed to conquer all.

That segued into Denial, when you refused to accept the cold new reality. Of course he didn’t know what he was saying. He absolutely didn’t mean it. Was it April First? No? Perhaps a belated April Fool’s Day joke then?

But seriously, WTF! Anger surged. You fumed to yourself and your long-suffering best friend about him. How dare he do this to you? Didn’t he know you were the best thing that ever happened to him?

The rage however fizzled out, and the fear that made you begin to realize that this might be real caused you to begin appealing to whatever powers-that-be for intervention. Frantically, you bargained. God, please change his heart, and I promise, we’ll always use condoms during sex. God, bring him back to me, and I’ll start keeping more of Your commandments.

When the heavens remained resolutely unresponsive, you began to feel weighted down with guilt. Questions plagued your mind. Had it been your fault? Was it something you did? Had you failed to give him everything he wanted?

On the heels of this came the deluge of depression. The world became a panorama of grays and blacks. Days stretched drearily on. Your tears leaked at the slightest provocation. And your heart sat rock-heavy inside you. The same heart that shattered to innumerable pieces when he earlier broke up with you had now crystallized into a dead weight inside you.

But you knew you had to fight the depression. You had to combat it with happiness. And the only happiness you knew was with him. So you refused to accept the decision he’d taken for you both, and you went back to him with the desperate words: “I want you back… We can make this work… We belong together…”

But no, you didn’t belong together. He made that clear to you again. And again. And yet again. And with each time, your heart splintered, leaving a patchwork of bruises you knew would take an eternity to heal.

But heal you must. So you turned away from him, and tried to find healing. You called up an old fuck buddy. You resurrected friendships you’d allowed to go stale because of him. You stopped talking to him. You forced your laughter. You got busy. You tried your darnedest. You were making progress.

And then you watch Rafael break up with Jane. You hear the aching strains of Emily Hearn’s Volcano strumming as the background music. And your old wounds begin to throb anew. Your heart begins to ache. Your eyes glaze over with tears. And the walls you’d painstakingly built up begin to crumble all around you.

So you call him. You reach for your phone, scroll to that number you just hadn’t had the courage to delete, and call him.

He answers. He calls your name. His voice unlocks an onrush of memories. You do not fight them. You let your soul get saturated with the past. You make your peace with it, with him, for only then can you attain that final emotion that had eluded you all this time.

Acceptance.

Acceptance of the good, the bad and the ugly.

You do not know what will happen tomorrow. You do not wish to know. You have only today. And you have accepted all that today has to offer.

Written by Pink


About shakespeareanwalter

Walt Shakes(@Walt_Shakes) is an award-winning Nigerian writer, poet and veteran blogger. He is a lover of the written word. the faint whiff of nature, the flashing vista of movies, the warmth of companionship and the happy sound of laughter.

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16 comments

  1. This is clearly coming from a very personal place of pain and survival. Breakups, whether marital or relationship, has been one of the major causes of the world’s ugliness.

  2. When I said ‘I want to write like you when I grow up’, I had pieces this beautiful in mind! ? ? ? ?

  3. Wonderful, beautiful. It is a good thing that daddy diaries was not submitted for today, it made way for this beautiful piece. The five stages of grief is one I know so well and it’s aptly described here.
    But this writer Sha, stop watching Jane the virgin. It’s not good for you ooo. E get too much emotional hoola hoopla but comedy is top notch Sha.

    • Lol. That show’s just something else. Gina Rodriguez is an impeccable actress. I watched the Golden Globes before I saw the show. When I won, I was like, Who she and why’s she winning?
      Then I saw the show. It’s a comedy that has depth. So it’s entirely understandable when it doesn’t ellicit just laughs but deeper emotions as well.

    • And look, Anyi, don’t think this absolves you of your sins with the daddy diaries o. *scowl*

  4. Rafael broke up with Jane twice. Both of them very crushing. And I was so rooting for them.
    This is such a beautiful relatable piece. Thanks for stripping your heart bare to share this with us, Pink

  5. Muhammad Abdulqawiyu

    Warning: Don’t read this while listening to ‘Why’ by Michael Jackson and 3T.

  6. Sigh….This just too…sigh…hmmm

  7. You know i’ve been away from FB since May,even when I get notifications I don’t bother 2check them out but this piece title got my attention,believe me I wasn’t disappointed I read it. It’s a beautiful piece and I can relate with every part of it..but the one part I still can’t grasp is the acceptance part…cos I always go back to bargaining…Yea,am still bargaining….

  8. Adeleke Julianah

    Hmmm.
    Short on words to describe this…

  9. Glad I came back 2 read this.

    Well written, Wally.

  10. Wow, this is real. Loved it. Recognised all those emotions. Good work, Pink.

  11. think I should break a heart

  12. Eh yaa, Pink, this is so relatable for anyone who ever loved and stopped. Well done.
    Like Walter said, sometimes you see Exes fighting and you just wonder if there was EVER any love. You witness stuff like that and you’re tempted to never give your heart without guarantees – and who gives guarantees in.these matters?

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