I was half dreading this bank holiday weekend — I’d half-heartedly tried to make plans with folk, but they’d got plans already, but then decided that I didn’t really need to worry too much. My Apple Watch had set me a challenge of getting a certain number of exercise minutes in this month, it was a tough target, but I worked out that with an active long weekend I could achieve it, so decided to make that my focus.
So on Saturday I went up to the Peak District and did a walk I found on Komoot, the weather was great, the scenery lovely and I had Podcasts to keep me entertained. I tried to take plenty of photos. On the way back I swung by Matlock to get a drink, it wasn’t planned as such but I ended up at the Sainsbury’s where we had to get you emergency socks last year when I’d taken you to Matlock as a surprise to visit the Punnydukes shop there and you’d made a massive drama out of a not-particularly long walk between Matlock and Matlock Bath (in your defence, you did have unsuitable footwear really and tiny ankle socks).
A bit of an unwelcome but not unbearable reminder — my mind had been pretty free and easy prior to that. Sunday I had my usual football game, we over-ran so it was an 80 odd minute tearabout, I really enjoyed it. It was so warm though! As I got home I reviewed the minutes of exercise I needed to finish the month challenge and decided, slightly madly, to head out again for another walk, this time around Cannock Chase in Staffordshire.
This was lovely too. I forgot my headphones so had to content myself with birdsong and nature, which was no bad thing! I found a great circular route taking in lots of varied scenery and treated myself to an ice cream at the end. I got home to cook the first of my Gousto recipes (chicken tikka on naan — really good!), and A. called to see if I fancied a walk today, as it’s a bank holiday. He was taking his van up to a pub in the Peaks with his dog and planning on heading out.
Sold! I got up to met him this morning and we’ve had a lovely walk round the Peak District which got me my exercise minutes and more for the challenge. It was great to have a bit of belated company too. In fairness, S. two doors down has had outdoor gatherings over the weekend which I know I could pop along to but I didn’t fancy that, they’re lovely people but I don’t feel like I know them well.
I haven’t told A. anything at all about what happened between us. He didn’t ask either — to his credit. We just talked about random stuff friends talk about, it was nice! And of course I got to spend some quality hours with a dog too, which is always good for me! Lots of hills to get our legs aching, I couldn’t help but think how much you’d have hated it — you liked outside, but not too much physical exertion — unable to get past the need to work at it to get your endurance up.
But back to yesterday, hot on the heels of a torrid day of exercise, and just about putting the Matlock reminders to one side you briefly surfaced on Facebook — a new profile picture. Sultry, a little pouty, pretty. I did see it, I decided not to react, I’m not sure whether I should or not. Silly really. Then a little later your Mum texted to check in, it’s been a while — it was lovely to hear from her. We caught up, we tried and sometimes failed not to descend into talking about what happened.
She said you’d still not opened up — but you had said you’d ‘been stupid’, my brain is forced to speculate again whether it was the outcome or the means that you see as stupid, Logical Bert reminds me that the outcome is the outcome, regardless of how it was achieved. Your Mum is still quite black and white in terms of my more sensitive side — she said I don’t owe you anything, which I don’t, but that doesn’t mean I can’t wish you well or worry a little bit.
She said you seem okay though, a little more at peace — and I’m glad. I didn’t ask about whether the digital world still consumes your life, and I’ve still not checked in on that which I’m pleased about. She’s still resolved not to call you out on anything, she’s actually scared of the reaction. It does make me sad, I really thought you would’ve talked to her as you always used to say you talked to her about everything. Perhaps that wasn’t strictly true!
It seems a little odd to have done so, but I’ve arranged to pop down at see your Mum in July. Mainly because your sister’s bird Loki needs his claws trimming and I’ve offered to help, but I must admit that I really do miss them too. I did say to your Mum that as I’ve come to terms with our relationship ending I do feel real sadness that I won’t get to see her, your step-dad and sis anymore — she said that didn’t have to be the case, but well, we shall have to see!
They’ve just renewed their English Heritage membership so we half plotted finding some suitable sites between us we could wander around. In the meantime though I’m going to take my spare travel cage down for Loki, I don’t need two of them. We’ll attempt the claw trimming, it’s not always fun even with a tame bird! If we fail at least they’ll have a decent option to transport him to the vet to get them done.
If it comes to that I might have to arrange another visit to help wrestle him into the cage — he’s not tame, so it won’t be easy! When M. went to buy him even the folks in the shop struggled to catch him, I ended up grabbing him then (and resisting the gorgeous Galah they also had for sale who was cuddly cute!).
It does feel a little uncomfortable, the idea of spending time with your family behind your back. As far as I know your Mum hasn’t said anything to J. or M. about what happened in detail. They’re lovely people though and we get on really well, I guess I’ll use the legitimate excuse of going to sort Loki out to case out how it feels. I don’t want us to be in a ‘people taking sides’ situation, and if we were then of course your family should be on yours. So maybe I’m over-thinking it.
After getting in from today’s walk you posted a selfie on Facebook, you were sat on your swinging chair at home enjoying the weather — it’s good to see you outside, you look really well. I clicked a like. The caption you chose was ‘Hello sunshine’ — I must admit a little bit of me was tempted to leave a snippy comment, it’s really close to the cloying sunlight moniker you had for him, after all. It was a very small part of me. Of course I didn’t indulge. I don’t think for a minute you’d have made that link. It was a sunny day, for fuck’s sake, haha!
I could’ve veiled it with a reference to your genuinely infamous ability to get sunburned — ‘be careful, you know what happens when you get too much sunlight’ — ooh, I’m such a wit. But no, it would be hurtful even if it might have an element of truth to it, I don’t think that is a helpful train of thought for me, it would certainly not be the kind of thing that engenders some kind of healthy friendship for us in the future — and it probably wouldn’t be very helpful for you either.
So I resisted, despite that little angry bit of me feeling terribly clever for thinking it up. A bit like the reference to flying too close to the sun in the Hamilton song Burn I guess! I’ve still not heard back from the theatre about when that concert has been rescheduled for! But yeah, maybe that’s progress, the bitterness creeps in sometimes but I can dismiss it and make light of it to a degree.
I think my next challenge isn’t lamenting what I’ve lost, of course I still do to an extent — but more is that I won’t find someone else. Time feels like it’s not on my side compared to you, although I know that I’m hardly ready for retirement just yet. I also know from experience that I’ve never found anything meaningful by desperately looking for it, so aside from the odd curious click on Facebook Dating I’m trying to remember that, too. I’ve just deactivated it again.
Ultimately I know that I need to continue to forge a contentment with my life as I now find it. Whilst I perversely miss the plotting and compromising that being part of a couple inevitably entails, I can also be a lot more centred on what I want to do. Casing point, there’s no way I’d have got out for 30 odd miles of cumulative walking this weekend with you in tow — you’d have absolutely hated it!
So really I need to keep working on being happy in my own skin, on my own or with friends (and Sonic, of course!), and then should romantic interest develop somewhere in the future then great! And realising that is half the battle, I wasn’t looking when I found you, or C. before you — things just happen when you least expect them. So I’ll continue to try to re-energise the old social life now we find more options are open to us.
I am cautiously optimistic, with the odd down day thrown in for good measure. I do think my principal insecurity being future focused rather than past focused is a good sign though, I just need to remember that fixating on anything other than the present is largely futile and purely theoretical. Ay up, Zen Bert seems to be resolved to finish off this missive!
I hope you’re doing okay, Bert