In a light hearted way only they can get away with, my friends always tease me about being Asian. Of course, I’m not Asian. But when I smile, so they remind me, my eyes threaten to disappear, hence the nickname Jacka Chan.
If only they could see me now. After about two straight hours of tears last night, and the mounds of soaked toilet paper to prove it, I am sporting a face puffier than a battered and bruised Wallaby. My eyes are drowning in cheeks. What’s that? Allergic to bees? No, just hugely emotional right now. It’s the kind of face which prompts acquaintances to ask ‘have you done something different?’ and friends to cry ‘oh my god, you’ve been crying. Are you okay?’
The problem, as almost any girl can tell you, is asking a female if she’s okay is akin to pressing the cry an ocean of tears button. Yeh, I have one, it’s somewhere round the back.
Tonight I leave the country indefinitely. Last night my ex came around to say goodbye. Sitting at my computer, stealing songs from my iTunes, he was soon privy to the photo slideshow which is my screensaver. It’s a reel of some of my favourite memories and so many of those memories include him.
Pictures from our trip to Thailand a few years back, our last New Year’s Eve together, our kitten who was hit by a car two days after we broke up (it was a bad week). I didn’t realise he had been quietly watching the photos roll by until he piped up: ‘it’s hard to see these’.
“Yeh. Yeh, it is,” I replied somberly.
More silence. Then, at the same time, we looked at each other and both saw the tears welling in each other’s eyes. Seeing him like that was all I needed to crumple into a blubbering mess.
We talked, hugged and cried our way through the next few hours. Somehow it was horrible and wonderful at the same time. Either way, it was necessary.
Post breakup my life has been consumed by a possession split, property settlement, and mad-planning for my South American-come-European adventure. There’s been no time to breathe let alone mourn the death of my six-year relationship – easily the most significant and special I have experienced.
But last night, finally, I mourned.
The thing is, although we broke up eight months ago, we have seen each other often since. We attended each other’s birthday parties, we’ve caught up for numerous coffees, and he was one of the most important guests at my farewell.
Now that I am leaving, for the long term, our split has become so much more real. For the first time since we first met in 2001, we will be apart for more than five weeks, much more.
The things I will miss about him are endless but I think, most of all, we will both miss having that person by your side who you can share anything with and who makes the tough times a little better.
Ironically, I am likely about to embark on some pretty tough times. Traveling a continent solo with a minimal knowledge of the local tongue, for starters.
But, that was the whole point. Step outside my comfort zone and do a little self-discovery. As wanky as it sounds, the plan is to challenge myself and, in turn, find out who I truly am, and that’s something I need to do alone.
I am flying solo in more ways than one and the adventure starts tomorrow.