I thought it was the best date I ever had. I thought it would always occupy a perfect little moment at the back of my mind; the gentle breeze running its fingers through our hair and pulling away any memory of life before him and the idea of life after him; the light of the setting sun framing him in a halo of light, he looked so angelic I was scared he might sprout angel wings and fly way; the waves rolling and scrambling in then out again but never once forgetting to take away our problems with them; the cacophony of beeping, pinging and zapping quickly join my urgent heart beat as they build up into a symphony of noises that flooded our ears. His strong arms held on so tight around me, that even if the ground fell away, I knew I wouldn’t fall. The sweet aroma of hot dogs, candy floss and chips that swirled and twirled into the air, seduced and tantalised our taste buds. I thought all the noises, images, smells and him in my arms would suspend that moment in time forever in a tiny faultless snow globe; that whenever I felt sad or was angry at him I could always pick it up, shake and remember what real happiness looked like and it would leave me giving him as many thank you’s as there are star in the night skies for giving it me.
But even gentle breezes can turn into violent storms, the brightest lights can begin to dim, angels can lose their wings, waves can bring bad memoires crashing in, symphony can fall on deaf ears and the sweetest of things can leave nasty tastes in the mouth. Because I don’t know how it happened; maybe I didn’t hold on to it long enough, maybe it was never meant to be mine, but somehow that globe in my hands slipped out and went crashing to the ground and shattered into a million little pieces, like my heart did only a second beforehand. “Was it me? Did I do something wrong?” as I tried to heave back the tears and smother the whimpers. I desperately searched his face for a flicker of a smile, hoping, just hoping it was just another of his cruel jokes. When I found none, I looked at him straight in the eyes, hoping that if he looked into mine long enough he would see a movie of all the beautiful times we spent together. The romantic secret meeting at the dead of night so his friends wouldn’t find out, when he used some of the money I used to give him to buy me gifts, all the times he refused to hold my hand in public because he was worried he couldn’t contain himself if he touched me and the time he practised having sex with another girl because he wanted make our first time special. But my movie was playing to an empty theatre, because he didn’t see all those beautiful things. Instead what he saw was a just girl who always refused to have threesomes, a girl who said I love you too much, a girl who was too obsessed with meeting his family, a girl always clanging to his side when he wanted space to grieve properly.
To him I was just a girl and because of that I spent the rest of my childhood looking in the mirror hoping that one morning I would grew bigger breasts and look more like a woman. I constantly brought expensive perfume so I could smell more like a woman. I watched unhealthy amounts of porn so I could learn to satisfy him more like a woman. But the truth was I was just a girl and he was just a boy who robbed me of my confidences, health and childhood. Now I was a woman I realised jokes at my expense weren’t funny, meetings at night so his friends wouldn’t know wasn’t romantic, presents brought with my own money weren’t really gifts and cheating on me with my best friend didn’t make my first time special. So sure he saw just girl who was too clingy, gushy, believed in monogamy and wanted to meet his parents too much. What I saw was someone who was loving, supportive and cared way too much considering he was just a boy.
But I’m not just a girl, I’m a great girl, who grew up to be a great woman and it’s because I’m a great woman that I realise now that a bad relationship can’t be healed by one perfect date or one perfect kiss. Because a real relationship more than a thousand perfect dates or kisses, a real relationship is about infinite tenderness despite the other person’s imperfection. A real relationship is about infinite tenderness stretching a perfect moment into a perfect life time. And if you don’t know what infinite tenderness feels like, then you’re just a boy who needs to meet more than just a girl.