As I’ve alluded to in a previous post, I’ve had a fair few boyfriends. Therefore, I thought I’d had a taste of love. Was a seasoned master on the subject. Could talk fondly and regretfully of heartbreak and what it was like to be head over heels.
Then I met Jason.
I realised that all previous romances had been either teenage “luff”, lust, infatuation or intense fondness for a person. The way I felt about Jason was on a whole new stratosphere.
The first moment I saw him it was like someone had twanged a massive harp string in my tummy. I wouldn’t say love at first sight as such – is that even a thing? – but there was this intense, burning desire to get to know this person, to have them in my life. I was lying on my bed in my leopard-print pyjama pants and big fluffy pink dressing gown trying to summon the energy for a big night out. He was like a human berrocca and I was renewed with vigour and zest.
The first night much drink was taken and we ended up in different parts of The Valley in Brisbane. But round two, the next night, was a different story.
I don’t even think it was sexual attraction at first. I was just so drawn to his magnetic personality, his lacing of embellishing words into his speech, his way of gazing at you intently when you were speaking so you felt like the only person in the universe (he gave wholehearted engagement to everyone, not just me). I wanted to make him laugh, I wanted his attention.
I drew a Spider-Man mask on my face in lipstick. I got my friend’s charcoal face mask and smeared it all over my face to be Batman. I was an utter idiot. But he was beside himself at my antics and I shone like a lighthouse beacon.
He looked at me, a glint of intrigue in his eye, and said, “You are such a speciman”.
I regard this as one of the greatest, most precious compliments I have ever received.
We weren’t together that long in the scheme of things; just under a year. But we always laughed that we crammed a good decade into those 360-odd days. Jetting backwards and forwards to Brisbane, living in a tent at Hahei for a few weeks, weekends in Wellington, zillions of rounds of mini golf, so many hikes. And of course the trip to South East Asia, where we began to unravel.
We were visiting his family in New Plymouth and were at a boxing match when Jaas said, “Shit I’d love to go back to Thailand”. “Why don’t we?” I said. So we booked and three weeks later we took off – five weeks of Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, with a brief – and I mean very fleeting – jaunt to Singapore.
I wasn’t in a good frame of mind. I had been getting seemingly endless comments on how healthy and well I looked on return from Brisbane with my few kgs of weight gain and I was internally falling to pieces. A secret part of me thought the trip would be a good opportunity to lose said kilos, and I vowed I would come home significantly smaller.
Don’t get me wrong; we had a brilliant time in SEA. Saw so much, did so much, experienced so much. But there was a simmering presence of ED that was slowly boiling to the surface and couldn’t be ignored.
One night we had just returned to Bangkok after a few days down south at Death Railway. I was craving a cob of corn. All along Khao San Road, there are street sellers grilling husks which you can buy for a laughable fee. I wanted one. It’s all I could think about. But I didn’t want Jason to see me eat it.
Why, you may ask? Fuck knows. I mean, it was corn. He’d have been happy to see me demolish one. Hell, he’s probably have demolished a good eight himself in excitement. But we’d already had dinner. My calorie count was at it’s max for the day. I didn’t want him to see me – what was in my mind – fail.
I got anxious. Nervy. Panicky. I needed to get away from him so I could get my corn. But being the loving person he is, he wanted to be with me. I told him to go and buy the t-shirt he wanted. He said he’d wait until tomorrow. I told him I wanted to go back to the hotel. He said he’d come with me. Eventually I exploded and almost screamed at him, “I want to be on my own ok!”
That’s the moment the shutters went down. The barricades built up. I never got inside those walls again. It was the moment I can pinpoint that things went a little sour.
I got my corn. I ate it. And I felt like absolute and utter shit.
At this point I think it’s important to note that I don’t excuse my behaviour with ED; I fully own my actions. But ED is a catalyst. It’s kind of like having an insane itchy bite on your ankle; it’s so irritating and you get frustrated and sometimes lash out because it’s just so itchy. It causes some unideal behaviour but it doesn’t excuse it.
The rest of the trip went by, me increasingly becoming more ED-owned and Jaas drawing into his cave. I hated myself. I loved Jaas, truly loved him. Yet I was being such a bitch because so much was raging inside my head and I couldn’t deal with it.
When we got home we went to ourfamily homes for a bit, him in New Plymouth and me in Cambridge. Things were rocky. We spoke everyday but it wasn’t right. Something had changed. I was terrified. But a teeny part of me (I’m so disgusted in myself to have thought this way) was a tad sickly satisfied; it had been when I was with him that I gained a bit of weight. If we broke up, I could get back to how I was.
We had planned for me to have Christmas in New Plymouth with his family. Suddenly this didn’t seem like such a good idea. I started having thoughts that I should be with my grandparents, that with Jaas and I not on track it maybe I should stay home. I ummed and ahhed, and the week before decided that no, I genuinely wanted to be with him and his amazing family.
Even with us being apart now, I’m so grateful to myself that I booked that bus and had Xmas with the Holdens. Jaas has an incredible family, so warm and welcoming, and I had the best time. I felt happy, truly happy, for the first time in ages.
We went to Rhythm & Alps for NYE (and a photo of him and I is the official site’s main pic, owning it) then onto a friend’s place in Picton for a week to just chill. It was bliss. But uncertainty about 2015 was ever present.
I had no idea what I was going to do. Before we went to SEA, we’d said no matter what we were going to be together. We flirted with the idea of moving to Wanaka, travelling more, lots of alternative avenues. But after our trip, those plans were in flux.
I said I wanted to go to Auckland. He said there was nowhere in the world he’d rather not be than Auckland. I had the notion that it was time to actually use my degree and start my career, and Auckland was the most logical place for me to be. He said there was no way he’d go to Auckland.
One weekend we were in Rotorua lying by the lake and he turned to me and said. “Pop I’m going to move to Wanaka”. I fell to pieces. I realised no matter what, I wanted to be with him. I asked him if he wanted me to go with him.
He said no.
I can’t tell you the pain and anguish I felt. He said he didn’t want me to go and resent my decision and resent him, regret not going to Auckland. But I think this was a veil over true reasons which I’ll probably never fully know. But part of me can guess.
About a month beforehand when we’d been staying with our families separately, he’d sent me a message. About how he feels like a shit person as he watches me starve myself and wreck my body everyday as he sits by and lets it happen. About how one day, he wants to have kids. About how it’s most likely I won’t be able to have them.
I sat on the cold bathroom floor tiles and sobbed my heart out for two hours. Soon, this despair gave way to fury. I hated Jason. How dare he say such horrid things to me. Especially over txt.
Then I saw sense. He was being fair and honest. How could you see a future with someone who was so erratic and caught up in themselves?
I’d never shared this with him but in my future-orientated mind, Jaas and I were for good. Forever. I visualised our wedding. I had thought of names for kids in my head. Poppy Holden. I wanted it more than anything else.
Our last weekend together was one of my best friend’s wedding where I was the celebrant. After the union Jaas and I went to the car to put the script and documentation away. He held me by the shoulders, looked deep into my eyes and said, “I love you so much Pop”. Easily in my top five moments of life to date.
We went to Taupo for a night. Played mini golf, went to the hot pools, went for a random helicopter ride. I tried pushing thoughts of him leaving on the Monday out of my mind but sometimes they tackled their way through. The pain was immense. Saying goodbye was horrendous.
The few initial weeks after he left I experienced my first real bout of heartache. I would txt Deb, call Dad, and just say, “I’m so sad”. I felt as though a limb had been torn off. My chest was constantly aching. I missed him more than I ever imagined I would.
They say it takes half the time you were with someone to get over them. I always dismissed this as codswallop. But after a few months the pain disappated somewhat. Instead of talking everyday, sometimes we’d go three or four with no contact. I started looking at other guys again, being attracted to them whereas before I didn’t even take another male into account. I’d just wanted Jason.
The week before I came over to India I went down and stayed wih Jaas in Wanaka. It was so much fun. I love spending time with him. I’m under no illusions; he loves girls and doubtless there have been a handful or so since me, and the thought of that hurt a bit. There were moments I picked up on vibes from other females present that something had gone on. But rather than feeling like I’d been stabbed in the heart, it was more like a dull indent.
I realised that I love Jason. I always will. He’s one of my best friends. But that love has shifted form from the intense romantic love it was. I love him as a person and the way he is and looks at things. I love how he pushes me to do things I never would otherwise because I want to impress him (eg. Slide into freezing sub zero temperature water when I hate hate hate the cold; bungy jumping; water skiing in mid winter to show him my slaloming skills).
I think we’ve done our dash. And I’m ok with that. I hadn’t realised I was still harbouring and holding onto hope until I saw him again. Not in the very near future, but maybe in a few years when I’d sorted myself out. I still wanted to end up with him. But now I’ve come to terms with the fact it probably won’t happen. I mean, never say never. But don’t bank on it either.
Just one moment I want to share that encompasses so much of who Jason is.
We were on a bus in Vietnam and Jason was looking out the window. One of my favourite games is “What are you thinking about?”. I loved knowing what was circulating around in his intelligent mind. He’s so inquisitive, so interested in things, it’s always so enlightening when he shares his ponderings.
When I asked he told me he was trying to figure out why there were coconuts tied to the bottom of all the trees. Some had been opened, some were empty husks. Was it to do with gathering water? Was it an animal preventative method? Was it this, was it that?
I just looked at him in awe. The coconuts had passed me by unnoticed. The fact he was sitting there deliberating such a menial thing made me surge with love for him.
Under his shoulder socket on one side, he has a little triangle of three freckles. I used to always trace over it with my fingers when he was asleep, or absent-mindedly stroke it sometimes when he was in a singlet. I dream of those freckles now and then. It always makes me sad. But fondly sad; Jason made me happier than anyone ever has before in my life.
I don’t want to be with anyone right now. It’s not fair to inflict my demons of ED upon another person as they currently reside.
But I’ve realised that one day, when I have more of a hold on it, I want to meet someone who I can make feel as special as Jason made me feel.