Memoir: The difference between being the same

When I first met the boy

He was beautiful

We spoke about how similar we were

As someone who felt alone in the world, I think I honestly believed I’d found my twin, my other side


One of the first things I remembered him telling me was

How he felt he wasn’t really close to anyone

He was an outsider in a family of outsiders

He spoke of the distance he felt from his friends

How barely once they had visited specifically him

I think I believed I could be his twin, I could be what made him whole


A few months later

He spoke of how he thought we were different too

Just in terms of how we deal with things

But I think I still believed we were the same

I believed he wanted what I wanted

He needed what I needed


He would find at times he needed desperately to be alone

He just couldn’t deal with life

He wrapped himself up, and didn’t want to be touched

I saw this just the once


I believed though

He just hadn’t been able to express to people like I had

I thought that was what he wanted

He just needed the trust, the chance




When we broke up

He told his friends he was fine

Maybe he thought he was

But then he really wasn’t


We still lived together

We still worked together

He spoke about how much better I was at being there for him than them

But he couldn’t speak to me about everything, we both knew that

He didn’t speak to them for a month, then angrily told one of them that he’d been let down

He’d refused to reach out, because he believed they should

But I think they just believed he was fine

They were better after that


When we’d moved, we’d moved to his hometown

He had told me that we would be fine as friends

Initially I was still part of the group

Then, that I could be part of it when he was ready..


Months passed in isolation

Anger erupted on the few occasions I dared to ask

‘Why, can’t you be more patient?’ – it’s been a month and a half

Eventually I realised I had to leave

Though he’d asked that we stay, for practical reasons

I had searched for people there, but found noone


We still lay interlocked some days

During that time, we were each other’s main support

We still were each other’s physical support

We lay interlocked, and felt affection, but did little more than kiss and press

We did it just the once, on a day I felt sad, dejected

Somehow I managed to make what is usually an emotional commitment to me mean nothing, an old habit temporarily revisited


I left as I had to, but still had to return

The notice on the flat, he wanted to deal with it later

I gave him the months notice, he gave his the following month

I returned to remove possessions, to make the old look new

We promised to see each other every week


We’d continued to talk throughout the day

But I, almost certainly both of us, began to speak less

I could recover in a larger town, surrounded by people I worked with

Those I had never had the chance to properly get to know

I could recover from the isolation and the anxiety the relationship had created


I knew who I was again

I knew the lies we’d both believed about myself

I knew I was stronger than we’d both believed

He found a job again, one where he could call as he went

He would call randomly and talk about how crap his life was

It made me happy to hear, to speak, to exchange, to care


Later the hours became too much

Relative silence on one end

On a Friday at the end of April he called to tell me the obscure reason he had just lost his job

It seemed ridiculous, we spoke, we decided to meet again


It was good

We exchanged, caught up, reminisced, we kissed

(just the once)

He said I seemed much happier, I was

He said I seemed much happier than I was with him…

I was, I think I believed it was simply that I’d had the chance to recover myself


We spoke of talking and seeing each other more

I took the dates we discussed on this meetings, on those calls, as literal approximations

He took them simply as an intention to meet or talk

With the result, I returned to feeling a suggestion to meet, to talk, a random message, increasingly felt like pressure to him

But it was what he wanted, right?


Shortly before we met that May

My friend had told me something

‘It sounds like he controlled you emotionally’

I thought for two weeks, then was angry, I’d been limited to his feelings, his needs

I’d trusted for months I could be part of a group, only to be told he’d changed his mind


I’d spent months of the previous year trying to adhere to the calm he needed

After a horrible period 6 months earlier, in which he hadn’t spoken, and instead sought validation elsewhere

He was extremely sorry, guilty, he felt awful

But as months passed, and the insecurities remained, as I sought to try and glue together the cracks which had formed, he would be angry at my insecurities, the need for validation, it was guilt being smashed into him

I guess he wanted it gone, the pain, the guilt – it was too much

Things became beyond anything I’d experienced, it became a struggle to communicate, anger erupted, I pleaded to be heard, I was subject to his moods and feelings


In these and other times I always felt guilty for being the source of anguish and feelings of guilt

I forget sometimes that sometimes there was very little I could do

In the revelation of being told of the control, I blamed the fact I’d pushed too hard, that’d I’d been worrying and sad

‘It should be easier’ he’d said, but he didn’t want to talk, he just wanted it all gone


He’d always probably wanted it gone

I wanted to talk, discuss, move on the stronger for it

There was a day I always will remember

An telling of a deep secret for him

But it came from a misunderstanding


One year had passed since we met

On that day I told him ‘I loved him, I wanted him to feel like he could tell me everything’

He heard ‘I want you to tell me everything’

We argued, I sat outside the room


I returned

I told him he didn’t need to tell me everything, just to feel like he could

He told me he wrote a book, had done for years

It meant the world to me


Later he trusted me to read part of it

That meant the world to me

When he speaks of that night now, he only remembers the argument

It has passed into smaller meaning, as he gained the confidence to tell others


Pain resonates strongly in his mind, to the point it is separated distinctly from the present

It is best laid forgotten

In a recent meeting I’d recounted something he said, which had hurt

In an attempt to establish where the friendship stood, I asked if it were still true

‘My Birthday? You changed your mind, you’d asked me ‘hadn’t I had enough”

The single gift had faded from existence as a possibility, a few weeks later, he had stated to me how a gift was his, it was owed.

It had come about when time restraints had meant I suggested trying his gift again another time


The idea seemed ridiculous to him that I should have taken those words seriously

Like he regrets words having any permenant impact, I am the crook for remembering words, the good and the bad

I think he always felt judged

So many times I should’ve just known the truth without needing to ask

He forgets they’ve been said at all, and doesn’t look back

For doing the opposite I was told I think too much or am worrying

For considering my words in poor taste, or inaccurate to my meaning

The words I’m sorry, or a clarification or explanation are excessive, even when the original had consequence, they were often simply worrying, a desire to present myself as better


Yet he had seen my words so seriously

At times a wondering, an expression of concern, an expression or reminiscence with detail

It was worrying

When I was upset I could say specifically what was wrong, I could discuss the options, the factors

That was worrying too…


My mind was full of the detail, the meaning, I expressed things so I could let them go. I sought solutions. I expressed more but felt less

His mind sought the simple, the easy, it seeks to separate the past and the present. Feelings are best left struggling inside, contemplated internally. Erupting at times in frustraton, anger, a need for isolation

That is just him

I believed we were the same


Times like the book, last November, this year are faded now

I don’t think it’s just a post-breakup drift. It is him, it is the loneliness he discussed when we first met, one I fear he creates, or simply one in which I don’t know how to reach him

I no longer know how to be there for him, though it pains me.

When I write words meant to sooth and express support and empathy

It feels like it is just pressure to him


When he fell further into depression in May

With distance all I could try and do was suggested conversing and meeting

A distraction, but for him maybe also a solution

A hope that I could make his life a little brighter

But that was pressure too, a belief I needed him


He must I think, find his own happiness

Because it seems words don’t help or remain constant, he wants to move on from pain and guilt, the feelings of reliance.

So, both meaningful and hurtful times are left behind

They are distinctly in the past

The present is the struggle, the thing which matters, it affects his needs, his proximity and expression to others

The future is a solution to him, not reliant on elements of the past


When I first met the boy

He was beautiful

We spoke about how similar we were

Sometimes I wonder if I could’ve done more

If I’d stayed a constant

Would I still be a constant

Did the fact I fell silent, that literal distant formed, mean he lost the desire to reach out to me

And now I don’t know how to reach him at all





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