Freight trains and blow up dolls

I saw a picture of the guy I once loved with another man. Nothing sinister, they were just out and about having a gay ol time. But actually it is kind of sinister when you think about it, isn’t it? It’s the cheer and glee that you are no longer a part of that pours acid into your tummy like a tumour of pain; it is a hand on a leg or an arm around a shoulder that forms the rusty chainsaw that rips you open at the sides. If that’s not sinister, then Julius Malema is a genius and I will eat his shoe.

The transition of hurt to healing is inexplicable. No one knows how long it will take. God it’s hard enough to figure out when it will start let alone finish. It can happen that you think you are fine, skipping along through life as an untouchable, immortal ball of happiness until one sunny Tuesday, weeks or months after D-day, a freight train careens off of its tracks, blows right through your torso and obliterates everything you thought was holding you together.

If you’re still reading this, somebody should tell you that you are a sucker for punishment. If you are crazy in love right now and still reading this, then you are definitely a sucker for punishment. There is nothing more annoying than being in love and reading about some other Dumbo’s hard luck who lost theirs. There’s just a disconnect and all you want to do is sprite them on their way with a heel-click and a sing-song ‘cheer up dear, toodles!’  

I was never very good at listening to people like me. I used to hit them on the back and say vapid things like ‘Ooooh my gaaaawd… Yuuuu are so gonna find someone better than him in like no time, swear!’ It’s common practise really. What is the right thing to say? ‘Your boyfriend was a scumbag in disguise and that condom wrapper you knew you had never seen before defs had his denial written all over it?!’

The day you choose the low ground is the day before they will get back together. Then you look like the daffodil in the corner, hiding your red face while furiously sending urgent text messages off at speed. To yourself.

All this makes you wonder why we bother with love at all, right? Let me have a crack at it. We bother with love because a blow up doll from Adult World won’t give you gooseflesh in the first weeks or months of meeting. It won’t send you flowers when you are sad or starting a new job. It won’t bring you soup when you are sick, make you tea in bed on a Sunday morning or hold your hand in a movie house on date night. It won’t make you feel protected, get you your favourite artist’s CD before it is released or dance with you to all the music you so annoyingly love so much. It won’t drive for four hours to see you, fly halfway around the world to stay with you before having to go home to another country, write a poem about you, message you nine times a day or buy you take-out when the devil inside your horrible boss rears its ugly head and all you want to do for the next twelve hours is cry and sleep.

We have certainly evolved, haven’t we? We landed a man on the moon and we are on the brink of a cure for HIV. But we still don’t know what to diagnose for a broken heart or how long treatment should take. Maybe there is no diagnosis. Maybe there is no treatment. Maybe there is no cure. Maybe there isn’t supposed to be one.

Maybe the only way out is through.


© Dylan Balkind


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