OK. Forget what I said a few days ago.
I am SO OVER Whippersnapper.
I never want to see or hear from him ever again.
This is the closest I’ve come to hating someone.
I’m actually having fantasies about hurting him physically, which I’ve never had about anyone before.
I’m not saying I want to fuck him up with a chainsaw or anything, but maybe tread on his foot quite hard, or shove him so he stumbles backwards and maybe his glasses come off a bit. Or the classic knee to crotch.
So, we were having this texting kind of friendship, with some deep and meaningful interactions.
Obviously, we’d been texting about his body dysmorphic disorder lately.
Then, last week, he texted asking for advice; he had taken drugs a few times and was worrying about getting addicted.
I felt pretty pleased I was so cool that the whippersnappers were coming to me for drugs advice.
I slightly dabbled in my 20s, but haven’t for years. I think I talked about it more than usual with him. Because he was young and cool, I desperately tried to seem hip by harking back to the one crazy thing I’ve done.
I think he might have been looking for an excuse to talk, because he soon moved onto telling me what he was watching on TV.
We texted all afternoon and it was a good chat. We had Psychology advice, neurochemistry information, rock and roll drug anecdotes and TV recommendations. He asked me lots of questions about my opinions and experiences, made jokes and gave me compliments.
Then he stopped abruptly. I wondered if it was because in my last message, I said “there is a complicated thing about dopamine and body image but I can’t really explain it over text – I need to draw diagrams.”
I wondered if he got scared I was going to suggest meeting up, even though I sent a follow-up with nothing about meeting.
I didn’t think too much about it.
Then, on Saturday night, I was feeling a bit emotional. I was at home alone and wasn’t even drinking, but I was very tired after a big night out on Friday.
I’ve been struggling with the Grenfell fire recently.
I wrote about this shortly after it happened. There was a fire in a block of flats in west London, and at least 80 people died, possibly more. Even now, about 6 weeks later, it’s still in the news most days, because it’s political. The fire was in a public housing block in one of the richest parts of England, but the council used such cheap building materials, they didn’t meet health and safety standards, and almost certainly more people died because of this.
Over the weeks, people in other tower blocks have been evicted due to safety concerns, and things like that keep it in the news.
In 2012, my ex-boyfriend died in a fire at our house.
For years I felt traumatised, as well as guilty. I’ve been terrified of fire ever since. I felt like I turned a corner earlier this year, and started thinking about him and just enjoying the memories, without feeling overwhelming guilt or sadness.
Now, the guilt and sadness are still better, but the anxiety has come back.
For the first few days, when it was everywhere, I actually felt OK. Even people with no connection to fire were upset and even tearful when watching the News, but I felt like I could detach.
After a while, I started feeling worn down by images of the fire every time I checked Facebook or Twitter.
The worst thing has been the last few weeks, because it’s started coming into work. We’ve been asked if we want to work at Grenfell Tower, supporting survivors, for a half-day or even a six month secondment. I didn’t volunteer, but lots of my colleagues have, and talked a lot about what they saw.
There’s been endless emails and meetings about it. I’ve found it tough, even though my manager has been great and I’m not expected to get involved.
Every time the fire comes up in conversation, my muscles tighten and my heart rate speeds up and I hold my breath. I don’t know why it makes me so scared.
I always used to be able to say what happened in a matter-of-fact way, but since Grenfell, I start crying if I try to talk about it.
I realised I’ve been focusing on my ex-boyfriend’s death, instead of his life.
On Saturday night, I went on Facebook and wrote little stories about him, to bring the focus back to his life. I got a lot of likes and comments, and people added their own memories.
I thought all about him and suddenly remembered how he had body image problems too, just like Whippersnapper. I hadn’t really made the connection before, but both were overweight as teenagers, then got into good shape in their late teens, but hated their appearance.
Maybe I didn’t make the connection because some of their responses were opposite – WS checked the mirror constantly to make sure he didn’t look fat, whereas my ex-boyfriend avoided mirrors altogether.
Suddenly, I was hit by a wave of strong memories of my ex-boyfriend avoiding mirrors.
- before we lived together, he used to come and to see me, and would have a shave before leaving his house. However, he would avoid looking in the mirror so much, there would be little tufts he had missed. I would get my ladies’ razor out and tidy it up for him
- he told me he always wore a woolly hat so he wouldn’t have to look in the mirror to comb his hair
- one day, he got a massive bruise on his side, the size of a dinner plate. He got it climbing in through a window, drunk, and falling onto the corner of a table. I was lying in bed one morning, and he got up. I said “wow, look at that bruise!” He hadn’t seen it. There were two mirrors in my room – one small one at face height, one full length. He kept jumping to try and see his bruise in the small mirror. I asked what he was doing, why he didn’t just look in the full length mirror, and he said “I don’t want to see that much of my reflection at once.”
We had less and less sex as the relationship went on, and it was partly because he didn’t want me to see him naked anymore.
I felt an urge to message WS and I weirdly felt like Balthazar would think I should too.
I thought it might be normalising for WS, to hear about someone else with the same problems, especially someone he knows I loved and respected so much.
Also, he previously said he loved it when I reminisced about my ex-boyfriend.
Also, it had felt so one-way between us for months, with me doing all the giving, and him doing all the taking. It wasn’t like that when we were together. I knew he had it in him to be really helpful and kind, especially as he helped me with my guilt about Balthazar’s death.
If we were just going to do meaningful texts for a while, I wanted to deepen it by letting him help me back.
In the past, when he was helping me, sometimes it brought him out of his own head and cheered him up.
I thought he should be fine with this, as so many times he’d sent me streams of consciousness at 3am, and I spent hours writing thoughtful replies.
Encouraged by the success of my Facebook post, I wrote him a message about the Grenfell fire and Balthazar and his body image.
Then, I said “Anyway, I don’t know why, but I felt like telling you. I’m enjoying the new occasional deep text thing. I hope the occasional support can be two-way – I always found you helpful in the past.”
I sent this at about 11.30pm, and there were two ticks on WhatsApp straight away. I assumed he would be out, so I wasn’t that surprised he hadn’t replied when I went to bed.
In the morning, I wasn’t that surprised there was nothing on my phone. Maybe he’d read it very late and wanted to wait until he was sober.
When it got to mid-morning on Sunday, I started thinking he might reply soon. I was hanging out at home, doing various things, not thinking about it too much.
Then I went into central London to see a film with my friend.
It wasn’t until I checked my phone after the film, at about 8.30pm, that I started wondering when he would reply.
When I went to bed at 11ish, I was starting to think his lack of contact was piss-poor.
Now days have gone by, and HE STILL HASN’T REPLIED.
I saw he was online the next day, so I know he and his phone are safe and well.
I don’t think he’s going to reply!
He must’ve read “I hope the occasional support can be two-way,” and thought Nope.
I think this is absolutely heartless. I think he’s incredibly selfish and unappreciative of all the times I helped him.
He claims to love me and care about me. I send him a message saying I’m struggling, echoing all the messages he has sent me, and I even find a way to relate it back to his problems. He can’t even bothered to throw a few sentences together. I know he’s not a therapist, so it might not come as easily to him, but he’s an still adult human, as far as I’m aware.
In some ways, this is worse than when he kept calling me a cunt, because at least then he seemed upset and I think it was because he cared so much that I suggested breaking contact.
This is just apathetic, lazy, selfish bullshit.
I’m finally done.
His sex-P45 is in the post, and I’m going to make the shirt he left behind into a new handbag.