A couple of weeks ago I had a dream. About a boy. A little boy that climbed into my heart on all fours and will probably never leave again. Today is his birthday.
I was in a toxic relationship for three years. I now know that this relationship was poisoning me, but at the time I was in love and I could not or would not see the wood from the trees. I believed that this was my great love of all time.
Looking back on a relationship like that, it is always so much easier to see the signs that you refused to see at the time. Some of them were subtle hints that something was wrong, and some of them were flashing signs that I ignored because I was either afraid to face the truth or doubted my own instincts.
Whichever way you look at it, coming to terms with the fact that someone that you loved cheated on you and lied to you repeatedly is like reliving a nightmare over and over again. The worst thing about closing a door behind you that someone tried to keep open by blaming you and by denying obvious truths, is that all your memories are tainted.
Most of the time, when a relationship ends, there follows a time where we avoid the person’s name in conversation, where we consciously avoid the person or anything to do with them. It is part of the healing process. But after some time, we can once again laugh about the good memories and times and acknowledge that it was not all bad. And we can once again run into that person in the local supermarket, without feeling like the world stopped its orbit for a moment or two.
Of course, it was not all doom and gloom. It was like a rollercoaster ride, with fantastic highs and earth shattering lows. Unfortunately, my memories of this relationship are ALL tainted. Some of the truths I found out afterwards made me realise that I was living in a dream. I now know that there was always someone else, even in the times when we were most in love; the times that I would have promised to spend the rest of my life with this man without the blink of an eye.
Most of those memories can be swept under a carpet as either fake memories or see-it-for-what-it-was memories. However, I cannot delete the memory of the little boy from my inner most heart. The little boy was his son, a child born out of a previous (or so I thought) relationship. It transpired that for long periods while we were together, he was trying to convince the mother of the child to take him back. And even succeeded a couple of times.
Throughout that tumultuous time, this boy was like a child in my house. He was like a little brother to my girls. I played peek-a-boo with him, taught him the ‘I love you’ gestures, sang him repetitive nursery songs to put him to sleep, fed him and changed his nappies. I loved this little boy like he was one of my own. Initially, after we broke up, his mother allowed me to see him. He came to visit us occasionally. Until his dad and I tried to make it work one last time. When it didn’t work and he cheated on me one last time in a spectacular fashion (and denied it), he made sure that I would never be able to see his son again. Which is probably better for him. After all, who was I to him? Just one of his dad’s ex girlfriends.
But my heart was broken. I missed him. I missed his cuddles and the way he touched my hair and told me I had ‘very nice hair’. I missed his big blue eyes and the way he chuckled when I tickled him. The way he ran into my arms when I counted down 1, 2, 3….
In my dream, he was crossing a street with his mother. She looked lovely, her hair was shorter than I remember, and she looked happy and content. His hair was a bit longer and he looked at me shyly and with no recollection whatsoever. I hugged him against my leg, and he squirmed to go to his mom. She picked him up and he nuzzled her hair.
In reality, I will probably never see either of them again. I understand that they moved and are living somewhere on the Garden Route, more than 1 500 kms away from Johannesburg. And I doubt that it will be a wise move to ever contact his mother again.
All I can hope for is that the dream was conceived in another consciousness and that it is the universe’s way of letting me know that he is doing well, that he is happy.
Happy birthday X-man. There will always be a chamber in my heart where I will treasure your memory.