Over the last year or so, I've gradually watched my life slowly fall apart.
Everything I ever hoped for, everything I wanted, it's all slipped away from me and I haven't been able to do a fucking thing to stop it. Yeah, you can sit there and shake your head and tell me it's my own fault, but as anyone who has any concept of life outside their window will know, sometimes things that are out of your control take over and ruin things for you. Sometimes, you have to give yourself up to the will of the systems that make up this world and just go with the flow, then deal with all the shit they drag you through.
Me, I lost a great job that I loved, so now I'm holding on to whatever crappy minimum wage bollocks I can to keep the fucking dole off my back. I'm a fucking number on a spreadsheet now, another face on the production line, wondering where the the life of happy endings and fulfilled dreams has gone.
Lately, I've found myself living in the past quite a bit, sifting through old memories (and not always good ones); a simple sentence from a woman on the street or a song on the radio sparks something off and, eventually, I find myself drifting back to my days at university. For me, that was the only time in my life I've felt completely happy and free - and I don't mean that because I was a student and I had the world at my feet. No, it's because when I was there, I met someone, a guy who was just... Well, he was everything I wanted.
His name was Alan, and he was a lecturer; that's all I'm going to tell you on such a public forum, because it might get out and damage his career. But the time we spent seeing each other was just the most brilliant, most exciting time of my life. I was, for the only time I can remember, genuinely happy. And by that, I mean I was content, like I'd found the piece of me that was missing; this was a guy that I could happily spend the rest of my days with. It sounds stupid, but I remember waking up next to him some mornings and just...smiling, because that was the only way I could express these huge feelings that were pinging around inside of me.
It's the little things I remember most, though, those stupid things that you do when you're in love; I remember laying with my head on his chest, listening to him breathe, waking up in the morning and getting lost in his eyes, the way he held me; I remember the specific way that he brewed his tea, cuddling up on his sofa to watch Arsenic & Old Lace, just...being there with him, sharing our lives. Everything about it just...made sense. To wheel out a tired old cliche for a moment, it felt as if we were meant to be together. Even the break up was perfect.
I look at the guy I'm with now, Damon, and sometimes I wonder why I'm with him. I make no bones about the fact that we originally hooked up as a bit of fun. I was single, and not looking for anything serious; he was a good looking guy, a little bit younger than me, and seemed to have his head screwed on, so I went for it. Then... Well, I don't know. Somehow we ended up in a relationship.
I know it's unfair to judge what I have with Damon against what I had with Alan, but my feelings for him were real. There was a connection between us that Damon and I don't have; I've tried to find it, but it seems like Damon's nothing more than a pretty shell that has to learn all of his emotions from watching Hollyoaks.
The worst part is, though, there's a bit of me that keeps thinking that I'll never find anyone like Alan again, and Damon's the best I'll ever do, that I'll be forced to settle into this life of mediocrity that's being laid out before me. I know Mum wants me to settle down, and she seems to think that Damon and I are a good match, but it feels like I'm settling for something...less.
I know that I should just call it a day with Damon, walk away and start over, but we've invested a lot in each other, and I feel as if I owe him a chance to try and make this work. Or that's what I keep telling myself, anyway. The truth is, I'm just too scared to walk away from it. After everything I've gone through, losing my job, being bounced around the dole's back to work schemes, losing Dad... Damon's the only stability I have right now, and, as pathetic as it sounds, I need that right now.
But I still can't help daydreaming about seeing Alan again...
Babble is an original graphic novel by myself and Bryan Coyle, due to be published by Insomnia Publications. For more information, please visit www.babblecomic.com.
Photograph by Bryan Coyle.