My World

What does Jack know about the future?


The title of this post reflects the title of my last entry to New Philosopher magazine. Sorry to say the entry did not win or place, it was an entry among thousands from around the world. This entry, previously mentioned in this blog was written and submitted months ago and just the other day I received an email kindly informing me of the winners and runners-up. It is a bit of a development in my writing style as it is more narrated and talking about the situation as if it happened to someone else. So here it is, in full...



What Jack Knows About The Future


This is a story of college class-mates who fell in love, let's call them Jack and Jill, and how the future can look different at various points. Jack, my oldest friend, thought his future looked rosy 7 years ago having finally found someone to share life with, someone who seemed to know him and who he thought he had got to know. Jill was someone that made him feel better about himself and want to rise to the challenge. At the same time he became her biggest fan, her proud and supportive partner. They were opposites in so many ways, not least in philosophy but the relationship seemed to work especially in the early days.


Jill was a pretty international student from an exotic Asian land who had a past, a previous marriage at a young age. She was hardworking and loved to cook. Jack was a little older but a little green in the language of love and relationships. He had not been through the mill and tried his best. Once they started going out, they very quickly became a couple and got engaged. The future dreams included a wedding and having children, good careers, investments and a home of their own. The future was so bright they had to wear shades, basking in it for that all over healthy glow. It was a version of the future he had searched for for many years prior. Early on, they had the honeymoon before the wedding. There were weekends away, short trips to the coast or to the mountains and who could forget the movie nights and evenings spent at some scenic outlook.


It was a wedding they spent time dreaming about yet it was always put on hold due to other issues. Unfortunately, daily life found these two taking each other for granted and those moments got lost. This was a train wreck waiting to happen and there were warning signs. He now sees where the train began to derail and what really forced it from the track but that occurred a couple of years into the journey. Apparently the honeymoon period of a relationship lasts on average 2 years which fits neatly with this story. One issue reared its ugly head at that point and ever since they both played their parts in the downward spiral.


Issues simmered away rarely bubbling over and this began to feel normal. Recently he did take his eye off the ball with a view to certain responsibilities that he had been laden with. In the end, following an announcement on social media, she gave him the old ‘time and space’ routine over the phone. He moved far away and has commented since that every day feels like ages. He rapidly relocated to the protective surrounds of family and is slowly re-engaging with old friends.


It took a tragic loss in her family back home to push this relationship over the cliff, the end emerged rapidly and somewhat publicly. For him the news was sudden and devastating despite knowing they had issues. There was no consolation in the knowledge that he is nothing but collateral damage in the storm that she has become. The whirlwind is a drama playing out in her own mind surrounded by well-meaning but ill-informed friends. There was a war within her own family and members of which are laden with guilt. Competition among siblings fostered by the parents seems to have driven deep divisions into the open in the wake of the father’s death. A death at the hands of another in a place where struggle, conflict and violence is a way of life and security is not assured.


Jack's future was ripped apart and open for all to see on or around that most symbolic of days for couples i.e. Valentine’s Day. Even his mum’s dying wish has now been dishonoured by these very events. Jokingly, he has described himself as a refugee from relationship breakdown, the Valentine’s Day Wipeout. He left with little but what he could pack in his old car not knowing if or when the storm would return. In separating it seems she kept her job, kept the new car, the house, most of the furniture, the little investment that they had made and not much of the responsibility. Now, she is simply playing to her people as the one that is suffering. Of course, not all believe her story, they see the havoc she created and have made no secret of the fact that she is the storm. A fact she seems almost proud of.


His attempts at closure in the form of an email or two fell on deaf ears. Despite her announcing the separation on social media it is ironic then that she sent him angry text messages when comments were made by another party saying it embarrassed her. She questioned a decision he took subsequently regarding the future of their pets on the same forum. The only vestiges left of time spent in this relationship apart from the memories and photos is one remaining pet and some old boxes in the shed. These old boxes have now mostly been cleared given the deadline set to make arrangements passed without a word. He spent time clearing most of these things by way of donation to charity.


He took a short sabbatical from social media immediately following the announcement of separation. Until now he has tried to keep himself on the sidelines of what’s happening in the place he once resided and the person he once lived with. It has not been easy as this person posts often in riddles and sometimes more than one meaning can be read into her social media offerings. However, there is a suggestion in there of a ‘beautiful, perfect secret’ that she had been guarding for years. While this is news to him, he can think of certain issues that she may be referring to as a secret yet he wouldn’t describe them as either beautiful or perfect in any way. Has their relationship been a lie and for how long?


What does Jack know? He's in a place surrounded by family but not where he's from nor where his old friends are. He has experienced the frailty of human relationships tested by distrust, manipulation and probable deceit. He held on to this by his fingernails and was strong enough to put a halt on his own needs and future plans. Jack had hope that things could improve but it wasn't his decision in the end to quit. Humanity has hope despite all the happenings in the world and Jack clung to hope desperately.


It is difficult at any age, this relationship breakdown stuff but at his age now having held on to the ideal for far too long and still struggling with the fallout it seems impossible to see how or when there would be another. The future prospects are grim given the current financial, employment and emotional hole that he finds himself in. Therapy helps and he is focussing on getting his head straight and some form of forward movement. In the protective confines of the bunker, there has been time for reflection and some of this has been spent in self-care. Emotional wounds are not necessarily visible but sit close to the surface and do not take much to re-open. The lessons Jack has learnt from this may have been too much to bear earlier in life. He is grateful for the good times and the intimacy in those early days, it got him through the death of his mother.


The future looks very different now 7 years on having just broken up under very difficult circumstances. The light has faded and gone to black, things look very bleak right now and he's just trying to take life day-by-day. After the storm it's a case of rebuilding brick-by-shattered brick and move forward. The future is not set in stone but lies on shifting sands, the sands of time and we're all making sand castles. Is this the end of the story or just the beginning of a new chapter albeit nervously awaiting what comes next? They say the past should be a place of reference not residence however it is hard to move house let alone forward when there are so many unanswered questions.


He has been told that there is a reason for everything and sometimes the reason is you’re ill-informed and make bad choices. When Jack was caught up in the early days of the relationship, being a couple he never imagined how low this could go. Now he's back to utilising technology that let the whole world see a life unravelling, dreams collapsing and one’s future torn apart yet has become part of our everyday lives in a relatively short space of time. There is still no time machine and no going back to that point where the future seemed so bright.


Since the time of writing I have been working through a number of issue and trying to keep busy joining groups, attending events, finding employment and continuing therapy. I have written more poetry and would like to share one here, this one is recent and relevant.


Love You Long Time.



You came from the east

And once offered me a feast

I'm from the west

But now my heart is messed


We have ceased, you see

Seems you care least about me

So who are you now please

Your silence does more than tease


In the beginning you taught me lots

Currently our body of love lies dead and rots

Some of those early lessons got lost

Just like the leftovers they got tossed


X marks the spot but you'll be missed

Still remembering the last time we kissed

That realisation comes in fits

As i'm clawing my way out of the pits


I walk the wall and look out at the ocean

Waves crash with overwhelming emotion

Though you're no longer in my field of vision

You took the light away with your decision


I can do nothing but summon the seas

May they bring you to your knees

For out of the desert you forced me to flee

But who is now free, you or me?


I did not envisage this whole blog to be a 'woe me' piece of work and certainly I write with the general intention for it to be read. I write pretty much how I see things. You could say it's my reality and no-one else's though i'm sure others go through similar things and some share similar views. This blog started years ago in a far different place at a different time and in a different state of mind. My relationship then too was still fairly fresh and I entered it with positive thoughts and intentions to build a solid future. Like the blog, the relationship had its ups and downs.


Anyhoo, it's been a little over 3 months since the storm of separation raged and the train I was on ran out of track. Of course there is anger and hurt, bewilderment and regret throughout this process. This then leads to reflection on life before, during and after, not an easy thing to have to work through at any age. The loss of a relationship is like the loss of a family member, in fact in our case the two had intersected though i'm still not sure which came first. I saw recently on social media a post that spells out what I am still working through. It said “When dealing with painful events → Let it hurt, let it bleed, let it heal and then let it go.” In this grieving process I'm not sure which stage i'm in, sometimes it feels like I go through all of the stages each and every day.


The relationship as a whole has certainly taught me a lot and for that I am truly grateful. Some of the lessons were fun and exciting, definitely ones to repeat while others were downright difficult and painful. Spending everyday for a long period of time in someone else's life you get to know the good, the bad and the truly awful.  I thought I had seen it all but then the storm was let loose and I had to finish cutting the already frayed cord.  There were not many strands left. In doing so I too was cutting and running, never a good way to operate. During our time together I took it all as part of the package and learnt to deal with it. In fact, when there are issues you should try to bring them to the table, so to speak, and work on them not just avoid them with a toss of the hand or by running away.


To get tossed aside because of other turmoil is one thing but then to find out through others that the person gave up on it all a fair while back, a few years ago by one account, really seems like sticking the knife in and then giving it a good twist. How you can do that to one described as a 'proud and supportive partner' is beyond me?! I guess this description, though true, is their way of not entirely burning that bridge. Still it hurts like hell and makes me stagger through the valley of death. What?!  Am I being a bit melodramatic or cutting too close to the bone? You will just have to stay with me readers to find out.


By the way, finding out about the separation on social media is bad enough but it could be dealt with in some ways however seeing public posts that suggest that there was some secret being guarded for years and finally said goodbye to then is much much worse. Almost unforgiveable in my books. I may not have had access to the full social media stable at the time I saw this but I had the next best thing ie Google and anything that is put in the public domain is there for all to see. Things seen can not be unseen.  To then shut the door after the horse has well and truly bolted with not even an explanation is really that step too far. All I did was finally ask the question in the most appropriate format.  Surely that did not embarrass you?  Well, that slammed that particular door shut.


Survival so far has involved therapy and a large part has been on self-examination and self-care. Self-care includes activities such as walking, quiet contemplation and writing.  It also means attending to the day-to-day requirements of somebody who left a job, a house and the place they were residing to return to family far away from the trouble zone.  This has seen me volunteering again, joining organisations of interest and re-engaging with old friends online at least.    


The blog, on the other hand, keeps going and so does my writing. In fact, I have just entered another piece to my favourite magazine for their writing competition. Hope it wins. Like all my writing of late this piece seems to be about the same subject. The entry piece is written a bit differently, ie as a close observer rather than in 1st party. I would love to win first prize or even runner up as it means my work would be validated and appreciated by those in the know. Obviously it is up against very many others and so I cross my fingers that I have done enough this time to cross the line first. I shall, as a matter of course, let my readers know how that goes and I might even put the piece of work up here for anyone to read.


The piece of writing for entry is only 1500 words so not a huge read. The closing date is very soon and results usually dont take long.  This competition is about The Future and my piece explores what the future looked like 7 years ago, what it looks like right now and what it may look like in the years to come. Like all my writing it is not perfect but it is what it is and I hope the powers that be see it that way. Wish me luck...


While I was still in self-imposed exile from social media, this blog was my only outlet bar email and phone.  I have now determined how long this relative silence will last.  The time for soul-searching and self-study is over.  Like any good addict I missed the cut-and-thrust of sites like Facebook, at least.  There is no real status update to report however why should that stop me?!  Don’t know if I’ll be as busy on it as in the past as the internet here is a little limited. 


Developments in communication with the other party have been virtually non-existent.  A one-way street mostly, you could say.  The odd angry text message does not count as communication and sadly, this has not been in the right direction.  First responses were made in anger and hurt but now more likely to be conciliatory.  Of course, all this is to no avail given the callous disregard shown.  A deadline was set and has now passed leading to the clean out of some storage space, what wonders will I find there??


I am focussing on getting my head straight, baby steps and some form of forward movement.  Given that it was left up to me to make a big move and lose some things in the process, there has since been time for backwards reflection.  In the protective confines of the bunker, some of this time has been spent tending to wounds that run deep.  These emotional wounds are not necessarily visible but sit very close to the surface and does not take much to re-open. 


Upon reflection there were good times, great times, unfortunately most were in the early days of being a couple.  I am reminded of weekends away, we use to call them the ‘honeymoon before the wedding’.  Recalling those short trips to the coast or to the mountains seemed enriching and who could forget the variety of movies we watched and the evenings spent at some scenic outlook.  Unfortunately, daily life tends to find people taking each other for granted and those moments get lost. 


Twas a wedding that never actually took place though.  At first, it was a case of clearing old baggage which seemed to take much longer and cost way more.  When that finally came to pass it was the ups and downs of employment, career development, the many relocations chasing ideas, finding accommodation and ultimately the drain on our collective finances that put asunder.  It was then never considered time and too many issues to deal with to tie the knot, rationalising it all as we just weren’t ready.  Still saddens me to say we never found a way.  Seven years is a long time not to take that step or make that gesture.  I guess, years too long and now we will never know.  Time and space required?  Certainly that’s now a given!


Recently, conversations with family and mutual friends has put things in some perspective.   The opinion of most is to go forth with life and that the once happy partnership is irreparably damaged.  It was, after all, ripped apart and open for all to see on or around that most symbolic of days for couples i.e. Valentine’s Day.  It is now April Fools Day, how appropriate?  Perhaps I’ve been a fool to be somewhat manipulated into thinking this was it.  For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, these were vows we would have said that was until the tsunami hit.  Even my mum’s last wishes have now been dishonoured.  What a day for this old fool to re-emerge on the very social media site that partly seems to have bought things undone in the first place.  Well, it is a social media site I have been attached to since way before this relationship even started. 


While real insight into what straw finally broke the camel’s back is not necessarily gained yet certainly by me, other than some sort of breakdown.  I simply can not let unanswered questions consume forward motion.  I am still waiting for the sun to shine down here and shine a light on the subject.  This has nothing to do with the weather I have faced since the move, those clouds seem to have come down upon me and haven’t left.  So, I thank thee for the lessons in life, love and what not to put up with in any future entanglement. 


Jokingly, I have recently described myself as a refugee from relationship breakdown and yeah, I left with little but what I could pack in my car.  With a tidal wave of emotion and my economy in ruins, the only vestiges left of time spent is a remaining pet and some old boxes in the shed.  These are the boxes that will have to be cleared now as the deadline for making that arrangement has been and gone.

The phenomenon of my inability to stop a train wreck involving a 7 year itch but twas me who got scratched...this will make more sense as you read on!


For the last 7 years I have hitched my wagon to a power greater than I ever imagined or thought possible.  Recently that powerful engine has gone way off course and ultimately broken down somehow becoming convinced that there was poison within where there was none.  The power I speak of here is that which I had taken to calling my better half or my partner in life.   I now know our time has come to an end and with this knowledge in hand I have had to make a decision or two that have not been readily appreciated.  Right now I am left with the awful task of disentangling our complicated and interconnected lives.  At times it leaves me reeling and wondering where we went so wrong all of a sudden.  The end came like a whirl-wind rising from nowhere and consuming all before just as suddenly disappearing.  It was conducted with the precision of ‘shock and awe’ leaving a trail of collateral damage and broken dreams along the way.  I can’t say that there were no prior warning signs but these were buried in the malaise of miscommunication of our everyday lives for far too long.


An unfortunate and tragic event in the others life had seen a flight far away with the promise of a return when certain matters were attended to.  This event, the passing of a parent lead to an increase in the uneasy, intermittent pattern of communication abounding with mixed messages.  Incrementally, the turnaround timeframe expanded and blew out of all proportions. Finally, and without consultation, there was an outpouring on social media which has obviously lead to this point, the pointy end of shrapnel smashing through a vital organ i.e. the heart.  The emotional spin cycle got turned up high leaving one feeling wrung out and the roller-coaster went through its multiple loops leaving nothing but dry heaving.  The waters now are still murkier than the river we were living by. The only clarity here is that I am no longer included in any future plans of this individual and now have to rebuild as a sole proprietor and look to my own future. 


There does seem to be an irrationality to all that has taken place recently, yet in some way I may have seen it coming.  At one point many months ago I even wrote an unsent letter talking about my concerns, our issues and what I saw as a way forward.  However, when this tearing apart of the fabric of our being occurred it was like I was powerless to prevent the oncoming runaway train.   It seems I looked away at an inopportune moment getting distracted by other responsibilities I had been left with.  We had talked about others on a train wreck waiting to happen, turns out it was our own arrangements that were in chaos.  Now I am picking up the pieces of my own shattered existence the only way I know how.  At first, I was in survival mode just trying to protect myself from any further aftershocks. I have now spent a short time in recovery surrounded by family not quite sure yet when to emerge from the protective bunker. 


The flight mode was made at warp speed but was not possible without the assistance of a select few and subsequently an attempt at recovery started with a visit to a reputable professional in the field.   As part of this process I have beat a hasty retreat from the very social media which played a part in this whole mess and ultimately provided a platform for our public demise as a partnership.  It is difficult to take personal stock when answers to the obvious questions are short on the ground, when angry denials lead to further suspicion and where there is unwanted input from others along with vast distance between the parties.  In addition, I do not need the many distractions that social media provide i.e. viewing the minutiae of everyone else’s life while at the same time having them watch mine unravelling. 


I do not wish this once powerful force in my life any ill-will and can only say that I hope they find what they are looking for in life.  Perhaps one day they will wake up from the ether that obviously surrounds them right now and look upon this time with regret.  For the truth is, that this is a mistake of their own making, a decision they made without consultation and no-one else is really to blame.  I’m not trying to say that I was perfect in this but feel I have sacrificed a lot for this blending of two worlds.  To part ways like this is made more painful when it is done, in part, online and not face-to-face to say the least.  I thank goodness right now that we never added that formal arrangement, exchanged those vows or bought offspring into this mix.  Of course, we entered a relationship with all that in mind however it never seemed to happen for any number of reasons.  At least, there will be no courts of law necessary in parting ways.  I can only say now that pets do not count, seemingly it is only a way for one party to deflect guilt and provide more drama in their own life.

I'm not one for New Years resolutions, those 'New Year, New Me' type of statements however i do want to look back on the year that was and then move on.   So, heres how 2016 went down for me...


It started with watching fireworks from the front yard of our home and then watching the build up to a local government election across the state.  We got a kitten in February, a tabby cat and then progressively our home became a refuge for a variety of animals.  I began talking about the cats that entered our premises but i havent mentioned the dogs...

We'll make great pets..


The kitten has grown and is still with us and we are now the home of daschunds.  We were offered a puppy for sale by a local, it was to go to another but due to it being so young they werent prepared to take it at that time.  The owner did not want to keep it any longer so offered it to us.  A male daschund of only 6 weeks old.  It was thought that this would be a good companion to our kitten.  Growing up together would be good for both of them. 


All throughout this process i was reluctant, i have much experience with cats and dogs as pets and know how much work/time is involved with them.  I love them but i didnt want to be tied down by them.  However, the deal was done and so we have a male daschund.  A good dog generally, mostly an inside dog with all that that entails. 


I finally gained a form of employment in the town that we live, in local government though i say i'm part of the increasing casualisation of the workforce and i have no end date it just keeps rolling along.  I commenced as a fill-in for one role and then thinking that was done they called me for another role more project-based.  This role is continuing into 2017. 


From one daschund to several in a short space of time.  The owner who sold us the pup had an issue with the mother dog and said she didnt want it anymore.  Initially she said it was fat but that was quickly dismissed as we realised the dog was pregnant again.  The owner thought she had it locked away from the male however it seems to have done the business again.  I got told that she was going to have it put down if we didnt take it. 


So, we gained a mother dog heavily pregnant and trying to figure out what to do with the puppies.  Strangely, when the time came, we were attending a family funeral and had just driven out of town when she dropped her bundle.  Luckily, my partners sister was present and seemed to know what to do, even saving the life of the last puppy to be born.  A litter of four male puppies, all ranging in size and colouring.  The last puppy was born a black-and-tan and has been kept by my sister-in-law.  Shes staying with us as she also works in the town. 


The puppies were born a number of weeks before christmas and we advertised them using social media in the wider regional area.  The response was good and 3 of the puppies have been delivered to new homes.  Quite a drive in some cases.  Happily, we are kept updated on the progress of at least 1.   We are not professional breeders and we're not doing it for the money, we just want them to go to good-and-loving homes. 


Having pets in this place means that a drive of up to 4 hours is required if and when veterinary services are necessary.  It also means that to go anywhere means many hours on the road and with this number of pets that is a logistical issue in itself.  Having pets is a restriction on movement at the best of times but the time and distance we need to go is sometimes too much.  We do not have boarding kennels or catteries here either so it is a case of, in an emergency asking neighbours to watch the dogs and we take the cat in the car.  The cat is okay in the vehicle, she's used to long drives now and sleeps through most of it. 


On the home front, we had a new back fence constructed, was the neighbours idea and we contributed.  It seems to have kicked my butt into tidying up the back yard especially getting rid of piles of grass and sticks that had accumulated over the time.  Previous mower seemed to blow up and having even tried to borrow one didn't help as it would not start for me.  I got sick of taking our mower to the mechanic for him to get it started for it only to stop again and not restart.  This was no matter how much i cleaned the spark plug and cleaned the filter.  Eventually, i exchanged it with my dad and he had it fixed by a bloke he knows, says it is working well for him.  The mower i got has since worked and the yard is now looking a lot better. 


What helped was that i recently bought a Ryobi whipper-snipper/edge-trimmer and blower pack from Bunnings, may be light weight but seems to do the job for me.  It is cordless not petrol-driven and a lot quieter which is why i got it.  So, the yard is really taking shape. 


Now that it is the beginning of 2017, we have been residing in this little community for 2 years and we have had a few little occasions with our neighbours.  We did not go down to family this christmas and some might say we sacrificed that for our pets.  Perhaps it was a lack of planning on our part given that we kept accumulating them and not accounting for the busy time at most kennels and vet surgeries over the holidays.  It meant a realignment of our priorities and we spent the xmas/new year here at home having quiet time just the two of us and our animals. 


New Years Eve was spent in the company of a couple of neighbours and my partners sister and her husband.  We had a nice night, plenty of food and drink followed by watching the fireworks on television.  Not sure the pets knew what was going on but still...


The beginning of 2017 has not been the best, my partner and her sister recently got the call that their father just died and have flown out of the country and back to Philippines to organise the funeral and all that that entails.  I decided not to go due to having pets and the casual nature of my employment so it is a sad time for all.  These calls never happen at a convenient time, we got this one late on saturday afternoon and by Sunday lunch time we were in Sydney.   


I drove them to the airport and the cat came with us.  The dogs were minded by a neighbour until i got back late on Monday afternoon.  That was a round trip of a couple of thousand kilometres.  Going to Sydney was not the first choice of course, however from a closer airport there are no daily flights to Philippines.  The next flight out of this town would have been Sunday lunch time and it is a small mail-run type flight to Brisbane and then you would have to catch a connecting flight to Sydney anyway. 


Driving overnight out here is not without its hazards.  There are lots of kangaroos jumping around at night and not having a bull-bar on the vehicle did not help quicken our progress.  Much prefer to drive during the day but had no choice in this instance.  A road trip that would normally take more than 12 hours took us over 17 hours going down there. 


Coming back on the monday and driving all day, just me and the cat, took a little over 12 hours from my dads place which is a little up the coast from Sydney. Strangely, i did not see a kangaroo on the way back, instead i saw an emu.  I guess it was too hot that day even for the wildlife out here.  The outside temperature in the car was registering 42 degrees Celsius.  I was back at work on the Tuesday.


Things can only get better from here surely??...




Latest comments

10.03 | 19:15

I have stood by and watched a with concern and love. I admire the way you have handled yourself and the situation. My love with you. In admiration. Fly

10.03 | 14:07

Well, come back the TOG you old git. We will love you unconditionally there.

Seriously though, this is a good post. I am sorry for your pain mate.

10.03 | 12:26

Spread your wings you dodo, you might be able to fly.

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