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
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
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?