I'm standing out the back of my house, a quiet smoke, reflecting on the twists and turns my life has taken in recent times. Portishead playing from my open bedroom window.
My best friend and housemate is currently with the woman I love, and used to call my girlfriend.
Today I stepped back from what their friendship has become, and allowed this to happen.
As I'm standing out the back, I look into the backyard of the house that sits behind ours - back fence to back fence. An old lady lives there, although we don't see her a whole lot. She's your classic old lady - fairly small, an explosion of white hair, glasses. When we do see her, she's pottering around in the garden, trimming her flowers and bushes. Watering the garden. Now however, past midnight, there's a silhouette. It's a man, slowly walking from one side of the backyard to the other. He's smoking a cigarette, and it looks like he's got a cup of coffee in his hand. As he walks, he's hunched over, his head is hanging low. No details are able to be made out - he is a creature of shadow. He seems almost unreal.
As I stand outside, with a cigarette, and a coffee in my hand.
I underwent a change last night, and it feels like it was such a subtle shift, yet so many things have taken on a new perspective following it. Perhaps the shift was the last push needed to tip the balance, and this motion is gathering energy.
It's a painful process, watching your best friend fall in love with the person you love. It's painful to see that love returned. And it's really fucking painful when neither of them will tell you the truth until confronted, and it's no longer deniable.
Yet through everything, I haven't lost my love for her. The reason's not something I think I can explain without doubling the length of this writeup - besides, they're mine, not for here. Regardless of the reason, it's there. This isn't in any way a normal situation. It's like the strange combination that is the three of us, has formed a shape that's complicated and rare - possibly not unique, but certainly not a common story. We have a connection that neither of us want to lose, and a friendship that is more important to us than anything else. In four months time, I will fly to Mumbai, and meet her there. We'll travel through India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and a whole lot of South-Ease Asia, for over two months. And I've not considered once not going with her.
The change I went through was as strange as it was unexpected. How is it that you barely see the end a period of self-doubt, until its come? Like it happens, and it's not until after the fact, you're just kinda left there thinking 'hey...has something happened that I missed?"
I'm sitting on my bed, and it's a night of Damien Rice. Lately, it's been a lot of him and Ani DiFranco - particularly grey and school night. It's fuelling my writing, cross legged with pillows propped up around me. One is providing a makeshift desk for my notepad. As I write, it's like a huge tangle of emotions, fears, doubts and questions unravel before me, and everything is suddenly clear. A road suddenly opens up in front of my feet, and I don't need to fight any more. There is a sudden release, and I'm moving forward. Familiar landmarks are seen from a slightly different perspective, and things that you couldn't understand before seem to make more sense. The CD has reached the hidden track, prague, and for some reason it sounds exultant to me. Not what I expected at all.
Is it strange to suddenly find strength, after such pain? It's not what I expected really, I truly believed that things would go a lot further down before they started to turn around. Yet I couldn't deny the lightness I felt, as I suddenly understood the relationship the two people closest to me had formed. And realised that I couldn't deny them that. Not now. What I needed to do wasn't so easy for me to accept for a very long time, and I fought against it. It was like it was an assault on my pride, my self esteem, to face up to the obvious that I had to step back from what was happening, and not try to stop it.
Yet suddenly, I found that I was believing in myself. I realised that who I am, is just fine. That I didn't need to fight against myself anymore. That I didn't need to try to change who I was - I simply needed to accept it.
I wasn't scared any more.
At lunchtime today, I spoke to her. She needed to know that by following her heart, she would never lose my friendship. Before, I couldn't say that and have the faith in myself to follow through on that promise. Today, I could. I'm not sure whether it was what she was expecting me to say - she was alarmed at the urgency I put on talking to her. I said what I had to say, and a tension was suddenly released between us. Like we'd been slowly wrapped in fine strands, not really noticing what was occurring at the time, until the cords were finally severed. It's like the air around us suddenly changed pressure, and we were both smiling again.
We were talking - never realising just how much we'd missed talking about in the last few weeks, there's a lot of news to tell. We went shopping tonight - I actually bought some new clothes, not a common thing. Opinions from change rooms, deciding between two different pairs of jeans. Discussing whether a T-Shirt will survive the third-world, how much you're going to put in your pack when you fly out. Sitting at a cafe table, finally with time to just sit and chat, and there's no pressure, there aren't any unspoken questions. It's been so long since we've done this, since the absence of mistrust and doubt entered my world.
It was the closest we've been for months.
I'm standing on the back porch, a cigarette in one hand, a cup of coffee in the other. The strange figure from across the fence has disappeared, and I'm wondering at the appearance of a slowly walking shadow, just as it feels like my shadow has been cast off. Portishead is playing through my bedroom window, and it's filling the air. The song is roads, and I can't help but smile. So many times, we've talked about roads - which one you chose to take, deliberately taking the most difficult path to your destination, shunning the easy way. A road opens up before me, and I take it, finding that it's taking me in a direction I like. Time to see where it leads.