Ballads of Heartbreak: A Series with H. Payne

2. The Sense of Sensibility

And so, like any ‘sensible’ single young woman I made myself a ‘sensible’ promise that night: no more boys. Grades before babes. It was time for self-love, to pick up the broken remnants of my heart to say it poetically. I was never going to lose myself again. I decided to embrace the student spirit and dive right into clubbing. Clubbing to me, to begin with, was a lot like walking to a fish. A completely unnatural pursuit. Not anymore, of course – but to begin with, oh my god. Booze and dancing and studying were all ample distractions for a brief time. My so-called sensibility lasted two months. Well done, you romantic twat.

Apparently, my ceaseless, rather impressive ability to brush aside red flags – as if nothing more than a tendril of hair blown across my face in an autumnal wind – had not ended with my last ex. Oh, it continued into semester two of my first year at university. And third. Well done, me.

Cue Semester Two, February 2018.

Hello blue-eyed charmer. The next man was an instant spark amongst the many scientific journals I was reading for my course. Addictive. A spectacular rebound. Three months into singledom and I was already swooning at the prospect of being in love once more. I had promised myself I would never fall again; my feet would stay and should stay firmly planted on the cliff edge never to seek such reckless turmoil again. Oh, how wrong I was. It was 3AM, we were both laughing far too much in a gay bar of all places, elated by the alcohol in our veins. I felt alive and free and completely and utterly myself. It was gorgeous and the start of another interesting aspect of my love life.

How was I to know I was falling for a fuckboy?

One of many to come. Maybe it was because he listened to me. Maybe it was because he acted so well – a beautiful angelic creature hiding the demon within. Or maybe it was the jawline and cheekbones. A good jawline is deadly; you have been warned. Take heed.

He wore an exquisite mask regardless. He listened to my words and I fell. All the way down like Lucifer himself from Heaven, I guess. Gosh, that was melodramatic, wasn’t it? ‘Theoretically’ always slipped from his lips, and sometimes I curse myself for believing him, but it was just so enticing. ‘Theoretically, if I asked you out, what would you say?’ And just like that, I’d cling onto it, all caught up in whatever the fuck it was. Was I thinking with my head, my heart or my vagina? Looking back on it, I don’t know. Most likely the latter, definitely not the middle, and a definite absence of the brain.

Netflix may as well have stepped in next: this blue-eyed creature then got with my friend. All this time, I had meant nothing to him; I was just a friend he liked the attention of. I’d fallen for the idea that had been so delicately spun rather than for the person in front of me.

June 2018. Amid the grief of my Nan’s death he broke the news to me that he had fallen hard for a girl from home. At the time I had questioned my blindness, but I hadn’t been blind. I had in fact fallen for an elaborate ploy. He had said all of the right words, stolen far too many kisses and held my gaze for far too long too many times. A masterful actor in his puppetry of women. And so, I was a fool once more. Love is above all an addictive, lethal substance and often I find myself wondering is it far worse than anything one can snort, inhale or swallow?

During my pursuit of the narcissistic blue-eyed individual, I actually shared a kiss with one other. My memory is hazy, but I remember being pinned to the wall in a nightclub, Fall Out Boy blaring. We went on a date for dessert and spoke for four hours. It was very cute. This is the kind of love that you acknowledge but nothing ever comes of it. It’s a weird little wander of your heart that I’m sure all have or will witness and feel. A pleasant adventure that I look back on with fondness even if nothing ever did come of it. Sometimes your heart is safe, it just goes on a wee little wander and then comes back unscathed.

The accidental summer fling came next. An accident simply because it wasn’t meant to be a fling but alas, apparently only one of us knew that at the time. You guessed. I didn’t know he just wanted a quick one and to be gone. His words and actions had suggested exactly the opposite of what he really intended. The Ghost was an interesting affair, most likely now upon reflection, born out of loneliness and a craving to get back on the horse. Yes, that is an innuendo; no, I am not sorry. Okay, sorry Mum.

I spoke to the boy (his actions are definitely not deemed worthy for him to be called a man, and no I’m not being bitter, keep reading) for a month. He seemed genuinely interested, kind, similar interests etc… All of those things we look for in potential relationships. A month in we arranged to meet. We got a Chinese takeaway and went back to my house. Started to watch a film and didn’t really get very far into it. Hands wandered, etc, etc… The next day it was as if he didn’t exist.

Note to self: do not ever chase. If it’s clear they don’t want to be with you, then they most likely don’t, darling. End of story. Save yourself the pain, onto the next one. Let the bastard go. And that was the conclusion of my first year of university. A whirlwind of different types of men and learning how to live life at university. The girl who started university in first year is certainly not the woman who stood at the end of first year – a little battered and a little bruised. Beautiful scars and all. Scars are the reminders, the lessons which shape us into who we are now, they make us stronger.

But I was only part-way through the journey of finding myself.

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