Wind and rain insesantly bit at his raw neck. This was not aiding the machinations of his mind. He had come out here to think. Now he was just cold. He cut a forlorn figure as he trudged back down the hill. A moment of clarity. "What the fuck am I doing here?" Julian mused. His lack of inner monologue startling the local wildlife. He pondered in stereo. His thoughts stabbing at him with their indecent realism. He had lost his mind over a girl. It was uneccessary. It was time for re-evaluation. It was time for a change. No-one was worth losing your mind over. For all the cliche ridden, movie-based lustre that his current setting offered; no woman was worth catching pneumonia for. Even in a period of post relationship mourning. It was time to move on. No more wallowing.

Julian strode on. His mind offered clearer analytical judgement when he walked at pace. To understand his sickness, he must discover where and why it began. Why had he fallen for her? Why had she left him? Why did he now feel so empty? Events of the last year had not reached a satisfactory conclusion. There had been no closure. No chance for peace.

Amanda was beautiful. Brunette, with piercing deep brown eyes. As soon as Julian saw her he felt weak, exposed, as if those eyes where reading his every thought. When he looked at her there was no escape. He was consumed. He never felt safe, at ease. That was part of the excitement, part of the danger.

And so he drank. With a numb mind he could silence the inadequaces that betrayed him.

They met after they had graduated from university. Both their worlds seemed full of promise. He has stayed to plunder the resources of his red-brick town; she had returned from London, seeking the santuary of parental comfort. Optimism bloomed. Their hopes became the focus of their first months together. Until one day reality struck. Their worlds changed. No longer did they dream in tandem.

Six months earlier they had met in a student dive in the centre of town. Amanda had managed to pick up a few shifts at her old haunt to keep the finances ticking over. Julian spent anything he had left in this very establishment. He was watching the football with his friends on a slow Saturday in January. He had spent the afternoon in a daze.

"She's so beautiful. I could never talk to her."

"Just stop being gay, re-locate your balls and go chat to her. She's just a female woman." Came the ever eloquent reply. Julian always relied on his friends for motivation. They grounded his more drastic flights of fancy. He stared back at the screen in front of him.

"Manchester United 0 Sunderland 2"

"Interesting" Julian thought. Perhaps the balance of the galaxy was changing. He grabbed for his pint and drank down liquid confidence.

"Arsenal O Tottenham 3"

"Right, that's it."

His defiance was lost on those not privy to the inner sanctum of Julians thoughts. He stands up. He turns around. The beautiful brunette is lost in her thoughts. She's alone. She has time to chat. Time to make nice with a 6-pinted stranger. He strides over. When he reaches the bar he stops. His eyes meet hers. Her eyes. Those eyes. Medusa. He can't move. She breaks the silence.

"What can I get you?"

Her soft voice seals the deal. His stomach tightens. The nerves signify the beginnings of a new crush.

"Er. Strongbow."

The only reply he can muster. After the books he's read, the films he's seen; that's the best he can do.


Oh fuck.

"Excuse me."

"Your belt. I like it."

"Thanks. I got it from Zara."

The door was ajar. All Julian had to do was think of more words. He did. Sentences flowed from his body as alcohol flowed in. The day was his. The night was theirs.

She ticked all the boxes. Football, film, an innate dislike of authority.

But these are generalised headings and 6 months later the cracks were obvious. The little things. An overused phrase but a valid one. If you don't like a proportion of the same things then one day, at an un-designated time, there is a point of no return. Where it's no longer compromise, but a change in the essence of your identity. When you reach this marker you no longer sit in disgruntled silence when Coronation Street is on. You protest.

"Visual candy for morons." Was Julians first riposte. This didn't go down to well and hence a game of barbed banter began. Political statements in the guise of jokes. After a short while the jokes lost any sense of fun until all they were was unfounded criticism. A criticism from the one ou love shooting straight at the soul. Comments driving deep into the mire of your own existential crisis. judgement.

Julian saw this. deep down he knew what things were spiralling towards. But he hid it from himself. He loved Amanda. He loved the idea of her. But on a daily basis the idea conflicted with the reality.

They broke up in June. Julian had just started to feel positive. He had plans for the future and he felt their relationship was emerging from the tunnel. He was wrong. It ended where it started. On a Saturday in a pub. She had been quiet all afternoon.

"I don't think we are working anymore."


"I don't think we are working and I don't think we should go out anymore."

His protests fell on deaf ears. Reasons were given.

"I need time to work things out."

"You must have sensed we weren't working."

And the final kick in the nuts.

"It's not you, it's me."

That one hurt the most. Not because it was a cliche. Not because it was a massive lie. Because she couldn't be bothered to think of anything original. Like he was one more suitor meeting his demise in a familiar way. He meant nothing. He was not unique. And if there was one thing Julian longed to be, it was that.

Another six months had passed and here was Julian, in the rain. Six months. The length of the original relationship and he had not moved on. Every day he would wake and his first thought would be Amanda. A split second later the daily anxiety would return. He was in the midst of a nervous episode. Not because they had broken up, but because she had gotten under his skin. He spent six months thinking the same thoughts. Turning them over in his mind each day.

What he did wrong. What he should have said. When he should have said it.

He knew in the inner reaches of his psyche that there was nothing he could have done. He had just failed to admit that to himself yet. As he walked home he pondered when he would let himself rest. When he could breathe again and stop bombarding his mind with images of what might have been.

All he could hope was that time would make him forget. But when you have reached this far, hope is all you need.

The End

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