June, 2012. A Wednesday morning, 2:30AM. I punched in the pin code and I was in. Complete access to texts, Facebook, emails. Scroll. Quick. Apps, what apps? Facebook. Facebook chat. Texts. Scroll. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Gemma. Sarah. Jessica. Alana. Emma. Lisa. Tegan. Monica. ‘Tell me what you’d do to me next? Send me some photos. I think we’d be good together. Where can I meet you? Thanks for coming last night. She’ll be at work so that should be fine. She’s so keen, but I’ll never marry her.’
I sat on the lounge room floor, in pitch black, hands trembling in fear he would wake and catch me in the act. I scrolled fast. I clicked so quick, I read quick. ‘Where is she now? I can send you photos. Do you want to Skype?’ I didn’t read everything. I felt I didn’t have time to read everything. But, I read enough. Fuck.
My Airforce partner, my other half, my best friend, my all and more, my first love was cheating on me. If you’d like to know him, I’ll let you get to know him, but let me start by telling you this: he is The One. He is The One who officially ruined relationships for me for a very long time. In all honesty, he also officially ruined me for a while there. I don’t speak of him very often, if at all. Our memories are now blurred and I only remember snippets. But, here it goes. I’ll try to tell you as much as my heart is willing. Everyone, meet Kurt*.
I tiptoed back to the bedroom, around to his side of the bed, and quietly placed his phone back on the bedside table, breathing ever so slowly, not to wake him. I crept back into bed, and I just lay there, staring at the ceiling, both hands on my chest breathing ever so slowly, trying my best not to cry, not to wake him. I looked over at him, his face lit by the moonlight through our undrawn curtains, his arm now heavily weighing across my stomach. How could you do this? And I just kept breathing. And counting. Breathe. I watched the clock tick minute by minute, closer and closer to a new day. And breathe. Just breathe. And what would I do come morning? I didn’t know. Just breathe. You’ll be okay. Just breathe. The sun will be up soon. Just breathe. Just breathe. And breathe… I had never felt so close to someone, yet so very, very alone.
Two days prior, we stood in the kitchen, prepping dinner, and he spoke about a surprise he was planning for me, his words sealed with a kiss, his arms wrapped around my waist. We ate our dinner on the balcony, as usual, overlooking Newcastle Beach. By this point, we’d known each other just shy of four years, officially dating for three years, nine months, and lived together for two years on and off. We’d spoken about marriage and children and travel. We lived together in Darwin, Katherine, and at the very end, Newcastle. We did long distance: Melbourne/Sydney and Middle East/Sydney for months, on and off. But, it was never an issue. It was our norm. The life as a Defence partner. We spoke constantly and I surprised him numerous times by flying interstate, God, I miss Qantas staff travel, catching trains and buses to the East coast Victoria, showing up at his front doorstep, even if it meant only having 48 hours together and him still having to go to work. It was the norm. Long distance was the norm. Interstate travel was the norm. Skype chats and weeks apart were the norm. And in our final year, we lived together for an entire year – June to June. I fondly remember walking hand in hand down Newcastle Beach one sunny Sunday afternoon and I said to him, ‘If this is what life is like for the rest of my life, I’m happy’, and he said, ‘Me too.’
Sim and Kurt. Kurt and Sim. We had agreed on the name of our son-to-be – let’s just say the name was, Jude. Well, we spoke of Jude often, even though he was far from actually existing. To be honest, I’m still convinced my son will be named, Jude. Some of you might find this a little odd, but I’m the one who actually chose the name. And so, when Kurt and I ended, I not only grieved for the love lost between Kurt and me, I grieved for Jude, because I felt like he was meant to be in this world, and now he never would be. Kurt. Oh, I was obsessed with him. And after four years, with him being my main focus, it was all I knew. He was all I knew. He was it. He was The One.
September 2008. Friday night. ‘Please, please come out with me. I’ll even drive so you can drink!’ My sister, Shannon, had recently turned of age and was, obviously, desperate to exercise the rights of a legal adult. With some convincing and plenty of bribery, I agreed. The local. Home by midnight. It was a horrible evening weather-wise: severe thunderstorms, cyclonic winds; perfect Netflix and chill weather (if Netflix existed back then). Perfect VHS and chill weather. Okay, DVD and chill weather. But this whole event does feel like a lifetime ago, literally.
I had recently returned home to Sydney indefinitely following a European Summer, enjoying an extended 22nd birthday celebration. Prior to this drunken-filled holiday, avoiding reality, I was on an adventure interstate, taking an 18-month stint as a Flight Attendant with Jetstar based out of Brisbane. When I eventually returned, hungover as all hell, Sydney life wasn’t as I remembered it. My friends weren’t as keen to see me as I was them and I was back living with the parents, paying off my European ‘emergency’ credit card. Dread. Kill me. Such is life.
And then, on one fateful night, while “chaperoning” my little sister to the local, the dodgiest nightclub you ever did see, I met Kurt. The cyclonic weather had caused a blackout mid-Daft Punk’s, One More Time, and Kurt took the dead silent opportunity to dance his way over to me. We spoke for merely a minute or two, he gave me his name (which is, in fact, a lot less common than the name Kurt), his age and his home city. Once the strobes were back in action, Kurt danced his way back into the darkness and I lost him in the crowd.
Now before I go on if you haven’t read The Thrill Of The Chase, please do so now, or the next part may not make as much sense to you. Not that I feel that this was at all the reason Kurt and I didn’t work, not at all. But, it sure is strange to think how different my life could have, would have been if I understood The Thrill Of The Chase at the ripe age of twenty-two. I do wonder, where would I be? Would I have been better off? Who knows. But I know, it does all work out in the end, just as it’s supposed to; everything happens for a reason. I just know a little better now.
I took this brief, drunken approach by Kurt as him being incredibly into me, although he didn’t ask for my number. In fact, he didn’t ask about me much at all. He knew my name and my age. So, what did I do? I went home and cyber stalked the guy until I found him. Rule #2: No Chasing *present-tense Simone slaps past-tense Simone, so freakin’ hard, across the back of the head* Now, if we flashback to 2008, Facebook was yet to be born. Zuckerberg who? So, how did I locate Kurt from the dodgy nightclub pre-Facebook revolution? MySpace of course. First name. Age. Location. And done. First result. Kurt. And add. And so, no quicker than I clicked the mouse with my pointer finger did I create my own fate *present-tense Simone slaps past-tense Simone one more time, just for good measure*. One week later, we were on our first date. Three months later I’m having Christmas lunch with his family. Four months later, we’re doing long distance, Melbourne/Sydney. Two years later, I’m living with him in the Northern Territory outback, working behind the bar of a Sergeants Mess. I was happy. Or so I thought I was.
And there I was, just staring at the ceiling, both hands on my chest breathing ever so slowly, trying so hard not to breakdown, not to wake him. Everything in the apartment was my own: the lounge, bed, cushions, coffee table, linen, dinnerware, coffee cups, spatula, salad spinner, every single item down to the very last fork belonged to me. But the lease was in his name, substituted through the Defence. And breathe. Just breathe. Just breathe. The sun will be up soon. Just breathe. And breathe…
With a glimmer of sunrise, I left for work, much earlier than usual. I whispered goodbye and good day to Kurt, he hardly stirred. I took the lift down four flights, walked out through the foyer, out onto the street, welcomed by the sea breeze. I opened up my car and made it 100 metres up the road to a car park. I stared out to the ocean, took a deep breath, and then I cried. And I cried. And I cried. I couldn’t breathe anymore.
An hour or so later, I drove back down the hill, walked through the foyer, took the lift four flights up, put the key in my front door, walked down the hallway, to the bedroom, where he lay awake, on his phone. The first words that came out of my mouth? ‘Give me your phone.’ His response? ‘No.’ What happened next? Well, he purposely locked his phone by punching in the incorrect pin five times too many. Then he turned it off. And put it back in his pocket. I did try to get it from him and he pushed me back. He had excuses for everything. He said I was overreacting. He said I misunderstood conversations I had read. He even said the whole situation was ‘kinda funny’ if I really thought about it. And then he said he had to go to work. ‘Will you be home when I get back?’ he asked. ‘Yes.’ I said.
As soon as he shut the front door behind him, I grabbed the suitcase from the top shelf of our closet, and I packed as much as I could, as fast as I could, into this one bag. I took the lift down four flights, walked out through the foyer and out onto the street, welcomed by the sea breeze. I opened up my car, threw my suitcase in the back, and I drove away. I drove out of Newcastle, down the freeway, crying, almost unable to breathe, all the way home to Sydney.
I’m not going to lie here. I did go back. Six days later, I went back. I walked into the apartment, and he had dinner ready on the table. And it was then I knew: if this is what life was going to be like for the rest of my life, I was never going to be truly happy. And after four years, with him being my main focus, my other half, my all, my first love, he had officially ruined me. Simone as you knew her, was gone. The next day, I repacked my suitcase and I left, closing the door on Sim and Kurt. For good. I drove out of Newcastle, down the freeway, and I didn’t cry the entire way, just some of the way. I arrived back “home”, in Sydney, and I was a completely and utterly broken.
One month later. I scored a job as an Education Recruitment Consultant in Sydney’s CBD. I loved it. I had forgotten how big the world actually was for a minute there. Some days were tougher than others; I definitely had my moments of sadness, over the top breakdowns. I particularly remember this one day, I got off the bus at Wynyard Station, and I was walking down Hunter St to work and I just thought, I could just stop right now, and maybe I could just sit here, and cry, and I wonder, would anybody really notice, because I don’t think I can do this. But, I didn’t. I kept walking, heels high, head high, into the office, smile on my dial. And I did that every day until it no longer felt like a chore. And once it was no longer felt like a chore, I quit city life and became a full-time Makeup Artist.
And so now, here I am- completely ruined yet completely repaired, better than new. And now, I’m just waiting, ever so patiently, for that day when I can say: Hey, Jude.