A complete pale emotionless mask you wear as walk into the office. My mind already begins to wonder when you ask for us to have a seat with news you need to share. Sitting on your left, I see the mask melt from a thick and sturdy clay to flimsy tracing paper. As the paper mask becomes heavy with the hot rain from your sky blue eyes, we hold our collective breath as we can only imagine the worst.

You are so private, so stoic, so deeply proud. In these intimate moments you share with us the horrific news. We as women though might never go through what you have just gone through, some reason, immediately share and embody your grief. With quiet sorrow, the room immediately becomes thick with emotion, it’s almost like we drown ourselves in your tears first unknowingly but soon voluntarily.

We all stand closely together, tightly holding hands, all ready to dive feet first into the frozen lake of mourning you are already in.

We stand with you, your pain is our pain. Not only because we’ve all grown fond of each other or because we respect the struggles you have been through, but because as women, we feel the pain of our sisters, willingly and intensely.


n7 – (iii) – these lessons learnt

Now, I look back on that speck of time that was us and I appreciate it and hope to learn from my mistakes. I guess, when we make mistakes or hurt others, we owe it to ourselves and to them to learn from what happened and promise to never do it again.

I can’t hide behind my shy and awkward personality. I cannot close my eyes and wish away what I need to say. I recognise it is a recurring theme in my life. As brutally honest as I am with my family and friends, I seem to exhibit the direct opposite with my dates. I recognise fully that it is because I am so painfully afraid they’d judge me that I almost feel physically crippled by it. Yet, I know there is nothing to be afraid of and nothing to hide. The more I hide, the more trouble I invite.

I also learnt how much I appreciated your ability to live in the now, your ability to laugh, and enjoy yourself. I also liked how you brought that out in me too. I tend to get too caught up in the future, worrying about everything, things completely out of my control. I caught worked up about abstract information and things so far out of my grasp, I spiral and find myself in a deep hole, depressed, anxious and completely lost. You let me be silly and I never felt like I needed to impress you, though there were many times I wanted to. The moments I felt we both enjoyed ourselves the most were when we let go of our need to look sharp and lived in the present, no matter how dumb we appeared. That is my favourite part about you, something I cherish so dearly and miss now that you are gone. And now I know this is something I hope to find in someone else.

n7 – (ii)

Many times in our brief moments together, I felt quite conflicted. There were parts of me that wanted to stop worrying, stop ruminating and to be free to just jump in head first with you.

I broke my own rules with you. I didn’t ask you what you were looking for before we met. I felt so uncertain and curious about you, I didn’t want to cause any strain on such a delicate balance we seem to have achieved in such a short time. Also, our communication wasn’t the greatest. We struggled greatly to verbalise anything remotely serious. Ours was based on laughs and hypothetical questions we’d ask each other, there was little room for real questions about our feelings, expectations and direction to be had.

At times, I felt so incredibly stressed because I needed to know where I stood with you, because you don’t wear your feelings on your sleeve like I do. But the fear of not wanting to be clingy or needy weighed heavily on me and so I too put up walls guarding myself. Yet, I never once felt that walls ever truly protected me from getting hurt.

Because of the lack of communication, I never felt like I could be open with you. It wasn’t like I had much to discuss or much to say, but there was one thing I did want to talk about and I didn’t feel comfortable enough to tell you. I had friends try hard to encourage me to open up to you, but I couldn’t. I was terrified that you would bolt or hate me. I felt I had too much to loose and so I kept it a secret, knowing this would blow up in my face soon. A logical and mature adult would say be open, be honest, communicate. It’s harder than it looks and when you have crippling anxiety of loss, it becomes far too much. Sometimes, it felt it so crippling I wanted to end it with you first to avoid ever having a honest conversation with you. I see the irony in all of this obviously.

When I finally told you, obviously things blew up as I knew it would. I am sorry that things happened the way they did. I hate how I looked so dishonest and almost deceptive. I wish I could explain how terribly conscious I was about all of this and how badly I wanted to have a conversation with you about all of it.


N7 (i) – how long has it been?

Dearest N,

Hi, I’m G. 

Hi, I’m N. 

Nice to meet you. 

You are my first ever online date. I dipped my toes into the unpredictable sea of online dating with you being my unknowing first. We didn’t have a great date, but your first is never going to be that great. You were nevertheless polite, handsome and someone who I instantly trusted. Years pass and I talk about our date has a funny anecdote of what not to do.

I saw on you the street once and our eyes met, you were with someone else so we didn’t say hello. Then again, I doubt we would have greeted each other had you’ve been alone.

2 and a half years pass. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve dated, gotten into casual relationships, gotten into a serious relationship. But alas, they soon made their way to the relationship cemetery. As my feelings for my ex-boyfriend (G) waned, it felt almost like a natural progression to download dating apps. They feel like a familiar yet sometimes tiring friend, that we all regrettably yet unashamedly have.

Funnily enough, you appear on my screen. I almost instantly laugh audibly. I accept your request. Hey, haven’t we met before? We chat like old friends catching up on life, it’s nice, it feels like seeing a friendly face in a crowded bar. You provide a form of relief from conversations with strangers. There is no need to introduce ourselves, talk about what we do for work nor need to come up with witty lines to impress. It’s nice to talk about how much we both have done since seeing each other.  A couple of months pass by, we chat a little. My friends are chuffed that we’ve reconnected, but I don’t really think too much about it. We didn’t really get along the first time, the second time won’t be any different, I’d say. This is the love story, we’ve been waiting for. You can just see this being played out in the movies. I roll my eyes.

Then after a summer overseas, I’m back in the city. You happen to text and ask whether I’m back. I am. You ask whether I want to have a drink the next day. I say, sure, why not?   I’m slightly hesitant and do wonder what you want. My curiosity is mostly the reason why I agree to meet.

On a rainy night, you appear from the darkened streets with a hesitating yet warm wave. We greet with an awkward hug. Our height difference is most evident, reminding me of how tall I thought you were the first time we met. Perhaps, it is just because I’m tiny. You, always polite, immediately extend your umbrella over me. Let’s go.

We walk to my favourite pub. So, how long as it been?

Maybe it was the dimly lit streets or the fact that I was more focused on our conversation, but it was only in the light of the rowdy pub, do I realise, we both are dressed completely in black with down to our black leather boots, I chuckle to myself. I want to go there mainly because it’s where I feel comfortable. Like everybody else, online dates always make me nervous, so going to a place where I feel safe, where I’ve made nothing but good memories in, makes sense to me. We do have good banter though there were times I could honestly feel both of us trying to think of the next topic to talk about. I think it is safe to say our conversation is vastly superior from our last one. It feels the way the second date always feels. We both are more relaxed, yet, still quite eager to please. Less polite, more laughs and much more inappropriate topics. Thank you alcohol, you are always the best social lubricant. 

We walk to a bar, you think is nearby. But you realise how far it was from the pub, so we walk to get the car. On the way to the car, we see an interesting building and again my curiosity gets the better of me. The building stripped of any solid walls and instead is encased with glass. The building was well lit as there was an event going on. As we walk up to its glass doors, they immediately swing open, as if the building itself wanted us to overcome our hesitance. I take that as a sign and immediately walk confidently in. You are a little wary, but the building is far too intriguing for you to linger behind. I almost instantly, like a child, press the button for the lift. You look completely thrilled yet immensely nervous about getting caught, so you hide yourself on the side. I, on the other hand, position myself where the doors meet, ready for whatever or whoever the lift will  throw at me.

Ding! I look at you, and you look worried about getting caught.

I laugh.

The lift is empty.

We walk in. Mirrors on each side surround us. Top floor please! There are only 3 floors.

Before I get a chance to take in what we both are doing, my view of us in the mirrors becomes obscured by your chest. You stand so close to me, before I get a chance to fully decide whether or not I want to, I lift my chin up, tiptoe, and our lips greet each other quietly. It was as if, our lips themselves felt a little nervous about their own introduction. It was quick, polite, clean and warm. Hi.

Ding! Just as our lips part and we step away from each other, also as though we need time to process this, the door opens and I walk out first with you trailing behind.



Dearest G,

I didn’t expect you to come into my life the way you did. I was looking but I never once imagined myself actually finding someone that I wanted a future with. You are so incredibly special to me because you seemed to want to spend your precious time with me. I appreciated the way we sat around the house, held each other and laughed at the benign parts of life together. You did so much for me, I cannot even imagine to think how I could have gotten through these past few months without you. You flew to a different state only to get into my car to drive back home, you helped me move back and even cleaned my house to make it more a home. You cancelled dinner plans to suit my appetite for seafood, you put up with long distance, and you did this all with no complaints and with a smile on your face. There’s so much  you did for me, it overwhelms me reliving all these moments. Our first and only road trip, you amazed me with your generosity and willingness to put me first.

Yet in our short time together, the journey was more often than not, akin to Sydney’s horrendous roads and traffic. It was never smooth sailing for long because as soon as we started to get the hang of things and feel like we were becoming ‘us’, a pothole would remind us of how much ‘you’ and ‘me’ were never going to become ‘us’  and ‘we’. At points, it felt like we were stuck in a jam and it forced us to a standstill and kept us from every realising our hopes for the relationship. At first I blamed the distance between us, knowing that once we start living in the same city, our relationship will get better, and we can finally just be us; we can settle down and find our own way; it was what I longed for.

When we drove home, back to the city we both called home and the relief of never having to go through weeks of not being held in your arms was over. I honestly felt such a wave of peace knowing that this would be the start of something great. Alas, after-hours work started and I didn’t see you much, but that was okay because it was just for 2 weeks. Life will go back to normal and you and I will start this proper, I promise. But as life went back to normal, ‘us’ didn’t blossom, ‘we’ didn’t become a reality. I needed more time, I needed to see you more, I needed you around me, I needed you to tell me how you felt about me, how I made you feel. Instead, you did things in your own way. You cleaned my house, you did all the things I wanted to do, you held me in your arms and were generous with your kisses. I loved that, I loved it all, but it wasn’t enough. I needed more, I wanted more. More, you couldn’t give; more you were unwilling to change.

This was it. More and more, brought us further apart even though this was the closest we had been in the months that I was away. This was the closest we had been, but the furthest I felt from you. When I articulated my feelings on this, you did not understand. ‘We do what you want to do’, you said. ‘We spent the whole day together, and you still feel far from me? Does everything we just did mean nothing to you?’ you asked.

In the end, ‘I can’t do this’, was constantly on my mind. We cared about each other and saw a future together, but we just couldn’t compromise. ‘We’ couldn’t be because ‘you’ and ‘I’ weren’t ready. ‘You’ and ‘I’ could give up what we want for the sake of ‘us’, but would ‘we’ be truly happy if we did? I don’t know. I think about it and sometimes I do wish I did. I wish I could let go of what I wanted in order to keep you. You were great, you made me laugh, you were generous and caring. You are also stubborn and uncompromising and you did not want to see me more than what you wanted.

It’s over now and my heart is just as heavy as this cloudy spring afternoon. I don’t have the answers, I don’t have a solution. It’s been a week since ‘us’ fell apart and I don’t know where I stand anymore. I miss you dearly and nobody seems to fill that hole you left in my heart. I wish I could tell you I understand now why it happened, but even if the reasons were clear, I still wouldn’t accept it. I don’t know what I want to be honest but all I know is what we had took me by surprise. What you’ve done for me, I will always be grateful.

Thank you and I miss you.

This Is How I’ll Date You

Thought Catalog

IMG_2672-2 Taylor Aikins

I’ll date you because I choose to. I will desire you with every dawn and I will desire you with every dusk. I will date you because you make me laugh, because despite your flaws and your temperaments, my heart feels safe within your hands. I will date you and I will pay no mind to the alternative, I will turn a blind eye to the people who stare because my gaze was made for your gaze. In this generation option creeps into relationships like a dangerous siren, but I will never be swayed by its song, for when I date you, I will date only you.

I will date you in a forgetful way. I wont be able to recall the time you were born, or your mothers middle name. I will forget mini anniversaries, I will forget appointments. However, I will never forget the way you…

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