A History of Grief (as told and heard)

1. He tells me that before – for a good few years – he could not talk about her without crying.

2. She tells me that the grief she went through when they divorced, the feeling of the end of everything prepared her for when her father died years later. ‘You know life can end, and you know life goes on, and perhaps some pain is just a preparation,’ she said.

3. He shows me two messy scars along his arm. One night, whilst drunk and thinking about her, he punched a window, but the glass was reinforced and it snapped, cutting him deep enough to damage the nerve and now he cannot use his hand properly.

4. She tells me she will never speak to him again, even years later, she says, she could never bear to see his face.

5. He tells me that if it were not for the two kids, he wished he would never have to see her, because it reminds him too much of how happy they once were.

6. She tells me that whenever she sees him, accidentally, maybe once or twice a year – in a mall, or at a restaurant – she becomes very angry. But other than that she feels nothing when she thinks of it, she says. Other than that, she’s really happy.

7. She tells me once she bumped into him at a shop and he had his baby and she was really happy for him. She was so happy for him, she wanted to cry, she said.

8. I heard he loved her so much that he tied a rope and stepped off a chair. I heard it didn’t work and now he lives with the shame of what he once tried to do.

9. I heard he changed too much and that when she left him, he remembered nothing at all about how he intensely he courted her when they were high school sweethearts.

10. I heard that she had him followed. And when she saw what she feared, she walked in on them and laughed. I heard she stayed but it was never the same.

11. She said that yes, her world ended when he got married again – she had to go to hospital because it made her so sick – the thought of sharing him. She had borne him children you know, she said. She had brought him children into the world. She had been his first love and he would always be her only love. But, she said, eventually you realise you have to be strong, that life goes on. It’s not to say she doesn’t feel bad about it anymore, but she’s learnt to live beyond it, she said.

12. He told me that he misses her, that he’s not sure what he did wrong but he wished it could have lasted longer than it did.

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