I’d been dating and living with Tom for just over a year when things took a big turn southward. Our relationship was resembling the steamed fish we ate every night… bland, joyless and frankly, quite quite dead. When I wasn’t busy lining up the tin cans and rushing home every night to have my cellphone checked for rogue messages, I slept with one eye open and one foot on the floor. Tom had quite the temper and as someone who gets nauseous at a raised voice, I was steadily working on my second ulcer. Tense doesn’t begin to describe it.
As my weight hovered 15lbs below normal, my sister gently mentioned that I was ‘looking a bit peaky’ and perhaps I might not be terribly happy. After a nanosecond of reflection (hey, at least there was some) I decided to break up with Tom. Just saying the words allowed my stomach to unknot for the first time in weeks and the decision was so obvious I couldn’t believe I hadn’t made the move already.
Now breaking up with someone isn’t easy at the best of times. When you’re living with someone a whole other layer of complexity arises. Add a hot and violent temper into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for a very very nervous girlfriend and planning to rival any SAS exercise.
I quietly made arrangements to move out, putting down a deposit on a flat and scheduling a moving truck. I told no-one except my sister and kept the smile plastered on my face until ‘telling Tom day’.
I figured, like the army, a quick and deadly strike would leave the least casualties. I bought big new locks for my new bedsit.
What I hadn’t foreseen was Tom’s own quiet planning. In the face of a strained and silent girlfriend Tom had decided what I needed was to ‘get away from it all’ and booked a vacation for us both.
Leaving London that weekend.
For two weeks.
While my stomach busied itself re knitting my ulcer, I tried to look for ways out,
Work? He’d okay’d it with the boss.
Visa? Didn’t need one.
Finances? No problem, everything was already paid for.
I claimed migraines right up to the moment the plane lifted off, at which point I actually did develop a headache. Which lasted for the entire two weeks.
There is nothing quite like being sequestered on a romantic ‘rekindling’ vacation when you’ve already mentally moved out but are too scared to say so. That it rained the entire 2 weeks didn’t help.
I’d assumed that we’d be spending the days in a lounger, uncomfortable but not intolerable. The endless rain made for lots of time for lazing in bed for Tim.. while I took the longest showers known to man. Dodging his advances with claims of migraines from hell, I was able to fake the weeping and groaning enough to keep him at bay for a week. By the second week his patience was running out and I think I might have overdone the acting when I found myself sitting in ER at Miami General. As I slid into the CAT scan machine the technician asked me if I was under any kind of stress… as Tom looked directly at me,
I wanted to die with embarrassment and humiliation.
I used the excuse of ‘girlie bit pain’ as a means to tell the doc that not only was I not dying, but I was just trying to soldier through a 2 week vacation with a guy I was dumping next Tuesday. He was not impressed but gave me a prescription for Valium and told Tom ‘no excitement’, essentially eliminating any more advances for the remainder of the trip.
I could see the light, finally… the home stretch.. until Tom told me the last surprise of the vacation…
Not only were we not going straight home from Miami, he’d booked tickets for us to go and see U2 in Paris on the way back to London. For the whole weekend we’d be able to wander the most romantic streets in the world and I’d be able to see one of my favorite bands.
I wondered what special hell I was in and what I’d done to deserve it.
Lets just say it wasn’t the best weekend and no, breaking up in Paris isn’t any better or worse than you’d think. Just take it from me, you break up after the flight home, not before.
So if the guy you’re planning on dumping mentions any special surprises, run….