You never forget that smell, no matter how long you go with or without it, it’s always there in your memory banks. Waking up that dark Friday morning in a hotel room just down the road from the Sky Tower, I looked across to see her cuddled up against me — our bare bodies covered only by a single sheet as the heat from the night before kept us snug and warm. But the smell of sweet, sweet love just so happened to pierce my nose, and with it came an epiphany of sorts. Could my future really lie within denouncing the one value I’ve always held in high regard about myself? Am I seriously going to let this happen again and again, whilst slowly losing grip of everything I respect about myself? Is this truly the year of “Monkey business?”
Shifting out of the shower and putting on my suit that I’d just pressed the night before, the woman in the bed poised herself upright, sitting back on her knees and looking at me intently. As I adjusted my cuffs and straightened myself out, she gestured for me to hither unto her, giving me a kiss before I left out the door. But scenarios like the aforementioned only ever occurred for me in a committed relationship, where I knew I’d be returning home later that day to someone I love. This was different in every way — we have never expressed feelings of love to each other and this was the first time we’d even met each other.
Yet here we were.
Sitting in class for the last time chatting with the team, I glanced at the messages on my phone to see that she’d sent a picture to me, with the message: “come back to bed”. I didn’t need to see the picture to know what the context was, but once again I encountered yet another moral dilemma, and with this I finally admitted to myself something that I’ve known for a long time now — in order to maintain my own personal integrity and stay true to myself, my commitment should shift to that of non-committal relationships. Because the truth of the matter is I am the bestest friend that you’ll ever have, whether you’re a guy or girl, but I am your worst fucking nightmare at being a romantic partner for no other reason than to say that I’ll never live up to the expectations I’ll set myself for you.
Courage. Comradeship. Commitment. Integrity.
These were the values instilled in, and honed by, the army whilst I served, and I lived and breathed these values each and every day that I put on my uniform; and all it took was three nights with a friend for me to bring my own core guidelines into disrepute. But y’know what? I loved it and I have no doubt that I will do it again. Having dinner with her that last night at that swanky new restaurant serving dishes from N’awlins sealed the deal in that regard. (The fried chicken and potato salad was divine…)
I am a loser, as you all know damn well.
I’m sure my friends from here will think less of me, and that’s okay because you need to see what I’m becoming — my eventual downfall and devolution into what I always will be. I have some stuff to sort out tomorrow but I’ll probably spend the week drafting another post looking for a friend on a certain corner of the internet, and as always I’ll be truthful with what I write and do so with the vivacity that most folks here have come to know, and I am confident that I’ll be with another friend in a fortnight’s time — establishing my wants, satisfying my needs.
Thank you Tess (my ex), for making me realise that you were right all along. Without your guidance, I wouldn’t be heading down the same path that you’ve been trekking all your life — one of self and instant gratification without the need to justify the means nor the end that you’ll meet. That we’ll meet.
Let’s see how long this holds up before I’m back on the streets, cradling a shotgun under my bivvy bag in the middle of an Auckland winter with a needle in my arm and whiskey on my breath.
…because that’s how it always ends.