… what’s the difference between cynical and cyanide?

As I heard the barbs flying from my mouth, I felt like I was standing on the curb watching an accident happening in slow-motion: even with the blood and gore and tragedy you couldn’t tear yourself away from the spectacle. I guess it was my fault entirely as against my better judgement I had agreed to go to a drinks/house warming party for distant mutual friends of the Bradley Cooper-esq guy and I. I have to give Facebook credit as a wonderful research tool that not only tells you the degrees of separation of the party guests, but also with whom you were once inseparable with.

 

Typically of any newly renovated house in Parkhurst there is neither sufficient parking nor taste for a running block. Having envied this particular couple many years ago for what seemed the perfect relationship the reality learnt through infidelity had taught me theirs was a financial arrangement more convenient than conviction. And since my last flirtation with dating had ended because of a similar dependence between him and his ex over a guest house in Melville, a tough two weeks boiled to the surface and the scales on my back rattled portentously.

 

To take the edge off, the Bradley Cooper-esq guy in divine foresight had made reservations at a certain pale-pink hotel perched on the Westcliff ridge of Jo’burg for post-sundowners and a light snack. As always the impeccable service and sophisticated company worked its magic. At that moment I was overwhelmed with the desire to take the man by the hand, book into my favourite suite and spend the rest of the evening rediscovering every inch of his muscled body again. And then, the spell was broken with the ringing of his phone.

 

Three vodka-martinis later, the two hours had come to seem like an eternity, when the one person that I had irrevocably given my heart to walked over and introduced me to the new owner of his. When metaphors collide and you are forced not only to look down at someone both literally and figuratively, the million questions asked in the darkness of the midnight hour when you are so emotionally raw, escape you. For a brief instant my throat felt like it was on fire and before I realised it the words that I had swallowed to keep the peace had become vomit rising up.

 

With only seconds to spare I reached the bathroom. Wracked with consuming nausea, the gut-wrenching heaves of vomiting became my reality and the expensive bespoke suit, measurable weight loss over the past few weeks and professional success meant nothing. Embarrassment more than anything kept me from going back to the party. I could have made a joke of it, parlayed an excuse or just ignored it but something gnawed at the back of my mind. A fear so sobering that it could stun a herd of oxen in their tracks. Would I ever find someone to share my life with or would I have to someday just fake it?

 

While women, and some gay men, are certainly no strangers to faking it they’ve faked their hair colour, cup size and hell they’ve even faked fur I couldn’t help but wonder has fear of being alone suddenly raised the bar on faking? Are we faking more than just orgasms? Are we faking entire relationships? As I sat there thinking about the man that I had once adored and his little pot-bellied prematurely-bald and shallow-as-a-puddle of-spit boyfriend, I couldn’t help but wonder: is it better to ‘fake it’ than be alone?

 

The Bradley Cooper-esq guy totally understood my wanting to leave. As we said our goodbyes and headed out the front door into a surprisingly warm evening the last thing I wanted to do was go home. As I manoeuvred my MINI out of the impossibly tight parking and pointed it in the general direction of Rosebank, he said the most puzzling thing to me. ‘… is he the reason you don’t trust me?’ his deep, mellow voice spoke in the darkness. I wanted to answer yes but the truth is that I didn’t trust myself very much either.

 

It’s easy to blame other people for your own insecurities. It’s even easier when you can focus them all onto a face of someone you wanted to believe loved you even though the voice in your head told you not to.  And although the promise of love sits just out of reach at the moment, not every building remembers the names of lovers past. The lights may go out the same and the only difference is the lovers calling out different names but everyone has a lover after him. You just don’t think about those you left behind as you moved on to another happiness with someone else.

 

I’m getting better at being alone. I’m still battling the feelings of loneliness though.

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