February’s brevity may appear negligible to most but a month a few days short can lead to quite the chaos for a man busied by professional challenges and emotional woes. Yet, this busyness comes at a most opportune time. Stacked tasks and endless meetings have translated to more time not thinking of my lost lover. It seems inelegant to be concentrated on more practical matters, especially for a man convinced his sentimental side is more than just a false intellectual and emotional amalgamation.
See, even a fraction of a second spent idle can be disastrous. A memory of us could easily slip between the cracks of work and idleness, and thus find me similarly slip into hypnotic reminiscing. Nostalgia, like hope, is a dangerous narcotic. The past can be addictive to a man obsessed with control. There are regrets over details, and remorse over failures; doubts over missed opportunities and self-loathing over the lack of foresight.
Busyness, then, has become a buffer, a reason not to face the truth in its swallowing wholeness. By gradually introducing myself to the reality of my losses, things become easier to bear, with some sorrows erased completely. Of course, alcohol already served its purpose – the kick from a nightcap making it easier to sleep, the hangover acquainting myself to more tangible aches. Books, too, have provided consolation. And most of all, a newly discovered honesty with oneself has enabled me to forgive myself albeit in parts.
If you asked me a year ago if I ever imagined I would be where I am right now, I would have found such a question ludicrous, and to a certain extent, offensive. Me, heartbroken? You must be out of your mind! And yet, here I am, reeling from my first legitimate heartbreak, experiencing the nuances of pain (as a friend suggested) with every inch of my body. I never knew it could be sensed physically that some days I wish I never longed for love in the first place. Alas, Alfred, Lord Tennyson best said it, “Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all”.
And while I lost in my gamble, I don’t regret having jumped into something I knew could be both enlightening and frightening. In my life, I’ve taken such few risks, as evident in my many obsessions and contradictions. At least I could say with confidence I have had my heart bludgeoned, and not just through caffeine-induced palpitations. Suffering produces such worthy reflections best savoured as morsels of wisdom, as points in time one can return to for guidance. You remember the pain, and it could discourage you from jumping again. You remember the pleasure before and after the pain, and it might as well push you over the precipice.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. There’s still one February day left – one more Friday trying to organize events, call important people, call people pretending to be important, or finalize reports and submit evaluations. For a man my age, this busyness may be enviable or even enjoyable, a learning experience to boost his professional standing and future employability. But for a man a little late in the game called romance, it’s his momentary escape from pain.