all the umbrellas in london couldn’t hide my love for you

my mother and i are very close.

i still go to her house once a week to have dinner, hangout, talk about boys, and cuddle. we always share the couch and she usually scratches my head while we watch movies. i tell her just about everything (that wouldn’t break her heart), and i rely on her for a lot. she buys me veggies every once in a while, and she helps me sort my laundry. everything you picture a good mother being, she is…

when andy and i broke up, i moved half my stuff across the city into a storage facility, and the rest into my parents’ office. i didn’t have a bedroom door, and i felt like i was invading their space. my parents put their life on hold (again) to make sure i would get myself through this (again). they lied to their landlord so my cat could stay with us, and they altered their lifestyle so i would have a place to sleep. they are nothing short of superheroes.

so anyway, when i was staying with my parents, my mum did her regular motherly duties she hadn’t had a chance to perform since i was seventeen and i’d moved out. she would bring me medicine when i was sick, she’d fold my laundry if i’d forgotten, and she’d cook me healthy meals from scratch. she’d come spoon me in bed if i was crying, she would give me advice on moving forward, and she still emailed me daily at work. needless to say, my mother is phenomenal.

but there are certain things i had never learned from her. i never really got a “sex talk”. she talked to me about blow jobs back when i was maybe fourteen and too afraid of putting anything in my mouth, and she told me they were meant “for that special someone”. she never really taught me to apply makeup- i learned from my childhood friend nakia. we’d sit in her room at her step mother’s house and take turns putting on royal blue eye shadow and gold lipstick. she’d make me lay on the bed and open my eyes real big so she could apply mascara. i didn’t know how to kiss, or how to act on dates, or what to say to charm the pants off someone. these are mostly things i taught myself. it’s not that she failed me- if anything i’m glad she never gave me any of that advice. learning it on my own was the best part.

i’ve always found it easier to be friends with boys. for as long as i can remember i’ve gotten all my dating advice from paying attention to my guy friends and how they act around girls. i’ve listened to their problems, and helped them in their relationships. it’s just always been easier for me to be that friend.

before kevin moved out of the city, we’d spent years having sleepovers. when i was fifteen or sixteen we would party all night and crash at his grandparents’ house. when i moved in with m when i was seventeen and he’d be out on his binges, kevin would come over every single night to sleep over and keep me company. sometimes we would drink, and other times we’d sit on the porch talking, but he never left my side. the year i lived with jesse, we moved my mattress into the living room and kevin and i slept there all summer. he would wait for me after work, and we’d get ready together in the morning. sometimes i’d take naps in his bed while he’d play video games, and other times he’d sleep while i cleaned the house. when i finally left m for the last time, i remember the sound of kevin pushing my door in, coming into my apartment, stomping around my room, throwing pants at my head and yelling at me. he told me to get up and go because i can’t just stay in bed forever. he said, yes it fucking hurts, and yes he’s a piece of shit, but you will move past this. he took me out for breakfast that morning. because that’s just the kind of friend he is. kevin is the kind of guy who texted me from across the table asking me what the hell i was doing going out with a certain person. you’re too good for him, he said. he’s the kind of friend who would call me every morning saying, i have stories to tell, where are you!?, and he’d come over to tell me about his ridiculous adventures. kevin is the kind of friend who never once tried to kiss me, never even held my hand. but he held me every night when we slept, he hugged me every time i cried, he told me i was pretty when i asked if i looked okay, and he listened whenever i needed to vent. i learned most of what i need to know on being a friend, being a girlfriend, being a daughter, and being a good person by having kevin in my life. he taught me that people make mistakes, there is good in everyone if you look hard enough, and to just be patient. he never talks behind anyone’s back, he’s always positive, and he genuinely makes me feel good about myself. he may be gone now, and we may not speak every day… but kevin will always be my best friend.

there was only ever one other man i loved other than m. i’ve never written about him publicly because i’ve always felt that nothing i wrote about us could ever do us justice. to this day we ache for each other in the only way we know how to. a few years ago, i’d broken up with m because an argument had gotten physically violent. at that point, i wanted nothing more than to disappear. my roommate at the time took me out of the city for a weekend of fun. we took the bus out of the city and visited our good friend andrew. he took us out to a show that night. there were strangers dancing all around me, fists raised high in the air. the music was loud; its boom-boom speeding through my veins. eyes wide and smiling, i remember being pushed around in the crowd to the beat of the music, my body in tune with every other person in the room. soon, it was time for all of us to go back to our own towns, our own routines- our lives. but that night, that one night in particular, was the first time in two years that i’d decided to really let myself sink into this new feeling: i was vibrant, i was alive. beer was being poured on me as i danced and shook, lifting my head and opening my mouth to taste it. i’d stopped long enough to catch his glance at the other end of the room, waiting for me to notice. he had a shy smile, and he knew just what he was doing. i smiled back, and he motioned for me to follow him. he took my hand and lead me up a few staircases. there were kittens all over the house, and drunk kids everywhere. he opened the door to an empty bedroom, brought me inside, held me up against the door, and shut it slowly. he took my face into his hands, and kissed me hard on the mouth. he stopped, looked at me and said, “i wanted to do that all night”. we raced to undo each others’ pants and pull each others’ shirts up. he lifted me against the door and kissed me over, and over. i stopped every few minutes to touch his face; make sure he was real, that this was really happening. we spent that night in his bed, laying at opposite ends learning everything about one another. i remember him telling me his favourite food is shepherd’s pie, and his favourite colour is orange. i remember one winter a few years ago, after weeks, months, and years of indecision, he finally came to see me. i met him at the bus station, and he was hours late. he picked me up in his arms, breathed me in, and said, “sorry i’m late, i got hit by car”. the guy had gotten hit by a car, and still came to see me. he asked if we could go for a drink. we walked around my part of town and wound up at the dirty oak. we sat across from one another, and he bought us drinks. we held hands, and just looked at each other for hours. he asked about m and we made small talk. he told me i had beautiful hands and that he’d been waiting for this moment for ever. needless to say we spent hours in bed. we had breakfast in the morning and we argued on the bus. being apart was easier than being together, it seemed. we’ve always kept in touch- we visit each other now and then and have lunch dates or small talk at bars. he emails me to check up on me, and we pretend nothing happened. about a year ago he asked me to move to his city and be with him. fuck it, let’s just do this, he said. i told him no, gave m another chance, and broke his perfect heart. recently, i was in town and he surprised me at a party. we wound up in a dark room, both crying and holding each other. he’s living with his girlfriend now. he asked me why i fucked everything up. he told me he’s in love with me. eventually he left and by 6am i crawled into a stranger’s bed with bizkoti and slept off the liquor. he called me a few times and i never picked up.

living with andy taught me more on acceptance, compassion, and relationships than i probably would have known had i never met him at all. we’d known each other exactly three weeks when he took me home to meet his family. he picked out my ring that same weekend. how ironic is it that we broke up because he decided he could never marry me, or start the life together we’d been planning since that weekend in oshawa. but that weekend is engraved in my memory like it happened yesterday. andy’s father gave good hugs, always told me he loved me, and visited us often. i came down the stairs of me and andy’s home once to find john sitting on the side of the couch. he looked up at me and said, you look beautiful… did you know that? . that’s my most vivid memory of him. the reality of my life hit me like a ton of bricks in that moment. i had finally let someone in, i’d fallen head over heels in love with his family, and i knew in my heart of hearts that it was over.

you know i spend a great deal of time whining about m and how awful my past was. slowly spilling our secrets into these pages has been more liberating than i thought it’d ever be. and for someone who has such a hard time dealing with the reality of m and i’s destiny, i do realise i am luckier than most. m is one bad seed in the crop of amazing men i’ve had in my life. i have to remember that.

an old friend once said, you love people! and each person you find a way to love differently, in their own special little way. i envy you for that.

that always stuck with me.


10 thoughts on “all the umbrellas in london couldn’t hide my love for you

  1. I love the end of this. I spent far too long pitying myself for having had catastrophe boys but it can really be life changing when you decide to focus on the good people and things in life instead of being the victim. I love how empowered this is and that you have all the other amazing people in your life 🙂

    • well that’s just the thing… i have so many amazing men in my life (pops, my brother, his friends, my friends, uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc…)- i’ve never had a reason not to trust men or use m as an excuse for my failed relationships. although it does play a HUGE part in it, my past with m shouldn’t hinder my emotional growth.

      thank you!


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  3. How in God’s name did I miss this post?!

    This –

    he took my face into his hands, and kissed me hard on the mouth. he stopped, looked at me and said, “i wanted to do that all night”.

    Oh. Way to make me go all dreamy.

  4. Pingback: my life in iPhone pictures « elle

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