Things have changed so much, no wonder we are all saying this is a very different summer from all the others we have lived through.
Even though we can go to the beach, and to restaurants (preferably with terraces), and sit outside watching the sunset while sipping a mojito orcaipirinha, something that we’ve been doing for years, there’s always that feeling that something is not quite right, especially when you have to put on your mask to get inside the restaurant, and remember the terror story that is going on all over the world. Only afterwards, while you’re eating, can you forget about the pandemic and talk, and laugh, with your friends, as if life were normal again.
Only it’s not.
To me, this summer is different for other reasons. I won’t be travelling this August, as I usually do. True, I always spend part of the month at my beach apartment – where I spent confinement and have been living for the last five months – but most of all it will be different because in the last decade Nuno and I spent our holidays together – and he’s no longer here.
A breakup is always a sad affair – as much as you know you have to go through it, as much as you take the decision to end a relationship once so full of love and passion, of wonderful, happy moments shared, it hurts. And when you end it because you know it no longer works between you two, not because you no longer love each other, it hurts even more.
We were colleagues, and friends, before we fell in love; I miss our long talks, our confiding in each other, his silent strength, his tall frame around the house; I miss going to the beach together on his motorbike, keeping a hard balance with all the bags and chairs and parasol; I miss our gin tonics watching the sunset from the living room window. Most of all I miss our early years, the dream trips we did together. The mystical, emotional climb to Montségur in the Languedoc; our romantic days in Florence and Tuscany; the magical forest of Broceliande in Brittany; the exotic scents of Istanbul and Marrakesh… and so many unforgettable others.
Of course there are also some things about him I don’t miss. But I won’t keep them with me. Even if our story was not to have a happy ending, I’m not sad, only grateful for the happy moments we had together; they will always be cherished memories, among many others of this rich life I have been so privileged to have. And what is life but the sum of those moments? No matter how far, he will always be in my heart. I haven’t stopped loving that person with whom I shared those moments, those memories – it’s just this new one I don’t recognize and cannot live with.
I would love us to remain friends though, but he has shown me he doesn’t want it. It’s a pity. Even some of our mutual friends feel uncomfortable having us together, and it must be because of him. Maybe when more time has passed, we may sit down and have that final talk he has always avoided – and maybe, maybe when I can finally muster the courage to tell him why I had to end it, why I couldn’t go on playing a farce, why he hurt me more than he could imagine; maybe if he can finally open his heart too, and face the truth, maybe we can bury our sorrows and move on. And be like old friends who have loved each other once.
Oh yes, this is a very different summer. But life is like the sea, always moving. I will let the waves rock me, and other summers will come.