“The world is shaped by two things – stories told and the memories they leave behind.
-Vera Nazarian

Bytes of Love:  A mostly true collection of misadventures in online dating.

Shredded Dignity:  Musings and what not on love and life.

Prologue from Blue Collar Blokes

“I really wanted to die at certain periods in my life.
Death was like love, a romantic escape.”
-Brigitte Bardot

Leila
They say that breaking up with a lover is the same as experiencing the physical death of a loved one without the closure of knowing they’ve moved on to a better place. They might have moved on to a better place but that better place doesn’t include you. They’re still here, walking around, carrying on. And you could bump into their ghost at any time.

It could be ten years down the road when you see him in line at the supermarket with his gorgeous wife and two kids. Of course, you decided not to wear makeup that day as you were just running into the store for a couple of items: a super sized bag of chocolate, another box of wine, and feminine deodorant. And to top it off, you’re wearing your favorite oversized sweatshirt, which is covered in cat hair because your only companion has a shedding problem.

The ghost asks how you’re doing as you try to hide the deodorant. He looks perfect, as does his tiny wife and well-behaved children. And by tiny, I mean in that Hollywood waif, fifteen-year old boy with boobs way.

The plastic toothpick turns to him with a knowing smile and asks, “Oh, darling is that her?’”
He laughs and you realize you’ve become the butt of some private joke between the two of them.
Wanting desperately to disappear, you try and come up with some sort of witty response. What comes out is, “The Summer’s Eve isn’t mine.”

Their mocking laughter follows you all the way to the parking lot.

I can see why lovers sometimes kill each other in rages of passion.

Neil
May I get a word in please? I have been waiting ever so patiently. Let me first begin by introducing myself. Hello. I’m the ex-boyfriend to whom she’s referring, even though I must admit I take issue with the term “boyfriend”. It sounds rather childish if you ask me. While I admit I might act boyish on occasion, more times than not I would consider myself a man. And “friends” doesn’t necessarily convey the scope of what Leila and I were to each other.

I can better explain what we were by telling you what we were not. We were not lovers. That would imply a relationship based primarily around frequent sexy romps. We were not friends. That would imply a comfortable but platonic companionship. We were not always gentle in our honesty. We were not equals in every sense of the word. We were not often in the same geographical location.

We simply were.

I must also say this supermarket meeting she’s envisioned is not ever likely to happen, mostly because I don’t even live in the same country as Leila. She is American and I am British. So, you tell me: how exactly am I supposed to just wander into a store and accost her?

However, if we are over indulging in fantasy, why not make my mystery wife some beautiful woman who enjoys an ambiguous relationship where she meets all of my needs and I’m required to meet none of hers?

I am joking by the way. Don’t give me that look. I am really not the bad guy here. Despite what Leila might say, I did try.

My God we live in a society of unlimited options; it’s rather like that ice cream parlor you Americans so love, the one with the ridiculous number of flavors. With all those choices, how do I know I want to stick with strawberry for the rest of my life? Am I to be blamed for wanting mint chocolate chip or even, God forbid, vanilla on the rare occasion?

Sorry. I don’t mean to make light of things. It’s just difficult to explain. A silly ice cream metaphor doesn’t do it justice. The flavor of my relationship with Leila has yet to be invented. But for some reason I imagine it as a combination of mango/pistachio, sweet and slightly disturbing.

You should know that while I might be responsible for the breakup itself, the cause was not my doing. She is probably going to say that “I really am in love with her but don’t understand what love is” or that “I’m giving up the best thing that ever happened to me.”

She’s probably going to mention Annette.

Leila is always going on about fate and destiny and whatnot. Do you know what I think? I think we make our own destiny. There is not some higher power at work out there. The very thought of an omnipotent being with a network of parallel universes to run, wasting any time on my petty needs is laughable at best.

Leila’s a believer though. You must admire that about her. But when she gets to the part in the story about my inability to love, I want you to remember the facts.

I’m not the one who left.

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