When George Clooney met Amal Alamuddin, a big bang must have happened. This was the woman that he must’ve been waiting for amidst the string of beautiful women that he never seemed to ever truly commit to. Amal was probably unaware of his ill-fated quest while busy living her life somewhere else in the world. She was busy being intelligent and she was busy being beautiful and she was busy being George Clooney’s soulmate somewhere else across the ocean. Amal was busy while George was making eyes at another girl in one particular moment.
My friends like to call last year the year that I did a “reverse George Clooney,” because I found my Amal Alamuddin and there was, in fact, a big bang. Although it wasn’t the kind that made your heart beat faster, or the sort that you could call love-at-first-sight. It was the kind that produced weeks of wondering what went wrong and months of feeling like someone just stuck a knife in your chest and told you to leave it there, because if you pulled it out, there is a possibility that you just might die of heartbreak.
What do you do after you lose the one?
What happens when forever isn’t forever?
There was a scene in Her that I replayed over and over again in my head. It was when Joaquin Phoenix’s character said that he was afraid that he had already felt everything that he could, and that anything that followed would just be a hollow version of the first experience. I was jealous of him because this was only a movie, and while he was afraid, he wasn’t really afraid. He was just fiction and I’m human, and I’m here, and I’m really afraid of it. There is no resolution, or none that I could see, and the credits won’t roll to a song by Karen O, and no one will nominate my life for Best Picture. This is my reality, and will I ever be able to fall in love with someone else?
The answer was no.
It was two weeks after I lost “Amal” that I decided to go on a date with a graphic designer that I had just met. On our first date, we ate pie and I can’t remember what we talked about after that. I just remember thinking that he was so cool, and I remember holding his hand at a bar late at night, and I also remember trying not to tell him about how badly I was hurting. We went on two more dates and then we never saw each other again.
I did what people told me to do; I kept myself occupied so I wouldn’t have to think about how I bad I felt inside. I went to all my lectures–a thing that I rarely did–and on the Friday lecture that I usually never went to – I met a man. He asked me for the directions to the architecture faculty and while I tried to give him the directions, after 5 minutes, he concluded that I had no idea. I shrugged and apologised, explaining that I kept to myself in the arts faculty, and he replied by asking for my number. On our first date, we had two cups of green tea, and on our second date he told me that he didn’t want to lead me on.
Then there was a boy who knew exactly what he was doing. While I was fumbling around trying to tell him why I dropped out of my International Relations course, I already knew that he was the president of a social club at his university. He drove a BMW and his parent’s owned a vineyard in Hungary. He was also the only Hungarian to be on exchange on an exclusive business program at Sydney’s most prestigious university. He was perfect, but then he kissed me and it felt all wrong. He was smart, he was driven, he had all the money in the world to support me from now until I turn one hundred, but when he kissed me…it felt all wrong.
By now I was exhausted, but I was still persistent. “Amal” was only the prototype for the one, and while I didn’t believe myself, I wanted to be proved wrong. I told myself that if I didn’t date, and if I didn’t make an effort, I would never find him. I have to keep on going, because I can’t stop trying now.
I met with a guy called Jay after I spent the day window shopping with my friends. I asked them if I looked kissable, and they said that I did, but that it was hardly important because I’m funny and I’m nice and he will fall in love with who I am straight away. Turns out, I asked the right question, because all we ever did was kiss. I still don’t know what he loves, and I still don’t know what he hates, but I always know what to whisper to him when we’re alone at night.
By this point, it was over. I got my answer and the answer wasn’t worth waiting for. I will never feel anything again. I could be with everyone on this earth and nothing will compare to what I already had. I was at work and I asked a man how he felt today; he replied that he just got out of a five year relationship and he was feeling awful. He said it’s easier when you’re young. I nodded my head like I agreed, but I didn’t understand what he meant at all. I’ve been trying, and I still feel like I’m on the ground, and while my knees aren’t scabbed anymore it doesn’t mean that I don’t still feel some phantom ache.
It was mid-November when I decided to go on another one of my cul-de-sac dates. Sure, we texted all night and he made me laugh, but it always started this way. We decided to meet for drinks at 7pm and I didn’t have my glasses on. I smiled at the cutest guy there and I hoped that it was him, and when he smiled back, I couldn’t even move my legs. He ordered a beer and I ordered a vodka dry. We didn’t leave until the bar closed and I didn’t stop looking at him until my cab drove around the corner.
I was disappointed. This was the best date that I’ve had in so long and now I had to go through the process of him not texting me again. This always happens and I’m waiting for it to happen and I wish I didn’t like him as much as I did.
So I lay in bed, and I contemplate whether I should tell him that I’m fine and that I’m home, but he texts me first asking me if I’m okay. He hasn’t stopped doing it since that night. We’ve been together ever since. When he holds my hand, I want to sing about how much I like him, but I settle for kissing his shoulder instead because I’m too short to reach his face. When we lay in bed at night and he shows me his sketches, I tell them that he’s amazing and that he deserves the world. I say it ten more times because I want him to know that, to me, he could build a five story house using just sticks and stones. For the first time in a long time, I’m not afraid of feeling nothing anymore, because for the first time in a long time I feel everything.
So now my answer is yes.
Yes, it is entirely possible to recover after forever is gone. It doesn’t feel like it and maybe you don’t even want it but one day, you’ll forget about how horrible it felt before. What happens after forever is not the end. Every relationship is like its own universe. It keeps on living and in that universe it’ll always be forever, but then it’s time to move on. Maybe you’re not ready for it, maybe you don’t want to, maybe you’re using people like disposable bags to dump your crappy feelings in by excessively dating but one day, you’ll move on. That’s the reality of what happens after forever – one day you’ll be happy again.