There’s a book I read as a child by Susan Coolidge called “What Katy Did” about a reckless, untidy tomboy who’s forever getting in to scrapes but wishing to be beloved and beautiful. Because obviously I wasn’t one of those kids who played in the mud or made friends or anything – I had books. I’d sit in the corner of the playground trying to stay comfortable on the hard ground, still sulking slightly over an argument with the teacher over why couldn’t I just stay in the classroom? I could read there. What’s so special about fresh air?
Recently I’ve been boring my friends to absolute tears about a woman who embodies the term “self sabotage” and is my opposite in every sense. The fact that we have been dating is, on both of our behalves, the most ludicrous and baffling choice our acquaintances have ever seen us make. My best friend rides horses. Her best friend injects mKat. The only thing we have in common is each other.
The link here is that her name was Katie. Yes that’s past tense. My friends have a group on Whatsapp entitled “What Katie Did” where they entertain themselves by sharing the side-splittingly woeful tales of the pair of us attempting at spending any sort of meaningful time together without it seeming like the emotional equivalent of slowly sliding your hand in to boiling hot oil without screaming. We’ve both been left raw.
They say love makes you a better person. Or it makes you want to be that fictional better person in order to deserve the one whom inspired it. But no one’s talking about love here. Lust is very different – It’s like that time between being awake and falling asleep. You barely remember it. It’s satisfying and elusive and enchanting all at once and hits you at least daily. Love is about giving. Lust is about winning. But it’s safe to say I’ve lost now. We both have.
After a few months of days that felt like Christmas morning and nights that felt like summer, after frantic falls and whispered wars and laughing only because it felt appropriate, it’s done. Disintegrated. Extinguished. We are a fire that never lit, cold embers on ashes. Wet wood crackling on blackened metal. The foundations were never clear to begin with. We tried to start something on top of the remnants of the women that came before us, but you can’t try to pass a lit torch from one person to the other. You have to clear out the debris and start again on clean stone. Throw out the ashes. There’s a lingering odour around us now. It’s the smell of wood smoke. It’s the smell of our bridges burning.
If I were to be dramatic, I’d claim that it’s crashed and broken in to a million pieces. But that’s not right. We’re not in a million pieces – It’s not been quite that graphic. We’ve been split in two again. No longer a pair. To go our separate ways. There’s no need for anger or chaos here; Just a return to normal life as it were before our story began. Before that first page was turned.
There was a sequel to the novel by Susan Coolidge – “What Katy Did Next”.
I remember it having a happy ending.