This month’s blog was inspired by the recent story of the Dad who won a court case after taking his daughter on holiday during term time. Not so much in its content, more in the sense that I took an unauthorised day off work to write it.

This time around, I thought I would tackle the complex issue of heartbreak. How it can affect a person and what you can do to make yourself feel better. I write from limited personal experience having only ever been dumped once in my life. There have of course been other incidences where relationships haven’t worked out for logistical/ legal reasons but those are for another day and someone with a background in immigration law to explore. Instead I will tell you the tale of how my childhood sweetheart deserted me for a man twice as old and three times as successful.

I noticed that we had been drifting apart for months, little things like she’d stopped putting kisses on the end of text messages and would often punch me awake in the mornings. She’d claim that she had tried various other methods of waking me beforehand. I found this hard to believe as I was known to be a relatively light sleeper; having once been woken by what I thought was the sound of a rape alarm in the distance. On closer inspection it turned out that I had just left the fridge door slightly ajar. Whilst I was relieved that nothing sinister had happened I would being lying if I said I wasn’t slightly disappointed to have to throw away some rather delicious pate. But then one day it finally happened. My girlfriend of 2 years left me for a man who lived on a barge.

Dear readers take it from me that there is no worse feeling than watching the women you love sail off into the sunset with another man, at a maximum speed of 3 miles per hour. If that wasn’t heart-breaking enough I then had to walk home in the same direction that the barge was travelling. For 2 miles I walked parallel to their floating corridor of love. I stumbled along with my head down, raising it only occasionally to glance at them through the portholes. I wish I hadn’t, I could see them laughing, playing Gin Rummy and making pancakes on his gas stove. At one stage I even had to help her new lover open a particularly tricky lock on the Fazeley Junction of the Coventry Canal. Hell!

This experience made me question everything, why would she leave me for him? Sure I wasn’t the most successful 22 year old but at least I was loyal and had unlimited access to a fully plumbed toilet. In hindsight my suspicions should have been aroused the previous Christmas when she’d asked for a camping chair and a German shepherd. I thought they were strange gifts but had just assumed it was a fashion thing. And now here I stood on the bank of a canal watching the only girl I had ever loved drift off into the horizon with a man known as Shep. I was suddenly lost, I felt rudderless, both metaphorically and literally.

I’m not going to lie, the weeks that ensued were some of the darkest, most self-destructive days I ever hope to endure. I was on a one man mission to sabotage everything I had ever worked for. My friends and family rallied round me, took me out, came to my house to offer words of advice and stop me comfort eating mouldy pate. This ordeal went on for exactly 4 weeks. I know this as my break up coincided exactly with the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I was in hell. Then one day whilst watching the Modern Pentathlon I thought to myself “This is ridiculous, sat here wallowing in self-pity, look at these guys, there is a women on TV from American Samoa, riding a horse, fencing and doing a cross-country run all in the same day, for no plausible reason and you are just sat here, feeling sorry for yourself.” So I got myself up, cleaned the house and vowed that never again would my happiness be determined by the actions of other people. The next morning I went back to the bridge over the canal where she had left me and decided that I would cast the camping chair I had bought the previous Christmas symbolically into the water. Like the end of Quadraphenia but instead of a scooter I was doing away with mid-range (no cup holders) fishing equipment. And I’m proud to say that other than a few phone calls, a couple of hand written letters and coincidentally turning up at her work I have cut all ties.

Stay strong people.

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