Firstly where to begin? That's usually the hardest part, but the start was essentially the beginning of the end of another chapter. In 2010, I became disenchanted by London and pouring myself a cup of ambition wasn't fulfilling. I met someone around this time and decided to travel to university with her and start an undergraduate course. The pursuit of knowledge leads to many places and Leeds appeared on the horizon. Moving to another city provides many challenges and opportunities. Learning another culture, discovering new places and new habits. The first year at university wasn't easy, and settling in was difficult with so many distractions. Freshers Week will be remembered for the wrong reasons but it made my relationship stronger. At least that's what I thought at the time!
Previously I wrote about travelling to Ibiza to work there with my partner and several friends. I expected so much from the experience because Ibiza is a spiritual island but I returned early with a burden bearing down on my shoulders. When we first arrived at the airport there was so much anticipation. Ibiza. Billboards, palm trees, clubs on the beach and everything makes you wonder. Then within a month it felt overwhelming. And in that moment, I swear we were finite. The hourglass measuring our time together had been influenced. You have to play the best game you can with the cards that you're dealt. I focused on university assignments, spending longer in the library as a distraction. This only widened the divide and I began to neglect feelings and responsibilities. Then I dismissed what was important and became immersed in the music scene.
Reckless is fun when you're not the one that gets hurt. I broke her heart and then questioned how “[she] could abandon me so unceremoniously, without any sort of goodbye, without looking back even once.” The quote is from Yann Martel's Life of Pi (2001) and it's one that has resonated with me in regards to the pain. We shared so many memories over the three years, both in London and in Leeds. There are ways of mediating space and we made a home in the routine passages of life, producing our own version of the city. I still see her everywhere, the language written through the streets and read out as if aloud but only I can locate the landmarks. I composed our image on the city and now all that remains are memories. I pursued her for months, but there was no reconciliation.
I finished University with First Class Honours and Joint Winner of the Alan McGregor Prize for Exceptional Contribution to the School of Cultural Studies and Humanities. I also had my dissertation published with Lambert Academic Publishing titled 'A Critical Analysis of Facebook as a Method of Manipulating Consent'. I dedicated the publication to our time together but everything paled in comparison to how much I loved her. It wasn't the ending I had envisioned for university. I watched her graduation from a lecture theatre although it wasn't the same as being there to celebrate her achievement. Even though it's not much of a consolation I hoped she would at least want to be photographed beside me that afternoon but she wasn't interested. The night before my graduation ceremony we had an argument and her words were devastating. I wept like a child. I had never experienced that side of her before and I felt betrayed. I managed to hold it together during the ceremony but when she approached outside the Great Hall I couldn't control my emotions and I fell to pieces. I'll always regret not having my photograph taken with her that day!