Goodbyes

We leave this place soon. I’m ready to say goodbye but I still find it hard to acknowledge I’m leaving. It’s not the house, it’s the hopes and dreams that pull at me.

I remember the day we arrived and I lay in our new bedroom on a bare mattress, staring at the blank walls with a bursting heart. We were all exhausted and sick but this was it. All those months in Perth falling deeply in love and longing for this. A home to call ours. The furniture we curated so carefully, the smell of home, the baths we shared, the memories buried in the walls of every room, our forest.

We made so many plans in the beginning. Sitting around the bonfire talking about chickens and sprawling gardens and weekly games nights with our friends. What if I’d known that in one year the boy sitting beside me would be returning to Perth and I’d be staying back. I’d never have believed it. Things were too wonderful. Our beautiful house and our hopes, all our hopes.

But as I stare at the walls now, bare once more; it’s okay. I understand it. This insect I caught in my glass jar was never mine to keep. No one is really ours to keep. I listened to a podcast about the way we project things onto those we love to make them perfect for us. We paint people with our own desires and hopes. But the paint has been peeling off for a while now and although beneath Bee is just as wonderful as I ever knew he was, he isn’t perfect. Because the truth is there is no such thing.

Sometimes this house feels like a graveyard of dreams that I can’t wait to escape. At other times whatever comes next feels so frightening that I want to pause time and sink into safety.

Alba is my constant. She is so magnificently gorgeous to me that sometimes I ask her to stay still just so I can take in her face. Her little freckles, her almond shaped bright blue eyes, the crescent dimples when she smiles. She is so tiny and delicate, like a fairy. She knows every single button to push to drive me crazy but my god she is made of honey. “Did you know,” she’ll say often, “That you are the best mama in the whole world?”

She is my only little one and I feel so protective of her. So swayed by her emotions. But I know I can’t give her everything. She tells me I’m mean sometimes and I tell her I’m her mama. Growing up all of the boundaries were blurred so I stand by mine like an empathetic warrior.

I’m packing when I find an old suitcase filled with baby things. Teeny tiny booties and onesies and slings and wooden toys. Tucked away safe for my next child. Such a distant concept now. I donate most of them, more out of my desire to not own too many things. But I do wonder if I will ever have another.

I take Alba to the school disco. The music is so loud, I feel old. Kids are walking around drinking cans of soft drink and when Alba notices she pulls me down and whispers to me in horror, “Why are those kids drinking that?” I explain that all parents have different rules for their children. Later she tells me she thought it was beer and I burst out laughing.

I feel pretty uncomfortable here. I don’t have many friends at school yet and with Bee leaving soon I feel like I’ve failed somehow. I’m already one of the youngest parents at school and now the boy who was always with me will be gone and I will be fulfilling some terrible stereotype. Maybe no one cares but I don’t know. I walk around a bit aimlessly then I think, fuck it.

I take Alba’s hand and ask her to dance. We hit the dance floor and dance like we’re at home. I’m in my orange velvet flares and she’s in a white lace dress and we’re both grinning. More parents come dancing too and I feel like maybe everything is okay. I just need to get out of my head more.

A cyclone sweeps through and we lose power and reception for four days. After the first day of disconnection I feel the wind hit my skin as I stand outside. Like I’m feeling it for the first time in months. “I feel like I’m living in the world again,” I tell Bee. “This is why I hike,” He says.

Trees lay across the road like sleeping giants and the lake laps at our street. We bathe in the sea, light tea candles around the house, read books on the balcony and watch birds in our garden. The power comes back on and I find it hard to use social media again. My phone lays mostly untouched.

Alba falls sick and she’s a little baby again in my arms. It lasts one night but hits Bee much worse. For 4 days I take care of him in-between packing up our house. His skin burns and I hold cold cloths to his forehead. I run him baths and make him icy lemonade and keep him distracted. “What are you going to do when I’m not around?”

Under the teasing I kind of mean it. I know he doesn’t need me, but I wonder how it’s going to be for him to leave. To go from our loving little family to being alone.

We leave the house for the last time and road trip to Byron Bay, the three of us sleeping in one bed at my friend’s beach house. We watch Twin Peaks obsessively, venturing out in search of treats and swinging Alba between us as we walk. Everything is almost cruelly normal. Like we’re living in some happy family montage right before it all breaks apart.

On our last full night together every ounce of love comes to the surface. We talk through our relationship from the very first moments to the last. Speaking in between kisses that feel like beginning kisses, where every nerve is awake and my body is a live wire. All our wild adventures from beginning to end.

When it’s all laid out like a story before us we don’t feel sad or nostalgic, we feel immense gratitude. Gratitude so big it’s everything. We thank each other for all of it. For changing each others lives forever.

We love and love until 4am and then we’re tangled up in bed. Bee is already asleep when I feel the anxiety come on, hard and fast and ugly. When the fears show up I imagine I am throwing a blanket over them, putting them out like fires. But they come back bigger and scarier until I’m powerless against them. My body is tense and my mind is a war zone. I feel Bee’s chest rise and fall against my chest and I desperately want to wake him but I know I have to fight these battles by myself now. The sun is shining by the time my mind finally lets me sleep.

The next night we fall asleep beside each other for the last time. At 3am Bee nudges me awake to say goodbye. I don’t want to cry. I want it to be like nothing. But it isn’t, it is a storm of “I love you’s” and tight hugs and heart-wrenching tears. I don’t go back to sleep. I cry for hours and even though Alba is fast asleep beside me I feel so alone in the world.

I fall asleep in the middle of the next day. I dream I am in a garden, our garden. Before me is a tall tree heavy with orange leaves and flowers. The world is bathed in a soft warm haze, like a dream sequence in an old film. It’s so beautiful I have to show Bee. But Bee is nowhere and suddenly I’m not in a garden, I’m in a bed. I can’t open my eyes and I can’t speak. I call for Bee frantically in my mind, urging my mouth to open and finally I whisper his name.

“It’s okay,” he soothes, sliding beside me so I can feel his warm body against mine. “I’m here.” For a moment I am safe and everything is okay. Then something is taking him away and I still can’t see or speak. I feel it happening beside me, the struggle and my rising fear as I fail to move. I know somehow that he is gone and he isn’t coming back. It wakes me and I’m crying.

But he isn’t gone forever. I call him and he is right there on the other side. He can’t hold me but he tells me loves me and he misses me and he’s still here.

I’ve wished sometimes for a normal break up, for the anger and the arguments and our ties cut clean. But I’d lose all of this love. I’d lose a friend who knows what I mean by the tone of my voice, who knows the right things to say when I’m overcome with parent guilt. I’d lose one of my best friends.

31 love notes

  1. I hope you are what you write here .

    Because many people think this is true and this is what you really feel. Not some gimmick.

    This is not a hate comment, rather an earnest desire. If you are, then good luck on your

    life, risk taker.

  2. It may sounds like nothing, but I feel like I know the situation you’re in, though my is a little different. Maybe it’s not clever and not the easiest but I believe that the love we hold on to will conquer all of our fears, because it is so ineffably beautiful and a true heart just can’t make it pass. Hugs, Nirrimi, be brave in your sensitivity

  3. I relate to you in so many ways. Thank you for writing this, I really needed to read it on a day like today when I’m missing my ex so. fucking. badly. even though it’s almost 10 months since we ended things. All it takes sometimes is a dream, you know? A dream of dreams left shattered and unloved. Thanks for existing and letting your experiences become poetry and soft duvets to cover a aching soul in. Much love from south of Sweden.

  4. Do you know who Glennon is? She is also a writer. She coined the term brutiful, that life is always brutal and beautiful at the same time. Isn’t that so true. Much love from Los Angeles. P.S. I don’t have any words to make you feel better, that’s not what you need anyway. Just know that I hear you, I see you, and you are relevant and so are all of your emotions. Now go listen to survivor by Destiny’s Child 😉

  5. Somehow we are taught to think and look after the ‘one’ for us. But life is so much bigger than that and you have a wanderer heart, here for the BIG journey. It is going to be great and I hope you continue to share it with us ! The world is here with you.

  6. I want to hug you and sit by your side and let you talk all night. And cry if you want, or giggle, or watch movies and escape. We are all sad with you. If we could, we would all come together and help you process this; help you grieve; help you pack; help you let go; listen quietly while you choose the memories to save. In other words, you are loved by so many around the world who have never had the pleasure of your company in person.

    This is important: You are worth staying for. You are worth marrying. You are worth the commitment of forever. You and Alba are 100% worth it. I say this because your writing often contains the flavor of coming to terms with the “fact” that no one stays. And it sounds like this has been true in your experiences. But it doesn’t have to be true for the rest of your life. I’m not saying you and Bee shouldn’t have been together; it sounds as though you two shared something very beautiful and special. But you deserve more. You deserve a man who stays, even when it means long-term sacrifice.

    Don’t give up; don’t settle for a series of men who don’t stay if what you want is a permanent family. I was 32 before I found a man who returned my love. He left his continent and moved to mine in order to be with me. Then he spent 5 years convincing me to marry him. I’m so glad I finally did.

    There are families who stay together for life. There are men & women who choose each other, raise their children, and grow old together. You are a good mother. You are a beautiful person. You are a jewel of a woman. If you want a permanent relationship–a husband–a family for life, there is no reason you shouldn’t have one.

    Walk in peace and dignity. You are a blessing to this earth.

  7. Your heart is so full of love and compassion and it astounds me how reflective and vulnerable you are. You have this amazing ability to connect with people through your photography and your writing and it’s been amazing to see you grow over the past couple of years. Your open and genuine heart has really challenged me to do the same as well, in the hopes of living a more wholesome and fulfilled life. Thank you for sharing your life and your heart with us.

  8. This was so wrenchingly sad while still so beautiful. I feel with all of my heart that I just want things to work out for you, I want everything to be okay. Lots of love <3

  9. Dear Nirrimi,

    I am in love with your writing and how sincere and open you are. Like others I feel like I am connected with you and if for a chance we’d met I would just hold you and say that everything is going to be ok. I was following from the start of your love story with Bee and it was a pure shock that this story doesn’t have a happy ending. He leaves. But I hope someone better and more ready for family relationships will appear near you in future! Now your heart is open because Bee opened it for love. I don’t know how to comfort you with better words…

    My best wishes and prayers with you! You the brighest soul i’ve ever met!

  10. Dear Nirrimi, your love story is so beautiful. Saying “thank you” and ‘I love you” before partying is everything!!!! You are very special to me! Thank you for sharing your dreams, your experiences, your thoughts, your fears, your soul! You are amazing and I bow in front of you! Your Light shines bright! Namaste 🙏 sister! Huge hug, long long long hug 

  11. I am feeling you so badly… life is just a neverending heartbraking lovestory… but dont give up… never give up, smile to life, learn from yesterday, but then let it go and live for today, wish you all the best

  12. I read these words today and it was like reading the thoughts written across my rib cage. A break up where love still lives, being a single mother and feeling so alone at school events (but dancing anyway), understanding that the insects in glass jars are never ours to keep.

    But listen, sweet girl, sometimes we’re the insects, too. We must understand this… we wouldn’t want to be kept in a jar either.

    I wish you utter peace as you look into Alba’s eyes and I wish for you to love and love and love again.

  13. I’m going through this kind of pain now, on the other side of the world. We are strangers but you are not alone. Thank you for sharing your vulnerable heartache, the pain is raw but your heart shows through your words and it is beautiful.

  14. Wow Nirrimi.. even though I don’t know you personally, your life experiences and writing make my heart feel so heavy (in a good heartfelt kind of way) I felt myself tearing up reading this. The way you write is just so stunning. I love following your blogs and instagram page because the way you write makes your readers feel like they know you. Please Keep your chin up and although things may seem very dark right now, please know there are much brighter days ahead for you x

  15. All will be good in the end.time heals wounds.
    These are so –  stupid things to say. But still they re true

  16. I’m on the other side of the world and you don’t even know how much I love you as an artists and person!

    You are beautiful soul! Be strong and don’t give up.

  17. I’m not a cryer. But reading this, I am crying because you write so honestly that it moves me. You are indeed lucky to have loved so deeply and to still have Bee as a best friend. Sending lots of healing energy to you. 💙💕

  18. I have loved your words for a long time now. 
    It makes me smile, cry and sometimes I put a
    sentence up my wall because it is awfully beautiful. 
    I don’t mean it in a rude way, but I still don’t 
    fully understand your breakup (if that’s even the
    word one should use). Maybe that’s not even 
    something one can fully understand but it kind of
    makes me sad as well to see that a love like this
    is parting ways when clearly the love is still so 
    present. 

  19. I know Bee is a good guy and I don’t wanna be rude, but this is a betrayal and you deserve someone better. Bee obviously didn’t understand how big responsibility you have especially because of Alba. This decision to live in that house should have been taken more seriously from his side. It’s not a game. Nirrimi, next time please think about a little bit older guy… Sorry for my honesty, I don’t want to say bad things about anyone, but this is just what I think about Bee. He is a good guy, but not mature enough to live like that. And you are such an amazing human being. I can imagine it’s hard for ordinary people to live with someone like you. I’m sure you will meet new love soon and I really hope he will finally give you what you need. YOU DESERVE IT! You are Nirrimi, the whole world loves you, admires you. Look what you have already achieved. It’s maybe good you experienced another relationship lesson, even though it’s painful. Bee left and the right one will come. I’m sure. Love you.

  20. Your words are so beautiful and honest, I feel like I am there with you. I feel your sadness and I can connect. It’s beautiful and complex to be human and a strenght to be able to share onces emotions. In a world that most of the time says the oposite it is wonderful and inspiring to read your words. That is why I still after many years keep on returning for more. <3

  21. I always want to write something special to explain how I feel when I read your words and now as a mama to a 16 month old, they take on an even more powerful meaning after I had my son. You have a beautiful soul, everyone tells you that so this probably won’t mean much in the sea of comments that will follow – but in those moments where you say you are becoming a stereotype and not feeling like you fit in at the school gate … remember this is because you are different, wonderfully different and you are so loved by so many people even though you haven’t met them. Hang in there, you will find a way, you are an amazing mother, writer, creative and you deserve love always x

  22. Be angry and mad…and even start to hate him. Now it’s time for those feelings. Dont be affraid of them, we are humans and the hate will protect us, it makes feel like we are better then the other guy. And when we are with one inch bigger selfesteem, we can let go the boy from our mind. We will free our soul from the old stuffs. And be ready for the new. Our heart will beat more normal. Your are Nirimi from Australia and I’m Dora from Bulgaria, and if i can find you, the next good and better live can find you too

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