I still remember the morning it happened, when I found out we were separating.
We’d been together for quite some time, and — like all long-term relationships — we’d seen some vertiginous highs and some tumultuous lows. But for the most part, we were solid, we were steady. “Strong and stable,” one might say.
At least, I thought we were. Since that day in the summer of 2016, I’ve been asking myself: where did it all go wrong? Why didn’t I see it coming?
In the days and weeks and months leading to our decision to part ways, I heard people saying we’d be better off without one another. Those people seemed so far and so few that, perhaps arrogantly, I dismissed them and their opinions. I chose to ridicule those who spewed vicious, viscous bile about us instead of acknowledging the quiet, genuine concern of others who truly believed our future would be brighter apart.
It was difficult to hear quiet, genuine concern over all of the raucous arguing. It was difficult to see quiet, genuine concern amongst all of the egotistical posturing. But it was there, bigger and further reaching than I imagined, waiting silently on the sidelines of the chaotic din. I ignored it and I minimised it, and that’s why I didn’t see this coming.
Maybe I would’ve been prepared if I’d paid more attention to the waves that were beginning to rock our foundation, but it wouldn’t have changed my mind about us. I still wish things had worked out between us — because at our best, we were amazing.
Our union gave life to an infinite realm of opportunities and possibilities. It helped open borders and build businesses and grow families. It gave people the chance to study and work and travel freely. It changed so many aspects of so many lives on a local, national, and global level.
That’s why leaving you has been so hard, and it hasn’t been made easier by all of the exhausting negotiations; the acrimonious debates over who gets what and how much of it. Breakups come in all shapes and sizes, and ours is a giant shit that just won’t fucking flush. Bumbling plumbers have stopped by to poke and prod at it in ill-fated attempts to finally move it along (“it’sa me, Theresa May-rio!”) but we’re still here, unbudging and unaffected at the bottom of the bowl.
Two and a half years later, we are still united — though not for long, and not in the way I’d hoped we’d be. The tension and uncertainty surrounding us has made the past couple of years unpleasant, and I can feel you growing tired of us. I can’t blame you for that. We’ve been navigating the wild waters of our estrangement in a rudderless boat whose captain seems to have fallen asleep at the helm.
All I can say is, if it were up to me, things would be different. I know I’m not the only one who still thinks we’re better together, and I know I’m not the only one who’d do anything to be with you again. Meaningless platitudes are rarely helpful in times like these, but I mean this one from the bottom of my heart:
It’s not you, but I promise it’s not me either.