An experiment in tragic comedy (it’s true, I just think it’s funny)…. I call it “Cry Pie”
I had a girlfriend a while back. The first one since the end of my marriage. She was lovely, confident, caring and importantly – super into me.
Things started out amazingly. Our first date she drove an hour down from the coast to meet me and try my zoodles.
Our second date I drove us all the way to Byron Bay from Brisbane, stopping over night at Tweed Heads to attend a gratitude life class.
I sent her pineapples at her work instead of flowers and she bought me whisky and cheese from Tasmania.
I realised however that her being super into me and lovely and kind was not enough. I wasn’t ready to be back into a relationship.
I told her this, I apologised and we cried. I tried to end it kindly and before anyone got hurt but she insisted that I wasn’t thinking straight.
I had been going through some minor depression whilst grieving over the loss of my ‘old life’ and she was convinced the black dog was sabotaging us.
She agreed to give me some space.
I felt lost and afraid without her. She gave me some space but not enough. She still messaged me and wrote to me. I began to believe that perhaps she was right. How could I be so silly to turn away someone this keen on me?
I ignored the red flags, the fundamental misalignment of some core beliefs and some niggling doubts over parts of her and me and my readiness to commit.
We tried again and for a moment the pain felt less.
But not for long. Those red flags and doubts couldn’t be in my head. I am self aware enough to know when my anxiety is ruling me and I know how to recognise thoughts that are born of depression.
I knew I had to end it. Again. The first time had resulted in hours and hours of tears. I knew that this time would be worse.
She had visited me on the weekend, I had been sick and down and low and she had come down and cooked for me. We had eaten a slice each of feta and chard filo pie with salad together and watched a movie.
I made the phone call. It took four hours to convince her to let me go. It was agony. My heart broke as I felt myself having to hurt her. She told me all the things I would lose and told me again that I wasn’t making the right decision.
I eventually put the phone down and fell into an exhausted sleep.
I made it into and through work the next day somehow. I came home hungry. I’d been forgetting to eat again and it was making me week.
I opened the fridge and I saw the pie. I cried.
It sat there, manifesting the kindness and care I had rejected. I slammed the fridge door shut and ordered take away.
As I lay in bed all I could think about was the pie. I should throw it away. It was a few days old now, it wouldn’t be any good anymore.
But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I couldn’t commit this final act of rejection. I couldn’t discard this symbol of one person’s love for another.
I closed the fridge again and left it shut for another few days.
I began to feel better but I knew, I knew the pie was there.
It had to go. But if I couldn’t throw it away.
I would have to eat it.
There was four slices left. Easily enough for four meals but this had to happen now. My eyes welled up as I lifted the dish from the shelf and remembered her cooking it.
I could barely see as I piled the slices onto the biggest plate I could find and forced it into the microwave.
3 minutes to gather my strength. 3 minutes to pull myself together.
I snapped out of a near trance at the sound of the microwave beeping. Eyes damp, nose red and streaming from the tears.
I wasn’t even hungry.
I carried the plate and sat over it.
I plunged my fork into the first slice and boldly began to shovel pie into my face.
It was way past it’s best. The pastry soggy, the filling over nuked by the microwave. I drowned it in BBQ sauce and kept shovelling.
Each bite, chew and swallow relieved a moment with her. The long drive, walks around the coast. The tenderness, the intimacy.
As I shovelled I remembered.
As I remembered I cried.
Unrestrained floods of tears spilt onto the already collapsing piles of pie.
As I sobbed and heaved and choked I could taste the salt of my tears in every bite.
After what seemed like hours I held the last forkful up. I had re-lived every moment with her. I looked down at the fork and with a whispered goodbye I finished the pie.
I probably should have thrown it away.