You’ve got it at your fingertips.

You’d do anything for the people in your life that you care about, wouldn’t you? No cry for help or question goes unanswered if a call comes, when you’re needed, you’re there. An email, a text, maybe a visit needs to happen. Shit, sometimes, your presence isn’t necessarily wanted or expected, but when you know something is wrong, you get there, you help in any way you can. Sometimes a cuddle is needed, sometimes harsh words need to be said, albeit in a caring way, sometimes just being around when that someone finally realised that when they need someone to pour their heart out to will help, even if they don’t realise it in that initial moment. We all have two ears and one mouth, sometimes it’s much better to listen than speak, especially if it’s someone who tugs at your heartstrings because they’re struggling and they need you, or they need someone.

We all need someone now and again, especially when you can’t tell that you’re bigger than the sea that you’re sinking in.

A visit becomes a little tougher when they’re over 8000km away, although an offer is made, yet politely gets declined. Calls happen though, texts are exchanged, thank goodness for FaceTime. That said, it’s never easy to watch a friend struggle, to see them cry, to be able to witness their fragility. It doesn’t take too long to catch on to the things that she’s trying to say without her being able to articulate the words. What advice can you give from so far away without everything that leaves your mouth sounding like a cliche? ‘It’ll all get better in time, there are plenty more fish in the sea, you were better than him anyway.’ How easy it is for those words to sound hollow? Finally something I say makes sense, ‘How about heading away for a few days somewhere, have a change of scenery and try and collect your thoughts?’ A couple of days pass and I don’t hear from her, but you give the people in your life what they need, even if that’s a little bit of space. You can try and help all you want to but sometimes, they need to get to a place on their own when they begin to think that they’ll be okay.

A call comes and she’s at the airport. Not her airport, my airport, can I go and get her? I can’t, but she knows where I live and she knows that my neighbour has a spare set of keys so she heads there. Work is finally done, I get back to my place and she’s already there, is already in pyjamas and has managed to demolish a large part of a bottle of bourbon. Usually this would be a great night together, music on, maybe a film and just hanging out. Given everything that’s happened though, letting her finish the bottle would be a bad idea. We sit, we talk, she cries, we hug and awful television is watched.

She falls asleep so I take the chance to make up the spare room, who doesn’t like fresh bedding, although by this point, I doubt she’d even notice. I pick her up, lay her gently into bed and pull the covers over her. I head for the kitchen, grab a couple of bottles of water from the fridge and stick one on each side of her on the bedside tables. The lights get turned out in her room and I watch the rest of the shitty TV show and make sure that there will be no bourbon left by morning.

It’s been a long day emotionally so it’s time for bed. I climb in and as soon as my head hits the pillow, sleep isn’t far behind me. I’ve no idea how long it is, but I feel something, turn over in and there she is next to me with her hands on me, trying to kiss me. A few years ago, absolutely. Right now? Zero chance. We have a difficult conversation, mostly because she’s still drunk but I lead her back to the spare room and put her to bed. Again.

Her actions are understandable, maybe we’ve all been there. Perhaps nothing numbs the sting of a breakup quite like a rebound fling or relationship. Toxic for some people, but maybe beneficial for others. Maybe sometimes it could grow into something amazing, but this isn’t one of those times. Don’t you both need to be on the same page about whatever the fuck this is? No point in dragging someone else into your emotional horror show while letting them believe that there’s a chance that your new relationship could be something real. Sure, it’s easy to assume that once they’ve finally healed from their breakup, they’ll look to you as the knight in shining armour who swept into their life at just the right time to make it all better, but how is that a basis for something new?

Fuck, it’s more than okay to hurt, but maybe if you’re hurting, you should try and heal, rather than move onto someone else straight away. A rebound will never the best idea you’ve ever had, everything should happen with dignity and especially when you’re sober. Take time to heal before committing to someone new, right?

No one wants to be the first person to be picked out of a lineup of a potential new partner.

It’s not going to be fun if I start to get feelings for her in a different way, there’s no way that it’ll happen though, and make her hope that things will be anything different, anything more than just a friendship. Once upon a time, maybe, but she chose someone else and that’s okay, but no one should want to be a rebound, I certainly don’t. Hopefully the morning comes, she remembers and apologises, or forgets completely. It’s okay to be alone and wait for the right girl but what’s the point in ever allowing your own loneliness to drive you into the arms of someone that you know that you don’t belong with?

It’s not difficult to get over the possibility of a relationship that I wasn’t even in, but it doesn’t mean that my heart doesn’t hurt for her.

The morning comes, I’m awake first and breakfast is made, complete with a shit ton of coffee. She wakes, comes through, looks at me, hugs, says sorry and that’s enough. Saying sorry is always enough. She’ll be okay in time, cliche again, but she’ll always have a friend who has her back.

She stays for a few more days and we do things that friends do. It’s okay to put your arm around someone when they’re hurting, long walks are cathartic. She’s still hurting but K, I know that you’ll be okay.

I know you think your fire is burning out but I still see you shining through, you’ve got it in you.

@TheSamMcLeod

All the feelings and the day they stopped.

Innocence is defined as freedom from blame, freedom from guilt, harmlessness, innocuousness, inoffensiveness, irreproachability, lack of malice, purity. Aren’t they some of the qualities that we all have in one way or another?

There’s always a lot of guesswork involved in who and what you let into your life. We all take chances every day, some come off, some don’t, that’s just the way it is. It hurts when you get it wrong though, you’ve trusted your innocence in believing what you think you know or what someone tells you, it’s just part of trying to be as good a person as you can be.

It’s never good though if a day comes when you stop believing in your personal fairytales, and you realise that there’s no point in holding onto hopes that won’t take you anywhere. You understand that you’re not the only person out there who has things to deal with every day, things to think about, decisions to make. There are plenty of people in the world who have gone through and are going through things that you’ll never understand. No one’s fault, just innocence rearing it’s head again, right? Some people you meet will bring you down and make you feel bad but, there’s no point in holding it against them, aren’t we’re all inexperienced at life in general, no matter what we might think?

It sucks when that innocence makes you spectacularly wrong though about someone or something and your feelings get hurt.

One day, you’ll stand up on your own.

Sometimes what you think you’re looking for comes when you’re not looking at all, and sometimes you don’t know shit about shit.

We know each other but nothing has ever happened, we’re just friends. Hugs, but no kisses, nothing else at all, other than random texts and emails. She’s super cute, If she could turn my head, I’m not the only boy who’d end up with whiplash, but that’s not enough, don’t we all need someone to stretch us on an intellectual level too? She’s nothing more than a one time passing thought, but she’s a friend, so there are feelings there but they’re innocent.

A message arrives on WhatsApp with an invite to her birthday party. There’s a bunch of other people copied in that’ll be amazing to catch up with, it’s a yes. The night comes, presents are given, drinks are poured and the music is on. Everyone gets to pick a song from iTunes and we’re all on rotation, the music will be eclectic, no one knows what’s coming next, it’s never a bad thing to discover new bands and songs. Let’s see what the opinion is in the room about some Canadian rock.

The birthday girl comes over after a while, glasses are clinked and we speak for a while. A lot of the chat is about music, about who the band is that are currently playing, what sort of musicians each of us are into. Let’s be honest, everyone likes talking about themselves and what they like so it’s not a difficult conversation to have. She heads off to mingle and it’s good to get some boy chat instead, football, girls, the usual nonsense that boys talk about.

As with every party ever, people begin to drift off as the night stretches on. She comes back over and she’s clearly drunk, it’s her birthday so that’s her prerogative. We talk again and a kiss is attempted, easily the worst idea she’s had tonight. Turns out that saying no to a girl is easier than you think as a boy, especially is there’s another girl out there that you’re thinking about instead. We’re at a junction, turn left or turn right? Turning wrong isn’t an option, but there’s no decision to make. Maybe a wise man never counts all the way to three, but there’s no point trying to second guess it, no hesitation, definitely no overthinking. It seems that I never read her right and it’s like I’ve knocked over the first domino of the end of our friendship by saying no. Reverse isn’t a gear I’m familiar with but something doesn’t feel right. You always need to get over someone first before you can get under someone else, it’s not fair otherwise.

She’s going through me like shit through a goose, tonight needs to be about putting out a fire before heading home, but she’s not accepting any of it. Can’t anyone of us speaking to someone for an hour just be someone being nice, especially if the conversation is strictly innocent? Boys and girls can be just friends, but telling her to be strong enough to let go about tonight and be wise enough to wait for someone she deserves is not a good idea. Taxi for one.

Life is messy sometimes and some people, this boy included are deluding themselves if they think they can just wave a wand and everyone will suddenly play nice. It turns out that there are some things that you can’t fix.

Endless messages, calls and emails follow but when you know something isn’t a good idea, perhaps it’s better to ignore them and try and forget. It’s never good when a friendship ends, but there comes a point when you realise that all of us have different degrees of understanding about what innocence is.

I remember losing hope, I remember feeling low.

One day you’ll have to let it go.

@TheSamMcLeod