Tag Archives: Relationships

Riding the Wrong Train

I knew during the break-up process that it would be good to be single for a while.
I needed some time to try and figure out who Single Me was and if she was different to Relationship Me.

Turns out that Single Me is a train wreck.
Relationship Me was definitely heading down a better path.

Single Me hasn’t cooked one single decent meal in three weeks.
There may have been the odd piece of fruit, but in general, she will sit on the couch hungry rather than actually cook something.
She has no idea what’s in the fridge or the cupboard.
On the rare occasion she does bother her arse to cook something, it will usually involve frozen chips and gravy.
Relationship Me barely knew what a freezer was.
Clothes haven’t been washed, bins haven’t been emptied, the bathroom floor must be checked for underwear before visitors use the facilities.

But the worst thing facing Single Me is The Dishes.
I have always hated doing dishes.
Always.
When Relationship Me was living with Him, we had a deal -I did all the cooking and He did the dishes.
Now Single Me is forced to deal with them…and is fighting every step of the way.

Things got so bad last week that I had to keep the kitchen door closed because the dirty plates and cups were starting to smell. The next day, and less than an hour before I was to receive a gentleman caller, I stood in front of the washing machine for a good five minutes contemplating whether or not there were moral or ethical (or dignity) issues in hiding all the dirty crockery in the machine for the duration of his stay .

In the end, I made a compromise with myself -I just kept him out of the kitchen.

Relationship Me was an actual grown up.
She understood the importance of health insurance and savings and eating healthily.
Single Me just doesn’t seem to give a crap.
I feel I’m regressing back to the middle of my college years and wonder how long it will be before I show up drunk for work.

There’s an internal struggle where I pine for what I was, but love the freedom of where I am.
I’m being ridiculous and irresponsible and the weight of Life has been partially lifted from my shoulders.
Yes, it might seem that at 24 I should be moving forward instead of backwards, but feck it, I spent my early twenties trying to the A Grown-Up and look at where that got me!
Grey hairs and stress-related IBS.

So for now, I think I”ll enjoy the craziness and worry about tomorrow tomorrow (or maybe in a few months time).
And until then, I’ll take a trip to Tesco and stock up on paper plates and cups….

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Epiphany in Paris

“I genuinely would recommend anyone going through a break-up to go on holiday as soon as they can,” I told a friend the other day. “It’s the best way to clear your head and make a proper stab at getting over everything.”

Paris was beautiful.
When I’d booked it back in January with The Bessie to coincide with the end of her first year as a teacher, I had no idea just how important it would end up being to me.
A week after I said goodbye to Him, I was on a plane to the most beautiful city in the world.

Paris had always been Our place.
The first night, myself and The Bessie sat on the steps of Palais de Chaillot as the sun began to set and waited for the Eiffel Tower lights to be turned on.
We amused ourselves by watching the rollerbladers perform stunts and tricks, in the same way I had watched skateboarders in the exact same spot with Him two years beforehand on our very first night together in Paris.
That was difficult.

However, as the sun beat down on us the next day, trips through the city to Notre Dame and the Sacre Coeur started to clear some of the clouds from my brain.
As I skipped down the steep stone steps on the butte Montmartre, clutching a precious bottle of water I felt so far from my life that the pain eased and I felt positive for the first time in a long time.
Later that afternoon, I sat on the curb across from Oscar Wilde’s tomb after a walk around Pere Lachaise.
As I watched tonnes of people scramble to take a picture of the grave of a man whose work they probably never read, I thought about whether the flesh coloured tights I was wearing were too shiny or if I was getting away with faking ‘the natural look’.
Probably not what Wilde would’ve hoped for, but it was nice to be thinking about something as shallow as that after so many heavy thoughts.

A couple of days later, we travelled out to Versailles and after a gruelling walk in high temperatures that Irish people are just not made to survive in, we reached the home of Marie Antoinette – the Petit Trianon. It was possibly the most fascinating place I’ve ever seen in my life and we were both awe-struck and disgusted at how much money she pumped into creating the most unbelievable fairytale-like village.
I wanted to live there.

Every night, we visited the same restaurant I always went to with Him.
No break-up should stop you from getting the best pizza in the world.
I sat there wondering if the owners would recognise me from the other times I’d been there.
Mr Owner did not disappoint: “You’ve been here before, yes? Yes, I remember you. You look like Lily Allen.” Last summer, he told me I looked like Sophie Ellis-Bextor…neither comparisons are true, but I definitely preferred the original one.
On our last night, he presented us with large shots that tasted of Lemon Sherbet, after his wife removed our plates, chuckling at the fact I’d ordered the same pizza yet again.
“You are special,” he said to me. “You are one of the special visitors.”

I knocked it back and headed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe to get one last look at the city that had stolen my heart.
Standing up there, with the wind whipping my hair in all directions, I watched the people around me – families, couples, friends, all smiling and happy.
American girls laughed as they tried to get every possible pose pictured with the Eiffel Tower behind them. I knocked into one of them as I tried to squish by their large group.
“Whoops! Sorry about that, “ I said.
“Omg, no,” she exclaimed, “that was so totally my fault”.
Smiling at her and waving off her apology, I nearly walked into the Japanese man who had walked up the long flight of stairs in front of me. He smiled apologetically and bowed.

I felt it would be nice to stay up here forever and just continue to have pleasant moments with complete strangers.
People are so lovely when they’re happy.
And that’s when it hit me.
We hadn’t been lovely to each other, because we weren’t happy.
It wasn’t the other way round.
I felt a surge of relief.
It wasn’t our fault.
We hadn’t caused it by doing something awful
We hadn’t done anything wrong.
We just didn’t make each other happy.
That was all.

I floated down the hundreds of steps and emerged from the structure feeling new and hopeful.
Everything was going to be okay.

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Warm in your Dream

“Ok, it’s decided,” I announced to The Bessie, over brioche and cafe au lait at the patisserie down the road from our hotel. I’d been staring at the Arc de Triomphe and suddenly it was all clear to me.
“What?” she asked.
“My life,” I said, sipping my hot coffee. “I’ve decided what I’m going to do: I’m going to move to Paris and become a poor,struggling writer. I will compose a wondrous, but under-appreciated novel, that will become revered after my premature death and will be a beacon for generations to come.”

Wandering around endless Parisian streets, it seemed the only option for me.
Anything rather than go back to my dreary, crumbling life in Dublin.

How could I return to a large, cold, empty house in a country that seems to be constantly damp when I was standing in the most beautiful city in the world?

My imagination was coming alive.
I was coming alive.
So many colours, endless supplies of cafés and pastries, an abundance of picturesque avenues and life-changing events all seemed to be telling me I needed to do this.
I needed to be that crazy writer who ups and leaves her humdrum life to pursue the craziest and most fragile of her dreams.

The only problem was that I wasn’t that adventurous or crazy.
I wasn’t even a writer.

Back in Dublin a few days later, I sat eating fries in the same diner I’d been visiting for years.
My friend’s mother popped in for a second and told me she’d heard ‘what happened’ and that she was sorry.
She then proceeded to tell me that she’d been reading my blog and that  I should “write a book”.
I made my usual array of nervous jokes in the face of compliments I didn’t know how to take, but through it all her earnestness was really touching.
The urge returned and I found myself calculating how long I could survive in Paris with my measly savings, since I wouldn’t be able to get a job without having the language (which I have little chance of learning).

“You know,” I told my friend, “after the break-up, I tried to comfort myself by saying that being single would help make my blog a little more interesting. I thought I could be the next Carrie Bradshaw, writing about the complications of my newly-acquired relationships with strangers. It’s not really working out that way though. I’m not big on the random, drunk scoring of strangers and you can’t write an honest account of relations with a person you know, because they or their friends will end up reading it. It’s just mean.”

And so I’m back at Square One, although it feels like Square One-Minus-Five.
I’m living the uninspired life, because of a need to get by financially.
I’ll continue to drag myself into my dreary job, which isn’t just content with taking the 9-5 working hours, but leaves me too drained to function during the evenings.
Sure I’d love be daring like Hemingway or Fitzgerald (yes, I did go to see Midnight in Paris the other day) and experience Parisian life, while churning out great novels, but unfortunately, I’m a little lacking in their talent and so there are practicalities to consider.
But is that what makes a good writer?
Is that what it takes to write The Great Novel?
An utter belief in yourself and your ability, the daring to go for it, the willingness to live in poverty and the single-mindedness to never give up?

It does seem that way, but admittedly, a huge fortune could also help.
Maybe I’ll start doing the Lotto…

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Musing at the Diner

Sitting in the same area of the same Eddie Rockets that we conducted the first two years of our relationship, I didn’t know what to feel.

“So what happened with you two, or am I allowed to ask?”
It wasn’t the first time I’d been asked and it wasn’t the first time I had to shrug my shoulders and have a quick think about it.
And even with all those opportunities, I was yet to come up with a satisfying answer.

“I dunno,” I told Sinead honestly. “It just wasn’t right anymore.”

We chatted about other long-term couples that had broken up in recent times.
It was the same formula: couple got together during college, stayed together for years, many lived together, everyone thought they’d be together forever and then BAM they were no more.

“I think it’s just the way it is now,” I mused over a chocolate malt. “I mean, years ago people did their Personal Growth thing during the last years of secondary school and in the couple of years afterwards so they had it together by the age of 20. But now, we don’t start until after college and those few years are supposed to be the time you sort yourself out, find out who you are and become comfortable with that. I did my growing as part of a relationship. Most people that do that grow into One Half of a Relationship and not into a person.”

“I know it sounds very American and cringe-worthily clichéd, but I feel like I need to ‘find myself’,” I said. “I’m not sure who I am or what I can handle or even what I want right now. I’m completely different from the Me in my final year in college.”

Sinead nodded her agreement. “You just need to live life a bit and have some fun!”

After a chat about general Life Stuff, I said: “Isn’t it crazy to think back to that summer in the shop five years ago when we had The Plan?”
“Oh God yeah,” said Sinead.
“The guy I liked was away for the summer and you had just met yours and we made a pact to win their hearts. And we did,” I added somewhat triumphantly. “And since then my whole life plan has changed so many times, I’ve had a few other boyfriends and a ridiculously long relationship with a boy I lived with, and now I’ve no idea what I want to do with my life. You also broke up with your guy and you’ve been around the world and you’re moving to Australia next week.”

It was head-spinning to think about all that had changed and how it seemed that all the work I’d put into life over the last few years had been erased and I was starting again.
Out on my own.

“On the plus side,” I said as an after thought, “my conversation topics are far more exciting as a single person than they were as the Long Time Relationship Girl. It’s nice to know there’s a silver lining.”

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A Couple-Off

Last week, The Boy and I returned to our old haunt, Eddie Rockets (fifties-style diner), where we used to spend most of our time before we lived together .

They were the gooey romantic days of our youth.
We’d spend hours talking and hand-holding over two pots of tea and a bowl of fries.
We’d gaze into each others eyes the whole time, of course and would be so desperate to be as close as possible to each other that one of us would have to move onto the same side of the table as the other so we could hug and kiss and gaze some more.
We had to make the most of those few hours a couple of times a week.

Dating for four years and living together for a year and a half changes things a little.
Ah yeah, we’re still in love and happy and blah blah blah, but at some stage, the hormones stop holding your brain cells prisoner and you realise you’re actually still two people and not one ‘couple’.
You realise you still have Life to attend to.
You also start to become aware of the other person’s faults and annoying habits and the gooey staring gets interrupted by bickering.
I guess you could say, you become a normal person again.
Only you’re a normal person in love.

So in Eddies that night, we sat there eating away in a comfortable silence.
As I people-watched,  I spotted a couple walk in.
They sat facing each other, never tearing their eyes away from the other half”s face.
“Newbies,” I thought to myself.

They held hands while they read their individual menus and then sat fawning all over each other.
“The Boy, come sit beside me,” I said, when our teas and his brownie arrived.
He obliged.
We squished together on the seat.
“Look at those two over there,” I said. “So young and in love. Probably together for about three months. It’s sickening. Is that what we were like?”
He laughed. “Probably.”

The Other Couple’s food arrived.
“Oh God…they’re sharing a plate of chicken tenders,” I said. I turned to The Boy, grasped his hand and gazed into his eyes: “I would never make you share your food with me!”
“I know you wouldn’t,” he said gratefully.

I watched them some more as I drank my tea.
“That is what we used to be like,” I said. “We’d spend hours in here all over each other, with nothing but chocolate malts and fries to keep us occupied. And now we’re ‘comfortable silence’ people. We know too much about each other, we’ve no stories left to tell,” I wailed
“Well that’s cos we’re old boring people now and you won’t let me tell you stories about my job,” he reasoned.
“All your stories about work are the same though! And I don’t bore you with stories about my job,” I said smiling sweetly.

They held hands again as soon as they finished their chicken.
“Urgh, they’re so trying to be the better couple,” I said. “Here, let me grope you…that’ll show them!”
The Boy just laughed.

The waitress brought The Other Couple more food.
“You know, I think that guy might be gay,” I said after a few minutes.
“And the girl hasn’t smiled once during the time she’s been here,” said The Boy.
That made me feel a little better, but I still felt a pang for the crazy hormonal “can’t take my eyes/hands/mind off you” days.
What if we fall out of love because we don’t have lust racing through our veins!!?

When we got up to the till to pay, The Boy told me to put my money away.
“You had a terrible day today,” he said. “I wanted to give you a little treat to make you feel better. This way you don’t have to cook and you don’t have to worry because you didn’t budget for this.”
I smiled.
That probably wouldn’t have occurred to the younger blinded-by-love version of The Boy.
I linked him as we walked back to our apartment.
A couple of years ago, I would’ve had to say goodbye to him at a freezing street corner at this point.
Now we were returning to our home

You can’t measure love in how physically wrapped around the other person you need to be to feel happy.
Yes it’s nice in the beginning, but you can’t go on that way forever: that’s just madness.
The real test is how well you do after that part fades away.
And so what if our brains can now function properly when we’re together!
We’re surviving through the good, the bad and the very bad times and we’re still together and still working for our future.
And at the end of the day, isn’t that a million times better than blinding and fickle lust?

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I am a Sham

Lads, I’m so sorry about the last post.
I’m guessing that it was just as boring to read as it was for me to write and I apologise to those of you who gave it a shot out of loyalty.
It’s so mundane that it doesn’t deserve comments, so I’m turning them off.
It will be the leper of the blog posts on A Chick Named Hermia.
I guess it’s just one of those stories that you had to be there to appreciate.

So I’m making up for it with something that never fails to entertain:
A story about a time I frightened the shite out of The Boy.
*collective cheer*

This is the layout of the far end of our apartment (this will be important so that you can properly imagine the later scenario):
As you all know, one of my favourite pastimes is to jump out from behind random objects or around corners and terrify the living crap out of The Boy.
It’s great craic!
I can’t do it that often though.
If I did it every day, he’d be on his guard.
And that would ruin my fun.
So I space it out.

On Monday, I was feeling a little blue and decided I needed cheering up.
I hadn’t frightened him in at least three weeks so he was absolutely due one!
Yay!

I was took my time though.
You can get careless if you rush the process and then you waste a rare opportunity.
So I was patient.
The perfect chance came when he went into his bathroom to get ready for bed.
I had a moment of sheer genius.
In our closet, we have a long double-level rail, the top of which is completely filled with clothes.
The lower rail is left empty so we can store laundry bags in the space.

Knowing I had mere minutes, I had to be quick.
I pulled out the laundry bags, ducked under the lower rail and squeezed myself into the limited space between it and the wall…the area marked with the ‘X’ on the diagram.
After a bit of a struggle, I managed to pull the laundry bags back in and I sat (well, stood) in wait.

After a couple of minutes, The Boy came out of the bathroom.
I held my breath.
He stopped.
He could sense I was up to something.
Damn, this could ruin everything.
Those few seconds lasted forever as he just stood there, looking around.
Listening.

And then he began to move again.
Yes!!
He was feeling safe and secure in his own home.
The perfect time to have me give him a heart attack.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRR RRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGHH HHHHHHHH”
I pushed the clothes hanging on the rail apart and waved my arms around for extra effect.

He jumped, closed his eyes and clutched his heart (he does that every time…for his health, I should probably stop doing this…soon).
“Did I scare you!?” I asked, with an adorable grin and all the excitement of a 3-year-old on Christmas morning written all over my face.
He nodded.

True Love.

EDIT: Judging by the comments, the start of this post seems to be making you all think there’s a lot of hand-wringing, sobbing and self-flogging going on in Chez Hermia over the last (uber boring) post.
It’s ok…you can relax, guys.
As you should have gathered by this point, I have a flair for the dramatic when expressing myself, so if I’m thinking “Oh Sweet Baby Jesus, that last post was fairly dull” it comes out as “OMG!!!! I am the WORST person in the ENTIRE WORLD EVER for even THINKING of writing that post! I should be shunned! SHUN ME, PEOPLE!!!”
I like to think it makes things a little more interesting around here!
So you can stop reassuring me in comments that the last post wasn’t the worst thing written since Twilight…I know it wasn’t AWFUL…it was just a bit boring.
But thank you for your support anyway!
🙂

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Abandoning Le Bateau Français

Monday 21st February

4:00pm:
My stomach has been in knots for the entire day.
I feel a little nauseous and am quite possibly verging on the edge of a panic attack.
30 minutes until work finishes.
And then at 5:30pm, It starts.

4:01pm:
That’s it.
I’m not going.
No one can make me.
I’m a frickin’ adult!

4:03pm:
Crap, maybe I should go.
I’m being ridiculous.
I’m a frickin’ adult.

4:09pm:
No, no I’m not going.
The only thing making me do it is the fact I’ve handed over money.
Going would make me materialistic.
Materialism is wrong.

4:20pm:
Maybe God wants me to go.
That’s why he made me momentarily crazy enough to get myself into this mess.
I really don’t want to piss God off.

4:21pm:
Maybe the momentary craziness was MY fault and God is making me feel this bad because he’s trying to tell me I don’t need to go.

4:23pm:
God is so wise.

4:24pm:
I’m so deluded.
Crap, I’m totally going to end up going.

4:31pm:
Work Friend: You don’t have to go.
Me: Oh but I doooooo. I can’t quit.
Work Friend: Then go!
Me: I caaaaaaaan’t! It’s so hoooorrible!!! All the judgement and the speaking badly in front of people and the judgement!
Work Friend: Well if it’s that bad, you shouldn’t go.
Me: I’m not going. I don’t care. I’m not going.
Work Friend: Ok then…
Me: …….damn, I’m so going to go.

4:59pm:
Me: I’m not going to French.
The Boy: What? Pinky?
Me: Yes. I can’t. I’m going to throw up. I’ve been stressed out to the point of cracking up for days. I’m a stress freak, you know that! I couldn’t eat as much as I usually do today! I’m going to waste away!!!!
The Boy: It’s ok *hug*
Me: *sniff* Are you mad at me?
The Boy: Why would I be?
Me: Cos I’m letting you down.
The Boy: You’re not letting me down. I’m really proud that you tried to do it cos I know how hard it was for you.
Me: Because of the school trauma.
The Boy: Yes, because of the school trauma.
Me: I feel bad though. I really wanted to get good at it for you, but at this rate I’ll be a mental patient with the STRESS of it all before I come close to being fluent.
The Boy: I know. Seriously don’t worry. It means a lot that you tried your best.
Me: I hate quitting.
The Boy: Does this mean I don’t have to go to French now?????????
Me: NO!!! You have to go!
The Boy: But I hate it too!!
Me: But you just don’t want to go out of laziness! You’re making a mockery of my decision not to go! You’re good at it and you don’t mind public speaking and you need to do it for WORK!!!
The Boy: Naaaaaaahhhhh I don’t. I’ll just talk to my mam in French.
Me: You won’t do that.
The Boy: Yeah I know.
Me: If you don’t go, I’m going and then you’ll have to live with the guilt of making me do something that will KILL ME!
The Boy: Fine, I’ll go.

5:12pm:
The Boy: Do you want to get Chicken Ramen in Wagamama’s with me?
Me: Damn! Fine, you can skip French just this once….

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