Let’s make a trifle!

Image by the awesome Stuart F Taylor

In the last few weeks before I broke up with the love of my life, he expressed a vague desire to make a trifle. And oh God I was so excited. He told me that he wanted to make a trifle.

He eagerly added the ingredients to our Ocado order, and I let myself look forward to it. Picturing the fun we’d have as we assembled sponge and fruit and jelly. The way we’d make jokes, put our ‘Joy Songs’ playlist on, or grab each other’s waists and bums as we shuffled past each other in the kitchen.

Let’s make a trifle!

I wanted to make a trifle with him so so fucking much. Not just trifle, either: Lego. Plans. Cloned copies of his dick. Memories. A building to house a hot tub we could fuck in at the bottom of our garden. I wanted to make a trifle, a home, a life.

Let’s make a trifle!

He didn’t want to make a life, he tells me now. But I’m not going mad when I remember that he really did want to make that fucking trifle. He bought jelly and sponge and custard and all the elements, then for two weeks I became a champion for his desires – swallowed them and processed them and made them fully my own.

Him: What shall we do tonight?

Me: Let’s make a trifle!

Him: Nah I don’t fancy it right now/I’m not in the mood/I’m tired from work/How about we do it tomorrow/Let’s watch telly. (Let’s just get stoned)

In our final weeks, which I did not yet realise were our last ones, there was jelly in the cupboard. Every time I saw that shiny packet I thought of him, and how sad he seemed and how alone and frightened and unhappy. And I desperately wanted him to be happy.

Let’s make a trifle!

I’m not even really that bothered about trifle. It’s lovely, but if I’m making something I prefer the exciting chemistry of a cake: changing ingredients from inedible raw eggs and flour into delicious, springy sponge.

But he wanted to make a trifle. He’d told me he wanted to make a trifle, and it was so so rare for him to tell me what he did want to do, and not just what he didn’t, that I leapt on that desire and ran with it: made it my own. I embraced it and looked forward to it and advocated for it like my life – our love – depended on that trifle.

Then one day, with the words ‘let’s make a trifle!’ on my lips, I realised he’d lost interest in the project. There was a flash of almost choking horror as I wondered if he’d started to resent me for my trifle-based enthusiasm.

I stopped mentioning it.

The jelly sat in the cupboard.

We did not make a trifle.

 

On the day things finally ended, we fucked. Of course. I lay in his arms afterwards, drinking in the scent of this man I had loved so hard for so long, trying to embed each detail of him in my mind and say some proper goodbyes: to the feel of his skin under my fingers and the taste of his sweat and the sensation of burying my face in his warm stomach and oh God a million other things.

As we lay together, post-fuck and sweating and saying goodbye, we had the following conversation:

Him: We never did make that trifle, did we?

Me: No.

Him: Let’s do it now! Let’s make a trifle!

Me: I don’t think that’s something I can do now.

Him: Ah go on, we could make it and assemble it and then smash it in a big symbolic gesture.

Me: *weeps* 

Him: Hey now… sssh… there’s no use crying over spilled trifle.

I loved him so fiercely, my friends. I loved him so fucking much. 

 

The story that he tells me about why our love broke down is very very different to my own. So different to the one that he told me, two weeks ago or last year or in January. I’m on the verge of wondering if I imagined half our life.

But I did not.

I might try to tell you a little of our story soon, and because I want to be fair I need to make it clear that mine will not match his. At all.

But we can only tell the stories that we know, and this is mine:

I loved him very much, and that was real. I believe that what we had was precious. I’m glad we had it, and I’m glad it ended.

 

74 Comments

  • eye says:

    So sorry to hear of your heartbreak. You loved fiercely, and completely. So glad to hear you hold your own story as complete and yours 💔
    Sending strength, energy and compassion your way ❤

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thank you so much eye. I really did love him so fucking hard. I am reeling with sadness that his goodness and kindness will never be so thoroughly in my life again. Thank you for your kind words <3

  • Isabelle Lauren says:

    Okay, I’m crying now. That was beautiful and gut-wrenching. So many hugs for you.

  • Starcross says:

    I’m really devastated for you, this seemed such a happy relationship (although, I guess, it was happy right up to the end). I’m wishing you strength during what is such a fucking difficult thing to go through.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Oh yes – 90% of our time together was so so fucking *fun*, mate. I haven’t told this blog in detail about the rough bits, because they always seemed surmountable. Then one day they suddenly didn’t.

      • Kyma says:

        Ooof, I’ve been in a similar position, when you just can’t do it anymore. As you’ve said, it’s the right thing to do, to end it.
        -hugs-

        I’m so sorry.

  • Reader says:

    I’m devastated, all my love to you in this time.

  • Jay Henserson says:

    I believe a relationship is dead and will never be the same after one of you cheats. There will always be hurt in the back his mind.

  • Tabitha says:

    I am so, so heartbroken for you. The depth of grief and sorrow of a break up is just devastating. I’m so sorry you and your heart are going through this my darling 💔 love to you

  • JW says:

    So, so sorry to hear about this. Sending you strength and solidarity.

  • Emma says:

    I was so sad to read this. Thinking of you, GOTN – I hope you have plenty of the things that will make the beginning of this new chapter feel a little more bearable, whatever they may be.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thank you so much. Plans are definitely being made, and I have so many amazing people looking out for me that I am surrounded by love and awesome friends <3

  • Ferns says:

    Oh gosh. I assumed this was an old story, long past, and told from memories.

    This is now?

    Oh. I’m so sorry. Oh :(.

    Much love to you.

    Ferns

  • Valery North says:

    I followed the instructions on titter, to read the “Sadness is still good content” before responding – but I still want to offer whatever emotional support I can – e-hugs, sympathy, etc.

    Your way with words is amazing, to pick out the trifle as the way of telling the story, and evoke the emotional impact.

    I was struck by the ending too, “I’m glad we had it, and I’m glad it ended.” It’s such a bittersweet emotion to have that sense of things, right? (I have a tendency to think of the Ecclesiastes passage, “A time to thing, a time to opposite-of-thing”)

  • The One says:

    I’m so very very sorry about this news, the feeling of it is almost unimaginable. Love, strength and whatever else you need to survive the next minute, and the minute after that and the minute after that. Hugs. HUGS. ❤️❤️❤️

  • MariaSibylla says:

    I love and admire so much the way you love with full enthusiasm, with your heart wide open. With your eyes open too, but you still go all in. It’s brave and beautiful. You are brave and beautiful. I wish you peace and as many moments of joy and laughter as will fit while you move through this time. ❤️

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thank you so much, that’s really kind of you to say and I massively appreciate it. There will be much joy, and I hope there will be for him as well.

  • J.S. says:

    I”m another internet stranger who is feeling so much for you right now. <3

  • Rebecca says:

    One day you will make trifle. A great big whopping trifle, layers and layers enriched with life. Each layer will be carefully chosen and represent stages in your life. Some layers of love, some layers of fun, and some layers of the breath catching sadness. And the trifle will be topped with cherries, bright, shiny and some say slightly tacky, but they will taste good. A towering trifle called life. Time is a great healer, but you much give time a chance to heal. So rage, cry, hope, laugh, weep more, appreciating the deep love you both had. because love will come again, rich, warm and embracing, and one day hopefully in the not too distant future you will be laughing and adding another layer to your trifle.

    • Girl on the net says:

      This is a really lovely thought – thank you =) I hope he makes an awesome trifle for himself as well <3

  • Jon says:

    I’m genuinely sorry for your heartbreak.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I hope you will be OK in time.

    • Etta Stark says:

      I am so sorry to read this. I’m just an internet stranger and a fan of your blog but I wanted to pass on my sympathy. Heartbreak is horrible, however it happens. You’ve shared so much of yourself on here. This post really, really touched me. All the very best to getting through this awful time.

      • Girl on the net says:

        Thank you both so much – you are v kind. I will definitely be OK, and I hope that he will be as well. It’s hard to write about but also quite affirming to write about – writing is an excellent way to process All The Emotions =) xx

  • CJ Brook says:

    Oh mate.

    So sorry to hear about this. A really sad read, but as always, a brilliant one and I hope you can take some time to look after number one.

    <3

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thank you so much, and I definitely will! I have lots of great friends and excellent people looking out for me <3

  • Northern Boy says:

    As ever, you write beautifully and I’m so sorry about how much your heart must ache. Assuming this all happened though lockdown I can’t imagine what it has been like.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thank you. Start of lockdown was actually really good, and we both said that it made us realise we were relieved to be locked down *with each other* because we were each other’s favourite people – it’s just that some other stuff happened and things crumbled and I realised that they were probably inevitably going to crumble.

  • Purple Rain says:

    You are a brave and beautiful writer. I wish you strength through your sorrow and happiness in times to come. I also wish you good beer and great friends to see you through xx

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thank you so much <3 I definitely have both of those things and they are bringing me a lot of joy and peace!

  • OtherStrangerOnTheInternet says:

    I’m really sorry for you. I hope you have all the hugs and support you need right now.

  • Jubi says:

    This is really sad GOTN. Your love story is like the one I look upto, and the ways your documented your love, ohmygod, thank you for making us a part of it. This must be tough to even write and yet you did. I wish you strength to move on.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Ah thank you. Yeah I have some really super-complex feelings about how public our love has been – one of the reasons I adored him was that he was so supportive and kind and happy for me to be GOTN and do my thing. It will be very tricky to navigate this world without that. But I like doing difficult things, so =)

  • Jul says:

    You are loved. So, so loved and precious.

    How you were able to write and post this, I cannot fathom. But thank you for sharing your life with those of us who care so much about you.

  • Prudence says:

    I’m so sorry to read this. As ever, you write with beauty and boldness. Thank you for doing that even when you must hurting. You make a difference with your work.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thank you so much. Honestly, I am genuinely really grateful to be able to write about it and have people kind enough to read and leave nice comments. It’s a genuinely uplifting joy to be able to spill out thoughts and have people care <3

  • Paperingasmile says:

    This reminded me of *my* trifles that weren’t trifles that led to the creeping realisation / approaching train of an ending. It feels so all consuming, because it is. And it’s sad and its so fucking *hard*. I hope you’re being good to yourself. I’m so sorry you’re going through a good time. I hope you find better times soon.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Ah yeah, the sadness of those things is really fucking tricky. I hope that he can go on to make lots of lovely trifles for himself though, even though I’ll always be gutted that I couldn’t be the one to make them with him. xx

  • Paul says:

    Hi, I hope you’re okay. It sounds horrible and I’m sorry you have to deal with this, especially at a time like this. I have had to deal with the same thing recently and this really hits home for me in the most gut wrenching way possible. My wonderful girlfriend moved away and I am heartbroken and will never ever get over her. I don’t even think I’ll ever love again. In fact I don’t want to. I hope you do though and find the strength and the courage to carry on and I hope you find the pot of gold at the end of your rainbow. Lots of love to you x x

    • Girl on the net says:

      Paul I am so sorry, that sounds horrible. Sending love and sympathy, and I hope that the sadness passes in time. <3 xxxx

  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    Definitions of ‘trifle’ (besides that used above):
    ‘Anything that is of little importance or worth.’
    ‘A very small amount (of something).’
    ‘To deal with something as if it were of little importance or worth: ‘You must not trifle with her affections.”
    ‘To act, speak, or otherwise behave with jest.’
    ‘To inconsequentially toy with something.’
    ‘To squander or waste.’

    Hmmm… seems fitting.
    I do hope after all that, you finally made the damn thing, and ate it all yourself.

    And, of course, I’m sorry.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Oh no! I am sad that the takeaway from this story is negative on him, and that’s a reflection on my writing rather than him – he genuinely is precious and brilliant, and the trifle thing was meant to be more bittersweet than anything else (I thought his joke was cute/sad). I do not think he has squandered me, although I know he will be sad that we never made that trifle. I genuinely wish him really well though, even though it tears my heart up that I can’t be the person he is happy with.

      • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

        On this – sorry I misunderstood the intention of this post, and how you felt about it. I’m glad there doesn’t seem to be any bitterness, at least.

        I expect you’ve already listened to all the top breakup songs; so instead here’s my favourite lines on the subject, from the end of the very strange film ‘Her’ (the one where Joaquin Phoenix falls in love with an AI voiced by Scarlett Johansson):
        Him: “Please don’t go. I’ve never loved anyone like this before.”
        Her: “Me neither. Now we know how.”

  • ali.g. says:

    I’m reading this and Southern Cross is on the radio and I’m trying not to cry because company is coming and I feel my heart breaking for you. Please take good care of yourself.

  • MercatorSM says:

    So sorry to hear about that! I hope you’ll take care of yourself during this and hopefully have lots of good friends to rely on and to listen to you. Best wishes and lots of hugs to you <3

  • fuzzy says:

    In my times of heart-break, i think of this line. So I’ll share it with you:

    “Well,’ the Goddess said, ‘your heart didn’t heal straight the last time it broke. So we’ll break it again and reset it so it heals straight this time.”

  • Charlotte says:

    GOTN. Everyone has said it already but I am really truly sorry you’re going through this. It is one of the most painful experiences, I also went through it at Christmas. I’m still in love with him. I will always love him. Always. But our future paths are so different.
    You are such a beautiful writer and this post means so much. I just started crying when I got to the end. Thank you for sharing your pain and helping us all to collectively soothe our traumas. I am sending you sooooo much love 💓

    • Girl on the net says:

      I’m so so sorry Charlotte, that sounds awful and I completely get what you mean – our future paths are different, and realising that is a gutwrench but a necessary thing. Sending love to you too <3 xx

  • John McLean says:

    Situations like this always bring me back to 10 ago, to the lyrics of Pendulum’s Encoder and how they helped me reconcile the end of an important relationship;

    “For everything that could have been
    Well, at least we took the ride
    There’s no relief in bitterness
    Might as well let it die”

    Sending you warm wishes and hoping you have all the support you need

  • Sara says:

    Thank you for this. I had to read it in segments because it hit home for me. My ex-husband wanted to make a fruit cake. Fruit cake is expensive to make. I bought all the expensive dried fruit and rum. We never made it. He wanted to buy a house in our hometown. He never wanted to be home in it. I indulged all these ideas and fantasies, because if he wanted to do them, we could do them together and share them. I loved him. He broke my heart for years. I ended up making the fruit cake alone, thinking it would make him happy. He took it to his work. When I visited his work months later the fruitcake was there, never touched. We divorced and I am so happy now because I am married to someone who makes me happy and asks what I want to do, and loves to indulge me. I am so sorry for your breakup but thank you for sharing your personal experience, to which I completely relate. Love to you.

  • Phillip says:

    Five pounds of the ‘BETTER’ Gummy Bears could be yours if I had a shipping address (use an alias). If ‘like’ attracts ‘like’ may you meet someone you ‘like’.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thanks for the offer Phillip but please stop asking for my address, it makes me uncomfortable.

      • Phillip says:

        I’m not asking for your address. I thought perhaps you had a publisher or somewhere that could front for you. I would never ask for you address. I fully accept your desire to be a fully private person. Most people are curious and if not are maybe brain dead. I will never pry.

        • Girl on the net says:

          In May, in reply to an email you sent me, I asked you to please not offer to ship anything to me as I don’t give out my address. I understand that you’re trying to make a nice gesture but it makes me uncomfortable if people ask personal things like this, and doubly uncomfortable if they ask again even after I have said ‘no’ once.

  • J says:

    So sorry mate. Keep on keeping on, I believe that there are better days ahead for you.

    I like how you write about things.

    x

  • This is. Wow. Fuck me. This is heartbreaking. I’m so so sorry and I hope you’re ok, and I hope you hold on to the fact that your story of the relationship *is* yours, yours to process and yours to remember. For me, that’s always been a comfort, kind of xx

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thank you Charlie <3 And yeah, it's... it's tricky. Thank you for your kind words, and yeah you're right - I'll definitely take some comfort in that <3 xxx

  • Lolo says:

    Your poor bruised heart. I was with someone I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with but it went to shit when he suffered multiple bereavements and fell into a depression he refused to acknowledge. He ended up with a load of physical symptoms. For both of us everything went grey for months as I was out of his bubble and I overcompensated which was met with contempt. It then went nuclear. It wasn’t him and it wasn’t me, it was just this thing that grew and squashed is out. That was five years ago and it took me three to get over it. From what I’ve read, I think you’ll want to be friends…and you will…but if I can offer any advice please don’t do any raking over of stuff too soon. He will have completely different memories and that will be hard to listen to…and vice versa. The other thing was that he completely blocked me out for months, I later found out it was because he was desperately unsure of what he’d done but knew he’d end up doing it again. I’m glad now as it would have just extended the pain. It took a long time, but we’re best friends now.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Oh Lolo that sounds incredibly tough, but I’m so glad that both of you were able to get past it and be friends, and I fully agree with your advice. I am doing my absolute best to avoid conversations that involve raking over stuff (though that’s tricky when he’s around, so I’m trying not to see him too much), and yeah I think you’re right. Time is the best thing to put at the end of a relationship, and perspective can give people the opportunity to decide rationally if ‘friends’ is possible or not.

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