Lifestyle

To my exes who have contacted me over the last few weeks…


Now you reach out to me in the middle of a global pandemic and tell me you have a fever (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

You came out of nowhere, but you’d probably argue that wasn’t the case.

I was minding my own business trying to win over my Twitter crush with the prospect of one day making a cherry bakewell that didn’t taste like chewing gum – and there you were, texting me a photo of pancakes. Since when do you eat pancakes?

It’s clear we’re different people from when we first met. You, a Parisian artist I once watched grab a TV remote with his foot to save himself from actually having to move, who now occasionally does yoga. I recently ran three entire minutes before being so out of breath that I Googled if I was dying.

Admittedly, maybe we’re not that different.

This time last year, I’d curl up on your couch with my mismatched socks and we’d laugh as we pulled at the threads of our deepest emotions and stitched them into some kind of wine-driven macrame.

‘How you feel is all you have,’ you’d tell me. ‘Feel everything, even the bad stuff.’

It was refreshing to hear after years spent being told to take up less space. That was at least until you admitted you had been seeing someone else.

You waited to tell me until we were in a pub and we had been drinking. I was in just the right mindset to yell at you in public like a rejected cast member of Made In Chelsea.

You boldly asked me for nude photos like I was a household appliance solely created to alleviate your stress (Picture: Mariel Loveland)

The last time I saw you, you put 60 seconds on your cellphone’s timer and told me to say whatever awful things about you I was still thinking, but guilt isn’t resolved that way. It only took me four seconds to say that.

Now you reach out to me in the middle of a global pandemic and tell me you have a fever. You say you’re terrified that you’re thousands of miles away from your family.

You ask: ‘What happens if there’s nobody to take care of me?’ and then I promise you I’d be there, crushed at the thought of you alone and afraid.

I checked in on you each day, but I still shamefully wondered: would you have done the same? Why wasn’t this job relegated to your girlfriend, the other woman? Had I been the other woman first?

I realised I really didn’t care. I just wanted you to be OK.

French artist, you’re not the only one of my old flames to reach out to me during lockdown though.

There was you, the lawyer, who brazenly jumped into my WhatsApp inbox two weeks after quarantine began. We went on three, sort-of dates earlier this year and you never so much as saw my kneecaps. Still, you boldly asked me for nude photos like I was a household appliance solely created to alleviate your stress.

I’m not sorry I suggested you try OnlyFans. I get it, we’re all lonely. But thank you for helping me find my spine. I stand by it.

Recently, the days have felt uniquely long, especially once I started measuring time by how many biscuits I’ve eaten rather than how many hours pass by (Picture: Mariel Loveland)

And then there’s the humanitarian – the geographer working to help lessen the blow of coronavirus in Africa. You’re a force of good.

The last time I saw you was this time last year, and we were sat at a diner eating grilled cheese sandwiches trying to untangle a mess of miscommunication. We had both realised we were a little too sad to work as a couple.

You, disappearing for weeks. Me, swiping (both figuratively and on Tinder) like an injured cat. The world, existing in the heartbreaking way it exists. I wanted to carry that weight for you and map a way forward, but you were too used to carrying it alone.

I didn’t hear from you for months until you told me you were leaving the city. We talk occasionally now, and you’ve tried your best to distract me while in lockdown with flirty texts.

As someone who works with the powers that be and often speaks to me with the weight of a man at least partially responsible for keeping people alive, you reminded me that we aren’t fighting a war right now. Rather, we have been given a chance to show our humanity.

I haven’t forgotten your advice.

Recently, the days have felt uniquely long, especially once I started measuring time by how many biscuits I’ve eaten rather than how many hours pass by.

I don’t mind hearing from you – it’s actually kind of nice (except you, nudes guy).

After all, we were in love at some point, weren’t we? At least, we had something that resembled love, if only a Poundland version (you hated when I called it Poundtown in my American accent).

Truthfully though, there’s still a part of me that’s like a shark who suffocates if it stops swimming. I still fear what will happen if I stand still, alone on this haunted ship.

But I’m starting to figure out that all of the ghosts of my past are actually haunted themselves, and right now, I’m willing to help you through it all if you need it.



LETTERS FROM LOCKDOWN

If there was one letter you could write during this time of shielding, social distancing and self-isolation, what would you want to say?

In this new limited series, Metro.co.uk are sharing the notes people have been inspired to write by their own lockdown experience.

If you would like to contribute, please email claie.wilson@metro.co.uk with the subject: Letters From Lockdown

MORE: I love you, but don’t know if I can live with you after this…

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