It was a nice long weekend. Should have rained the whole time. Didn’t.
In other news, I’m moving. My studio’s rent is going up to a rate that I just can no longer justify. Saw a few one beds. Committed to a very central one for the same rate my current studio is. The only down side is I lose my roof garden and private gym access.
This may sound like a small price to pay – did you know the average gym-goer only actually goes to the gym 13.4 times per annum? – but not for me. I try to make it in 3-4 times a week minimum. Probably having been in a serious, co-habitating relationship with a personal trainer instilled the importance of fitness into my life. I haven’t written about the personal trainer on here. It’s just been something that’s too personal. Even for Fifty Shades.
Incidentally, this plays right into where I’m going next with this. Because my new building no longer has a gym, I have to find a new local. Fortunately, the “gym of my dreams” is right down the street from my new flat. For anonymity’s sake, I won’t say which gym it is, but let’s just say this American chain is known to have given the gym-going experience the luxury treatment and the location closest to my new flat is their top-most tier. Located at a site that was once home to a grand financial institution, beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe this fine establishment.
I visited yesterday at 1:15pm and was shown around by a lovely membership sales rep. She wasn’t pushy, but just very knowledgeable in general. She took me through the immaculate state-of-the-art equipment, the stretching room that had a bouncy floor so you don’t need a work-out mat, the bank of treadmills where they host running classes and the studio. A yoga class was well under way in the studio at the time of my visit. The lights were dim and the vast majority of patrons were in that room.
Because I haven’t shared the story of the personal trainer here, I’ll give a very brief synopsis. Jay* and I lived together for two years and towards the end of our relationship, two things happened to finish it for good. One – his financial instability (he lived at my place rent free until I made him contribute something, anything) and two – his relationship with a… yoga instructor (yes, he was cheating). The latter would have been sad it it weren’t so cliche. Needless to say, the combination of both these elements led me to kick him out of my house. And even more needless to say, the yoga instructor was leading that class I dropped into at my new fancy gym. We’re going to call her Clementine*. Her name is just as stupid.
When I saw her I felt my blood pressure go up. I’d never seen her in real life and although three years to the day had lapsed since that break-up the wound was fresher than ever. At the time she entered my consciousness, I distinctly recall not being threatened by her. Jay would drop her name here and there into conversation. At first harmlessly, but then once when we were arguing about finances (and his inability to keep up with our lifestyle – nothing even extravagant) he said, “but Clementine says…” To which I roared back “CLEMENTINE IS NOT IN THIS RELATIONSHIP”.
Then one fine evening I asked him if I should expect him for dinner. He said, of course. That usually means he’d be home at 9 latest. But by 9, nothing. Then 10 rolled around. Nothing. I decided to call him. No pickup. 11 rolled around. I called again. No pickup. I was mad at this point. It’s fine if he doesn’t want to come home. He’d frequently sleep at his parents’ place. But don’t ask me to expect you at a reasonable hour and not show face.
I went to bed close to midnight. At 12:15am he rolls in. The expression on my face said it all. It was a combination of shock and disappointment. Without me even having to say anything he apologised for “letting me down”, his words, not mine. He explained that he’d gone to an acrobatics class and a bunch of them went to Wagamama after for ramen. Yes, the fact that no Wags is open past 11pm was not lost on me. I was pissed but he apologised so what else could I say?
The next morning I went to work. Instagram wasn’t the time suck back in 2015 that it is today, and usually I didn’t look at my phone during office hours. But for some reason I did that morning. As soon as I refreshed, a video of Jay and Clementine doing very intimate acrobatics popped up on my screen. I. Lost. My. Damn. Mind. I looked across from where I was sitting to see which colleague would see me cry at my desk. It was my friend Annabelle. She’s cool, I thought.
I shot him a text telling him how devastated I was that he stood me up for her and that I knew he was lying about their “friendship”. I then turned my phone off to minimise the crying at work.
Because I lived a 7 minute walk from work, I went home at lunch to deal with the barrage of texts that would have inevitably been waiting for me. He demanded that we meet over lunch to talk about it. Ten minutes later (he must have been waiting in the area), he showed up at my flat with a pint of ice cream because apparently that’s what girls need in a situation like this.
I let him have it. He betrayed me. He lied to me. He stood me up for someone else I was already uncomfortable with. I told him in no uncertain terms that he was to move out. I was done. Looking back in retrospect, this was the end for me. Unfortunately we had a holiday booked less than a month later to the South of France for F1 in Monaco. I’m not sure why I agreed to keep the charade that was our relationship up until then. Having lived for a period of time in Monaco, I could have easily done the trip solo. What’s more, because I worked in publishing as a side hustle, I was invited to a number of A-list parties throughout the weekend. He was just my plus 1.
I don’t recall the weeks that followed. We saw each other, but he was no longer welcome to sleep at my home without me explicitly inviting him to do so. Of course as we packed we fought over the things most couples would before going on a trip (exchanging currency, plug adapters), but Clementine didn’t entered the lexicon and I began to forget about her.
Onward to Monaco we went. I immediately lost my Vivienne Westwood jacket on the bus ride in from Nice, which put a strain on things as it was only 10 degrees in the usually 22 degree principality. I fell sick fairly quickly with some sort of lung infection and had to sleep in for the race itself. He was peeved and kept threatening me he would give my seat up if I didn’t turn up soon. Thanks for the support you co-dependant POS. Things were tense for a number of reasons.
On the Friday of the weekend we (slash I) was invited to two major parties. One was a fashion show featuring the drivers in formal menswear. Over a pool. Overlooking the Cote d’Azure. As that first one wrapped, we headed over the the Johnnie Walker party hosted by Eva Longoria. An old friend of mine was an expert mixologist for the brand.
As we were walking over, I held onto his phone at one point. He may have been tying his shoelaces or something. I can’t remember, but a long-winded text from Clementine came through. The yoga instructor I’d deleted from recent memory. As I handed his phone back to him I told him you have a text. A few seconds later I asked him as clear as day, “Why is she messaging you?”
He pretended not to hear me. He flat out ignored what I’d just said. I recalculated in my mind. I could either pick a blowout fight with him right before we headed to the next party or I could just drop it for now and pick it up later. I decided to leave it in that moment.
I’ll fast-forward past this trip to the week after we got back. We finally broke up. We got into an unrelated fight and he came to see me at lunch again and said he “wanted to take a step back”. I was like good. Agreed. He moved the remainder of his things out.
I didn’t hear from him for 10 days. But when he began to re-appear it was frequent. A few things happened from here. Because the crux of this story is Clementine, I’ll probably just focus on that. But it did come out he had both a gambling problem and sex addiction during this period. Mercifully, I had to return home overseas to deal with my new work visa so I was removed from much of that as it transpired.
That’s when Clementine made a comeback into my life. She seemed out to get my attention and I’m still unsure why. A few weeks after I’d been home, she started following me on Instagram. I called Jay out on it immediately and said their relationship status was none of my business. She needed to get off my case. She unfollowed me shortly thereafter.
A month later I was back in London and picked up with work where I’d left off. Jay of course was dying for me to return, and I didn’t know where (nor care) where his relationship with Clementine stood. He called and texted frequently on my return. He had a few odds and ends left at my flat that needed to be retrieved but although he was in touch, he didn’t make an effort to collect them.
Then Clementine started liking my photos on Instagram. I could not. You won honey. You dismantled my partnership with this man and now you’re constantly orbiting me looking for attention. I never gave it to her by not looking at her profile. Maybe she was trying to show me how happy they were? Didn’t work.
Three days later something sinister took place not involving her. I’m going to leave out the details because I’m not ready to tell that story here. But I will say this. What took place involved Jay and my needing to go into therapy for half a year but I should have really filed a police report. Despite this situation not involving her, I remained easily triggered by any reference to her.
Strange things would set me off. She was friends with a blogger I’d closely followed. I immediately had to unfollow her. A friend I’d made almost a year after the initial breakup was also a fan of this blogger and she would frequently run into her in their mutual neighbourhood. I would get upset every time she brought her up and she didn’t fully understand why. To clarify, this is any reference to the blogger. Not just Clementine.
I lamented about this situation to my cousin. It made no sense that something this far removed from that situation would be triggering and ruin my day. While discussing this I said it had been almost a year since the break-up, why was this still going on? I broke down. He was so concerned that he insisted on telling my parents.
As soon as he had, my mother was on a plane and told me I was moving. The ripple effect various elements of this situation had on my life was insane. But, after the move I began to forget again.
I ran into Jay from time to time at the gym, prompting me to cancel my membership. Then en route to work in a far-off suburb I ran into him again. *recalculating route*. Every time I would run into him, I would change some part of my routine to avoid letting it happen again.
By this time I’d fully forgotten about Clementine. I may have run into him over and over again, but she became a distant memory and frankly, not my problem.
That was until… yesterday. After seeing her (or thinking I saw her) teaching that yoga class I sat down with the membership sales rep and asked three times to see a class schedule. On being handed it I checked the Monday afternoon 1:15pm slot. And there her name was. Spelled incorrectly, but it was there in black and white. OH FFS.
I know after I saw that I went blank. The sales rep sensed she was losing me but asked me to be in touch the following week with my decision. As I left I was fuming. After all the career success I’d had in recent years I’d earned entry to this high-end fitness centre. What was SHE doing teaching yoga there? As if I could ever be zen while going to the gym again knowing I may or may not run into her. Unlike her I don’t do yoga and meditate for a living so my sanity is questionable at the best of times.
This gym won’t be in my future unfortunately. Should I have decided to join, I briefly fantasised about having her class cancelled for being a questionable human being and distressing to a top-tier member. The very thought of throwing a wrench in her career was so tempting. Then I thought it would be alright if she just showed up for her class – when I would be at work – and stayed away during other times. Nah. Let’s leave her be. Looking back in retrospect, I could have confronted her when she was orbiting my social profiles on the regular, but I chose not to. I didn’t want trouble. This felt good. I found another luxury gym at Hotel Royal across the street from my new flat for a fraction of the cost anyway. Plus they have a pool.
*Names have been changed, but I couldn’t care less about these two and their anonymity.
It’s worth noting that days after the above transpired, Jay looked at my profile on an invite-only dating app. It notifies you when other members check you out. I ignored him. And days earlier I’d met Theo, who made me realise how wrong Jay and I were to begin with. Also, guess he and Clementine didn’t work out after all.