praia vermelha in rio de janeiro

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: The Break Up

Everyone who has been in a relationship knows the terror when you hear the phrase, “can we talk?”. You’re never sure what lies on the other side of those words. So when a boyfriend asked to meet me one Sunday night to talk, it felt ominous. Sitting across from him in a small cafe in Botafogo, the casual banter didn’t last long as it was evident something weighed on him.

He broke up with me, citing various reasons, much of which I didn’t absorb, too shellshocked to understand what was happening. I honed in on his excuse of focusing on his business, which seemed lame and legitimate at the same time. I guess when someone is breaking up with you, it’s never what you want to hear. This wasn’t the first time someone had broken up with me, but the pain was just as fierce.

Met with the shock of the news, I fought back tears. Not wanting to be like one of those dramatic women you see in the novelas that screams and throws things at her man, I tried to keep myself calm, but the tears came dripping down anyway. As I tried to wipe my face with those damn Brazilian napkins that are more like wax paper, I excused myself from the table to find solace in the real tissue in the bathroom. Sobbing into scraps of toilet paper, I quickly gained composure and returned to the table.

He looked defeated. I didn’t speak. And so it was the way we ended our talk. We walked together in silence to the metro, where we rode to the end of the line in Ipanema. He went one way, I went the other, neither of us looking each other in the eye.

Soothing my sorrows the day after, I decided to go to my safe space – the ocean. I left my hotel distraught, with no real plan in mind, other than to push pause on my vacation and absorb what had happened the night before.

The beach, nearly empty since it was a Monday, was the perfect respite. Waves lulled me to sleep as the hum of fishing boats buzzed in the distance. I eventually awoke to a couple taking wedding photos. Are you fucking kidding me? This was the last thing I wanted to see after having my heart ripped out the night before.

I laughed at God’s joke. As the bride and groom traded out props (a sign, a champagne bottle, flowers), I sipped on my Heineken and studied their interaction. He looked visibly uncomfortable; she looked determined. As much as I was familiar with all of the anecdotes from miserable married friends and statistics about single women being happier than married women, I had to wonder, “Would I ever find a man who would do something this ludicrous just to see me happy?”. As they came over and set down the champagne bottle, I gave them a nod with my beer and uttered a congratulatory “ParabΓ©ns”. She gave a giddy “obrigada”, and then I rolled over and turned my focus to the sea.

The young couple eventually wandered off, hand in hand, not knowing that I had snapped a few of my own photos of their shoot. I don’t know why I did. Lying on the sand looking at the waves, I noticed a doll head bobbing in the water. As it rolled up on to the sand, it stopped a few feet from me and we made eye contact. I burst out in tears. The flood gates had opened.

Staring at the doll head through swollen eyes, all I could think of was the scene from Clash of the Titans when Thetis’ head rolls to the ground and utters some sort of curse on the marrying couple. I stared back stunned. I felt just like this doll head – separated from my body, torn from my love, strewn from the wreckage.

Back at my hotel, shellshocked from the previous 24 hours’ events, I fell onto my bed and cried some more. With barely enough energy to eat, I uploaded the doll head photo to Instagram, giving it a blue filter. I captioned the photo “Blue Monday”. Just like the song, my mood, my broken heart.

Learn more about how to have a healthy relationship wherever your travels may take you:Β https://blog.sivanaspirit.com/lv-sc-golden-relationship-rules/

breaking up is hard to do