Diary of a Separation (grieving the end of a relationship in the era of Tinder and Bumble)

Monday 2nd July

We need to get back to factory settings. We have gone way too far technologically. It is not only our mobile phones and devices we have overloaded with apps. It is us as well. There was a time when a break-up meant grieving time on one’s own. The pain, receding, as the distance from the former beloved grew. Nowadays, we’re never too far from our ex’s latest status update. Especially when such update (if/when it should arrive) will walk on two legs and it will most likely have the same gender as you. We have slowly done away with the traditional period of mourning a relationship and replaced it with left/right-swiping instead.

Outsourcing our actual lives and woes to a virtual reality is like appealing to a higher being for help with our most basic and quotidian tasks. It deprives us of our agency. It destroys our innate, skills-based personality. The one nature gave us. The words “I’m dating someone. I just wanted you to know” are heart-breaking but at least there is scope for resentment, anger, jealousy and all those other logical reactions. An Instagram post in which your ex and her new squeeze appear to be holding hands/rubbing fingers with each other/(delete as appropriate) leaves little space for doubt. It is a concise, precise and to the point. It is also cruel.

I’m not aware S is seeing anyone yet.

Monday 9th July

I realised that when I went for a run last week I did not just run. I ran away. Each mile gained was a mile being run away from my past. The combination of the current, prevailing heat and my state of mind threw me into what I can only describe as Hadean depths. A profundity, certainly not bidden, and yet not totally unwelcome. I, too, rule over an underworld, where the errant ghosts of what was my best relationship ever wander.

Cerberus, however, is still a puppy, with just the one head.

Sunday 15th July

The World Cup was won by a team whose chances many pundits did not fancy at the start of the tournament, playing a type of football that was occasionally described as humdrum (especially in the group stages) and lacking the sort of swashbuckling exuberance other “elevenses” have plenty of. Yet, the trophy went back to Paris, twenty years after the gaffer, Deschamps, had hoisted it himself.

England’s FA rewarded Gareth Southgate’s team’s final fourth position by re-naming a tube station in north London after the manager.

London-based, Cuban writer. Author of “Cuban, Immigrant, and Londoner”, to be published by Austin Macauley. Has written for The Guardian and Prospect.

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