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I had an aunt named Rose.

She was lively and determined. She hated people who were fake, in fact, anything that was fake. She, like me, had no filter, and if she’d ever thought twice before she spoke, she would never have said anything at all. She was brutally honest, and if she thought it or felt it, she said it. I’m sure you’ll agree that this kind of honesty doesn’t always go down well. As human beings, we ask for the truth but are often angered when we get what it is we asked for. However, this never daunted Rose. In fact it’s her words that I remember most.

My aunt Rose loved fiercely. She loved her friends, and her family with a fire that burnt strong and true. I remember she once told me, with a mischievous little smile, that if I married for love, I’d be materially poor. If I married for money, I’d be emotionally poor. And if I married a man with a foot fetish, I’d have the best in footwear that money could buy. The final bit was a fact she’d learnt from first hand experience, and a memory which always left us in a fit of giggles. But I know Rose married for love, and spent thirty years of married life filled with happiness as a result of it. And I know that I, too, could never marry for anything other than love – because Rose got it, and made me see, that if you found love – the real long lasting stuff – there’s a lot of other things you can do without.

My aunt Rose wasn’t happy all of the time. She had a life that wavered tempestuously and often found ways of kicking her when she was down. But I don’t have a single memory of her in which that sparkle in her eye didn’t grow to become a grin on her face, as she cooked up some new form of mischief with which to astound people. Whilst her body, as all our bodies, changed with age, her heart remained as youthful as ever. My aunt Rose never found herself out of place with young people, because the one thing she was always up for was fun!

I had an aunt named Rose, who passed away yesterday. I prayed for those she’d left behind, and I prayed for her – but some part of me knew she’d already found her way up to the angels in Heaven. She’d been reunited with her own mother, and her daughter, and was already causing havoc with the celestial beings around her. In my heart I knew she had begun to look down on each of us with the wisdom and love she’d always shared with me during each of our meetings. And I knew she’d always find a way to ensure her presence was still felt – in the final rays of the sun as it sets, and the ever-rolling waves of the ocean against the shore. 

I had an aunt named Rose, who I am blessed and proud to say I knew.
I will carry her heart in mine. I will renew my zest for life, and resolve to live as lovingly and honestly as Rose did, never growing too old for a little fun and a good giggle. 
I will never forget the words that she gave me on every occasion that we shared.
And I will never forget Rose, and her mischievous smile, and the twinkle in her youthful eyes…

You never listened to me. If you had, you wouldn’t have told me how I was feeling. In fact, if you’d taken a moment to remove yourself from your own thoughts and opinions, we’d probably have communicated for the first time in our entire relationship. However, I do understand that it’s always difficult to see things from someone else’s point of view – especially when your head is rammed as far up your own arse as yours is. So, you’re forgiven.

There was no fairness in how you handled boys’ and girls’ nights. I prided myself on always insisting you went on boys’ nights with your friends. I even told you to go the same day I’d had an eye operation and wanted nothing more than to be in your arms, and loved, and looked after by you. But I believe boys’ nights are very important. As are girls’ nights. However, instead of returning the trust and faith I had in you to me on my girls’ nights, you’d just give me crap. In the end, the whole endeavour just wasn’t worth having to prove myself to you again and again – the real kicker being that I’d never done anything to make you feel I’d betray you in the first place.

My friends and family thought you were an absolute idiot. And whilst I fully own up to my own idiocy in staying with someone that those who loved me so clearly disapproved of, I continually hoped you’d try and get to know them. But you didn’t. Because at the end of the day, our entire relationship was about you and what you wanted. So, we’d go out with your friends, and see your family. Mine didn’t make the cut. Well, in a way, I’m sort of glad. Because you don’t deserve to spend time in the company of the incredible friends and family I’ve been blessed with. And I’d never want to punish them by making them spend time with you.

I faked it. Every single time. I know this may come as some surprise, and I’m not proud of it, but having to stroke your ego just became a little too much admin. I mean, grow a pair. Be a man. Don’t sit there and tell me how you can’t figure out what’s wrong with me. Rather, let’s re-examine the situation. I’ve never had any trouble by myself. So, maybe it was you. In fact, let’s just get it out there: it was you. And the fact that you couldn’t tell I was faking it – every single time – just goes to show that I wasn’t really a concern for you, merely a willing participant in your one man show.

Loving you made me feel like crap. You didn’t actually deserve to be loved by me. It felt so bad because it was never reciprocated. Where you were thoroughly dedicated to your own man show in the bedroom, the same applied to the love between us. It was completely one-sided and – now that time has passed, I can conclude – partly imagined on my behalf. I wanted so badly for you to live up to the glimpses of greatness and wonder that I thought I saw in you. Instead, you fell short. And, I’m sorry to say, left me and probably every other women you’ve ever dated, decidedly disappointed. Poor form.

I wish you luck, I do. I just don’t really care anymore where it is you that end up. Some say it’s best to remain friends with ex’s. Well, it’s taken me a while but I’m ready to say I wouldn’t choose to be your friend if you paid me. I have enough friends, good friends. You’d be an emotional parasite and I’m done  living a life dedicated to the eternal pursuit of your happiness. Oh, and one more thing:
 I hope that you catch an STD and your penis falls off, so you can continue with your one man show, and go f*#% yourself with it.

Left to my own devices when you’re gone, I will reread old text messages from you. I mean, I didn’t save them for this purpose… But if they’re automatically saved to my phone, well, best I make use of them. And chances are, I’ll smile just as widely as I did when you first sent them. And I’ll hear your voice in my head as I read them. And I’ll end up missing you more.

When I can’t stand to miss you any longer, I’ll go for a run. Once a day, I’ll run. At least 6 kilometres and at most 10 – because we both know my legs are quite short, and to run any further would make me pass out (read: die). So, I’ll run. And whilst I run, I’ll listen to music. There’ll be an assortment of songs playing in my ears, with words that may or may not remind me of you. And I may put our song on repeat, firstly because I like the song, and secondly because every time I listen to it, I hope somehow the words will pop into your mind and make the distance between us that little bit less.

I will say ‘yes’. The key to forgetting how much I miss you, will be to keep busy. So every invite extended my way by a friend or family member will be accepted. Perhaps a long lost friend whose face I haven’t seen in six years will want to catch up over coffee, or perhaps I just won’t be able to say ‘no’ to the 7th night out in a row with friends. Either way, I will say ‘yes’. And wherever these invites end up leading me, I’ll get there and for a second, wish you were with me. But only for a second because I’ll lose myself in the moments shared with the people I find. Until I get home. And crawl into bed. And find myself suspended in the moments between midnight and sunrise, lost beneath the hilly landscape of my duvet… And it is then that I will forget to forget how much I miss you. And I’ll fall asleep fooling myself into believing that the pillow around which my arms rest, will magically restore itself into you. Even if only for a second.

I’ll completely change my life around. I’ll resolve to be more organised, more prepared for things, and more dedicated to work. I’ll launch myself into a new fitness regime and give half my clothes to charity. I’ll move the furniture in my bedroom around, and repaint the walls. I’ll hang new pictures, and immerse myself into creating an entirely new world. And after all of this, I’ll still miss you. Because the letters you wrote me will remain at the bottom of my jewelry box. As much sense as it makes to throw them out, I won’t. And the photographs we took of ourselves that day will still live in the drawer of my bedside table, readily available should I wish to lose myself in them and the memories they represent. And as much as my life and surroundings may have changed, I’ll still be the same. And that means that I’ll still miss you when you’re gone.

I’ll tell everyone in my life how well I’m doing. I’ll be better off, and I’ll ensure everyone knows it, or at least, hears me say it. And there’ll be times when I believe it. Wonderful, flash-in-the-pan kind of moments where I can finally breathe without a memory of you haunting me. But these moments will fade as quickly as they arrived. And I’ll be back to square one. And if you ever decide that you miss me, too, that’s where you’ll find me… Right where you left me.

I have no filter. I’m not sure if it was a side-effect of my mum already being 40 when she gave birth to me, but I’ve never had one. If I thought twice before I spoke, I’d never say anything at all. And whilst this may not seem so serious or negative a characteristic with which to be born, it is. As a result of my “I think it therefore I say it” condition, I only ever end up removing my own foot from my mouth, to put the other one in. As a result of this frequently placing me into somewhat awkward situations, I shall now launch myself into a description of what NOT to say when faced with similar situations to those I describe. Note: I don’t take responsibility for any repercussions of your reading this. I have no filter. And you have been warned.

“Oh. That’s nice.”
This phrase is basically the worst phrase in the English language. Deceptively simple and painfully monosyllabic, it is rarely used in the appropriate context and frequently results in an awkward silence that cannot be salvaged. I have been known to utter such a phrase when all other words fail me – and whilst this may not seem possible, it is. One such occasion that springs to mind, is when a young man divulged the details of his seemingly passionate and annoyingly immortal love for me. In person. With chocolates. And a Mix CD (the modern twist on an Old School favourite.) Aghast, and left without a clear notion as to where to begin explaining the myriad of reasons as to why this was just not for me, I choked. My brain blanked and the space where I’m pretty sure my filter ought to be, was flooded with this go-to utterance that left the two of us in a vortex of silence. It seemed as if there wasn’t a single sound in all the world except the echo of these three words off of every surface in the room. I’m not proud, but to be fair, this brain fail was probably the best response I could give. In my defense, a three word cop out was probably a lot kinder than the verbal tidal wave that might’ve bowled him over as every word I knew stumbled out of me in an effort to let this well-intentioned young man down gently, but firmly. Stop judging, I said I’m not proud, alright?

“Are you gay?”
I don’t know if anyone of you know this, but the myth about women having a gaydar that works 100% of the time is just that – a myth. Or at least it is when it comes to me. (Wondering whether I’m life’s personal joke as I fumble my way without either a filter or a gaydar – not ideal.) And whilst I’m pretty sure that when a gay man is around I can tell he’s gay; I can’t entirely tell when a straight man is straight. You must understand, it’s not entirely my fault, too! With the way men’s fashion is going, we’ll soon all be shopping in the same stores – and the stores will all be Forever New and Hip Hop. So, as a result, I may or may not have asked one or two men who may or may not have been trying to pick me up at a club, whether they may or may not have been gay… And I don’t know if any of you know this either, but that’s a question that I don’t think a single straight man anywhere on the planet won’t take offense to. I’m not an entirely awful person, I just genuinely couldn’t tell. And since my ability to shut up is as successful as Julius Malema’s, well, I always end up apologising profusely – and buying the offended individual a drink or ten. My bad.

I’m allergic to heroine.”
What? Stop looking at me like that. It’s not like I’ve tried heroine. I haven’t! And now I bet you’re wondering, how do I know that I’m allergic to it then? Well, smart ass, because I’m allergic to codeine which contains opium which is the base material for morphine and heroine. And yes, I did just stick my tongue out at you. Now, I’m not sure why, but people have begun asking somewhat generalised questions when attempting to get to know me (a practice which I find somewhat nonsensical). And so, when posed with a frustratingly obtuse inquiry such as “what can you tell me about yourself?” I tend to go for shock value. And without a thought of what reaction I might elicit, out rushes this little known fact about myself. I’ve never met anyone whose face hasn’t expressed either surprise, horror, or a resolve never to speak to me again, when I’ve shared this little titbit. In other words, I need to take up a new hobby so I can tell people about that instead.

Come play with me!”
This may come as a surprise – or it may not – but I’m a Never Never Land baby. This said, it means that childish things such as blowing bubbles, jumping in puddles, and building forts are still activities in which I like to take part. With friends. I like to play. And I believe it’s healthy for adults to play. All adults need to find some way of allowing their inner child out, and I do this successfully and frequently. So, when I call on a new friend who has yet to learn this about me, their expectations and reactions to my invite to play can be one of several. In the most extreme case, I never hear from the person again. Good riddance, I say in such a case. Bubble blowing is an activity reserved for the wonderful. Some people seem to understand me straight away and join into this revelry in all that is childlike and happy straight away – a reaction that has resulted in many incredible memories! And the third kind… Well, let’s just say that it’s rather awkward informing an individual what you really meant by play, when it’s been interpreted in a rather more, err, adult way. There’s no pleasant way of telling someone to put their, aah, toy away.

In the end, the examples that lend themselves as evidence to my lack of a filter are numerous and seemingly infinite. I’ve been informed that it’s possible to ‘grow’ a filter by many individuals who seem rather in control of everything they have to say. But on second thought, so long as I say everything I mean and mean everything I say, I’ll stick to this for now. Because that’s how I roll. Bitch.