I was conscripted into the South African Defence Force when I had barely turned 18. I served 2 years following which I completed a number of one month camps every year, for a period of,I think it was, 10 years. I was drafted into the South African Intelligence Corp. I know! Army intelligence: a contradiction of terms!! Here I received intense training for a period of ten months after which I was sent up to South West Africa (now Namibia), to a region known as the Caprivi Strip, to do Border duty for 14 months. I will return to my millitary service recollections in a post to follow, but the purpose of my mentioning this here, is that encounters with landmines, boobytraps and bombs laid by terrorists or freedom fighters, depending on which side of the explosive you were, was an every day reality up there.

This leads me to the point I want to bring up: just when you think there really isn’t possibly anything else that can be done to your aching heart to make it feel worse, low and behold, something does come along! You see when your psyche and heart and spirit are obliterated by a recent break-up there are boobytraps all over the place: songs, movies, names, people, places, scents…even situations. So for the past couple of weeks I have been setting off these little traps, like the song by Train: just a shy guy…la la la. You see, apparently this was “just a drive-by”, cos your love didn’t “go viral”, it was just a virus. So now that song honestly makes me physically ill, I kid you not. My stomach cramps and I physically experience distress (I know, Drama Queen! I told you I love like a teenager). Yet that song at one stage was our song and so so very special to me, only now to become a source of such stomach-turning anguish and distress. This is the strength of emotion, and it is why, I am convinced, that very few people after their early twenties allow themselves to continue to feel completely. It is truly a terrible experience to feel, to live the trauma of love lost, because even a song can cause one incredible pain. So for most adults the walls come up, the restraints are put in place and the shallowness… ironically… fills their lives. In my opinion their lives are bland and banal because of it but hey, they are protected from the emotions I am feeling. Perhaps its me thats the fool.

I, therefore, being the obvious dumbass that I am, have never been able to do that, and thus the predicament I find myself at the moment. I denotated a huge landmine this morning, and if I had been brutally honest with myself I would have been prepared for it (although how you prepare for this I have no idea). The problem with wearing the rose-tinted sunglasses of a believer in love is that you don’t see the landmines or boobytraps because it is love that fills your vision, hope, belief…I could go on. You have faith in that person you love, you trust them. You believe that they, as they should do, value the preciousness of your gift to them, yourself, and that even after you have seperated it should still be treated with some respect and care.

Now most of you, having never experienced military service, will not know this, but the idea of a booby-trap or landmine is not to kill. Their purpose is to maim, to cause pain and to disable: to break morale.That is exactly what photos of your beloved with another guy, with captions about “so in love” etc will do to you. First, there is the deafening, pile-driving detonation, second, it is followed by the shock and surprise of what feels like a very real unexpected physical attack on you. This is followed by a momentary numbness, and then a wave of pain engulfs you, disorientating you, confusing you, draining you. Finally, once the reality has set in, you are left with the steady, overwhelming ache that leaves you wishing that you had been killed. And that is the purpose of a booby-trap: it, rather than just damaging the body, damages and scars the soul.

So what do you do? Perhaps roll over onto your back and look up at the stars in the sky? In all their cold, crystal beauty,they know this will pass, as do you… deep down, but that is not the point. The point is, do you want it to pass? Some part of you does not want to admit that that person that you thought…no, believed, was your soulmate is still worth having faith in. Believing that they had integrity and honesty when they reciprocated your feelings. How do you stop loving somebody if you really loved them? Can you just choose not to love somebody and simply cut them out of your life? Apparently you can, and to me that is sad because it destroys the magic, the happily ever after out of love: the believing, the fond memories of a love loved. You see when I said I love…well, I did, and to me you just don’t say it lightly nor do you accept it lightly. There is a responsibility that accompanies that word, that often quoted phrase that seems the staple of superhero movies these days: with great power comes great responsibility.

Love and the heart that accompanies it is a responsibility you accept and both should be treated with the care and dignity they deserve and not like some piece of garbage to be disposed of. You are a less of a person and certainly not somebody I want to know if you don’t believe at least that. I would hate to be thought of as the worst thing that ever happened to a person, how about you? To be the cause of such hurt to somebody that that person would feel that about me would certainly give me sleepless nights but perhaps thats just me. Empathy and compassion are what I am talking about here not pity, and perhaps a little consideration. I hope I have always been like that in my dealings with others’ hearts, and if I have not I will certainly take that away with me now. I would like to be thought of as, at the very least, somebody who makes everyone’s lives a little better for having been in it. Even at the end of a love.

Be a good person, people, and part of being good, means not causing harm by thoughtless and selfish actions. If this doesn’t come naturally to you, this giving a damn for others then remember this: life will most certainly come around and bite you on your ass, thats its way. There is a great law of Nature: for every action there is an equal an opposite reaction. Remember that when you are in that position of great power and keep the accompanying great responsibility in mind.