Love is the Sharpest Knife

Jack looked up at glorious expanse of stars spread out above him. It looked like diamonds cast carelessly over a black velvet sheet by some unknowable giant, or a god. Jack laughed and rubbed his face. He didn’t believe in giants, or gods for that matter. He was a man of science. A man who believed in measurable facts. He wondered idly if that was what had brought him here to the top of the tallest building in town on this particular freezing December night. A chance to reach out and try to find something out there, something bigger than himself.

“If you’re there God give me a sign,” called Jack. His voice echoed between the towers for a second before it was whipped away by the biting wind. The world remained silent. If there was a god he wasn’t talking. Jack didn’t feel the irresistible pull of faith, that warm sense that he was loved unconditionally. No, if anything he felt small… cold… He felt… alone. He sighed, a cloud of breath appearing then slowly dissipating, fading into the ether like so many of his dreams. He rubbed his gloved hands together and contemplated what to do next.

My body is a cage that keeps me from dancing with the one I love. My mind holds the key.

Jack started as Peter Gabriel’s soulful voice spilled out of his jeans into the night air. He fumbled in his pocket, gloves and thick coat making his movement slow and clumsy, before finally managing to extricate his mobile. He tapped at the screen but the music continued to play.

My body is a cage that keeps me from dancing with the one I love. My mind holds the key.

“Gloves Jack you muppet,” he muttered before jamming a glove into his mouth and pulling it off with is teeth. He tapped the screen and wedged the phone between his shoulder and his ear while he pulled his glove back on.

“Hello?”

“Jack?” came the voice on the other end of the line, a note of relief in their voice. “I thought I’d lost you for a minute there I’m sorry about that I don’t know what happened.”

“I don’t get great signal here so I’ve come outside, it should be fine now.”

“Great. Where were we I forget?”

“We were just talking about Sarah.” Just saying her name seemed to push back the dark and the cold. He felt a small ball of fire settle in his stomach warming him. That was love. The kind that you read about in books. Love that enabled a middle aged woman to lift a car off her child or husband dive in gunman and take a bullet for his wife, knowing full well that he would die. It could even made you warm when it was cold outside; the soul warming the body.

He let out a long breath sending out a cloud of while smoke like Smaug the dragon. “Do you The Hobbit is her favourite book? I think when she told me that was when I knew for the first time that I loved her. I mean I’d known for a while unconsciously but I’d never really thought about it specifically you know?”

“Well, it is a classic.”

“She’s never afraid to have an opinion that people disagree with. She’s strong like that. I always admired that about her. Never afraid to make the hard decisions…”

“You make her sound like some kind of angel but it can’t all be peaches and cream. I mean my husband is wonderful sure enough but he snores like someone is pushing a Mini full of raccoons through a wood chipper.”

“Nothing leaps to mind. I mean she’s not perfect but I also know she’s the one…”

“I don’t go in for all that ‘the one’ stuff myself. I mean I thought my first boyfriend was the one, then my second I was convinced he was and well after my third I realised there is no ‘the one’. There’s a great song by Tim Minchin…”

“I bought a ring you know,” Jack interrupted feeling the sturdy weight of the box in his pocket. “I’ve had the whole thing planned for weeks. Meal in town. Nothing too fancy I don’t want to give the game away. A few drinks in that swish new cocktail place in town and then I’ll bring her up to the roof to watch the fireworks. Did I tell you we had our first kiss right here on this spot five years ago on new years day?”

“Wait you’re on the roof?”

“This exact spot,” continued Jack not seeming to notice the interruption. “I remember it like it was yesterday. She was radiant, long red hair that ran down he back in waves. Bright blue eyes with just a twinkle of mischief and that dress… Wow. I thought I was happy before I met her you know. Hanging out with my friends, playing games and watching the football but after that night I really was happy. It’s like there was this whole new level of happiness that people had been keeping from me. Now that is love.”

“Do you want to talk about what happened?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well the fireworks start in a a couple of minutes and I doubt you’d have called me if you were up there snuggling with Sarah.”

Jack let out a long breath the fire in his stomach guttering. He felt the cold pressing in on him again . A leaching cold that sapped the vitality right out of him. His legs felt weak but he forced himself to stay upright. If he sat down he might never get up.

“It didn’t quite go to plan,” he laughed a bitter laugh. “I could tell something was bothering her at dinner, she hardly touched her food. So I asked her what the matter was. And she told me.”

“Told you what?”

“It wasn’t working. I didn’t make her happy anymore.” Anger and pain fought in Jack and his voice broke as he talked. “She was leaving. ‘It’s just something that I have to do’ she said. We can still be friends. Friends?”

Tears ran down Jacks cheeks. Icy lines that dripped onto his jacket with a steady drop, drop, drop.

“Look Jack,” came the voice after a few moments of silence. “I know it feels terrible now. The actual worst. But believe me I know from long experience it can and does get better.”

“It was supposed to be a new start you know,” replied Jack. “A new year a new us.”

“It still can be. A new year a new you. The world is full of new opportunities we just have to be willing to take them. And sure you might get burnt but you get up and do it all again because at the end of the day that is what life is about. Getting up and going again and eventually your patience will be rewarded.”

Down the street Jack heard the shouts of the crowd as the countdown to the new year began.

“Five. Four. Three.”

“Jack are you still there?”

“Two. One.”

“Jack?!”

Fireworks exploded across the sky and the crowd erupted with cheers, whistles and shouts. The new year was here.

“OK. Time to go.”

“Wait Jack I…” Jack clicked off the phone and stuffed it into the pocket of his jeans. All around him, fireworks flashed sending trails of blue, green and gold across the sky. Even up here he could hear the cheers and the drunken chorus of Auld Lang Syne. It was a new year. A chance for a new start. He felt the pressure in his chest lift and for the first time that night his breath came easily. He smiled and took a step forward into his new life.

My body is a cage, that keeps me from dancing with the one I love. But my mind holds the key
My body is a cage, that keeps me from dancing with the one I love. But my mind holds the key
I’m standing on a stage of fear and self-doubt. It’s a hollow play but they’ll clap anyway.
I’m living in an age, that calls darkness light. Though my language is dead still the shapes fill my head.
I’m living in an age, whose name I don’t know. Though the fear keeps me moving still my heart beats so slow.
My body is a cage. We take what we’re given, just because you’ve forgotten that don’t mean you’re forgiven.

I’m living in an age that screams my name at night but when I get to the doorway there’s no one in sight.
I’m living in an age where I realise I’m dancing with the one I love but my mind holds the key
You’re standing next to me.
My mind holds the key.
Set my spirit free.
Set my spirit free.
Set my body free.
Set my body free.
Set my body free.


Getting dumped sucks balls; massive, hairy balls, but unless you’re also being eaten by zombies things can and generally do get better. If you’re at the end of your rope it’s always better to talk to someone, a problem shared is a problem halved and all that. Here are some numbers you can call for free and talk to someone who will listen without judgement:

Samaritans
Call 116 123
Email jo@samaritans.org

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