The Story of Cupcake
“The last girl that I loved she was a low and lusty liar
She set my heart on fire but made me choke
Her beauty was a sight to see, but she didn’t save it all for me
I found other fires by following the smoke.
I wish that she had either cared for me or let me be
But she chased me from mind and from my home”
Frank Turner, ‘Substitute‘
There is one person to whom at least part credit should go to for this wager, someone who is to some degree responsible for the strange situation I now find myself in. This is the story of Cupcake and this tale is rather timely because, as of a few days ago, it is now longer since we broke up than the total time we were together.
This dating lark is all rather new to me, which might help to explain why I am so bad at it. For most of the last 15 years I’ve been a serial monogamist and have usually been in a long-term relationship.
Hallowe’en 2007: I was single and looking as unpalatable as I usually do at this time of year; torn flesh, exposed teeth and an unhealthy pallor. I was introduced to a girl with an incredibly cheeky smile, naughtiest glint in her eyes and rocking a surprisingly sexy corseted zombie outfit.
Through the magic of Facebook I got in contact and plucked up the courage to invite her out for a drink. We got on well, VERY well. In fact we saw each other for 4 days of the following week.
I still clearly remember the moment I fell in love with her. We were sat in an old rustic beach front pub and I was listening to her talking with my elbows on the table and head cupped in my hands. The feeling suddenly hit me and for a moment my head swam and I all I wanted was to hold her in my arms and make her feel safe and loved forever. I’ve never had that happen before, or since for that matter.
For 7 glorious weeks I was the happiest I had ever been. I didn’t care that she was grumpy in the morning or that talking to her when she was putting eyeliner on was a major crime. All this was inconsequential and I could see myself still making her tea or breakfast in bed to alleviate the morning grump-head for decades to come. It seems such a fleeting period of time now but those 7 weeks were monumentally significant.
I got on brilliantly with the family, in fact it turned out that her mum was my 6th form chemistry teacher! She said to me that she hadn’t seen Cupcake this happy in years and she felt like she had got her daughter back. I even spent most of Christmas with them.
I’m not the sort of person to rush into big commitment lightly but for the first time ever I found myself on the verge of proposing. Cupcake used to look my in the eyes and say “Marry me”. I always held her back and said “yes” (although I do know that this doesn’t actually count).
We were inseparable, joyful, and very much in love.
Then, with the violence of caesium dropped in a glass of water, it all suddenly blew up in my face. There was a cancer in the ointment: cupcake’s ex’ ‘Ed’.
Ed and Cupcake had a relationship for a few months, just prior to me meeting her. Despite initially denying it, Ed had been getting it on with Cupcake’s closest friend on the sly. Throughout the first couple of months she was fuming with him, he even called her up on Christmas eve to shout abuse down the phone at her over a perceived misunderstanding. Basically he was a cunt.
I have never had any problem with any girlfriend’s being in contact with their exes. Marshall‘s friends used to comment that she was very lucky that I was so laid back. I judge people as I find them and I DEFINITELY did not like Ed.
Skip to January 2008 and Cupcake has the ills so I am nursing her at my place. I had to go to work so I equipped her with all the pharmaceuticals, distractions and comfort food that she could need and left her to recuperate in my bed.
When I arrived home something had changed. Apparently Ed had reconciled with Cupcake, apologised for screaming at her down the phone, for cheating on her with her closest friend and a myriad of other misdemeanours and suddenly it’s as though all the anger and hurt she felt had never happened. He was still with her (now ex) best friend but wanted to be super chums with cupcake again.
I was not OK with this as all I had seen was him upsetting Cupcake. That night texts were pinging back and forth. She would break midway through conversationwith me to reply to messages.
Whereas we used chat via text during the day, suddenly replies were sparse. She said she was just busy at work. In an attempt to be magnanimous I didn’t protest when she said she was planning to meet Ed and that circle of friends for afternoon drinks. We had previously arranged to eat at mine early evening so I had prepared a meal. She didn’t call me until 10P.M., drunk.
It was clear to me what was happening. I was losing her to someone who had treated her with contempt and then dumped her. She denied it, which left me in a vacuum, unable to piece any other explanation together for everything I was experiencing.
After a week of not really sleeping and having no appetite I cracked. Whilst she was in the shower I picked up her phone and read through her messages. Almost all between her and Ed and were absolutely unequivocal in their tone. There was no misinterpretation possible.
Looking back now, I should have ended it then but I just couldn’t see how something so right could suddenly have crumbled in my hands and was convinced it must be possible to reclaim it
Instead I tried to fix it. Much to my shame torturing myself with texts became an obsession. I wasn’t eating or sleeping properly and all sorts of other complaints were flaring up. It came to a head and I basically gave her the ‘me or him’ ultimatum. The fact that she wouldn’t even commit to one or the other should have been the biggest prompt I needed to get out.
We stayed together for a total of 18 months. That was 16 months too long. Although I didn’t recognise it at the time, the trust was broken beyond recovery. The ‘Ed situation’ waxed and waned but even at best was only in remission. At my worst I lost a stone and a half and looked wretched and under slept.
As if that wasn’t reason enough Cupcake gave me more reasons to distrust her. On two separate occasions (that I know of) she snogged other boys whilst she was out. The first time she denied it. When I called her on it she was utterly repentant. I made it clear that trust is more important to me than fidelity and I understand that people do stupid things and she promised to tell me if anything happened again.
That might seem strange but if a partner comes to me and ‘fesses up that they have done something silly then I trust them more because I know they will be straight with me in future. The second timeit happened she lied about it again to the point of deliberately making me feel bad for questioning her.
The final nail in the Biscuit/Cupcake coffin was a boy that she worked with who I could see was trying to slime his way in. Without even trying I found a conversation between then when I opened my laptop and she hadn’t cleared the screen. When I picked her up from work that night, no one else there would look me in the eye because they knew.
The positive bit about this is that I got to enact a classic movie cliché as I flew around the house (where we lived together) stuffing emergency packing into a bag and storming out. If that had happened after 8 weeks it would almost have been worth it. I recommend that you try it. If you’re not actually breaking up then just try packing for holiday REALLY fast and only look to see if you have enough pants when you get to your destination.
For me the sadest part of this is my loss of unequivocal trust. For a year and a half I became a person I didn’t like: supicious, highly strung and eventually controlling. Ultimately there was wrong on both sides but the things that cupcake complained about were a direct result of my behavior change from not being able to trust her. I have never been like that before and I hope never to again.
One valuable lesson that I have taken away from this whole experience is to cut my losses and not flog away at a relationship that is making me ill and unhappy. It sounds obvious but I just didn’t recognise it when it was happening.
Since breaking up with Cupcake and moving in with Dragonforce, then Toast, I have had some of the best times of my life. It’s been almost everything that life should be about, friends, fun, joy and a lust for life. All I’m looking for now is the right person to share it with.
“Well I’ve had many different girls inside my bed
But only one or two inside my head
These days I cuddle up to my guitar instead
But oh, what I would give, not to stumble but to really fall in love
And I could substitute my singing for the sound of someone sleeping next to me”
Frank Turner. ‘Substitute‘