The Pursuit of Happiness at the East Head Cafe

So here we are, sitting at the East Head Café in a beautiful setting, surrounded by couples and families who appear to be… happy. I didn’t think it was possible, but here the evidence is all around us.

East Head Cafe Knysna

“Where did we go wrong?” I smile ruefully.

My friend is a tad cynical about men. I won’t repeat what she says, because it involves a very bad four letter word. But she has been hurt, and so have I, and so here we find ourselves on holiday, two women on the wrong side of 35, both single and pretty much determined to remain that way.

Both of us have a history of bad relationships. She spent Valentine’s Day alone and grateful this year, and so did I. Later I met somebody nice, and broke my own rules, and paid the price. Literally. I had a fling because he was a lot younger and lived in a different city and so there wasn’t any risk of it going anywhere. Before we even met, he was asking for money.  To help a family he supports, he said. It went on for a couple of months.  He couldn’t ask his wealthy friend, he said, because he’d feel less of a man.

He never provided any actual proof of their existence, and I never asked, because he would have thought I didn’t trust him, and I didn’t want him to think I didn’t trust him.

I’m too ashamed to admit how much he got out of me; on a per shag basis, it would probably have been cheaper to snort coke off Russian strippers, if I were that way inclined.

Today I was reminded of him because his tweets and retweets were all over Twitter. To give details would be far too revealing, and I don’t have energy for a confrontation. But I am nonetheless rather angry and bitter, because I trusted someone and he took advantage. He’s a nice guy, too. That’s what makes this so much harder to bear.

Before the fling I had retired from men, and I wish I had stayed that way. Now I’m left with fading memories and burning resentment. I have come to realize that it is not possible for me to be in a relationship of any kind with a man – even a relationship that isn’t a relationship – and not get duped and/or hurt.

The last time he asked for money, and the last time I transferred it into his account without question, was at this very restaurant.

“They’re all the same,” says my friend. I know she’s wrong. But I have no personal experience on wish to base that, and no desire to test her hypothesis either.

So we sit there, both rueful at the way life has turned out, and grateful for the simplicity we have. Because happiness of that kind is not for us, and the failed pursuit of it has made us miserable, and we’d rather not try again.

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