Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Rhiannon has gone! The traitorous wench found a great job with a work permit so she's moving to London.

We keep telling people that it feels like a divorce. I've seen the rolling eyes, I know they think we're being melodramatic. But you have to understand I'll no longer be near someone who finishes my sentences, instinctively knows when to buy chocolate on the way home, and is my best friend.

Growing up we weren't as close, but there was always an unspoken solidarity. We would exchange bemused glances and raise eyebrows as our various parents threw tantrums and houseplants and did crazy things.

We went our separate ways for university, but finally in 2000 we both ended up in Canberra. The Mothership phoned the day after we moved in together. Rhi was downstairs and I was perched on my bed with the extension. It was the usual Mothership fodder – local gossip, recaps of Oprah episodes, tales of wayward students that she had to Skin Alive or Put Bombs Under. Without realising, separated by stairs and salmon pink carpet, we were responding with the exact same mindless phrases. In the exact same tone. In perfect unison.

Right. Yes. Hmmm? Oh I see. Innnteresting. 

"WHAT is going on?" demanded The Mothership, "Are you two being facetious? You're picking on me! Already!"

From that point on we were a unit. We compared twenty years of notes from our childhoods and discovered those shared experiences had given us the same warped humour and cynicism. We both loved to bitch and moan and laugh. We never had to explain anything to each other, because we always knew the backstory. We understood that the crappiest day could always be cured with a bar of chocolate and a trashy magazine. We also liked picking on The Mothership.

Just like retired old farts in a caravan, we had ROUTINES and we treasured them dearly. I chopped meat and vegies, she wielded the wok. I booked our gym classes, she ordered in restaurants. I picked up the Thai takeaway while she got the cutlery queued up the video. When I'd fart she'd say, Shall I reply? and let one rip too.

A favourite ritual was the weekly shop at Tesco. We were a precision shopping machine. We synchronised our watches, caught buses from our respective workplaces so we arrived at the same time, paused at the magazine rack, glided up and down the aisles with a shopping list that was ordered in harmony with the supermarket layout, then wasted half an hour browsing the chocolate so we'd have to run across the car park to make the bus on time.

Last Monday was The Final Shop. It was a rather emotional experience. We were dawdling in the car park, talking about jeans and how the ones with the "pre faded" stripes down the front make your thighs look fat, when suddenly our bus came barelling round the corner.

"Shauna!" Rhi screamed, "STOP THE BUS!"

I panicked, spinning the shopping trolley round in small and helpless circles. I am useless when asked to make a sudden movement. "Stop the bus? YOU stop the bus!"

Rhi bravely leaped out onto the street with manic eyes and outstretched arms, "SSSTOOPPP!".

Do you know how hard it is to find someone who'd stop a bus for you?

Last week I did a dress rehearsal Solo Shop. It was very traumatic. The checkout chick was merciless, flinging bananas and soup tins and expecting me to keep up with the plastic bags and grope for a debit card AT THE SAME TIME while a lengthy queue of snotty bastards looked on with pursed lips. For the past four years, Rhi had packed the heavy stuff while I took the fruit and veg, then she'd do the bread and loo paper and magazines while I handed over the cash. WE HAD A SYSTEM. How can you have a system WITH JUST ONE PERSON?

Rhi arrived in Sydney just one hour ago. She's there for a few weeks to visit friends and family, so it's all I can think about right now. She'll return for a few days in January when we'll fight over the frying pan and wage a bitter custody battle over the hairdryer, then that's it.

Things have changed dramatically these past four years and I owe so much of it my little sister. I am too rubbish to say this person, so I have to tell the WORLD on the internet. How do you like that logic. Anyway, indulge me for one paragraph.

When Rhi moved in I was very ill, depressed out of my skull, afraid of the world and generally an apathetic blob. If you've been kind enough to have read this blog since the very beginning, you may have noticed I've changed a lot since then. Rhi managed to see through my bullshit and encouraged me to take risks. She's always known when to kick my butt or when to bring home some icecream. Without her I doubt I would have found the guts to move to the Other Side of the planet. It's taken awhile, but I'm not scared of silly shit anymore, I don't lay awake worrying about what people think of me, I've learned to make things happen for myself. Without Rhi's coaxing I may have ignored the nagging voice inside that said I could do something with my life.

So sister dear, thank you for just being your brilliant, arse-kicking self and making every day so hilarious. We both knew this would happen. It's time to move on and we'll be fine. We have telephones, email and Easyjet. We both have everything in the world to look forward to.

When I asked Rhi how was I supposed to go on, she replied with the usual withering wit, "I have nothing left to teach you."

Sometimes you can just feel change in the air, people. It's as thick and heavy and inevitable as the yeasty dog-food fug that spews from the Fountainbridge Brewery. Change is a bit like a brewery, don't you think? It makes a lot of scary noise and it stinks like hell, but the end product is delicious and good for you.

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for October 2021.

32 thoughts on “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

  1. Awesome post, Shauna. It strikes a chord today in particular because I got a job offer thousands of miles away from my current location…

    I’ll keep reading you from the middle of nowhere. πŸ™‚

  2. Aw. I didn’t realize I’d gotten used to Rhi “being around” too. She will be missed.

    And now you mention it, you’re right, you are plenty different from where you were when I first started reading you, ~streetspirit~. Good things. Drop me a line one of these times.

  3. I was always so jealous of Team Marsh. You kids were so close I just can’t imagine you apart now.

  4. but!!! please, don’t ever underestimate Team Shmonkey (SHauna+MONKEY)! the good times, the groping… it’s precious and n’er forgotten.

    (ok really going bed this time, gnight lovelies)

  5. Shauna, just coming out of lurker mode to say that your post today was touching. Good luck to Rhi in London and I look forward to plenty of UK stories from you both.

  6. Aw, sad.

    Just READING about the two of you, I’d be jealous at how close you were. But yes, you’ve both got to move on.

    Rhi will be missed by your faithful audience too, that’s for sure. Witty and smart and irreplaceable as your partner in stand-up comedy.

    All the very best in Happening London, Rhi!
    And I think you should start a blog too….
    Double reading pleasure for greedy little me!

    (Maybe she’ll hate it and come flapping back, Shauny!)

    Kidding, of course.

    Good luck, Rhi (and Shauny! LOVE the shopping system!)

  7. Aw. Posts like this make me feel really jealous of people who are lucky enough to have sisters. I’m sisterless. I feel deprived. Then again, I look at my evil sisters-in-law and it reminds me that I’m really glad I only have a brother, heh.

    Now as to the shopping system. There’s an easy way around that, just get yourself a husband! HA HA πŸ˜‰

  8. I was living in the same town with my brother for a while, and it was a lot of fun. Since I moved away, we’ve lost touch a little. We only really talk once a month or so.

    Make sure you put in the effort to stay in touch. Sometimes it can be easy to slip away.

  9. I just wanted to post a comment with the phrase ‘penile dysfunction drug’ in it…aaahhhhhhhhhhhhh

  10. Having had the utmost pleasure of meeting you both (once) I’ve had a small insight as to how you both managed together. I remember back then as to how jealous I was at how you two existed together.

    As you said, I’m sure you’ll be fine as you have another partner who could possibly fills Rhi’s void. Make the most of that one, hey? Yes I’ve noticed how much you’ve matured on this site and I’m damn proud of you.

    And to Rhi, congrats and well done!

  11. Hey Shauna, also coming out of lurker mode just to say Good Luck to you both. Reading about the relationship between you and Rhi inspired me to form a closer bond with my own sister (aka made me realise I should just stop being a moody bitch towards her, who me?). So thanks, and I hope this doesn’t mean there will be no more Team Marsh stories!

  12. Best of luck – fingers crossed for both of you. It’s tough, but I hope Rhi loves her new job etc. May the road rise with you (etc), Rhi.

    My own sister is away too, and even though I know she made the right decision to go, and I’ll see her for a week at Christmas, I wish she wasn’t gone. On the other hand, I went away for the better part of five years, so how can I complain? (And I do have a splendid brother on hand.)

    Yes, start a blog, Rhi, please… Otherwise we’ll all just have to badger Shauna to tell us how you’re getting on!

  13. beautiful read shauny, it made my heart all well up!
    sisters: there is nothing quite like them. it can be a wonderful friendship.
    there will always be adventures between the two of you – eventually it will be noisy farting husbands and chuck-up childrens stuff to share…. it just goes on for always !

    ps: that is the cutest damned picture!!

  14. There is nothing like a sister! No other friend can compare. I have a sister just like that. The best part is no matter how far apart you’ll still get each other and no distance can change that. The pic is so adorable!!

  15. I cried when I read this. My husband just left four days ago for a six month military tour, so I understand that bereft feeling you have. Now I’m going to go cry into my oatmeal.

  16. That is why I am still mad at my parent for just giving me a brother… not that he isn’t great. πŸ™‚

    I agree, Rhi needs a blog too!

    You guys are too cute- those curls!!

  17. Great post Shauny, I really admire the way you can write soppy without also getting all treacly and sick-making. Here’s to the future and as they say on Sesamestraat, “Alles is steeds anders, het hoeft niet naar te zijn ” etc etc

  18. All will be ok, Miss Shauny. You’re a much stronger person than you once were. It’s been amazing to see you grow–kind of like watching a souffle in an oven with one of those glass doors so you can look inside without collapsing the scrumptious dessert. Though I’ve never actually had a souffle. French food gives me the creeps.

  19. oooh a bit of Shmonkey action would be a kodak moment!

    Shauny, I can send you my brother if you want. I decided at 7am this morning when his alarm went off and he wasn’t home to turn it off, that I am done with him πŸ™‚

    Or come back and I’ll kick him out of the house and you and I can set up a bachelorette pad! πŸ™‚

  20. Coming out of lurking also, to say good luck to you both. Also couldn’t resist, as I loved to see someone else whose parents used ‘facetious’. I grew up in NZ and it was a standard dinner table comment – ‘Don’t be facetious’. Ahh, happy days.

  21. Aw heck. That almost made me wish I had a sister too.

    Except I’m a bit too territorial for that.

    (I’d have to steal her food and piss on her tree or something.)

  22. She’ll have to start a blog. It’s the LEAST she can do!!

    And having lived in a brewery town myself I think that closing line is perfect.

    Although I do now worry about the stench from your farts.

    All the best to Rhi.

  23. Thanks Shauna

    I’m about to make this big move myself, and leaving my little sis at home and it kills me for all the reasons you lay out.

    I hope mine comes over to bonny Scotland and kicks me back into reality when I need it too.

    Thanks for making me smile.

  24. Chin up kiddo – you remember what Sait Saens said. Try again – you are better than you think.

  25. I worked in a chocolate factory. Eat as much as you like ! 20 million chocolates a day, 150,000 tonnes a year. You’d just hate it !

  26. Ah Shauny,

    I’m delurking also – to wish best of luck to you and Rhi. It’s been wonderful reading about the two of you. I loved your recent post about your new (semi-new) beau as well and I am sure you and Rhi will both be fine.

    Happy holidays to you both


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