How are the States treating me, you ask during the long overdue skype chat weeks later. It's easy to get comfortable here and I don't like easy nor comfortable. I miss getting out of my safety zone every day, working to prove myself constantly and deserving the good things that come to me. Just say you miss me, you reply, throwing a few jokes into the mix. Of course I miss you. Every passing moment that is not occupied by my work or my books, or sometimes various petty things society sees as important, I think of you. That is what I want to say, what I mean to say with every fiber of me. But I throw a joke back at you and I don't show even a slightest sign of how much I care. My guards are up. I lose all courage around you. I am terrified of being hurt by you and you alone.
You hope to see me soon, you say during our goodbyes. I can't help but replay that phrase for some fifties time in my head. Do you really? Or are you simply being polite? I gather these crumbs of happiness you've been feeding me lately and I build a castle out of them, avoiding as much as breathing in its direction, afraid it will fall apart before I get the chance to strengthen the walls. I know I've ruined things before, more than once, but I am learning from my mistakes. I will see you in November. And I will prove to you that I deserve you...
so much more than I did two years ago.
Listening to Relax, Take it Easy by Mika
Image by luminous-luminance
Listening to: Into the Night by Benny Mardones
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago… I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant…For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this?” – Captain Wentworth, Persuasion
But one day there comes a storm. A lighting strike illuminates the world around you and you see the things as they are, naked of illusions you’ve created. The reality breaks through the walls of your beloved emptiness and erases the boundaries of your comfort zone, ripping the protective wire you spent so long wrapping around your heart. And there he is, standing in the rain in front of you, and he is the same, and you find yourself utterly unprepared, not strong at all, in fact the weakest thing in the entire world, and it’s as if the last two and a half years apart were never lived. It’s as if you never let him go, as if you never ruined your happiness and his.
I felt my heart skip a few beats and my body shake profusely the minute I heard he was in the country. Memories started flooding my head and the more I remembered, the harder I cried. The room went dark for a second and I had to grab the nearest wall to maintain my balance. Not only have I felt every emotion possible, but I was utterly unprepared to feel so much and so suddenly, and worst of all, I had absolutely no hope of any of these feelings ever being mutual again. I knew he had every right to distance himself. I suspected he’d never forgive me and I have come to terms with losing him, or almost have. I thought I had all the strength in the world, but I had none. I thought I had no love left in me, but I had it all.
So I gathered a few bits of courage and wrote to him. I dropped only a couple of lines, asking about his trip, staying neutral in tone and struggling not to give away any signs of my pain. The rest of the day seemed like forever. I heard nothing. I cried more, I drank a bit and I cried again. The following morning I woke up to a note from him. There wasn’t much said, but he responded, and that fact alone made me grow wings and fly through the day. We exchanged a few more words and those words gave me more hope than is probably healthy. I am no Anne, he’ll never be my Captain Wentworth and real life rarely grants us with happy endings. But a girl can dream, can’t she?
Image credit: duchesse-2-Guermante
Listening to Weeping by Josh Groban and Vusi Mahlasela
He is no longer in my life. I have worked with others since then, I had better friends since then, I've loved stronger since then, and I laughed, and cried, and lived, and broke hearts, and was left brokenhearted. But an occasional thought of him still brings that bittersweet smile to my face, the one that holds both good memories and bad, neither of which I would want to trade for anything in the world. We grow through our mistakes, our experiences and our feelings; we are shaped by what we love or hate, who we love and why we choose to forget. He was only one part of my world during the two years when our lives intertwined, but a tremendous part nevertheless. We put our time and souls into the work we believed in, and we made a great team, but our feelings got in the way. I'm sure there was love among all the fighting, and enormous friendship that struggled to step over our egos, and the two people trying really hard to overcome what made them human, for the sake of that beautiful goal that they always had in sight.
* * *
I don’t want to think where he is right now; I don’t want to think at all. All I want is to break free, fly away from this place of uncertainty and fear. I don’t know him at all.
He calls at 3 a.m. "to check on me", then again, an hour later, asking me to open the gate. One hug and things are back to normal. What a fool I am.
* * *
We run into a little diner in the slum, the one I know is actually good and safe and all, and giggle while standing at the counter. We talk of feelings for some unknown reason, the distant and abstract ones, and he suddenly tells me he never knew how I felt about him. He says that I never told him nor truly showed it. Is he for real? I'm lost for words, only able to produce a silly smile, trying to shake off the weight hanging above us, to change the subject, to say something, but all I hear is the very loud silence. And the moment passes us by. We get our food and walk out, back into the car, back to work, and I am still lost for words.
I kept thinking why I never told him. It was the perfect chance to let my guards down for once. It was either then and there, or never. And I was too proud to go first, or too scared of what it would do to our work and friendship, or both. So I chose never.
* * *
We walk out on each other. We don’t listen. We don’t apologize. I don’t know how to mend this anymore. I am probably able to, but I’m not sure I want to. I am tired of fighting. These arguments grow stronger every day, their roots reach deeper inside our heads. Every now and then I grow so weary of them I reach for the suitcase, only to push it back under my bed; only to convince myself I can endure these things and grow stronger through them.
* * *
I’m sitting outside; it’s a bit chilly these nights. A cheap cigarette is burning my lungs. Heck with it, every cell of me is on fire. And the sky, the sky is the same everywhere. I miss home, wherever my last home was. I miss my family, and the rain (we haven't had any for what seems like months here), driving in the right lane, coffee shops, my girls, having time to write or to think about myself for once versus everyone around me, and the snow. Come to my home in December, I blurt out one evening, in the midst of a quiet talk in his room. He smiles and asks for five reasons why I want him to go. I don’t feel like reasoning anything, so I walk out.
* * *
We are stuck in traffic on our way downtown, an hour of talking, laughing and singing. He presses the wrong buttons as he tries to roll down the windows, he always does that, making me laugh. He buys peanuts from the boys on the road, without taking the actual peanuts. We throw rhymes back and forth and some poetry is born in the midst of traffic, hawkers, beggars and thieves on the road. There’s an unbeatable energy inside of this tiny car. We can change this place for better, we can help the people and learn from them, but only if we are able to sustain this harmony; if we can respect each other and humble ourselves before the other. If only there were more days like this.
* * *
I feel my heart jammed inside, pumping wildly as if ready to jump out through my mouth. I am pressing the tears back in as they burn the corners of my eyes, my arms numbly folding pieces of clothes into the suitcase.
He’s standing in the doorway, the founder of this drama, the perpetrator of this pain. Out of a moment’s anger, he asked me to leave "if that's what I wished for" just a minute ago, and now my pride overwhelms my reason and pain as he’s securing the door with his tall self, begging me to stay. "You can’t leave, this is your home," he insists. "I didn’t mean it like that. I suggested you take a break from work, not leave this place." The arguments keep pouring.
As part of some self-defense mechanism, my memory seems to be erasing the corners of such days, as I can’t quite remember what it is he said that made me stay after all. I do remember a tight motherly hug and a whisper - please don’t give up on my son.
* * *
What roles do we play in this twisted storyline? Why is it that despite the lowest times we’ve been through, the undeniable truth remains the same? We are around each other 24/7, and we fight half of the time, but we need each other only more each day. It’s as if we share this subtle knowledge of something that is not yet, but has been written. It’s something bigger than us, but not until we manage to completely diminish our egos that it will reveal itself to us.
* * *
We spent months at a time in each other's company, making mistakes and laughing at them, pushing each other to be better, wanting to be better around each other, sharing secrets and dreams, crying on each other's shoulder, being best friends, enemies, lovers... and then one day we peacefully parted ways. I don't want to ever go back, but I will always treasure it as one of those experiences that shaped me into who I am. I will always treasure the memory of him, and of the world he let me be part of, beautiful and miserable at once, filled with tragic past and high hopes for the future, but his world nevertheless. I took the best from it... and I moved on to build my own.
Image credit: *duchesse-2-Guermante