“But you’ll need her too, won’t you?”
It was a revelation of sorts. He was jolted and stunned by how these words fell into the right places in his head. They echoed the fear and awakened (once again) all the uncertainties he held deeply since that fateful day.
Love compelled him to share in her anguish, desperation and fears. He felt he had to do the manly job of carrying her burdens or at least listen to her as she talked about how tough life had been. Patiently, he gave her his undivided attention. He had to be the man in her life because he loved her.
Yet, there was neither respite nor a place for him to release or unleash his pain. No matter how hard he wanted to, there was no way he could get it out from his system. Beyond the daily struggles and wonton discouragement, there was only him and the voice in his head. There was no way he could reach her. Pain intensifies.
Every other day, she made her declaration, albeit privately. Alarm bells, rarely wrong, were ringing furiously in his head. But at every end of that three-word sentence, he had to silence the bells, soften his heart and rationalise in his head. The soft and gentle whispers, so fleeting that they could be easily drowned out by the desperation expressed by his heart, simply asked if he ever considered how this seemed to be a one-way street.
Her issues became a legitimate excuse, which in the long term, transformed into an anchor in his heart. It weighed on him. It landed at the bottom of his heart, trampled and broken from years of misuse as well as abuse. Seductively, it promised an end to all the years of his search for acceptance (then love). It moved him into believing that the pain would be worth it all at the end.
All of this chipped away at his resolve, with her declarations merely papering over the widening cracks. Love, like an abandoned ice-cream cone under the sun, melted away. Its promises of being loved and his heart finally getting the much-needed salve dissipated. He couldn’t tell the difference between love and compassion now.
Saying sorry would have been enough. Negotiating his way through a minefield was challenging (and cute) at the start, but now, he had no idea how much longer his heart could take it.
Sooner or later, he would have to draw the line before everything else consumes him indefinitely and irreversibly.
“I feel so bad that I’ve been the only one venting.”
Just seconds after the words flashed on the screen, the voice in his head said, “If only you’d knew…”
“It wasn’t right for her to tease you like that.”
“I don’t know. I felt like a freak after that.”
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.