Imagine my surprise when in a singular moment of weakness, my fickle heart remembered the purgatory that was once loving you. And hot on the heels of that memory was the familiar scraping acidity that was your ultimate rejection.
Do you remember, I wonder? The moment that you told me that you could never allow yourself to love me? How your mouth was sharing denials that refused to match what your eyes were whispering? Do you remember that drunken second when my soul decided to latch on to you…and the helplessness you must have known I felt when you ran away from me, do you remember that?
You must have known that I felt so inadequate in the wake of your dismissal. That I died a few deaths every time I realised that you were out there…living perfectly without what I wanted to give you. And I wanted to give you everything. You must have known. And never cared.
Imagine the shaming shock while I soaked my mind in that reminiscing regret, lying in a bed awash with the memories of your stony silence. A bed that told the story of moments at the hour when only truth walks the surface of the earth….the hour where night and day meet and pay homage to one another in unison…the hour when each breath seems like a loud, interrupting thud against the sacred submission of creation. During this hour, I would lie awake, weakened by shards of insipid, stubborn and yet profoundly salient tears.
And in this hour I would try to recover…I would tell myself not to hear the loudness of your silence. I would breathe calmness to the turbulence that my self esteem was enduring…but most damning of all, I would hope. And you know this. You know that I hoped.
I hoped the day would come, when you would overcome your pride, your fear, your cruelty and simply call me. I hoped you knew that even though I kept my distance…my every bated breath was waiting on you. I hoped that in your interactions with other females you sought my face, my voice…the curve of my lips…the warmth that escaped my hands when you let me go. I hoped that you went through the same stoic listlessness that I went through when I tried to replace you with others….
It is not often that you sit beside someone and feel the connection that I felt with you. We spoke the same language. We understood pain…betrayal…loneliness…anguish…grief. We knew what it was to smile behind a mauled mask. We saw each other…or at least, I saw you. In my vision of you, you took my soul…
And since then I had been floating around without it…listening to music but never hearing it…smiling with no mirth…loving with no flavour…kissing with no desire.
But what woke me up from this self inflicted state of love-less living, you may ask? You did.
In all those months of isolation….you lived.
On the day that a car ran me over and I thought for a moment that my time was up and yet I had not kissed my son…on the day that I almost died…you didn’t know.
You were sharing anecdotes with your friends. Eating bacon. And cake. Sipping wood flavoured whiskey that floated into your head and made living bearable for a few hours. Surreptitiously staring at the derrière of a waitress. You were living.
On the days that I spent hours in a hospital waiting room with the other piece of my soul-my son, wrought with worry and despair…you didn’t know.
On the day that I quit my old job, I did not sleep. There were sharp pains coursing through my ribs from the stress. I watched night slip away and day sashay into my bedroom. You didn’t know.
You didn’t know that for a while, I stopped applying nail polish because I was nervously gnawing off my nails. You were living.
You did not know that I cut my hair, or that my baby finally started to colour only inside the borders. You were living. You didn’t know that I could no longer bring myself to write anything because you were still my muse. You didn’t know that I couldn’t craft words because you had robbed me of the flames that fuelled my pen.
In all those months, you existed without me. You sought comfort from another pair of breasts, perhaps less blemished than mine. You held the waistline of another woman, perhaps curvier than mine and let her walk before you before you sat down to dinner. You ordered for her, smiled with her, started to love her. You brushed tears off her face, perhaps less chocolate than mine when she cried. Felt her sadness seep into your skin…
So imagine that shock, when after two days of recollection, I took in a deep breath…and it didn’t feel like lead. When I realised that my soul was back…and your face was not attached to it.
That you are somehow a blur in my mind now. Sort of like the fading scent of perfume on a woman’s neck after a long day. That I cannot forgive my soul for allowing me to wait so long before I realised that what we were was just that; a fleeting fragment of sweet pain. And nothing else. You were like that sore on a tongue that hurts sweetly when you press on it…and you still keep doing it, even though you should stop and let it heal.
The tragedy of loving someone alone, unrequited can only be eclipsed by loving someone who only wants to hurt you in order to feel whole.
Imagine my surprise when I realised at last…that perhaps my pain was all you ever wanted.And how scary that thought was, that you could be a cruel twisted being after all.
But the biggest surprise of all, at least to me, is that when I put on my red lipstick and said yes to a date with a man who does not fear the turmoil that is loving a writer…
Imagine my surprise when I realised that I had stopped trying to replace you.
Imagine how surprised I was that I too, was living.