We grow up believing in fairy tale endings. That everything can just happen so simply and effortlessly and we’ll all live ‘happily ever after’.
No one really tells you though that effort is required from both sides at all times. That it takes two to make any happy ending work. That you need to invest time, presence, and comprehension in the other person. That love sometimes is not enough. We want someone who can stand us at our worst, be joyful with us at our best, and have the patience to endure all the mood swings in between. No one tells you that it’s not easy.
We somehow believe that we’ll meet, our eyes will cross, our hearts will flutter, our hands will touch, and that it all easily leads off to a happy ever after. But what happens after that? When routine sets in and you need to fight for attention, for being present, for maintaining that spark, for remembering that very first feeling? That emotion that still lightens up your face when you recount how you first met?
Nothing worthy is easy. That is something we keep hearing.
But we need to both want it to work. We need to have a common path to walk on. And a single direction to look at.
It was during that first visit together to some ancient ruins that he felt she was changing his life. She had already known it when she randomly accepted to go on a trip with him without even knowing his last name.
But it’s the spontaneity that brings out the truest version of you; they both believed that.
It was one of the most memorable trips they had experienced.
It was what started it all.
And it was what he recalled months later when he finally understood her warning that what he wouldn’t appreciate, someone else would cherish and value more.
It was among the things her psychotherapist proposed to help her find herself again. She had been down a very silent, dark and unnerving path for too long, she was now struggling to find the light. And she could use all the help she could get.
He had drifted away because it was too much to handle. But he could now see that she was trying her best.
He left her a note on the front door that prompted her to the backyard.
The violin was there: sitting majestically on the garden chair. Uniquely crafted. Just like her.
He knew he wouldn’t live long enough to offer her everything she merited. Even if she didn’t voice it at first, he could sense it that she would soon grow to silently request more from him. More attention, more experiences, more laughter, more love, more life, more time.
But he had none to give.
Some meetings in life are just meant to happen. They all have something to teach you, but not all have happy endings. Some simply serve to make us stronger and more resilient to life’s challenges. He knew that when he was diagnosed with an incurable illness that pretty much ended life as he knew it. It all seemed like a morbid countdown after that moment. So, he vowed not to fall in love. It would not be fair to the other person if they reciprocated that love to him.
But we don’t always get what we want.
She captured his gaze from the minute her eyes fell upon his. Her bright smile made his heart flutter and he knew in an instant that his own vow was broken.
As much as he tried to stay away, he just couldn’t. He was drawn to her like bees to a flower. But she too loved spending time with him. He made her laugh and she was all the happier for it. And in return she made him feel alive.
When she started dreaming of a future life together, he broke. Because he knew he couldn’t offer her any of it. But how do you tell someone that?
As hard as it was, he became distant. He would inadvertently hurt her no matter what he said. The day he felt it was over, that the sand in the hourglass had run out, he poured out his emotions in a letter soaked in his tears.
Life is cruel at times. It presents you with people and things that imbue life inside you and then in a sudden instant takes it all away. Meeting you was the most wonderful part of my short-lived life. I wish I had more time to give you the world you are worth, to make it all work like I promised, to fulfil the visions and dreams that are now left hanging. I want to say I’m so deeply sorry, but I am not to blame for the cards fate dealt me, only the fact that I pulled you close to me despite knowing that I had no time left. I’m grateful for every moment I spent with you. I wish you continue to radiate beauty into this harsh world and deeply hope you will find everything you seek and so deserve. In another life, we would have had every single thing we dreamt of and so much more…
Do you remember the thunder? The glow of lightning when our eyes first met. The sensation of forever engulfed us from the start. You felt that too, you later said.
Do you remember the laughter? The inside jokes only we could comprehend. The funny little intimacies, That were only ours and we alone shared.
Do you remember the adventures? The outdoors we so loved to explore. The long walks and talks, On which we discovered one another even more.
Do you remember the sunsets? Those tranquil moments of our own. The golden hours, When everything seemed so serene and aglow.
Do you remember the nights? When I would cocoon into your embrace. When I wanted more hugs and wouldn’t let you move away. When you would unconsciously pull me sleepily into your arms again.
Do you remember all this? Now that life took a different turn. Can you endure the silence? Of a ‘love you’ and ‘miss you’ that go unheard. Will you act to change it? When you know it’s what love like this deserves.
It was in that alley I realised I knew. And I told you too. When you asked me how I knew I loved you, I told you it was because I couldn’t remember what my life was like without you. Before you.
When you became a part of my world, you changed it intrinsically. I couldn’t recall what it was like without your long late-night calls, your random texts during the day to check up on me, our inside jokes, those silent looks that said everything, and so much more that made us ‘us’.
It sounded ominous, but it wasn’t. It was a pure request, almost like a plead. She loved walking by the sea and in the mountains; it helped clear her mind. And it was a chance to bond with him. He would ramble on about his ongoing projects, his thoughts, aims, and future plans, and she would listen, offer some ideas, and often her perceptions too. It was relaxing because, in those couple of hours of just placing one foot before the other and moving forward, they would simultaneously escape reality and engage in their own one.
But for days now, even this habit was forlorn.
He “didn’t have time for it”, he said. But she knew that was nonsense. We always have time to do what we truly want. It’s not time he didn’t have, it was the desire. And that is what saddened her the most.
We all have our own perspectives on even the simplest of things. Going for a walk, for some, is a way of coming closer together. For others, it is a mere form of exercise.
She would walk regardless of the company, however. She would listen to music or podcasts and allow her mind to wander away in the clean air, among the trees, high up in the sky; to drift away, get lost in a myriad of thoughts, give birth to new ideas, renew optimism, and return stronger and more prepared to face everyday life.
Walking was a remedy for the challenges that perplex us.
Try it: take in some fresh air, breathe deeply, and just…walk.
“Take care”, “text me when you get home”, “drive safe”; they’re all expressions we blurt out with a “see you later” without thinking about it much. But they all obtain a very different meaning after something tragic happens, like a train crash; a collision of a public transport vehicle some have taken numerous times and consider it as safe, never doubting that they may never reach their destination. Incidents like this change your entire perspective on life. Nothing can be taken for granted. Not even the time we have.
We postpone so many things, speak badly or abruptly to those we love thinking we’ll do better ‘next time’. We don’t utter the words ‘I love you’, ‘I miss you’, ‘I’m thinking of you’, saving them for another moment. We resist tight hugs and long embraces, quality time just enjoying each other’s company, all because we believe that we’ll ‘hang out’ or see each other later on.
But what if that postponed moment never arrives?
You don’t know when it will be the last time you’re holding that person in your arms, or if you’ll have the chance to express your sentiments to them after this instant. We don’t know, no matter how optimistic we want to be on life, what fate has in store for all of us.
So why wait? Why waste this moment out of stubbornness and egoism that don’t allow us to seize every ounce of life we have? Right now.
Showing you care can take many forms. But it is worth nothing if you keep suppressing your care for ‘a later time’.