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A monster within

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He was nicknamed “The Monster”. He had the look to support it. He was tall, dark with hair that covered his neck and a beard that hid his face. His eyes reflected his own resignation with the world.

He preferred not to socialise as much as possible. And for that reason he usually only briefly left his house during nights or moments when he knew everyone else was away. He wanted to avoid social contact. He would much rather endure loneliness than the criticism he was bound to hear from others.

People judge from what they see. We all fall into stereotypes and prejudices. People don’t understand what is beyond appearances.What forces people to become what they are or to act in the way they do.

No existence is all roses and sunshine. Dark clouds do come along. There are moments and circumstances, people and behaviours, attitudes and perspectives that force us to react, to erupt, to lose control. It takes a lot for a silent stream to become a raging current. But when that boost arrives, the flush is torrential and it carries with it everything that person has for so long suppressed. It takes a lot of strength to feign that everything is fine. To pretend things are OK when they’re not. To hide all the pain from everyone else. But what hurts most is when the people near you don’t understand. When they do not react to your call. When you explain the things that cause these scathing wounds, that have for so long been a problem, and yet they still don’t comprehend the severity of it all. Or they simply do nothing. If you care you act; you place what you value most above all else. Sometimes, it is our own expectations that cause us the most disappointment. Because not everyone possesses that same open-heartedness, nor the same perspective on things. It is such situations that bring out the worst in someone. That feeling of being under-appreciated, misunderstood and wronged. That others are given more importance than you. That no matter how hard you try, you can’t get through.

It is situations that create our character. That will define whether the monster or the angel within us will dominate. But they are also the ones that cause us to react the way we do.

Not all people are monsters. Some just carry a monster inside.

The monster under the bed

https://pre00.deviantart.net/96eb/th/pre/f/2013/150/0/1/the_monster_under_my_bed__by_jcmaziu-d5oebc3.jpgShe was there ever since he was born. Omnipresent in every aspect of his life. She allowed him to think he was autonomous and independent, but she was always just a step away.

She lurked in the shadows and clung onto him. But he failed to see it.

He may have matured in many ways but there was one thing he refused to see. His partner found her ever-presence over-bearing. But, the latter did not seem to care. And he didn’t seem to mind.

He couldn’t see the monster under the bed.

But it haunted his partner’s dreams and there was nothing she could do about it. Because it was not her battle to fight.

She tried to make him see, but every time he woke up, the monster had found a different hiding place.

He told her she was insane and imagining things. Because he refused to see what was before his eyes.

He insisted there was nothing of the sort. That the monsters were only in her thoughts. But she knew better. She saw it even when he was not there. Because the monster had a way of being everywhere some way or another.

When it became too much too tolerate, she gave up trying. And she just left. Leaving him alone with the monster under the bed.

She left him only a note that read, “There’s a difference between somebody who wants you and somebody who would do anything to keep you. Because, in essence, all you really want is someone who would put you first at all times, and who would make you feel important no matter who or how many others are in the room. If you truly love someone, you will never let them go no matter how hard the situation is. You try to work things out. And you fight to do so”.

It was up to him to choose to react.

The truth you’ll never know

icebergIt’s hard to be perfect. No matter if it is just keeping up the appearance of being faultless.

Joseph knew it well. All his life he was trying to prove himself to others – even to his family and friends. That he was different. That he wasn’t like the rest of the guys out there. He had something special boiling up inside him and was striving to find a way to let it out. All amidst friendly mockery and criticism that he took on like a clown – with a smile on the outside and a frown inside.

But he never told anyone about this. Not even Alicia. He just wanted her to be happy. He was happy as long as she was. And that was all that mattered.

At least that was how he felt. Most of the time.

They were both trying to get ahead in their careers. Alicia had motivated him to reach higher. But it seemed that no matter what they did, no matter how many applications they sent, no matter how much networking they did, nothing seemed to work. There was no window opening up. Not even a mouse-hole.

And at work it all seemed to pile up. He was getting more and more jobs assigned to him, which of course he could do given his extraordinary skills, but under normal circumstances it would take another two people to share the tasks. Yet no matter how efficiently and accurately he responded to his obligations, there always seemed to be someone coming back and asking for more.

Alicia was at her limits too, as she was facing a similar situation at work and was being suffocated under never-ending workloads that seemed to proliferate instead of decrease.

Joseph had to listen to her complain, while she tried to console him when his turn came to externalize his agitation.

But one day, Joseph felt something was wrong. He woke up with a numbness in his feet and stumbled on the way to the bathroom. Something that had never happened before. He didn’t tell Alicia. There was no need to make her worry.

The doctor he immediately saw told him that unfortunately they detected a genetic mutation that caused an unforeseen illness to develop. Something that would require extensive, prolonged and continuous treatment.

Joseph felt the ground from under his feet disappear. He could feel the blood flushing out of his brain and rushing to his heart, which was beating like a drum. Cold sweat trickled down his spine, as he attempted to remain conscious. He could hear all his dreams shatter right in front of him. Right at that moment. Because everything would be different now.

At work, it was just another tedious day with demands piling up and everyone nagging about each other. It was bad enough he had his company to worry about, Alicia wanted to lash out on someone about her own ordeal.

And that was the moment he cracked. The moment when he felt it was better to behave like a jackass and get her to move away from him than make her suffer with him this unexpected future. It was easier to be the guy she hated. The person who did not deserve her. To make her see that she deserved better. It was better to break his own heart into a thousand pieces than force her to change her own dreams for his sake. For a future that no-one knew what it would bring and how.

Alicia ran away from him, with the image of a prince turning into a beast in her head.

And Joseph, he closed up inside his shell, hoping that one day she would understand – that he loved her so much, he let her go.

Burning bridges

BURNING bridgesAlicia was in love with a prince charming. At least that’s what she felt like. He had swept her off her feet from the moment she laid eyes on him. He was no ordinary Jo. He was the sweetest and most romantic guy she had met. His name was Joseph. And the first day he saw her she literally fell onto him. She was late for a meeting and he just stepped out of one. They worked in neighbouring offices in the greenest capital in the world. That was most convenient of all. Because for lunch they could easily escape for a picnic in the park, feeding leftovers to the ducks and geese, and playing with the chipmunks running up the tree barks.

Their romance seemed perfect. So perfect it actually scared Alicia.

Nothing could be this perfect.

Joseph was the type of guy who would open doors for her; who would pull her chair up and allow her to sit first before joining her at the table; who would buy flowers for no reason, simply to remind her that he loved her; who would listen and know exactly what she needed almost before she even said it. He was charming. Almost prince-like.

And Alicia loved that about him. That she felt so comfortable around him. She could be herself. Laugh, cry, yell, scream. She could do it all because she knew he would understand and he would support her.

Or so she thought.

There comes a time when everybody cracks and reveals a side of him no one knew was there.

And when Joseph cracked, there was an eruption.

The ludicrous and never-ending demands at work, combined with Alicia’s overbooked schedule and her super-tensed nerves, brought him over the edge. And he exploded. Like never before.

He told Alicia she was selfish and always blamed him for everything that went wrong. That she was so easily aggravated and constantly took it out on him. That she didn’t even know what she wanted anymore and aimed so highly for it all that in the end she would be left with nothing. He fired at her with no mercy and left her standing alone.

Alicia knew she had issues, but so did everybody. She thought, however, a love that bound two people was strong enough to surpass them all. Apparently she was wrong.

What she saw that day was an image she would never forget. It was a prince charming turning into an ugly beast. A monster with a frozen heart and claws dripping with blood.

She ran to the park, crawled up onto the bark of a tree and let the tears flow down her face. A chipmunk timidly appeared and slowly perched in her arms. She felt the warmth of its fuzzy coat embrace her like a tender consolation.

When bridges are burnt, no matter how strongly they are re-built (if at all), they are never the same.

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