a narrative piece describing a unique case of unrequited love. In this case, the narrator acknowledges a desire to love back, but can’t seem to conclude if it’s really love or just empathy.
Life is a moment. Hereafter is uncertain. People die of common sense, or a lack of it, one lost moment at a time. I know this because I have experienced what it’s like to lose someone, one moment at a time.
This is the true story of my very great love. In the hope that she will not read this and hate me, I have withheld many revealing details: her name, how we met and any telling information about her. All the same, I cannot help but write this for her. To tell her:
“I am sorry for every word I said and wrote to change you, or how you felt about me. I’m sorry for many things. I could not see you when you were here. And now that you are gone, I see you everywhere.”
Haven experienced her disappearance, I am now conscious of how important it is for people to be seen.
She came to me wholly herself. I was just lucky enough to be there to catch her. If only it were possible to love without injury; fidelity isn’t enough. The hurt is in the act of possession. We are too small in mind and body to possess another person without pride, or to be possessed without humiliation.
I would love to share with you some of the things I remember about her; about us. But memory plays tricks. Memory is another word for story, and nothing is more unreliable. However, I believe truth can be borrowed across time without perishing. I will not allow emotions to colour my perceptions, so I will share my sacrament of memory of her with you; not too much though, just a glimpse.
Indeed, glimpses are really all that I have to share, because my feelings about her seem like a dream. They seem like they happened to someone else in some faraway place.
I remember our first love conversation. Well, I liked the kissing part and the next part. I didn’t mind the rest too much but she seemed more – well, she went to the moon and I stayed here on earth. She looked totally overcome like a sweet little puppy and said, “I love you.”
I felt like we had just been to two different moving pictures and didn’t know it. At that point I should have learnt the biggest lesson of my life yet. She cried but I didn’t and that made me feel so mean. So I told her I loved her. That’s not really a lie, I loved her sometimes.
Now, I know better than to pretend to things that are outside my experience. If one has never suffered, one should not manufacture an imitation of suffering. If one has never been in love, one must not insult love with cloying counterfeit.
There is a wine glass and a bottle of hard liquor before me as I write this. The more I sip from this glass, the more I remember all the things we never did. I was a ghost until I touched her. I never swallowed mortal food until I tasted her. I never understood the spoken word until I found her tongue. I saw heaven in her eyes when she blinked – like flashes of lightening: colourless, but beautiful in every way. Watching her open her eyes to a brand new day was like watching angels gather at sunrise on a beach. I could hear melodies of a choir singing, with voices that rang through eternity. The definition of beauty – No, it must be the liquor. I must keep writing.
Next to the glass and the bottle, there’s a photo of her, the only one I could find. You think you are safe until you see a picture like that. And then you know that you will always be a slave to the present because the present is more powerful than the past, no matter how long ago the present happened.
Perhaps my requirements were too great, or my indulgence for human weakness too small, for all her attempts to get me to see her ended in disappointment. And now all I can do is see her through memories and dreams, for her real self is extinguished before me. She endured the most severe trials with a calmness, fortitude and resignation which are the best proofs of the innocence of her intentions.
The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature. There are no accidents actually, only tests. It took me ten months to realise that I had failed this particular test. When she left I thought that was the right thing. I thought I was strong enough to carry the burden that goes with doing the right thing. It is clear now that knowing where you are does not mean that you are not lost. Everything has become a precise charcoal line. I am lost – but that is not the terrible thing. The terrible thing is that finding myself will require me to find her; to find my sunshine again.
I slept and I saw her again, radiant and glowing. We played, we laughed, we cuddled and I felt warm. I had missed the feeling. Then we spoke, voice like silk, Jerusalem bells ringing…the sound of innocence, though slightly tempered by experience, yet beautiful in the state.
I woke and Sunshine wasn’t beside me. My smile vanished.
I am actually supposed to be a happy person. It’s just that I do not know the difference between love and empathy, nor do I question why I should be overcome so frequently with nostalgia for times and places not my own.
No matter where Sunshine is, there is something about the memories of her attempts to form a bond with me that bruises my heart, because it is too soft to break. Perhaps I have not the capacity to love, or perhaps it’s the simple understanding of how. Either ways, something is wrong and I am not exactly aware of what it is. How does one fix something that is outside of awareness?
The morning rain has turned to evaporating diamonds in the afternoon heat. In my heart there is still expectation, a clearing in the woods; and no longer any need to fear love or death by dreaming. Hope is a gift. You can’t choose to have it. To believe and yet to have no hope, is to thirst beside a fountain.
Nothing in life is not mixed. All things are passing, love never changes. And thus I have a new fear, that it would end the same way, no matter what, leaving me to suck salt.