I lean; open the window, to feel the breeze rise up through my chest, and touch my cheeks. Dogs wander; they rule the streets in the darkness below.
As sirens pass, I lay in bed, in arms that once protected me. Now; harbingers. Of pain. Of fear. Of broken promises. They serve as snares that entrap me.
And if you were to ask me why I shake in your arms in the night, I would confess it was the cold of the open window. Convinced you are satisfied with the explanation, I would return to cry myself into sweet slumber.
All it takes is a great reader, a great speaker – a great writer – to challenge the absolute core of your beliefs. Of that which you are, and that which you stand for. And while this is the beauty of human interaction, that it makes us cement our values further or change them entirely, either way allowing us to grow stronger or in a different direction – equally it is an extremely dangerous tool when someone has manipulative intent for their own agenda.
I don’t often use the word “I” on this blog, or speak in the first person – as I try to talk to everyone and engage, rather than focus inwards. However, this is an exception.
To provide evidence to my point; I read an article from a rather selfish man (which is leading, I know), who had disabled comments on his blog, perhaps because he knew there would be a backlash from the ways in which he speaks. I am aware there are a number of reasons one might disable comments, but I digress. I will not call out the exact name of the post, or the authors name. This is not a doxxing attempt or a witch hunt. But in his post, he wrote very clearly and categorically that we should not feel sorry for orphans, because even non-orphans can be alone.
Now forgive my stunned silence, but these two points, are irrelevant. This would be as though I were to say, when a rich person dies, don’t feel sorry for them, because their family have money. Or that you can’t have a bad day, because there are war-torn countries whose people live in fear everyday. It doesn’t make sense. Pain and grief, good and bad, exist in all facets of life, in all manners, relative to that person whom is experiencing it or can determine a perspective upon it. Because someone else feels worse than you, does not mean you cannot feel bad also.
I cannot emphasise more strongly, how much you should ignore this kind of thinking, this kind of talking. This is someone, who had felt alone, as we all have and is deciding to inflict his own need for attention, his own requirement to be victimised, upon the reader. In doing this, he’s calling out a vulnerable group. Which is deplorable. This would be as though I were to say, “Don’t be appalled by police brutality towards an ethnic race in your country, I’m not that race and was pulled over for a speeding ticket the other day. I get it bad too.” It doesn’t make sense, and it’s just targeting a group to make a point, that you aren’t even making well.
Now to his credit, he then went on to say how he visited an orphanage and they were all living in the moment and enjoying life, free from a virtual world. Which is great… but this is not their fault. Because he feels sad, alone, perhaps distanced in an online world, does not somehow validate his point. We can still empathise with an orphan, who has lost their regular home, their security, and the loving embrace of parents. Equally, of course parents can be bad influences, but it is scientifically proven that significant trauma is likely to be caused in a child, whenever a significant life event happens upon their parents. E.g They leave the family, they pass away, they get divorced, etc.
Fortunately, the author wasn’t a great writer. He had numerous (obvious) spelling errors, and clearly did not manage to sway my views. But if he had been, someone may have walked away believing this. In fact, it had likes on it, so some people did. Some people were convinced, that you should not empathise with an orphan, because you can feel alone, or lost in your own family. Of course you should empathise. Just because a non-orphan can feel sad or alone too, does not diminish in any way, the plight of the orphan.
To that point; what is upsetting, is that this author had numerous likes already on his post, after only posting it recently. Perhaps his blog had some followers already, or perhaps people who were vulnerable themselves, were easily swayed upon the read. And relatively, this post disputing his point, based on basic human kindness, may not receive any attention at all.
You met her in an unusual circumstance.
It wasn’t the traditional place people meet, it wasn’t even a good story – but it wasn’t the beginning of the story that mattered anyway.
She gives you that feeling in your heart that you’d forgotten, that feeling you thought you’d outgrown. She has so many things about her that make you smile. Her hair smells incredible. She looks good in anything she wears. Her smile is a powerful manipulation, it can make you smile even when you don’t want to. Her laugh makes your heart warmer. The sound of her voice takes yours away. You never want to let her go.
And some point you realise – you love her.
Things are beautifully uncertain at the start, you’ll do near enough anything to be accepted by her and hide the fact that you’re crazy (but that’s okay because she’s crazy too). You spend half the time in bed, and a hell of a lot more time out doing those couple-y things. You’ve never spent so much time shopping for food before. You go out and do cliché couple things like look at the clouds or have a picnic together.
Sitting outside is boring, but not with her.
One day you’ll have an argument, and thank god for that. You’re your own person with your own thoughts and opinions, they’re going to conflict at some point. But most importantly it shows that you can argue and still fall madly in love again afterwards. If anything, it strengthens you’re relationship, because you’re no longer lying to each other. And look, you’ve ended up in bed again.
Her hair always looks good in the sunshine. She looks better in the morning than at any other time in the day.
After time has passed, you’re comfortable being yourselves around each other, you’ll start to form those memories and little traditions that you do together, that makes her irreplaceable. Every morning, you wake up and make each other smoothies, cause you’re on that health kick – you can’t help it, after all your in a relationship which means you are going to get a fatter. Pizza with her is worth more than a day at the gym. And every little bit of chubbiness is a memory, and there’s more of each other to hold onto, so you love each other for it.
When she comes home to yours, you notice that she’s upset again. She doesn’t enjoy what she does it stresses her out and she complains to you everyday about it, and you make her feel safe and tell her everything will be okay. She can tell you anything. She can always talk to you about work. She shouts at you, because you don’t understand what it is that she’s saying, she’s not looking for the answer just for you to listen. One of you apologizes, it doesn’t matter. She says you always shout at the ones you love the most. You agree.
It’s been months. You know each other as if you were the other. You can tell what she’s going to say when she walks in the door, you can already guess what she wants for dinner before she says it, you know when she’s in a bad mood when she tells you she isn’t. She hates that by the way.
One day – she doesn’t want to have a smoothie, she doesn’t have time for it. She still shouts about her job, but it’s at you, not to you. She’s always stressed. She’s always tired. You’re forgetting the good things you do together. You can’t stand listening to her day anymore. You’re in a routine, but not for the right reasons. You miss your smoothie.
The arguments have gotten worse. It’s one thing to be comfortable enough to be honest, and to challenge each other – but it’s about everything now. It’s your fault the dishes aren’t done, it’s your fault she didn’t get a good assessment, it’s your fault she’s going through a rough patch. You argue in public. She’s began to find your flaws, and she focuses on them now. She uses them to explain you to someone sometimes.
Her hair still looks good in the sunshine, but it doesn’t amaze you because you’re still angry about the argument from the night before. The couch is only comfy when you’re not heartbroken. Your sick of having to hide the fights in your mind every time someone asks how she is.
You try to work on it, to fix this. You have to be honest now or you’ll regret it. You tell her about the problems you’ve been having, and you both assure one another you will work on it. Every couple has arguments.
But the dishes still aren’t done. It’s still your fault whenever it can be. She hasn’t taken her turn to make you a smoothie in weeks, you drink them alone now. She’s only happy when it rains. You both agreed somewhere down the line these problems would get fixed, it’s too much, they have to be fixed. You’ve told and complained a million times and it’s still the same. You push through, as all these horrible things you saw from the beginning get worse and worse, and they haven’t been fixed, and you’ve told her before, but she promises, and the dishes – it hits you.
You’re not in love with her.
When did that happen? When did she stop making you happy? All those little things that were worth it – just aren’t any more. You lost her.
It hits you in the chest, all at once on an idle Sunday.
There are tears, angry words breaking the silence, shouting and screaming, you might even get a couple slaps through glassy eyes. She tells you you’re just giving up on her. You agree.
The worst part about losing someone you love, is you don’t know when they’re happy.
They might be happy today, or sad, or thinking of you, or not. And you don’t know.
Doubt is a big part of the next few weeks. Did you do the right thing? What more could you have done? Were you in the wrong? Were you a good partner? Does she think about you? Does she know that you think about her? You’ll replay words in your head, how you could have said them better. You’ll obsess over the things you should have said.
One day, you’ll catch sight of her. You check – she doesn’t see you. She’s outside of a shop, or on the other side of the window in a restaurant. You’re unsure if you should speak to her. Maybe it’ll bring back old feelings, maybe she’s still in love with you. You don’t want another fight in public. There were a lot of words you’ve got to explain, you didn’t mean to make her cry like you did. You didn’t want to break her heart, you wanted to make her happy. You need to remind her that the screaming, the shouting and the anger near the end – it wasn’t always like that. You were her everything one day in time and you lost it. You gave up. The guilt is torture.
While your thinking, someone walks up, takes her hand in his. She looks at him and smiles. He smiles back and kisses her on the lips. They fade out of eyesight together, smiling.
And you realise, she is happy.
And you let her go.