Do titles like these sound familiar?
“10 Ways to know he/she loves you.”
“How to know if you have found a soul mate?”
These types of trendy catchphrases have flooded Facebook and Twitter, and millions have fallen into the trap, including me. Yes, I am almost ashamed in admitting that I too had begun believing in these posts that claimed they could tell if somebody was head over heels in love with you. I had also started looking for these signs in almost every love interest I had. How childish!
I always took pride in saying that I had an eye for cheats; I always thought I knew how to tell the good from the bad. How naïve I was! It was finally me who fell hard on the ground. It, however, turned out to be an eye-opener for me, and I realized the fake and deluded world one creates in love.
It was because of my heart-breaking experience that I was forced to ask myself: is this what has become of love?
I do not know what gave me the courage to open up about this, but here I am, sharing the details of a time I almost loathe and regret, but would not want to change for the sake of the lessons. A lot of things I am saying sound contradictory, even to me, but that is how life is—one big bundle of oxymorons—always providing contrasts and confusions.
I was a normal teenager (maybe not completely normal, but as normal as one can expect to be in the “civilized” world). I craved love and attention, like everybody my age does. I was in a phase where having enough friends did not suffice and all I wanted was one person I could hang on to. This sounds quite silly to me now—depending on somebody else for your own happiness. I know all of this seems like the rants of a typical woman, fresh out of her teenage years, but it is not.
Being an English Literature student and a book addict, I had read a lot of novels and poems about love and separation. I loved how love was immortalized. Maybe this is my attempt to immortalize the pain caused by love.
The story begins with silly me being highly unsatisfied with life—a life that was almost perfect. But as they say, all good things come to an end. Maybe my dissatisfaction was meant to ruin the existing happiness that I always ignored.
There was a strange magnetic connection when I first met him. It was beautiful, electric; it was filled with sunshine that can make gardens blossom. When I first looked into his eyes, I knew I was looking into genuineness and caring—or so I thought, until the mask fell and I found myself drowning.
“I love you” became the morning coffee and “I miss you” became the warm, fuzzy feelings of winter nights under the blanket.
It felt like a vast ocean, where you want to take a dive and get lost in the depths. It was like the rainforest of Amazon. Yes, his eyes felt like the Amazon—deep and full of dangers. Still, I decided to venture and take my share of risk. It was wonderful. The jungle was vast, with mysterious places and creepy creatures lurking in the most unlikely places—the kind of mystery I loved. The days went by, and my love for his intricacies only increased. I was so deeply amazed that I did not foresee the danger I was jumping into.
It all looked otherworldly—like out of my favorite novel. But, as is known, fiction cannot become reality, and novels cannot come to life. I should have known the fairy-tale would soon end, but not like the modernized tales with happy conclusions. I should have fathomed that a Grimm Brothers kind of ending would be my fate.
I knew things were wrong, as anybody with strong intuitions would have felt. I had begun to comprehend that things were slowly falling apart from the core. There seemed to be no core, just a lot of jumbled mess spread around. I dreaded the days with him and fights became an everyday routine. His touch did not calm me anymore; the hugs seemed meaningless. He talked to me like it was a routine, just like a 9 to 5 job you detest but cannot leave. The affection in his eyes had become distant and was soon to vanish altogether. The physical presence did not complement the mental and emotional aura; the tension was apparent.
Things really did fall apart.
The brilliancy of this modern world is that everything is said and done on our those incredible pieces of technology—smartphones. Eyes are a window to the soul, they say. You can look into someone’s eyes and see the depth of feelings inside. But how far is it true today? The world has come to a point where even the eyes deceive sometimes. We have almost lost the courage to look someone in the eyes and express our feelings—however good or bad. The stories made with love are torn apart and hearts are crushed with a short text and the send button. With a few words, he completed his obligation and cut himself off from the relationship.
Did he care about the tears streaming down my eyes, or the void that his words left in my heart? I think not.
I do not understand what happened and what caused the flame of love to die so quickly. I suppose that there was no love; it was just pain disguised beautifully. The beautiful mask he had created for himself did the trick and I found myself falling from the fantasy. It took me ages to free myself from the ropes he held me with—the marks are etched but they are fading.
No, none of it would have mattered so much to me had my ego not been squashed and slaughtered.
In the world of paid love and one night stands, I still value love and trust; a little scratch of them can make my heart bleed uncontrollably.
Keeping all my anger aside—after months of all of this—I am a little more mature and a lot more cautious. Now we are back in the concrete jungle where I have erected large walls around me; only the most daring will be allowed to enter. I understand I am wrong in stopping myself from believing people the same way I used to, but I think this is what broken trust does to people—the cracks do not ever heal completely.
I have love for everyone around me: friends, family, people who love me and even strangers, but I do not think I will ever be completely willing to fall into the pit again. It is never too wise to fall, after all.
I regret being ignorant.
There is anger, frustration, gratitude, thankfulness and a lot of sadness. I guess this is what life’s all about. It teaches you something new each day and sends people in your life for a purpose; they might do something good, or teach you the lesson of a lifetime. I only hope these teachings do not keep me shut off from my own emotions always, but I do hope I am more cautious in the future and know the repercussions I might face.
And as they say, every pain leads to new beginnings. Maybe this pain was required for me to truly understand the beauty of my life and appreciate everything I had but took for granted. It made me realize I had people who genuinely and truly cared for me and loved me without any self-interest.
I only hope that it leads to me being a better version of myself; I hope it does not stop me from caring for others and giving love to everyone who needs it.
Today, while I recollect my thoughts and write, I want to honour my emotions; I want to accept myself as a vulnerable human being who feels a lot and constantly tries to deny it. I want to accept my contradictions. I want to accept my current state of being closed off from giving out too much, with the hope that it does not last long. Today, I want to give myself the gift of acceptance and love. Today, I want to thank him for the incomplete love, for teaching me what I had always ignored.
Someday, we might bump into one another. And for the sake of old times, we might go for a cup of cappuccino and talk about the days that are no more. You will be amazed and astonished to see me smiling. There will be sparkle in my eyes instead of dewy tears, and you will find yourself asking why. And I will only have a big smile to give you, a smile that would be enough to tell you how strong I am now, and how complete. And with that, it will be the end of every pain I ever endured because of you.
And now, with the hopes of being on the path of understanding, finding and accepting love one day, I let go.
Author: Sonia Shrestha
Editor: Travis May