“Suffering occurs when we want other people to love us in the way we imagine we want to be loved, and not in the way that love should manifest itself--free and untrammeled, guiding us with its force and driving us on.” -- Paulo Coelho
As I was resting my head on his shoulder, I felt a sense of security that I have never felt since my Dad died. His gentle strokes on my hair sent a feeling of oneness with him... as if he is an integral part of me, the one who completes me.
Slowly, I lifted my head in an attempt to look at him and explain what I feel but he was quick to say, “No, listen to me. I am the one who owe you an explanation. I have been silent the whole time. I avoided serious talks that led to our feelings. My silence acted as shield that I thought would protect me from hurt, spare me from responsibilities, and relieve me from lifetime commitment. But, when you walked out that door, I felt an unbearable pain--the pain of losing you. I realized my shortcomings: how I turned a blind eye to all your thoughtfulness; how I ignored your effort to comfort me; and above all, my sheer display of arrogance and meanness. Those are my childish means of avoiding what I feel and preventing myself to fall in love again. I was wrong. Unfair... for hurting you, passing the entire burden to you, making you suffer. In the end I, too, suffered a great deal. I don’t know how to admit all those foolishness and beg for your forgiveness, but I believe I have to do this for I realized...”
He stopped and let out a deep breath. The succeeding scene was strange. His voice trailed off as he tried to muster all his guts to pour out his heart’s content. I was seeing a contrast of his personality--from a tough, firm stance that I see most of the time to a mellowed-down bearing that made him appear terribly helpless with his emotions.
“I realized I couldn’t live a day without seeing you, without you beside me. All the while, I thought I was accustomed to my solitary life and could be happy even if I’m alone. I shut you out of my life, hoping that by doing so I can easily go back to my old routine. Then I realized that my life would never be the same without you. You put colors in my dull life. Suddenly, I wanted to be a better person, to be the best that I can be so I would be worthy of you. You brought out the best in me.”
I was about to interrupt, but he went on.
“I know you are aware of all the female friends I have. I saw how you felt bad when I became too playful with them. That was deliberate. I meant to tease you, see how you would react.”
He smiled, shyly, bowed down slightly, and shook his head, “That was so childlike. I feel stupid looking back at all those foibles."
He reached out for my hands and squeezed them.
"I’m so sorry. I want you to know that they are just my friends. Long-time friends and that’s all there is to it--friendship, nothing more. While you...”
He looked at me straight in the eyes, “You are everything to me: friend, lover, mentor... I can experience all relationships with you. You can accept me for what I am and even for what I'm not.”
I was stunned. His powerful remarks blew off every word I wanted to tell him. I was not the only one who tried to withhold and control my feelings, after all! We are both guilty. We caused our own suffering by trying to define and box our love and relationship.
At some point, we wanted love to unfold the way we wanted it to be, the way we think it should be forgetting that love could not be tamed and molded.
How could I not learn the important lesson that so many have suffered because they wanted to be loved the way they expected and once the opposite happens, they suffer, get hurt, and sulk. They failed to consider that love between two people could also be friendly, familial, and not romantic all the time!
Oh, what a fool I was! I indirectly demanded to be loved the way I wanted him to and did not consider the possibility that his love could just be friendly or familial.
Perhaps I got scared of my feelings because I have never loved anyone as much as I loved him. I could not bear the thought that he does not love me as much. My fears manifested as anger, irritation, and stubbornness--the usual causes of our arguments and constant fights.
Now, listening to his honest confession and journeying inside myself, I realized that love, indeed, should be allowed to flow freely and to just let it find its way to the heart where it rightfully belongs.
Happiness engulfed me! How lucky I am to have someone who loves me as much as I do.
Then, he moved closer... I closed my eyes and felt his warm lips on mine.