Proud people bring sorrow upon themselves

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I remembered the first time I laid my eyes on you, impossibly handsome, too good for me. I thought I had been granted my heart's desire, and was almost frightened. Now I realized that I had been frightened almost from the beginning, frightened of losing you, frightened of boring you, frightened of my own feeling, even of yours. Since knowing you a certain degree of fear was so natural to me that I no longer even noticed it.

You always stressed upon me that we could never be together because I would never understand you. I understood you but I kept my opinion to myself because I felt that even if I managed to open my mouth at the time, no sound would come out. True, at first look, you struck me as complicated, and whose complexities I had promised to study and to understand. But at the end, you appeared to be just a simple man. Your entire emotional life seemed to consist of an enthusiasm for other people, for faraway places, even for activities far removed from my own settled expectation. I understood you had a limited attention span. You always needed new people to break what you experienced as the monotony of the old. You were so used to living in complexities, difficulties, ambivalence. You would rather, I thought be intrigued by a woman than be disarmed by her. You told me many time, I was able to leave you speechless, I managed to strip you naked helplessly in front of your successes and failures. And because of that, you hated me and those moments of unavoidable truth-telling which occasionally passed between us. I understood that was what you feared the most because you felt you had forfeited or lost part of yourself in the process, as if it had made you vulnerable to criticism, to attack. I saw in you face many times whenever these moments prevailed on you. It was fretful, pained and resentful. You always said I was impossible. I made you life impossible. And every time you uttered it, the word stuck to me like a curse, like some pitiless condemnation of who and what I am. Yes, I was impossible and I understood you wanted someone who would cause you no anguish and did not challenge you. Yet at the same time, you wanted to hold her at arm's length. I understood you more than you imagined I was capable of.

It embarasses me now to look back on my passion. What I felt then could not be captured in words. I grew distracted, jumpy, absent-minded. It was clear to everyone that of the two of us, I was likely to love the more. But you were charming to me. You treated me good. Superficially all went well. Whenever I was with you, the world seemed brighter and more welcoming. I wanted to have you within my sight at all times. I would be perfectly content if you were never apart from me for a single minute. And whenever you were away, the unavoidable separation caused me a measure of pain, increasing my longing for you, and I would spend my days in thrall of breathless anticipation, agitated and alert, counting the hours until I could see and talk to you again.

And my fault was precisely this. That I would seek to prolong our moments of closeness when I could sense that you were restless for me to leave so you can resume your single life. My mistake was to hold on to you longer than necessary, when the correct stance would have to been a certain detachment, an irony as if to imply you would have to love me to a much higher standard to convince me that I had to take you seriously. I should have found such a tactic odious, but now I see it sometimes necessary to meet withdrawal with withdrawal, dismissal with dismissal. But then again, I do not believe in this tactic because it would run counter to my instinct, which is not those of an aggresor.

It is sad that I had never known you well because I had been infatuated by you and had therefore never seen you as a friend. As a lover I had to beguile and delay, distract and disarm your fleeting attention to me. I endured so many infidelities, so many lies, so many empty promises because I thought in term of paying the price for your love and that was how much I loved and still love you even now. But love of this caliber is not easy to sustain, largely because it is unrealistic, and in a sense inauthentic. Love is not the awesome prize I once thought it was but a much more daily commodity, penny plain rather than tuppence colored.

But I guess I am talking out of broken-heartedness, suffering mightily because I still yearn for you, much as one yearns for a lost of opportunity. I wanted to start again because I reached that dangerous state in which I could see every fault I had committed, and I desired an enormous confrontation so that I could cancel it all and begin again. But then again, this is of course impossible. Inevitably my false reading of your commitment to me is wrongly supplemented by my false reading on the part of my own commitment to you. There is in fact no way back.

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