My sentiments, exactly. :)
As the theme from the movie A Love Story opens, I also asked, “Where do I begin to the tell the story …”
I was a new kid in town so I needed a job to make both ends meet. Finding a restaurant job was not easy but I was lucky to secure one with less of the salary of a regular employee. To compensate for the low pay, I was enticed to live with the proprietress’ family where I was given free board and lodging.
I was satisfied: living in a foreign land was not as difficult as it would seem. I also liked the cold climate, most welcomed than the oppressive heat back home.
Months passed by uneventfully; nothing of significance happened. Until the day she arrived.
Who was she?
My command of the local language was passable though I was more proficient in reading and writing than speaking. All the added letters absent from the English alphabet twisted my tongue, my pronunciation worse when I was nervous. And I was terribly nervous when I saw her the first time.
She was introduced to us as a part-time cook, having experience in local dishes. Honestly, I was just interested to see her everyday, cooking or not. She was the magnet as I was the metal, cold and unemotional, until that moment at least.
She smiled a lot. Her red hair was very much noticeable on top of her creamy white face. I could not think of a movie star to compare to her. Not that it mattered actually. I liked her simplicity.
I stood silently as she and the female owner engaged in small talk. All I needed to know was that she would be working with us in the kitchen, my haven.
Suddenly, everything changed. I had someone to think about, an inspiration to make everyday more memorable.
When she left, I remembered an old song my father used to listen to. Only then I realized how appropriate the mellow music was to describe what I had just felt.
I knew right away that my life would turn rosy from then on.
Trust was too elusive. That two-way mutuality absent, prevented to flourish.
I could have stayed. Friends coaxed me to charge it to experience.
I went as far North as possible to escape. The extreme cold numbed me physically, emotionally though I still burned, the flames could not be extinguished so easily.
I ran away but she was always beside me in my waking hours. Her features seemed to adorn the face of every woman I met on the streets. It was too difficult to disengage from her even if I was far away.
I had to make a decision, more painful as it was but necessary.
What’s the point of wandering about a country not my own, looking for a place to find happiness with someone I loved? The painful reminders would not stop as I spoke the language we shared. Nothing could change the result of our parting: I was already denied, distrusted for something I was not given to chance to prove otherwise.
Whenever I heard a familiar song played on the local radio, I could only stop whatever I was doing, wherever I was, and listened to the words that eerily described what happened to us. Would I not be driven to tears? Would the wasted opportunity be readily forgotten?
In a major way, she possessed the proof, not in my case, but with what other men did which she could see around: other women with children from mixed-race relationships, left alone to endure the cruelties of a biased society. Those examples were too much for her not to consider.
But why should I be compared to those irresponsible men? Was there even an indication I would follow their lead? She said nothing.
I was too puzzled to think of answers. The pain that caused her to distrust men could have been too traumatic that even my genuine love was not enough to heal her. It would have helped if she told me what to do: she offered nothing.
Till this day, I could still see her in my mind like all the women I loved. She had that uniqueness, most especially her flowing red hair, making me proud whenever we walked together. Back then, I often told her that we would grow old together. That was not to be.
It has been a long time since I really loved someone like her. Perhaps, I would never be the same again.
Believe me, I know what real pain is.
How would you feel when you profess the truth about your feelings and the person you love would not trust you? She makes you part of her life but she believes her imaginary fear that you are like every man who abandoned her. How do you reverse her notion?
I experienced it first hand. With cultural difference already a barrier, I felt like an accused pleading innocence but the judge already found me guilty of my crime without culpable reason.
Was it a crime to be a foreigner and love a local girl?
Was it a crime to help her raise a son from the man who left her?
Was it a crime to ask her of marriage?
There was love. For her, it was enough. For me, it wasn’t. I needed her complete trust.
Months passed but I still failed.
Pain was when I could not open my heart for her to see that I was telling the truth. Pain was hearing her constant words that I would not be the last man to leave her. Pain was when her son began to discover I could be a father he could never have. Pain was when I accepted I could not measure up with her image of her knight in shining armor.
We ended our relationship because I could not handle the pain. I was dying. Love killed me slowly.
Our fates crossed but separated. Mine led me back home.
Whatever you do, as most people would tell you, never lose control.
I have tried to follow this reminder for so long I could remember but there were those times situations forced me to surrender it that eventually led me to dire consequences.
The best example I could think of is falling in love. Once the arrows hit us, we’re gone to that complicated world, where control is constantly fought over by lovers.
Who should lead in love? Men claim they should. Women will say otherwise.
Before, when I lost control of my feelings, I suffered. If I could only show what Love did to my heart, you could imagine a figuratively Swiss-cheese-looking organ, too many invisible holes created by aches of disappointments, of my own making and the ones I loved.
Such setbacks could lead us to take charge completely, I did, and refrained to ever lose control because of Love. Some people might call it hatred. I called it a freeze; emotionless, duh.
No! I am not saying I am through with Love. That’s far from the truth.
You could say I am wary, ever careful, guarded, and most of all I distance myself from anyone who would trap me in a situation I could lose control again.
Yet, I always believe in Fate. That’s the given in my equation. If Love will still be a part of it, then so be it.
My journey will continue as I like it to be. Only destiny could foretell where I would be headed.
Note: This post should have been published much earlier. Problem was, I was not in control of the internet connection that crawled much slower than a snail. Bummer.