Everyone knew they weren’t going to last the year. He invested too much, too soon in the relationship, they said. No one said that she didn’t invest enough.
That’s how they saw relationships these days. Like investments. A fruitful one was said to repay rewards or dividends on the time and energy invested by an individual in it. The perceived folly on his part was viewed as a poorly timed investment-he professed his love too soon. He came across what teens today call ‘desperate’ or ‘pathetic.’ She came across as smart to withdraw her energies from the relationship at the right time.
So, this boy. How foolish was he exactly? Let me tell you.
Despite sharp stings of the inevitability of their numbered days together which wafted through the air as caution might, he wrote her epic poems and novels in her favourite emerald ink on expensive ivory paper held together with paperclips. He did this so as not to leave any staple indentations in the paper, a pet peeve she had. He posted them in envelopes sealed with a kiss. He sent her messages signed off with one too many heart emoticons. He spent long hours staring at her from where he sat while she toyed with her perfect, perfect curls. When she finally met his gaze, he didn’t look away. When she laughed at him, often in a not-so-friendly way, he told her he loved the crinkles that formed by her eyes.
He loved her. You could see it in the way he caressed his phone while he read her texts, even if they were often monosyllabic. You could see it in the way he looked at her while she made coffee. If you told him he had to do that for the rest of his life, he would be the happiest person in the world. You could see it in the way he kissed her. Firm, hard, like she’d asphyxiate if he didn’t coax her lips apart.
Every day as they left for work, the two of them parted by filling the air with mutual utterances of ‘I’ll miss you.’ He actually meant it. She was the kind of person who stopped believing in herself when life knocked her down. She would inhale and try to suffocate. At times like this, he would breathe for her, exhale and save her life.
Don’t get me wrong. She loved him too, in the words she never said. She loved him to destruction. She wanted to call him beautiful. She meant to write him poetry. She wanted to tell him how it physically hurt her heart when he was away from her and how every word of every text he sent her played its part in getting her through the day. Instead, she just smiled and let the words she never spoke melt away into nothingness. She told herself she didn’t love him. She didn’t know how easy it would be for her to believe it.
You can see why it didn’t work out. They were opposites, and while they say opposites attract, sometimes we look to fall in love with ourselves.
She was complicated. The way from her heart to her mouth was a maze, and the words often got lost on the way. She didn’t know how much to invest, so she didn’t at all. He was a straight line. He knew he loved her and he was going to let her know because too many people died waiting all their lives to feel the way he did. He didn’t have time for games, playing hard-to-get and leaving words unsaid. They say he was desperate.
But one day, he will find someone who will say ‘I love you,’ despite fears of being greeted with hesitation. She will tell him to kiss harder. She will always outnumber the heart emoticons he texts her in her replies. She will stare at him for hours to meet his gaze. She’ll savour each word he writes for her, imprinting it somewhere in her memory. She won’t be afraid to invest.
They may call them desperate. But desperation is sorely misunderstood. Desperation is courage. It’s giving your all, without assured returns. Desperation is honesty. It’s the purest expression of the mind and heart. Desperation is beauty. In that split second of insanity, a nebula is created of the purest, unmasked desires one cannot control, where no matter what, one has no choice but to be selfless. Yes, they were two souls clad in desperation. And they wore it like a medal.
This is probably my last post for a while as my board exams are looming dangerously close and I have to make up for all the time I’ve spent not studying for them in a week. Trust me, that’s quite a lot. So, see you after March, the 18th.