Despite Everything

We were childhood friends from birth. I remember, up until first grade, we never left each other’s sides. We were the best of friends. And, to me, she was the world. But then, we drifted apart, rather naturally, as I moved away to a different neighborhood. My parent’s had decided the neighborhood was no good for my education, and took me to a fancy, white neighborhood up north. It was in the suburbs of the big city, where people had culture — not that regional city where people ran into dead end jobs.

And so our lives continued like that. I graduated high school in the suburbs, and went to college in the big city. And, she continued her life in that small city. We almost forgot about each other until a bunch of freak coincidences had me go back to my childhood home for a position. We met each other again after nearly 18 years at a bus station.

I was waiting to go to an appointment I had for work, and she was on her way to school, from what I could gather. It took both of us by surprise. I, over the years in my new found home, had erased her from my memories. And, she, understandably, did the same. Our lives carried on without one another, without hitches, for years, as if nothing had happened. It was, obviously, awkward for us to meet again after such a hiatus.

I don’t quite recall, but I think I gave her my contact. I had my business cards back then, so it would make the most logical sense. Whatever the catalyst was, we hit it off again, and we were soon acting as though we never left each other’s sides at all. We were the dynamic duo again, just like the years we had left behind. And all the years we had foregone made our reunion all the more fierce.

But not everything was perfect. As much as we were alike, we were different. As such, we ran into a lot of conflicts. We fought over huge issues, like each other’s career choices, to the utmost trivial, like drinking coffee past noon. There were times when fatigue got the best of us, when she said things that could not be unsaid. There were times when I just outright ignored her because I knew my temper was reaching its limits. But despite all that, despite everything, we never left each other’s sides.

It wasn’t long before I realized I was in love with her. Everyday, my mind was preoccupied with thoughts of her, and pretty soon, she was my everything. There wasn’t a single resting moment that my mind could focus on something else. And by the time I had realized all this, it was far too late for me to try and suppress my feelings. Every time we met, every time we shared a moment, every text we sent each other, it sent my heart racing. Even the times when we had a squabble or two, those moments made me fall in love all over again.

But it was never clear what she was thinking. Was she in love with me as much as I was in love with her? She smiled every time I looked at her face, but I could feel there was considerable distance between the face I set my gaze upon, and the true feelings of the person I had fallen in love with. Or perhaps it was just my inferiority complex setting in. There was no way to be sure. All I knew was, there was something wrong, and the status quo was not sustainable.

Ultimately my uneasiness got the best of me. I had to ask her. And ask away I did. I told her everything. I told her about my feelings, my thoughts, and my anxieties. At first, she looked perplexed, as if she didn’t expect this at all. She later confessed that she had a feeling that was the case as well. She knew that I was in love with her. And that she didn’t know how to respond. She knew that I belonged in the big city, not in some backwater town with her. But she loved me, just as I loved her. She knew she would regret not taking the leap of faith with me, regardless of the consequences in the end. But, she knew it would be painful having to see me leave for the big city, as I inevitably would.

The conflicting feelings were what gave her that mystical smile, much akin to the Mona Lisa. That’s why she was so distant over the past few days. She began to shed tears. And it began to break my heart. Seeing her true soul shine through the face that had tried to conceal it from me days prior made me happy, but the immense melancholy of the Shakespearean tragedy we were in made that happiness seem insignificant. I took her into my chest. I held her tight. And, we sat in the moonlight. Her tears wouldn’t let up, as I contemplated what was to come of us.

There comes a time in every person’s life when they need to make a leap of faith in judgement. It may be that there is a lack of information, or that there’s too much. Either way, the consequences of the decision is life altering. This was one of those times. And there were two decision makers I could listen to. My head was telling me to leave, because love is an ephemeral feeling — at least according to all scientific evidence, and my personal history.  What mattered most, in the end, was me, and my career. But my heart was telling me that this time, it would be different. This was the moment I was waiting for — this was what I came for.

It’s funny how a single person can hold 2 contradictory ideas in themselves simultaneously, and still function normally. I took her home that day, and took a long walk back to my place. All the while, contemplating what could be the biggest decision in my life. There seemed to be a democratic election happening in my body, with ever inch of me siding with either my head, or my heart. And, the process was excruciating. It made me want to throw myself off a bridge, and end up in the obituaries. But I persevered. The next morning, I went back to her place, and picked her up.

We went for brunch. There was an eerie silence about our table as the food was being served. I finally broke the silence.

“I have something to tell you,” I said. She stared back with a visible sadness in her eyes. Her lips began to quiver. She could have began bawling at the slightest touch.

“I’m not leaving,” I said, trying to calm her down. “You’re the biggest catch of my life; I’d be a moron to leave you.”

I could see the relief on her face as those words came out of my mouth. And as the fear left her face, tears of joy began to take its place. She began to cry, despite the smile, rather uncontrollably. I shed a tear or two myself. I could feel all the other patrons of the restaurant staring at us, but none of that mattered. I had taken the biggest leap of faith in my life. And I was ready to break her fall at the bottom now. And just as I leaned in to wipe the tears off her face, she kissed me with all her passion.


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