They told me “You’ll never find the answers”.
“She doesn’t like to talk about her past.”
“Why would she ever tell you things she’d kept in her heart since forever?”
“I don’t think she really knows either.”
“We’ve known her this long and she hasn’t said a thing about it.”
“She’s not going to open up to you.”
I guess they were right.
I never had to find the answers; she gave them to me.
It took time, trust, and an understanding – things that some did not want to spend or offer.
Now, if only they had used the time to listen, instead of speculating…
That quiet man there – he keeps his head lowered as he works tirelessly. He’ll shoulder the loads and go the extra mile as long as it’ll ease someone’s burden and get the job done.
He is technically skilful. In fact, he is over-qualified for any work he does.
He speaks eight languages. He has an invincible grasp of human needs. He understands the depths of Man’s emotions.
But no, he wouldn’t speak – at least, not unnecessarily.
When the day ends, he ties all the loose ends even as everyone else rushes off and bunches up in crowds to chat. As they disperse, he walks down the dark pathway, against the bustling traffic, alone.
That quiet man there – I wonder, why does he do what he does? What goes on in his mind?
Behind a cold, distant front, was a woman who was emotionally-fragile.
Behind the diffidence, was a lady with a dogged determination for independence.
Behind the reticent demeanour was her passionately beating heart.
And beneath all of these, was a broken past that she had never spoken about.
The complexities of her thoughts and the reasons for her decisions prove difficult for one to comprehend at the outset. She had given up much of herself to fulfil the dreams of those around her. She had struggled with emotional battles that few had even thought about. She had forgotten herself in the midst of giving. While it was a conscious choice she had made, I couldn’t help but wonder – Why?
During the rare occasion of her openness, heart-rending stories were revealed. Things that were never shared with those closest – because there was no need to brag; much less any reason to justify. “They will know when they know.”
I was privileged to listen and feel, and be amazed.
She knew better this time.
Even as she felt the knots scrunching up in her tummy, and the creepy-crawly sensations that slid around within her chest, she merely let out a soft sigh.
Her fingers itched to call him, but it was less than two months since they last spoke.
No matter how much it took for her to suppress the urge, she was certain it would get easier. Watching the clock tick made it better, she persuaded herself. As long as day turned to night, she was certain she could let the feelings pass too. Perhaps it would be better not to make any rash moves, she reminded herself. She did not need another rejected call to ascertain that he cared less for her that he claimed he did. It wasn’t the first time she had to endure such emotions, and it surely wasn’t the last.
But she would learn, she reassured herself.
It had taken years, but she was positive that she could learn not to think of him.
The tense turns mellow.
A geek turns wild child.
The stickler turn non-conformist.
We’ve asked why. We’ve assumed reasons – the whats and whens and whos.
But perhaps the real question of how matters more.
How did this situation cause you to make adjustments to life?
How had this person convinced you to detract from your usual self?
How could an incident have resulted in such a transformation?
Perhaps an unconscious move; otherwise, a deliberate choice.
Why do people change, and for better or worse?
You see, most of life is a blur at first. Then comes the obstacles – rocky, challenging, numerous. But as we keep going, they seem to get a little more manageable. They didn’t lessen; they merely become less important. Even the barriers put in place cannot stop us from flowing through.
At the end? At the end we finish off as ashes in the sea, mixed within the rocks that line the shore.
Writing about it did him more harm than good. It didn’t make him any more certain about the situation. It didn’t help him forget her. But strangely enough, it didn’t help him to feel better about them either.
He tried to describe as vividly as he could, the day he had met her. He wrote fervently about the light that lit her silhouette, her eyes that glittered with the sheer hint of light that night. Then he typed fastidiously in an attempt to document every word and touch they had exchanged over time.
As he tried to weave their tale into a coherent story, he realised that there was hardly a story. No, there wasnt. There were countless expressions of affection from him to her. There were endless nights that he longed for her that it hurt his body and soul. There were infinite moments of closeness that he once held on dearly to. But to say they had an experience to retell or a relationship to cherish made almost a mockery to the true definitions of the words.
Perhaps putting these down in tangible words could help, he thought.
He kept up with writing, scribbling, typing, and back to thinking again. But slowly, as more days passed, less made sense. Feelings began to fade, and his resolute was evidently shaken. He could hold on the the last threads of memories, but the emotions were drained.
Did you still like her? They asked. This time, he wasn’t sure anymore.