I heard a sad and intimate story from someone I call ‘sistah friend’. Her tale of what could have been the one love found and lost is as old as time and been told time and again in many ways and forms.
I listened, but didn’t say much. What do you say to someone whose heart is breaking from the sheer weight of pain and sorrow? It was enough she had a shoulder to lean on. Inane words like ‘you’ll get over it in time’ or ‘you need to move on’ are insensitive and condescending.
The only words of consolation I could offer were: “At least he didn’t die and he’s still out there somewhere and one day you may run into each other and there’s always the chance of rekindling your lost love. Whereas death is permanent and nothing will bring back your loved one except in your memories and dreams.”
To which she replied: “Ah, but he is stone-cold, solid as a rock and there is no bending him. He’s learned a thing or two from love’s pain and heartache school. Who hasn’t? We’ve been going through this horrifying and emotional roller coaster for what seems like an eternity.
“The first time — he declared his love saying he wanted me in his life in an effing text message — can you believe that? He doesn’t do face-to-face, one-on-one. After that he abruptly cut me off to inform me that he didn’t want to be attached when his ‘university days on-and-off soul mate’ ever came to her senses, leave her husband and children to be with him. Oh, he told me about the love he couldn’t have, and I have no doubt she felt smug telling him to play the field, but when it came time for her to call him back, he had to drop the person he was with. He was her lapdog, that one.”
I said: “Maybe he panicked that he was getting in too deep with you.”
She didn’t listen. “Second time around when he figured out that maybe soul mate wasn’t going to come through for him and it was time for him to settle with me, his second best, the hurt from the first time must have surfaced from the nether regions of blocked memories, became agitated and lashed out. I was mainly at fault there.
“You know what’s sad? I realized too late that the second attempt may have been real, but his complicated and screwed-up personality kept him from openly expressing his love (if it was love). Or maybe he was feeling sorry for me for dumping me the first time around.
“Sometimes, I would rather he died so I didn’t have to worry about awkward encounters and running into his friends who tend to inevitably bring up his name especially when he’s in town. From the looks I receive, he must have spread his version of what a deranged bitch I am for smashing his ego. Do they expect me to squirm, rant and rave like the lunatic he made me out to be, or do back flips so they can report back to him?”
The look of agony on my friend’s face tore me apart, more so after her litany of hurt. “I would have given up everything for him had he asked me to my face. Instead, I was the last to know and it was too late by then. My foul temper ended what could have been a nurturing love and lasting friendship.”
How does one respond to that statement? My more sophisticated and lah-di-dah friends would have called this soap opera over-the-top melodramatic and sappy, at best. But isn’t love always that way when you’re drowning in it?
I suggested that it would be a good idea if she wrote down everything to release all the demons that crawled to earth, murdered cupid and wreaked havoc with her poor heart.
“Just do it,” I said. “It will make you feel loads better.”
She did and did it in one sleepless night. She invited me for coffee and flopped the printed words on the table. “There it is ace, for your perusal.” She looked drawn and haggard — the poison feasting on her body; shedding pounds of flesh.
My initial reaction was that of a woman championing my aggrieved ‘sistah’ friend. “Is this boy an idiot? Is he so dense he doesn’t recognize love laid bare and staring him in the face? It bit him in the ass and he swatted at it, thinking it was a bee sting. What a loser.”
“Don’t judge him too harshly,” she said. “You’re only getting my side of the story. He must have had his reasons. His problem is he doesn’t let anything out of the iron curtain wall he built around him.
“When things got bad the first time, he compared me to his ex-wife — not the soul mate, that one must have done everything right — just because I said something she said right before their horrendous split. He clamped down then, and it took a whole lot to get back into his good graces.”
“What did you say?”
“Stupid, mundane, straight from the movies line. ‘You always hurt the one you love.’”
I grimaced. “Yuck.”
“Yeah, you got that right. What an inane thing to say.”
“Anyway, you two have had a string of bad lucks,” I said. “Or maybe someone’s put a hex on this forever-going-nowhere love affair. Maybe a former love of yours or his.”
“You believe in that sort of thing?”
“Sure,” I said. “Why not? In this country where everyone believes in superstitions and love potions and hexes, and if you buy into that nonsense, you have to follow some rule that will supposedly rid of the charm inflicted on your person. Maybe he took something of yours and poured drops of a bewitching potion on it.”
“I’ve heard stories, but they’re just that,” sistah said.
“You’re kidding, right? You know what, though? He hid my ring when we had a weekend together, away from prying eyes. I asked him if he had seen it and he said maybe the cleaning woman took it. The ring surfaced the day we checked out of the hotel.”
“Getting back to luck, you two have been around the mill twice,” I said. “Well, hey, maybe the next turn around will be the clincher. Third time’s the charm, as they say.”
I received rolled eyes, followed by a smirk. My friend wasn’t buying it.
I gave back her composition of her sorrow. “Yeah, I was just messing with you. I want you out of this funk you’re in.”
“Keep the damn thing,” she said, tossing her writing back at me. “Do with it whatever. Knowing you, you’ll use it as fodder for that writer brain of yours.”
“You know me only too well,” I said. “Not to worry, I will omit names, but knowing this tongue-wagging town, if people even bother to read here, speculation will abound. You and dense boy have been through the gossip mill before, and your names will surely come up.
“And, I take it there’s no chance of you two getting back together, even if to have a dialogue and figure out where things went wrong? Why can’t you have a heart to heart with daft boy like we’re doing now?”
“No chance,” she said. “He’s made that crystal clear as in a clear, blue lake. It would shatter his stone-cold solid demeanor. It wouldn’t do to lower that unbreakable pride. Even an expert psycho negotiator wouldn’t know what to do with us.”
“Hey,” I quipped, “there’s no such thing as a pristine lake in this world we live in. So maybe there’s a chance . . .?”
My friend ignored the question. Her gaze returned to a distant past. “We used to talk about everything. We confided in each other, we were whole for a brief time. Talked alike, same thoughts, likes and dislikes, you know. Someone even thought we were siblings with our arms wrapped around each other. Funny . . .”
I couldn’t resist. “Well, you know what they say about that. Vice is nice, but incest is best . . .”
She frowned at me.
“I’m sorry, I’m being callous and insensitive, but your situation is so damned pathetic, I could cry buckets. I mean, look at you. You’re a citizen of the world, you’ve been places and done things only others would dream of, and yet you’re letting this dingbat rule your thoughts and this,” I said, touching her heart.
“You’ve got the story, ace,” she said, lightening the mood. “Do with it what you will. Do what you do best and write about the unpleasant and sordid mess your friend got herself into.
“But be kind to both of us,” she said. “It was so good until it went bad.”
I re-read her story and made mental notes — notes to myself that gnawed at me until I became obsessed and psychotic — until I translated her words and related her story to songs; a form of release for my friend, for hearts unknowingly and blindly torn apart and yes, probably for myself.
Editor’s note: The author is (obviously) using a pseudonym to protect her identity and avoid backlash from aggrieved person or person(s) mentioned in above fictionalized ‘heartbreak’ account of her friend. Asked about part 2, Ms. Myth said to wait for it. So we wait . . .