Miyerkules, Mayo 27

Backlog: Maybe you're Gone

"Won't be the first heart that you break
Won't be the last beautiful...
One that you wrecked, won't take you back
If you were the last beautiful..."

I was once told by a close personal friend, that when someone falls out of love; it is usually because of falling in love with someone else. At that point of our alcohol-induced conversation, I did not believe a word my friend said. I have always believed that love is a conscious decision you make, not something you just tumble into. In the many relationships I have gone through in my life, I have seen my philosophy about love to be true. And I have applied this to all areas of my life. I keep on telling myself that the decisions I make are mine; that I am never to tell myself that I have no choice but to go through with things. It is also true that while we cannot always choose our circumstances, we can choose how to respond. Now that I am at the ripe old age of 22, I can say that I have made choices that weren't exactly what one would call wise. I have wrecked my life numerous times and in the process, I have wrecked others' lives as well. But despite all these, I still do not have the shadow of regret on my persona. Why? It's because I just let everything go. No matter how painful (and sometimes humilating) circumtsances are, I recover because I know that even if I may feel like dying; I really won't.

Today was a case in point. After more than two years of emotional investment and efforts, another relationship has ended. Even though we have not really been smooth sailing for a while, I really did not expect this. For countless times, I chose to work things out. I chose to painstakingly make compromises that hurt my pride. I chose him, over and over again. And while I have been doing this for the past two years of my life, he chose a different route. I need not expound further for you to be able to understand that he did not choose me.

I have always been a fighter, but over time; I have learned to pick my fights. When someone tells you straight to you face that he wants to leave you, it's useless to swallow your pride and beg him not to leave. Especially if you have done everything humanly possible not to get to this point. It simply isn't worth the energy and the self-doubt. And while I would have liked to counter his statements with sentences such as: "How dare you, you filthy lowlife!" or "I never really loved you anyway."; all these are also not worth the trouble. When he told me he wanted out, I simply gave in. Mind you, it was not a rare show of weakness. Au contraire, it took all the restraint left in me not to retaliate. I just felt that if he cannot even give our relationship a chance, if he can just let it go after investing so much; he is simply not worth my time or words.

What bothers me is that we did not even have an easy start. Even the most turbulent of relationships are given at least that.From the very beginning, I could see that we did not have much in common. You could say that we were bonded by two things: proximity and ideology. When I met him, we were both part of a political group. He was part of my immediate circle. What drew me to him was his energy, his vivacity and his drive to further the cause of our group. I have always been drawn to people with those qualities. I saw in him someone who would share my commitment to the movement. I thought that I had finally met someone who would support me. Well, I guess that most people are optimistic at the blossoming of love. That he and I came frome different backgrounds is an understatement. We were polar opposites. I was an undergraduate student at a prestigious university then, he didn't even give college a shot. I don't blame him for not going to college though. He chose upholding human rights and freedom over getting a college degree. I admired him for that then and I still admire him now.

But sometimes, these are not enough to make the spark last. You can admire a person from afar. You need not have a relationship with that person. The trouble started when I began to see that aside from our commitments to the struggle, we had nothing else to talk about. We did not have the same friends. We did not have the same interests. We didn't even agree with what we did on dates. Given that reading is one of my primary habits, I felt fairly disappointed that he did not have any favorite books. In fact, he barely read for leisure at all. To his credit, he did try to read the books that I gave him. Though I don't recall him finishing any of it. But at that point in time, I didn't see it as a fatal incompatibility. I thought that our differences would make our relationship richer. I thought that because we were so different, we would learn and grow from each other.

I was never so wrong in my life.

Over time, I grew to discover that our differences were more than skin deep. It was not a matter of preferences. We simply did not agree on anything. To be able to hurdle our differences, we did not talk about them anymore. And slowly, we came to a time when silence engulfed us. At first, that silence was thought to be the comfortable kind. Personally, I thought that we had finally become so stable that we did not need words. Of course I was wrong. The worse part of it was I knew that something bad was happening. I watched our relationship slowly whither away. I was a spectator to our deaths. I stood there, paralyzed; my eyes fixed on the destruction of what we worked so hard to have. I was loosing him and I had never felt so disempowered in my life. For me, that would easily be the lowest point of life. I have never felt powerless before.

But why was that

I felt that I could do nothing to salvage our relationship. I felt like that because he did not do anything to show me otherwise. And for the life of me, I could never figure it out. I did not understand then, I do not understand now. The months that preceded our break up were quiet at best. And when we fought, I was usually the first to concede.

He began belittling everything I did. He told me that I was not contributing anything to our cause. He began criticizing my style of work. His criticisms were riddled with broken glass. What he said were painful. He even went to the length of telling me that my college degree was useless and my family was nothing more than a bunch of apathetic bourgeoisie people, living off the blood of the poor around them. Did I leave him when he said those things? Of course not. I am not a woman who gives in easily.

All the hurtful things he said, I chalked up to us growing up differently. In retrospect, I could have been as hurtful. I could have said that he made politics his excuse for his laziness. That he had no aptitude to make a name for himself, that he had no capacity to be able to give me a decent life. But love can make us get over ourselves. I did not say these things because I loved him. I did not want things to take a turn for the worst. Those things were hurtful, they hurt my pride. Strangely enough, even with my pride being pulverized right before my eyes; I did not even flinch. Despite all these attacks, separation was not even an option for me. Through all the troubles we had, I believed that everything was just a chapter in our story. I believed that we would go through the other chapters together.

I had no idea that the bloody end was near.

Maybe, I did not think that he had enough balls to leave me. I under estimated him. I over appraised myself. Sure, I was wrong to just stand there as he was slowly walking away from me. I am not a passive person. But when I dealt with him, I chose to be passive. And therein lies the fault. I wonder what would have happened if I had asserted myself. If he wouldn't have left if I told him how bruised I was with his words. I would silence my words because I was so afraid to loose him. In skirting all those "danger subjects", I had failed to save what was left of our relationship. I cannot say that I did all these things because I loved him so much. Rather, I did not try so hard because I did not love him enough. I did not love him enough to call out his short comings.

Love is many things, but it is never blind obedience. I feel as if I deluded myself into thinking that all our hardships would pass if we refused to talk about it. I would like to have stayed in love with him. I would like to have loved him more. But after all has been said and done, wanting cannot heal a pulverized heart. Broken self-respect cannot be fixed by an apology.

I do not regret getting into a relationship with someone like him. I cannot say that I would like to turn back the clock. We were unequally matched, that much is true. But our problems were deeper than that. We had both refused to recognize our problems. We had both stood back as everything fell apart. I have been hurt, I have been humiliated and I have been walked out on. But I have no monopoly of pain. I know that somewhere within the deep belly of Metro Manila, he is there; also wallowing in pain. We have both lost two years of our lives we can never get back. We have both lost our unborn children. Most especially, we have both lost the future we have planned for ourselves. In the aftermath of it all, we are both derelict and alone.

But all these thoughts are moot and academic. There is no longer an "us".

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