Memoirs

Tragedy

XVI

Her presence disrupted the equilibrium of his universe and he was intrigued. Curious yet too shy to directly approach her, he floated around her and watched her from the sideline. She became his first crush while she remained clueless, unknowing.


XI

Years later, they met again as if the Universe has planned it all along. This time, they were both aware of each other’s presence, albeit differently. To him, that was the second time their paths collided, in a way it even felt like a fated coincidence. To her, they were just two people who coincidentally happened to share the same class, fully unaware that their paths have long crossed before.

His curiosity of her intensified but he was still too timid; he has always been a man of few words so it felt out of character for him to make the first move to break the ice. He was contented by the fact that he could watch her, despite from a distance. On the other hand, she wasn’t fully ignorant; she has known his name all along but she was too shy to start a conversation for she has always been an introvert.

Curiosity got the better of him. His desire to know her personally intensified rapidly and the rise of social media then provided the perfect tool he needed to reach out to her. It didn’t take long for her to realize who he was, despite his attempt to use a pseudonym to conceal his true identity. She couldn’t explain how she knew but it wasn’t long before he finally revealed who he really is. And so it happened, it was no longer two internal monologues but a proper dialogue.

It wasn’t until he shared his vulnerability that she started paying more attention. Her compassion took over and emotional bond was formed. He evoked her natural tendency to protect and comfort others in emotional turmoil. With all her limitations, she tried her best to soothe his shattered heart and soon enough, she became his support system.

He too became her support system; with listening ears and supportive words. He became what she needed to overcome her share of turbulent days. At the end of it all, he was the one who restored the smile on her face.

Yet when everything seemed to be heading in the right direction, life took a different turn and ripped them apart. Each one was engulfed in their own respective responsibilities; distance became an obstacle, time became inconvenience and soon enough maintaining proper communication was too much of a challenge. They drifted apart and before long he was gone; without a word, an explanation or a proper goodbye.


VII

The beeping noise on her phone finally drew her attention but it was what she read that surprised her. After all those years that have passed in silence, the short message of ‘are you home now?’ was not what she expected, not from him especially. It didn’t take her long to reply, she had questions, loads of them, and she hoped to get the answers that day.

She could barely trust her eyes when she opened the door; there he was smiling and for a split of a second, she lost her words, her brain couldn’t function. The next two and a half hour went by in a flash. He remained the timid and quiet one while she dominated the conversation. She knew she shouldn’t but she couldn’t handle an awkward silence with him, not that day.

She was soon engulfed with disappointment when he left without a word, yet again. She thought he was finally coming back for good, otherwise he wouldn’t have shown up that day. But then she learnt, some things in life will always remain inexplicable, he was not an exception.


V,

She laughed wholeheartedly when she realized what they were about to do that night. They found themselves standing in front of the entrance of an indoor amusement park, surrounded by children who were only half their age.

‘Oh Lord, are we seriously going to..?’ she stopped abruptly when he pulled out two tickets from his pocket. Soon enough they found themselves buckled up in a miniature pendulum ride.

‘Are you sure this can hold our weight? We look rather ridiculous here…’ he nodded his head which did little to ease her worry but once the engine started roaring, her carefree laughter was the only thing that could be heard.

She knew what she was getting herself into and what the outcomes might be, yet she still couldn’t stop. It would have been wiser to stay away but there has always been an inexplicable force of attraction between them and she just couldn’t walk away from its pull.


V,

The screen of her iPhone lighted up repeatedly for the last thirty minutes. She tried to ignore it but soon it became a distraction and curiosity got the better of her. She frowned as she read through the message. It was such an odd request. She knew he wouldn’t insisted unless it was something urgent and so she relented.

It hadn’t been a terrific day for her; nothing really went according to plan and the call added nothing but more misery. It was brief and it all kind of went by in a blur, but the conclusion was definite and crystal clear.

Compromise is out of the equation so that was the end.


V,

He still came and went as he pleased. He appeared at the most unexpected timing yet left without a word or warning. His indecisiveness irked her and that ended their correspondence completely, at least for a while.


III,

Nothing triggered old memories faster than a casual remark of ‘I wonder how he’s doing now?’

She thought she wouldn’t be intrigued anymore but curiosity got the better of her. They have yet contacted each other after the last episodes, more than seven hundred and thirty days ago, and given his habit of changing his phone number ever so frequently, she wasn’t sure what’s the best way to reach out to him again. Nonetheless, she tried her luck and no one would have been prepared for the storm to come.


III,

Two weeks passed by without a word but right when she has given up on the idea of reconnecting with him, she finally heard back from him.

He apologized for getting back to her late, stating that his busy schedule led to him not realizing there was an unread message. That was such a flimsy excuse, she knew it, he wasn’t very interested in reconnecting.

She should have kept her distance and kept the conversation brief. All she wanted to know was whether he has been well but when he asked her out for lunch, she couldn’t bring herself to turn down the offer.


III,

She had been worried that their encounter would have turned into an awkward and uncomfortable event but it was overthinking on her part. Those long, silent years didn’t change anything much between them. She was still the cheerful talkative one and he was still the quiet one.

She took note of his insistence that he is not who she thought he is. However, instead of scaring her away, his insistence intensified her curiosity of him and so when he offered a lifetime opportunity to meet with the people who could reveal who he really is as a person, she agreed almost instantaneously.


III,

She tried hard to ignore those butterflies in her stomach and her racing nerves.

‘Calm down and focus.‘ she told herself.

It was important to take in as much information as possible as that might be the only chance for her to unravel and discover his real self. But much to her confusion, he turned out to be the person she has known all this time. She couldn’t figure out why he would have insisted otherwise.

Perhaps, it was a sign from him to stay away but she was too naive to even notice.


III,

‘Could you stop taking photos of me, please? I won’t be able to drink my milo and we might miss the ferry..’
‘Too bad, I like taking candid photos and you really should have chosen iced coffee instead..’

Before she could even rebut him, he was already at the counter asking for additional ice cubes. Despite being annoyed at his persistence in taking her (hilariously) candid photos, his caring nature was one of his traits that drew her in. She might be irked, but she couldn’t stay mad at him even if she tried.

That was a long day. She was exhausted but fully contented.


III,

The air was filled with tension. A wise man once said that people grow wiser as they grow older and experiences can change one’s perspective on life but that wasn’t the case for them.

They both sighed in defeat. Despite being the more open-minded one, there was nothing she could have done that night. No persuasion, no argument would have won him over for it was his fundamental belief system that had to change.

So they both opted for the second best option; friends.


III,

Gelato tonight?’

How a series of events unfolded that night and she couldn’t hide her excitement even if she tried. After what they had mutually agreed on several weeks prior, his change of heart was a bit of a surprise. But what mattered the most that night was the fact that they were finally one and that felt like a beautiful collision:

‘There was a feeling of inevitability when I met you. The sense that we would be together, that there would be a moment when you would look at me in a certain way, and we would cross the threshold from friendship into something so much more.
We spoke once about lovers who kept finding each other, no matter how many times the world came between them. And I think I had to break your heart, and you had to break mine. How else could we know the worth of what we were given?
I think you were always meant to know me a little better than anyone else. And our lives were fated to converge like some cosmic dance. I know there is a terrible distance between us. But out bodies are made of stardust, and we are hurtling through space and tome, toward the most beautiful collision.’ A Beautiful Collision, Lang Leav


III, II,

One question remains.
So what exactly happened?

Like any relationships out there, they too had their honeymoon period. No life challenges were insurmountable, for as long as they have each other. Well, love supposed to conquer all, right?

Except it didn’t. Soon enough it was apparent that the relationship was highly toxic.

Her qualities that once drew him became the attributes he disliked the most – she was too opinionated, she was too independent, too head strong and too career-minded. To him, woman is nothing but a ‘baby producing machine’. Instead of encouraging her to fully realise her potential, he belittled her dreams of pursuing further education and building a successful career in her industry of choice. ‘It would have been a waste of time and resources’ he said, ‘as woman will eventually be domesticated to take care of the children and house chores.’

To her relationship is about partnership but to him man is superior to woman. He often argued that there can only be one captain in a ship and in the case of a romantic relationship, man should always steer the wheel. Man is the dominant and of course, woman is fated to be submissive.

Alluding to his dominant and highly patriarchal tendencies, it would not have been a big surprise that there was a lack of respect in the relationship. Instead of honouring the boundaries that were agreed upon earlier he was cunning and manipulative – guilt tripping was frequent.

She knew things were not right but she held on tight to the tiny hope that they would meet on a middle ground one day, albeit the chance being extremely slim. The final blow came when he started criticising her religion and her relationship with God. That was a low blow that swiftly ended everything.

It was hard to resist his charms when he came back offering a second chance but she stood her ground – he was a big costly mistake – and well….

….she is better off without him.


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