Saturday, 21 June 2014

To love is to lose

My Jamie. The one whom I witnessed on the day she was born, thinking to myself that she must be the prettiest little thing in the world. The one whom I taught to utter her very first word, "Bennn-geee". The one whom my heart ached for, for every bruise and cut she had each time she fell. The one whom I was extremely protective of when the neighborhood bullies glanced at her. The one whom I would tell lies for, to get her out of trouble from her parents. The one who promised to be my bride one day, and the one who broke my heart.

When we were little, we all made promises; promises to buy a huge house for our parents, to help the poor children in Africa one day, to die a noble death, or to marry our childhood best friend. Yet, most of us never fulfill them, never even really meant them. But I did. Making Jamie my bride was all I could ever dream of. I am unaware if there are studies on the usual age for one to fall in love; but for me, I am unable to identify when I first fell in love with Jamie. It seems to me that I have loved her since the very day she entered my life. Ever since the day she was born, she was my precious jewel, she was something that I feared to lose and protected with all my life. It wasn't just her physical being that I protected, but also her emotional being. I hated to see her cry, and I hated anyone who made her cry. Her parents say I spoil her too much; but no, I spoil myself when I see her joyous grins and her infectious laughter.

Days with her were filled with rainbows and butterflies. We rarely fought; and even if we did, I was always glad to give in to my little princess - I would do anything to have that beautiful smile plastered on her face. When she entered high school, her friends thought I was her boyfriend. I fetched her to school every morning before heading down to college and she would never fail to give me a goodbye kiss - the same peck on the cheek that she first gave me when she was three. She never denied the rumours, but neither did I ask her to be my girlfriend. I loved her, but I wasn't desperate to make her my girlfriend for she was already mine.

I was wrong. What I thought would be forever turned out to be a disaster. During the second year of high school, she told me that I didn't have to fetch her to school anymore. I insisted, but she ended up saying that she wanted to take the public bus. That was the beginning of the end of our unwavering friendship. I had no reason to see her every day and when I came up with one, she was always busy spending time with her school friends.

Initially, I was convinced that she needed some time to make new friends but as time went by, I started suspecting that she was avoiding me. She ceased to answer my calls and reply my messages despite always appearing "online" on whatsapp, and I couldn't comprehend why. I pushed the thought aside for days until I could no longer contain it. I called her. There was no answer. I called her again and again and again. 31 times before she finally picked up the phone, yelling, "STOP BOTHERING ME!! WE ARE NOT LITTLE KIDS ANYMORE. IT IS NOT APPROPRIATE." 

It felt like a slap on my face. And the very next thing I heard was the beeping sound of the phone being hung up on the end of the line. I grabbed my car keys instantly and sped to her home. My blood was boiling, my hands were trembling and my head was throbbing. I was prepared to storm right into her room and demand an explanation - an explanation for her sudden irrational coldness towards me.

I opened the house door - an action so familiar to me - and intruded into her room. To my horror, she was mounted on a ruffled-hair boy who was almost twice her size. He had his arms around the bare skin of her waist as both faces turned towards me, wide-eyed. Instantaneously, Jamie leaned forward to grab her familiar white MANGO tank top and threw it over her head. She buried her face into her palms as if to hide herself from me. She started pleading with the same voice that she always used when she wanted something from me.

"Benji, I'm so sorry. I should have told you. I know I'm wrong, but I really love Dan. Please don't tell my parents, they would murder me, please don't..." And she started sobbing.

I wanted to run, to escape from the reality that was unfolding right before me, but my feet were rooted to the ground. I wrapped my arms around my body as if to keep myself from falling apart. I stood there and stared for what seemed like 5 minutes before saying "I won't". It came out hoarse, and before tears started spilling out of my eyes, I turned and dragged my feet away. 

The next few days were torturous. The monstrous part of me wanted to yell at her and tell her how much I love her, to ask her how could she rip my heart apart. Yet, I know she wasn't to be blamed. She was never mine to begin with. She was her own. The escapist part of me wanted to run away, never to see her ever again and I knew I had to do the latter. That was the only way I could bury my feelings and never let them be known.

I applied for another college in another state the following week. I know I didn't have to adopt such drastic measures but I couldn't bear to see her anymore, not even to chance upon her, after what I saw that day. My parents asked me why. Her parents asked me why. But I kept mum about it.

It has been 2 years since I last saw her. I do not know if I still love her but I do miss her, and I still think about her, wondering if they are still together. Occasionally, my mind drifts to the time when I left, wondering if she even cared and if I made the right decision to run away. And each time I think I might regret, I convince myself all over again - for if to love is to lose, isn't it better to not love at all?

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