There was a time when the girl thought she found love – the very kind of love depicted in scenes of films and written in pages of novels. It was the love that most people wish to find, the love that each of us desires. She welcomed this love with jubilation; she embraced it as if it was knotted to her life. It was the first time she ever let her guard down. She affirmed, there are no such things as boundaries. And just like that, at age 18, she opened and bared her soul.
The man was three years older. He was from a foreign land, a territory where kings and queens still reign. His roots were royal, his bloods blue. He held on to pride like no other. Despite his strong-willed and dominant persona, he was gentle. When he glanced at the sky, he was overwhelmed with glory. But when he bowed his head, he knelt with submission. He was the kind of man who is capable of having the future rewritten. And just like that, at age 21, he was able to.
She identified what she felt as happiness – being with someone who was, as most people say, more than the definition of a friend. It was a heady emotion in the sense that it was both addictive and intense. It was then when she realised that being in love is analogous to euphoria. To bewitched and be bewitched – indeed, being in love is enchanting. Love, doubt, lust, desire – all these mixed in one jar of emotions called confusion. She thought she was ready – how wrong was she.
He was meant to teach. When he spoke, it was never for delivery. The way he articulated his words was like poetry but instead of expression, he aimed for persuasion. Although reserved and somehow introverted, he knew enough how to be with all kinds of people. He was a smart manipulator for he can either harmonize with or shatter what you thought of the world. He worked not by insisting his point rather, by firing questions. He never stopped until he felt doubt. The man was a breaker.
She thought she was happy. She entered a new world, one that she barely knew. Without her defenses on her sleeves, she entered another universe. Later she learned that it was a massive black hole. She was enveloped by a force that, at first, was unidentifiable to her. Later she had known the force to be the power of connection. She felt helpless but even so, she fought hard just to hold on to keep the force, the power, alive. It was the connection that she fought for, not her own self and certainly not her own soul.
The man smelled victory. For him, it was one of the many. He had always been known to have sufficient patience so, he took his time. He thought of what he did as an obligation, nothing more and nothing less. He knew that he ought to fulfill his purpose and this was just one of the many more ways to reach what was predestined in, as the way he called it, afterlife. The man pursued the girl, barely a woman. He pursued her endlessly and he almost got the best of her. He almost got all of her.
Then she was awakened. It took her long enough to follow her instincts. From the start her instincts told her to run to the opposite direction – away from him – but she refused to believe in her self. She insisted on the connection, on what she thought of was love. After being questioned by the man whom she thought she loved, she finally had the courage to seek for answers. She became the inquisitor. How could it be love when she felt inadequate? How could it be love when she felt less worthy? What is love?
The woman-to-be found what was ultimately wrong. The man was trying to change her. It was his goal from the very beginning. The moment their eyes met, he never saw her as the way she was. Instead, he saw her as the woman he wanted her to be. And for a time that seemed like eternity, she allowed him to do this. She allowed him to be the king he never was. By doing this she knew that the connection will not last. From what she thought of as love, now she saw as prison – the prison she entered once willingly.
It was a battle between what she knew and what she wanted. As time passed, there were more wounds and more scars. It was not physical, the wounds and scars, they ran deep. The man broke her. “Them” was a road to tearing herself apart. And, she was there with him, driving towards the road to a shattered soul. His intentions may be noble but, it did not and would not work. Not for her. She then realised, there were boundaries. There were limits because the man believed so and she believed otherwise. Hence, his world was not for her.
She lost herself. She lost herself when she was with him. And it was the absolute proof that justified it was not love. It was never love. She knew of what love can be – saw it her in her father’s eyes every single time he spoke of her mother; she was a witness to the secret smiles shared by her grandparents; she saw it in the laughter she shared with her friends. All of those were real. She was with them but she never lost herself. In the first place, it was love that was supposed to make her find who she was.
The moment she rid herself of the man, she became a woman. She learned her lesson. She learned that being in love is different from loving. She learned that happiness comes when we feel whole. She learned that it is real love which complete us, that real love should be found within oneself before it could be shared with others. She learned that real love finds us as much as we want to be found. She learned that real love endures. The woman learned that real love forgives. At last, she learned that time was needed to heal.
PS: This is a letter of apology addressed to a woman once 18 – now is the time to forgive yourself. This is for everyone else who feels like they are in the same position – may it bring you light, even just the tiniest flicker.