Real versus unreal

“Did you write this?” She asked him directly. In a surge of embarrassment, he walked away with a flushed face. She picked up her pace to match his quick steps. She touched his shoulder from behind and he shivered as he stopped. He placed his palms over his eyes. He wanted to disappear from the face of the earth.
“Why don’t you admit it?” She walked in front of him and drew his hands away. She looked at him. He looked at the ground.
“I’m sorry” he mumbled through clenched jaw. His breath left a trail of fog in the cold weather. His cheekbones were pink and his dark hair had subtle brown highlights that stood out against the snow filled background.
In a burst of anger she threw the secret love letter that she had found, at his face. He had written it for her, but had never intended for her to find out. He grimaced with pain inside as it brushed against his skin.
“Why didn’t you utter a word? Why were you so reserved all this time? Why did you pretend that you never cared?”
He was silent.
“Why don’t you look me in the eye? Why do you leave when I walk in? Why did you ignore me for so long? How could you deny that I had wanted you too? You’ve ruined my life!”
“I didn’t mean to” he said, “I didn’t want to hurt you. I never wanted you to find out, I didn’t want my feelings for you to ever end.”
“I don’t understand! Why couldn’t we be together? Why couldn’t we have gotten to know each other better? Lived happily ever after? You see, everything’s messed up now. I can never wake up and face the day without sensing that something is missing. I can never not think… about this, about you, about what you did! I’m forever trapped” she continued, “Because now it’s too late. I’m obligated to the future. I’m bound by societal rules and plans that have been made for me. I’m fixed into settling down and having a family with someone else” she placed her hands over her face and cried, “I can never be happy.”
He tried to touch her hand but she brushed it away. “Because of you!” she said through her teeth and with teary eyes, “Why didn’t you tell me all this when you could have? Three years of acquaintance and not a single word of truth from you! Why didn’t you tell me all this before I found someone else? It’s too late now. I could have been with you. My life’s an empty, meaningless, waste of time.”
“You’ll move on… eventually” he said.
“I’ll never move on. I’ll always be in love with you and never be able to be with you. I hate you because of that. It’s all your doing. You’ve played a game with my heart.”
“I promise you, that I didn’t mean to…”
“You’re admitting that it’s a game?”
“I suppose l…” he could barely say the word, “I suppose love is a game.”
“Then it isn’t true, is it? It’s not real, it’s just make-believe, like a game!”
“Can’t a game be for real? I engaged in it with all my heart, and I almost died because of it.”
“You can’t expect a game to last forever.”
“What meaning does forever carry?”
“What meaning does a moment carry?”
“Sometimes, it carries great depth.”
“Can’t a forever bond have depth too?”
“Then it wouldn’t have the length.”
“But momentary encounters are so sporadic, temporary, and heartbreaking. You’re left with shattered, empty, non-existent memories.”
“Are memories non-existent? Were all those feelings that once made your heart swoon, unreal? Are encounters make-believe? If so, is depth unreal?”
“Yes. The only thing that’s real is a forever and ongoing bond through time.”
“I wish that for you. I want you to feel, taste, and live in what’s real.”
“But I’m not happy in reality.”
“Then you’ll have to deal with heart-breaking encounters” he said as he kissed her. Soft snowflakes fell over them in their silent surrounding. They embraced for however long, before reality drifted them apart.

RealUnreal

 

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Relationship in hell

She sat across from him before a small, round dinner table that was made for two at a restaurant. Strings of romantic little white lights glittered behind her. The atmosphere loomed with delicate sounds of live piano music. He was mesmerized by her smile, or was it her warm eyes? He couldn’t decide. Nevertheless, she was beautiful and he was happy. She looked at him smilingly and proceeded to talk, “So tell me your story.”
“Well, I’ve been pretty busy with my career and all. I’ve missed out on a lot over the past few years. I definitely think I’m ready to take it a little slow now and start settling down.”
“But I’m not slow,” she said smiling “and I hate the term ‘settling.'”

But she did settle. Albeit, in a way that pleased her. She was able to find a match that she was eighty-nine percent compatible with; according to a dating website. He was similar to her in so many regards, yet she believed that he was somewhat different and enticing too. He sat across from her, and she couldn’t take her eyes off his beautiful, gentle eyes. The lamp light shined on those eyes of his, as it reflected on the glass of wine on their table. He picked up the glass and put his soft lips on them. She took a breath. He put the glass back down and gently smacked his lips.
“And what about your story?” he asked. She focused back to his eyes.
“My story?” she asked laughingly.
“Why?” He tilted his head, “What’s wrong?”
“Ah, well… my story is a bit long and complicated” she looked elsewhere and her hair strands fell on the side of her face. She situated her misplaced hair back behind her ears.
“I don’t mind hearing” he said.
“Okay” she sighed, “It’s gonna come out all jumbled and stuff, but I’ll try to make it short” she agreed.
He sat facing her patiently.
“It was the early nineties, and I was miserable” she said, “I mean, I was just a young woman learning about the world. I had big dreams… but the world kept crushing them with unpleasant reality… day after day. They say people go through crisis in midlife, but for me, it started young. All I ever wanted was my one and only prince charming. All I ever wanted was to be in love… to find a soulmate, to learn about the curiosities of life with someone by my side, forever. I thought the world was a beautiful place, and that I was beautiful. My dreams were beautiful, but they began to shred with brutal reality. I was absolutely distressed.

I fell in love with a much older man. Like a damsel in distress, I leaped into his arms for safety. I felt things I’d never felt before. I never knew I could fall in love so hard… so passionately with someone. He was my guide, my teacher. He was my savior; someone who would teach me life and how to survive it. My world had been hell. And I had been in pain. He and I lived in this hell together. I latched onto him while he guided us through the darkness with a torch in his hand.

I masked all his flaws. I buried all doubts. He was my survival, my need, and my future. To think one could be so in love in times of desperation. Can you imagine? Was it love, or was it desperation? I thought I could make the best out of hell. I thought I could swim in its fiery waters, breathe its torching flame… kiss its broken heart. I didn’t know how deep the fiery waters ran… I didn’t know how hot the flames could burn. Hell was meant to crumble, little by little. No one could survive its treacherous storms, its deepening rifts, its infinite cycles of misery.”

With an erased smile, she sipped from her glass.
“I’m assuming this relationship didn’t last long?” He asked.
“No. It didn’t” she answered. She reclaimed her smile, “You know” she continued, “Life is much less treacherous when one has control and choice. Choice over locations, over activities, careers, over relationships… and that is why I’m ecstatic to be meeting you. Eighty-nine percent compatibility between you and I according to that website; I still can’t believe it. I’ve never met someone that I have so much in common with. I feel so relieved and lucky!” she exclaimed.

He smiled and held her hand gently over the table. A tune from the piano began to ring in her ears, as her heart grew fonder by the second. His welcoming face was right before hers a moment ago, but now it became all blurry until it disappeared completely. Blindly, all she could now hear was the nostalgic tune. She turned around and saw a familiar finger pattern the musician was playing on the piano. She knew these heartfelt patterns all too well. She excused herself from the table and walked over towards the piano. Compulsively, she joined in on playing the lower notes, while the pianist kept his rhythm on the higher ones. The pianist smiled up at her invitingly, then looked back down and closed his eyes. His fingers said some things, while her fingers responded back. They played that tune, back and forth, freely, gently, slowly, and sometimes intensely. It may have been a couple of minutes, maybe fifteen minutes, but it seemed like the world around them was frozen. Together, they were lost in music.
They were strangers playing hauntingly familiar tunes again.
Strangers falling in love again.
Strangers dancing in circles of love and pain,
in a limbo of a never ending game, over and over again.

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