For a person who has always fantasized the idea of being in love it is pretty ironic that I could never really define what love meant for me. I have always been of the opinion that I will be able to hold on to the people I love because of how well I can take care of them. If only I could’ve realized sooner how flawed this idea was.
In my 24 years of life I have only once been truly in love and was I loved back? I can’t say much about that. Anyways, the person I fell in love was my best friend during university. We met in a student council meeting as executives, went on to become office bearers of the same council and that is when we really bonded. We used to discuss everything including university gossip, random people and their opinions, our crushes, growing up, responsibilities, future plans and what not.
I don’t know at what point I started comparing every other guy to him as he had become an epitome of greatness for me.
He had the perfect manners that any girl would want in her partner and somewhere deep down in my heart I wanted him to fall for me. I don’t know whether he fell for me or as I now think of it I was a rebound for him (he was with another girl before this started) but it happened. Just a month before our graduation he asked me out and I agreed without thinking of any consequences.
In the month that led to graduation when I was lamenting the fact that we should have happened sooner he was busy wondering if we could work. He turned out to be a little too realistic having set parameters and standards to meet.
He went around asking all of his friends whether I was a good match for him leaving me in a constant dilemma of what will happen if a verdict comes against me. We had no honeymoon period in that relationship if it was one for him. The things that people usually discuss after a year of seeing each other had become matters of urgency for us. Whether or not we’ll be able to support each other’s dream? Whether or not we’ll be able to do long distance?
Gestures of love like a collage or a note always disturbed him to a point where he felt necessary to give us a reality check by calculating probabilities of us working out. The last day that we met I don’t know whether it was intuition or just the heavy feeling of saying goodbye but I held on to him and cried like I had never cried for or in front of anyone. We made no promises to call each other daily, facetime each other or whatsoever because he felt it was very restricting.
The second month of our relationship was long distance with me being in Dubai to take care of my pregnant sister and him being in Pakistan. He got busy with his scholarship planning and I got caught up in the humdrum of my routine. While we tried desperately to keep each other in loop of our activities we failed.
He had always been clear that our friendship means more to him than our relationship which he never acknowledged.
He was not willing to move on from friendship and rephrase the relationship that we were now sharing whereas I was willing to wait for him to settle down in his life before I ask anything from him. The purpose of going into these details was that if you reread this story you’ll find one person at fault and that was me. Me because of the twisted faulted definition of love I had constructed for myself.
I believed that if I take enough care of the people I love that will ensure their love for me but how wrong I was. Nobody will ever love you because you love them or care for them.
I was wrong to say yes to him when he had constantly planned his future around that other girl for almost four years. I was wrong to put aside my needs for his needs. I was wrong to mistake his care for love. He once asked me what love meant to me and I said acceptance. Acceptance of the person we love and all that comes with him, the good and the bad. Now that I think of it how are we supposed to accept the person if it comes out of fear of losing that person. I was more worried about us staying together than seeing whether we were good together.
He was my best friend and I was supposed to have excellent communication with him but I couldn’t.
Just out of fear of the fact that what if this makes me seem needy or pushy I kept it all inside me. I became the best of me by putting aside my expectations. It couldn’t have worked out long like this and we finally grew apart after two months. It was the most soul crushing experience I have gone through yet. Just like they say all the things about falling in love, wind blowing, everything else fading away, time either stopping or running faster than Usain Bolt, your heart skipping a beat and your stomach feeling millions of butterflies yes that’s all true but they haven’t said much about falling out of love. There are no metaphors that I can possibly think of to describe how I felt because when I was at the losing side the stakes were pretty high. I was to lose both my love and my best friend. I had put a strong face in front of him but in my mind, I was constantly juggling between a million questions.
Why did it have to be this complicated? Why was it so important for him to go through all that left brain- right brain logic to assess whether this relationship was good for him? Why couldn’t he give us some time to navigate our own path instead of forcibly paving it for both of us? Why couldn’t he think of all this “not working out together” thing before he asked me about our compatibility? Why did he have to deprive me of the two best things that ever happened to me at once?
It’s been a year now and I still have a million more questions. I have had days where I missed him while sitting among 10 people. I had crying spells during my job. I got skeptical of two most beautiful things that life has to offer: love and friendship. I gave up on my fantasy of falling in love. I became cold to people who confessed their feelings to me. For I was of the opinion that if the one person who knew me best could not love and appreciate me, nobody can. I had no energy for knowing new people and becoming vulnerable in front of them. In the year that followed my approach was walking away from people before they walked away from me and I am still no better. I still conceal my attachments and feelings from people.
I put on an indifferent attitude so that nobody knows if they’ve hurt me but, on the inside, I still get attached to people. I still expect them to be nice but the only thing that has changed now is that I am always ready for them to walk out of life with or without an explanation. Now I don’t compare every guy with the guy I was in love with because despite all his charm and morals and manners he couldn’t figure out how to love.
I still miss my best friend though and I am still fearful of falling in love but what I want to say here is that be it a month or a year eventually we are going to get past it. Maybe not completely because our heart will never know how to forget what it once used to house but it will open up to cater new love again. It will allow us to see good in new people. A new person who might feel nothing like the one it used to know but still our heart will be accepting of the new love. Oftentimes it might tell us to be cautious. It might remind us of the love we have lost but it will also be the one that will keep on reminding us that it deserves to be loved.
A heart might supposedly be the size of an average human fist but it is capable of housing emotions much larger than that so be patient and be accepting of what is to come your way.
Written by Saba Ijaz
Artwork by Areesha Zaki