The Test of the Strength of My Heart

This chapter of my life is about self-discovery, finding out things I’ve never known about myself before, getting to know myself better. This chapter concerns the test of the strength of my heart.

I didn’t go in search of this – it just presented itself to me. Because I was the most suitable around to take on this role but was not the most suitable person for something else. Anyway, that ship has sailed and sunk so I am accepting it that way else I’ll go insane.

Yesterday, when I felt the magnitude of your infatuation with the girl it felt like I was a dartboard being rained on by darts in succession. Across this three weeks coming to one month, I was hurt again, I cried hopelessly at feeling worthless again, I experienced losing you again, but the most enriching of all was the transition to being just a friend to you. Lover, to Friend.

So today I saw you. It was trepidation; it was nervousness. It was looking at your face again at that bus stop and trying to play it cool when in fact, I was aware of my nervousness and heart beat. It was noticing immediately you have lost a lot of weight, your thinner-near-gaunt face was unfamiliar yet the facial hair attracting me in its usual scruffy sexiness. It was sitting in small awkward silences, attempting small talk while watching familiar bus numbers go by but not being able to exactly remembering where it stops when I used to. Even sitting next to you in close proximity on the bus seemed strange.

It was hearing your voice in person again, walking down a familiar route slightly behind you while you were on the phone, deliberately trailing that familiar but already faint perfume scent that’s mingled with a hint of tobacco. It was walking pass that bus stop where I last hugged you good-bye. It was sitting at the coffee shop we once agreed to sit at to relax, only we did so today finally as friends.  You left behind your phone again and once again I rolled my eyes in annoyed affection at your carelessness. (It’s a wonder you haven’t lost it yet I swear.) It was also a nostalgic visit to the hair dresser’s where curious people have asked us separately on separate occasions where we were. And then it was us again at McD’s where I watched you blabber nonsense but I knew you were overwhelmed inside. I saw that tooth peek out from your grin but it was not a sincere expression from the heart.

“Don’t worry for me, Eliza,” you later said at the traffic light. No, I can’t stop doing that just yet.

Arriving in front of your place, saying good-bye. Feeling your arm around my shoulders at your thanks, shoving a stopper to feeling teary at a lost familiarity, touching that hand on my shoulder to assure and comfort you it will be okay. Did you feel the wave of nostalgia like I did? “Walk me to the end,” I said on a slight desperate impulse, “there, before the traffic light,” I pointed. “It’s a long lonely road, you know it.”

I tried to make you brave in our last few minutes together. You attempted smiles and jokes. We parted. I was shaken.

On the bus ride home, I thought to myself on the bus, that no matter how flawed you are and the mistakes you’ve made, I still love you, blemishes and all. I feel strangely happy that I do (is because I can still show you so in my actions?) but I cannot and will not force you to a corner, nor can or will I abandon you – not when my heart can still take it. There is a time for everything, and our time is up. For now, I will have to be happy being your friend and experience familiarity in a different way, feelings in my heart. On the bus, I realised seeing you again makes me feel what I feel every day – that  I have missed you. But more than usual yesterday, I felt strongly that I’ve missed the very presence of your being.

Hence I conclude : My journey of self-discovery the later part of this year is to love someone from afar. It is to accept what has passed, and make the best of what remains. It is to watch someone I love ‘love’ another, enduring pricks of pain while plastering a smile on my face. My heart will be broken but tempered over hardship and love, stretched, moulded and re-sculpted till I know its limits and size.

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