Why I can’t
It was a cold winter. one where the night skies looked depleted of all energy. And the wind was blowing strong Enough to remove whatever leaves were left on any tree. It created a magical atmosphere where everything was perfect. You were perfect, but I, i was the one who made an environment so fitting of a young couple, displeasing. The warmth from your body being within inches of mine and your eyes’ hopeful gaze was enough to make me forget about how it felt out; enough for me to forget that I was standing in 3 inches of snow. Honestly, you made me feel like everything around me would melt, like this snow was already water, and these tears were never really there. But our tears had created a river that we were both drowning in, and neither of us could swim; no, none at all. We both only knew how to float from past experiences to future regrets. You see we both only learned how to wave around in a situation, but never how to power through one. Nonetheless, if there was a sea worth drowning in, it’d be the one we created.
The look on your face told me more than enough. It said everything, from the small I-love-you’s to the big I'd-be-the-one-to-get-down-on-one-knee-if-I-had-to. But, you knew I wouldn’t like that. You knew I preferred to be the man in every relationship. And that some old customs I'd like to keep. Even though as far as we’ve traveled for each other, we might as well have thrown customs out the door At the same time we did with our clothes a while back. Because now here we are, in a situation where you’ve given me everything: from your last meal when you were hungry, because you knew I was starving, to the chastity you held onto your entire life waiting for the right man to break through.
At that time, I had no brakes nor any concern for what it was I was given. The way my life has been taught me that this is just something people in relationships do. I can’t even remember the last time that sex held any meaning. Well, until it was with you. Which is why this is so hard, given that this is something I had to explain. That what’s holding us back had very little to do with you.
So, as I grab your hand and pull you in for an embrace, I felt it’d be better to take you towards a nearby bench so you...
On second thought, so we could have a seat and make this process a little easier.
You stutter your very first words to me As I wipe the snow off the bench with my coat sleeves before we sit. Normally I would’ve used my hands, but I didn’t want the only thing that you were holding onto to be any colder than the heart I have given you.
“I lov– ”
Before I let you finish the words leaving your lips, I interrupt with something irrelevant. I couldn’t allow whatever you were going to tell me to ruin my train of thought. And cloud my vision anymore. But, it had already been too late, I was already blind and forcefully putting on glasses to make it appear that I could see.
We both finally have a seat. The small pieces of snow still left on the bench was melting on the back pocket of my jeans made me feel like I didn’t do too good of a job with my sleeves. I started thinking if you felt the same way. Were you so worried about what I was going to say? That this sensation that was slightly irritating to me didn’t even bother you in the slightest? Maybe your side was a little bit better than mine was. I look off in front of me. And began rubbing my hands together to stay warm as if yours weren’t there, and probably could use some warming. I take hold of your left hand and squeeze onto it tightly.
“how can you love a man like me? A man who's so broken from previous relationships. That I've long forgotten how to love... All I've been doing is treating you how a girl deserves to be treated. No, Correction.” I take a quick breath, “how a woman deserves to be treated.”
You look at me, deep in my eyes, and without hesitation fight back my argument: “You're not the only one that’s broken... You’ve accepted me for who I am and treated me better than any man did before you. They also told me they loved me but their actions never spoke the same words. The only thing I'm missing with you are the words but your actions have long since told me what it is I've been waiting to hear.”
She gazes deep at the tree in front of her, watching the very last leaf fall, and places her right hand out hoping this last leaf would coming her way. And fall right into her hands. But it never did. The wind was blowing in the other direction, and, it would be impossible for it to ever make it to her. But I couldn’t blame her for dreaming…
“why couldn’t I meet you sooner? Do you know what I’ve been through? There's no more heart left for me to give. I've lost that long ago” I say this out to her as if I'm yelling but in a quiet tone. I had far too much respect for her to raise my voice against her. But, I knew… Whispers sometimes go unheard.
“i’ve got no control of faith.” She laughed almost as if she wanted to cry, “how can I know what you’ve been through when you won’t share? And, if you don’t have a heart left, that’s fine. I'll give you mine. Anything for us to be together. There would be no point in me keeping mine, if you wouldn’t be the one holding it.” Her grip on my hand became tighter.
I think I began to understand her point. She didn’t know me and who I was. As much as I knew her and who she was. So, I began to tell her about how I became the man I am today. The pain I felt, and the suffering I've been through.
It started with Rebecca; she was the star of my life; perfect in every way. We met through a mutual friend at church. And instantly grew attached to each other. We’d have all the late-night calls and deep conversations. We would always discuss how our future would be so bright and how I needed to work on my dancing skills before we got married. I always laughed at the thought. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t dance. more so that I’d bathe in my mistakes so when that one left foot that needed to go forward, That I might have thrown backwards, threw me all off. It would be all I could think about instead of figuring out how to recover.
It wasn’t until after talking for a few months, we decided to cross a few lines. But I soon learned that some lines break when you cross them. The softness of her lips pressed against mine were sheer bliss. I’d lose myself every time. At that age, I didn’t know self-control. Not even remotely. The more we would kiss, the more my hands would be guided to other places. Taking things further than they needed to go. But to me, it was exactly where they needed to go.
It wasn’t too long before I wanted something more; something serious. I had seen all the movies about people dating and felt this would be my chance. So, I popped the question that all men at every age fear to ask, never knowing the answer: Will you be my girlfriend?
She started to cry and the look she had in her eyes told me that I wasn’t going to win. She told me she had a boyfriend and that he was pretty abusive. And that every time she wanted to leave him, so she could be exclusive to me, he wouldn’t allow it. at that time, I wasn’t as strong of a man as I am now, I didn’t know these kinds of things could happen or how to deal with them. I didn’t have a father-figure to ask questions too, or friends that could understand. So, we just continued to talk, trying to figure it out until one day I got a call that sent chills down my spine. She called to tell me that she was pregnant, and knew I deserved better. We both knew the child wasn’t mine, we haven’t gone that far yet. But we had planned on it. After that, we stopped talking. It wasn’t till years later she explained to me when we randomly saw each other in a local convenience store. She couldn’t have a man as good as me be a father to someone else’s child. We laughed. And after some slight conversation, we exchanged contact info and met once just to cross that line we didn’t get a chance to before.
And if Rebecca was the stars, then this next girl was my earth. Daisha kept me grounded with reality while being silly. Reminding me that the world is fun, and you can make anything what you want of it. We would always laugh and share good times. Fall asleep on the phone and wake up with the phone on speaker. Maybe walking around our homes living life and waiting on the other person to finally say good morning back. Or for their phone to die and hang up. Daisha was worth everything, she was always helping me chase my dreams, and telling me I could be anything I wanted. She wasn’t anything like a mom, but she gave off a caretaker kind of feel.
Which I soon realized wasn’t good. You see, no girl wants to take care of their man all day Long boost his ego, and in return only get love. It wasn’t long before I saw that she had her own goals she wanted to chase. And that she needed someone to inspire her on. So, I tried to fit the bill and, God be hold, I was a pretty good at inspiring others. We pushed each other to the brink all the time, but eventually this went further and further. From a relationship to a friendship. All sex aside, it was as if we were just really close. I never knew relationships needed balance and that being friends wasn’t too different. It wasn’t until I woke up one day and logged into my Myspace page and saw a picture of my girl posted completely nude that I began to question everything.
My heart dropped, falling deeper into the ground than my hands could reach. But as my heart fell, my hand picked up my phone calling her number. As fast as I could to ask questions. She told me that she lost a bet with her friends, so she wanted to hold up her part of the deal. It wasn’t until that moment that I came to the conclusion. I don’t like the fact that something that you thought was sacred only to you, was shown to the world made its value drop in my eyes. But I powered through for her. Well, I thought so, but in reality it was actually for me. I feared being alone more than I feared the thought of losing her. Until both of those fears became real.
Last was Monica. She was my sky and just like the skies, she was vast and beautiful, whether it be night or day. Something about it kept your interest. Either it be the clouds and all the funny shapes and faces it could make, or the way the moon could light up a dark time. Me and her met through my job. It was funny at the time, it took me damn near all my confidence to ask her for her number. That wasn’t something a shy guy like me was used to. And like the clouds forever shifting in the winds, our relationship took off from dates to movie nights. There was nothing else a man could ask for, but to be able to spend time with someone they had fallen for. My head resting in her breast after a long night of eating popcorn and laughing. Oh, how refreshing it was. To gaze upon a rainbow after a storm.
I thought this must be it. She was the one. She must be. God play no more games; I got the message. I'd be willing to drop my controller at the drop of a dime, when I saw her name show up on my phones contact id. I rather create my final fantasy, than play someone else's version of it. She was smart, helpful and could do my hair when I needed it. We took vacations together and screamed at the mountains just so we could both hear our echo's come back. But no one ever told us that not all mountains don’t echo and that all skies remained blue. There was a storm brewing that we both had no control of. She was ready for college and I was ready for her. She had to go off to school, and the idea of a long-distance relationship didn’t sit well with either one of us. So, we broke it off. It wasn’t that we couldn’t fight off the temptation, but the fact that when you go too long without the air you need to breath, you die. And both of us had become each other's air. And needed something new to help us breath during the next 8 years. Of course, as those years flew by like the birds in the skies, so did our feelings for each other. It's hard to maintain love with one person when at night you give your body to the next just to pass time.
So, now, you understand my pain and you understand why I can’t. Why it is that I can’t love you. My heart died with the last relationships, but with you, I felt like I didn’t need it.
Because you. You were my heaven. You embodied everything. From the stars that light up my universe to the world that I live on. You are as infinite as the depths of the ocean and as clear as a brightly lit sky. You slowly became my world and everything around it. A person with no heart was still able to receive a blessing from god this one more time. You were my it-factor; the thing I couldn’t believe in, and the person I thought could never be real. From the way you smile to the way you laugh. They all send my heart on endless journeys that I hope to never leave from.
She turned over in her seat. And looked directly my way with her eyes saying, ‘why?’ But face saying, ‘I need you.’ The wind calmed down, blowing her hair just slightly enough for it to glorify her beauty. She looked at me deeper awaiting my response.
“I’ve lost everything at some point. And the last thing I want to lose, is you. So, before I run down this path of inevitability, I rather let you go here. For heaven has no place for a man like me.”
She stands up from her seat and began to walk away. “You know what you're saying doesn’t add up with what you're doing anymore.” So, she reached her hand out one more time. The leaf that was flying all around in the wind, landed in the palm of her hand. She grabbed it tightly and continues to walk.
“When you’re ready for me, you know where to find me... I'll be waiting”
At that moment, I should’ve chased her. I should’ve followed her. And screamed out one of the millions of thoughts flowing through my mind. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t speak any longer; my words were lost, and I was drowning so much in my past emotions. I failed to realize that I made my past write my future.
It was all too late, and she was far too gone for me to ever catch up to her. She told me she’d be waiting, but I couldn’t reach her phone. It was as if my number was blocked and I rushed to her home after pacing back and forth for hours on, thinking what to do next. Running past house after house, lights brightly lighting up my path. Then, I trip and fall over a rock hidden under the sheets of snow. But I couldn’t waste anymore time. I got up and ran as fast as I could until I arrived at her doorsteps.
But the house was empty. There was nothing in there. Not a light nor couch. Nothing. I look through the open windows gasping for air. I saw a letter on the floor with my name on it, but the door was locked. I thought to myself: how do I get this letter. I pondered for a while about when we met and remembered I sometimes used to sneak in through her window. And sneak out the front door . So, I went to climb the vent, which was frozen over and hard to climb. The closer I got to her window; the harder things became. The frostbite and cold winds were starting to take its toll on me, but I knew I couldn’t let go. Not at this point not anymore.
As I fell from her window and landed on my back, I hopped to my feet and ran down the stairs quickly, tearing open the letter on the ground. It read as follows:
I knew you’d come for me. But I was planning to tell you that I'm moving to another country for work. And if you really wanted me here, I wouldn’t leave. I would stay just for you no matter what. You were the most important thing to me. I can always find another job, but I can’t always find another you.
I stopped for a second, using my freezing hands to wipe the tears from my eyes.
You told me about how all these other people were important to you. And how they broke you. And how I was everything to you. But your heart was gone. But you never gave me a chance to tell you how others broke me too, and how you became the reason I decided to take another breath in this life. How you’re the reason I decided to continue living how you’re the reason for everything I do.
I really wanted us to become something more; start a family, have kids, and of course, I'd let you pick the names. Because I know that’s something you'd love to do. I always knew your heart was broken, so I tried to repair yours while letting you secretly fix mines.
I was told by my parents way back while they were still around: if you love something, let it go, and it’ll come back. So, I wrote this as a final goodbye to you. Maybe hoping that one day you’ll find me, and I'll find you. And then, we will both know that it was surely meant to be.
P.S. I figured you’d be tired and cold after that climb, so I left a jug of water in the fridge. Oh, and a blanket next to it.
I love you and, I'll see you later”
As I laid on the carpet cold, I couldn’t even think to have this drink she left me. Or to feel anymore warmth from her. So, I left to go home. Taking a long walk, regretting everything, and refusing to accept the decisions I've made. As I get home and open my door, I kick off my shoes. I then walk into my living room to have a seat, to bask in the sorrows of my faith. Hours later, I go upstairs and climb onto my bed. Next to my body pillow. And I almost pass out blinking slowly. As my vision fades, I see my body pillow on the ground, and feel arms wrap around my stomach.
“what took you so long...” I heard a laugh, “I figured you wouldn’t drink the water in the fridge. I left a note next to it telling you how I'll pick you Any time. And how this is my way of coming back to you.”
I stayed still, holding onto reality and forcing myself not to cry. I slowly turn around, looked at her caramel skin and dark brown eyes. As the moonlight shines through my window. I grab onto her tightly. And start crying into her neck sneaking in a kiss every here and there.
“Thank you. Thank you for staying,” I muttered while struggling to speak.
“I find it funny how you can cry and kiss me at the same time.” She laughed, “I love you. And I promise, I'll be the one that won’t go anywhere. Trust me.”
“This is why I can’t… Why I can’t leave you…”