“I know you better than you know yourself!”
she’d confidently laugh with those sexy ass eyes. Her long blonde hair leaning against the table as she slurped her strawberry lemonade through the ice at the bottom. She was young and innocent. Holding the glass with both hands as if still mouthing her sippy cup. She followed her heart through anyone’s usual transition. Leaving high school and going away to college; the ultimate revival of one’s independence….a maturation overnight, as we who have experienced it, already know. She may have thought because they’d had sex dozens of times, because they’d showered together, laughed in unison at movies or friends, met each other’s parents and sat through barbecues, days at the beach and even work, that she knew everything he was capable of. What he loved and what kept him happy was easy, but not something she could give unconditionally forever, not yet at least. And he knew that. He was 26, done with college, trying to make his way in the real world but still have-a-go at a social life with a new crew.
The type of guy he was, he’d admit to fault and blame himself no matter who’d committed the error. He’d gotten fired from his job like a martyr raising his hand for execution. Unnecessarily admitting to his relationship with her, the younger colleague he was supposed to manage, as suspicious higher-ups started questioning fraternizing amongst all the employees. As most did lie of their hook-ups and relations, properly securing their jobs as being fired for a hunch would surely cause a lawsuit anyway, for some reason he trusted that “honesty would be the best policy.” That’s what we were taught as children. Those executives deserved no such knowledge of one’s personal life to begin with, nor could any of them ever tolerate being asked who they were fucking.
At two very different times in their lives, he looks down at his plate and whispers to himself...
“you can’t imagine what floats around in my mind….what I would do if I lose you….I’ve told you subtly, but you get mad when I say it. When you go away, you’re gonna meet new people, and your life’s gonna change.”
“What are you thinking about sweetie?”
“Oh nothing babe, I’m so full, a bit tired too, wanna go?”
As they prance out of the restaurant to continue living what would be the unfathomable by any poor kid in a third world country, a fat couple who’ve barely spoken once since they’d arrived, sit across from each other at a table, watching them leave as if they’re celebrities. They both internalize that they’d wished their lives were different, that they too had that skip in their step, or their young tan and muscularly toned bodies, and what it would be like to live that life for a day.
When your mind is built to harp on the negative, to revert focus and jealousy onto what you don’t have, you're dooming what otherwise will be a bright future for a smart person. There’s a lot of sadness in the streets. Walking with your head down not seeing the faces in front of you …..there’s a lot to hate…and a lot to regret and overanalyze. It’s not unique to only one person, and there’s no way to see the future. For us, for what we have, yes, everything’s going to be ok. You can’t go taking the most positive elements of your life, the memories you’ve stored for unbelievable reason and the actions you’ve taken, as enjoyed equally by everyone. They’re not common, and you are a lucky bastard. If you sit back and think of the plight of others for comparison, you’ll see.
They did break up like any couple moving in different directions and playing the long-distance role. The times where people’s lives were private, where they weren’t documented every single day online and displayed, were much easier to cope. “Out of sight, out of mind,” another thing he was taught. Seeing a message of the person you loved left active on their profile about how they’re off to get wasted with their girls, and how it’s still the same message the next day at 5pm, you sit and wonder. Hundreds of miles away, you’re somehow now aware of what they’re watching on tv, when they’re showering and if they have a big test that week. Photographs plastered on everyone’s homepages are trophies encasing what you missed and had no part in bringing to them; that happiness. It enrages you and renders you unconscious to the life you thought you had, just the two of you. How much you believe you held them back and their uncanny ability to move on so quickly as some guy in the photo has their arm around her and their best friend left a comment saying “I wanted him you asshole.” A million games you can play with your mind and what it comes down to……they’re just games. Five years down the road, all relationships, nights of wasted binge drinking and one-night stands are finally over, and now they’re ready for the next 60 years together. You rekindle as if nothing ever changed and all you had to do was give up five years to make it become 60. No one really knows what could’ve happened, but we know what did.
The drastic and unexpected, is the irony of control at its purest. It’s not tragedy for the sake of someone else’s misfortune, but an internal choice temporarily better than the alternative. The shock, the tears and the effort to understand the motives behind why it happened will always linger, but trust me, that’s what they wanted…..to make an impact. If you don’t want to make a splash, you don’t jump in. Aside from mismanaging their own mind’s distaste for their choices, and the words they’d planted there unconsciously, blaming themselves with “its’ your fault, you’re a failure in life, you’ll never find love again,” there’s also lessons they want to teach by doing this. They want others to analyze the way they live, to appreciate life’s fragility, how they treat others, to make sure they never take another moment with someone for granted. Those who loved him will now internally analyze their own actions, how they affect others and the happiness of those lives they never want to lose as well.
Many toss the words “coward” and “selfish” into the mix when discussing it. And then they apologize because they might offend people, but that’s what they truly believe of people who do it. I think it depends on the individual and what they truly believe is harder…Living: the struggle, the deaths in your family, the lost loves that you long for, the financial hardships, the realization that we’re all never going to be millionaires and taking the fights with your partner as lessons to learn by, plus, respecting the sacrifice your parents made in their own lives to give you yours…….or Giving Up: ending every friendship they’ve ever made, every holiday they’ll never experience, any beautiful new country they’d get to visit, any sexual encounter with the one who may be their future wife and the opportunity to have innocent children and to see the hilarious ways they learn…………all, for what ultimately might just be blackness.
Life is cyclical. As time passes, there are always ups and downs. Every time you think your life is over, you’ve got to get back out there and overcome that which is bringing you down. A man finds out how man he is when he threatens his own life, whether it be enlisting for war, waking up in the middle of the night to defend a burglar or going against everything you've ever learned to become a true martyr, but I serenely suggest, no matter how forlorn, you ask a few loved ones for advice before ever believing the only way left to remain a man, is to go ahead and pull the trigger.