She smiled at first; then- looking at me- frowned.
It was a different frown- not sad; not really anyway. It showed ambivalence. Her expression did not portrait uncertainty as to whether what she was about to do was right or wrong; it was an expression suggesting anxiety and hope, fear in the midst of joy. In a weird kind of way, it was a frown that suggested hope still. I perfectly understood what she was feeling, what she was thinking. We both knew she was right. I looked away.
In retrospect, it was probably this very action that concluded it all. Leaving where she was, she walked towards me and gave me a hug. It was a longing one, a cry for help? She singled me out. It was the most she could do.
I held her closely- at first; but then, slowly refraining, I beckoned her to move on. There were tears in her eyes; something told her it was final.
Looking back, it was hard to tell when things changed- for the better or the worse? I really could’t tell. But what I know is that it was love; the truest and purest love of all. Intimate in so many ways- none of which were sexual, mind you- but intimate and sincere none-the-less. I loved her deeply, I loved her immensely.
There were nights we slept together. She loved my “strong arms” around her. I hated her saying so then, now it makes me smile. She would wrap my arms round her tiny body and smile. I’d push her away slightly, “I need space.” You see, I never liked cuddling.. not really anyway. Close physical touch was “strictly reserved”, I’d say- upon which she’d sigh and shyly move away. It gave me a sense of power, control. I never abused it though, I just found it funny. And after all, I did mean it.
Right there, however, I somewhat wished she’d remain.. within my embrace. And I cried.
At some point people thought we were an item. “Your relationship’s weird” they’d say. Laughing, I’d second their statement, agreeing totally. To some extent I had to agree. At times it really felt a bit off the mark, weirdly close. In a way she was mine. She wanted to be, I knew, but I never let her. She made it clear, and although I never told her and acted as though I didn’t know, I understood. There were nights she’d text me, sending me kisses- I thought it unnecessary. At other times she’d just look at me, and wink- I found it irritating. Then she’d walk right up to me, look me in the eye, and kiss my forehead- I thought it embarrassing. Now I understand better, now I find it cute; but then.. yes, then I took it for granted.
But now that she came to give me a hug, I felt loved, important, special. They watched in bewildered amazement. They did not understand.. none of them did.
In a way, she deserved better- don’t get me wrong, not better than myself, but at least someone who would return all that love she so freely lavished out. Showering her with love she understood, love she could relate to. She never understood mine. I really did love her, but I fear she never saw it. Never saw how pure and deep, real and unchanging it was. I was bent on showing her love in terms different to hers; terms and ways that were natural to me. I would fight her battles, lay down my life, shed my blood, give my all- for her. I’d walk through trials and tribulations- shielding her from the unseen, keeping her from the unpreventable, protecting her from the dramatic. I was ready to do it all. But none of it was good enough. Or maybe it was more than she wanted.. could expect.. or even accept? It reached farther than she could see. Giving so much, when all she wanted was a kiss, a hug, a public proclamation (perhaps display?) of love. But that wasn’t me.
Today she gets all that and more. And it is good that way.
She stopped me before the ceremony- I knew what she would say; so I said Nay, not today. It’s your wedding day.
And as she walked down the aisle- with the smile-turned-frown, and walked up to me- with the embrace crying to be freed, I knew she wanted me to intervene. But I refused. She was never going to be mine; at least not in that way. And she knew it. For although she held me closely and we both cried, my own tears were cold, my eyes were dead, my body stiff.
In a way, she finally understood we would never be.
Unknotting the tie, it was Good-bye.