We had this rule we both decided on early on in our relationship — to never let the other person go to bed angry.
Over time and love and distance, this rule evolved into something much greater than either of us ever expected it to be.
We finally decided that when an argument got too heated, and neither side could come to a conclusion or an apology, we would have a time out and during this break — the “intermission” I would affectionately annoyed call it — the argument would cease and could not be brought up and we would just do something together to ease both our hearts and minds.
I thought it was reckless.
You thought it was love.
April 24th, 2011
For the life of me, I cannot remember what we argued about. And you would think that I would, because it was the only time we had ever broken up throughout the span of our relationship. It was impulsive during the pinnacle of our heavy quarrel. Neither of us meant to separate — but we had neither learned the ways in which love sets aside pride. What can I say? We were very young hearts embarking on an adventure as long as time itself.
I can’t recall the reason, but of course, I remember the date.
I always remember dates when it comes to you. I used to persistently try so hard to forget all the ways you made me feel, and ironically now, I fight harder to remember.
I sat at a bar, feet dangling from the stool, alone in a city I had just moved to for university — a cold tall beer awkwardly snuggled between my underage hands. I don’t know how I managed to successfully order a drink with my baby face betraying my age, perhaps the barman took pity on my oppressively somber aura.
Your mother tongue was being spoken all around me. Two seats down, two very dark haired, bright eyed gentlemen clanked their beers rambunctiously and guzzled down their alcohol.
Even I couldn’t fight the smile pulling across the corner of my lips as they turned in my direction with their beers in hand and in the air tipped towards me… yiamas! they both shouted simultaneously.
“Cheers!” a head nod, and a small smile later, my once untouched full glass of beer sat a little under half way.. amateur, I know.
However, an optimist would be grateful there was still beer left to drink, a pessimist: dismissive of there not being enough — but a broken hearted person? well, a broken hearted person only cares to forget the other person who is driving them to drink in the first place.
As the restaurant began closing up around 2am, I sat in the driver’s seat of my car facing towards the dim-lit building. My hands clenched my steering wheel as tight as my jaw felt, and I could not fathom how we had gotten to this place.
My phone sat face up in my passenger seat. I didn’t want to look at it, but I couldn’t help it. I stole glances at it every few seconds, hoping you’d call, hoping you were missing me as much as I was missing you.
But the call never came, and so I drove myself home while thoughts of you drove me crazy.
The morning of Easter I had 16 missed calls, well I should say my morning. In your part of the world, the sun was readying the earth for evening.
You always knew how to get to me — 16 is my favourite number, and has so many significant meanings to me, I hold the number very close to my heart. And whether you did it unintentionally or on purpose didn’t matter, it was enough for my prideful heart to gain the courage to tap your name on my screen.
You answered immediately, and both our clumsy hellos were followed by a rush of apologies and I love yous.
It was then we solidified our rule on the foundation that love, above all else, was stronger than pride and hurt — and that we would try our hardest to never succumb to it again. We would discuss and never accuse, we would listen and we would compromise, we undoubtedly argue just as we would patiently forgive — and when we weren’t able to come to an agreement, we would put aside the argument to enjoy each other instead, and then discuss the matter after letting go of the initial bad energy fights tend to have.
I loved this about us. It taught me how to not be as stubborn as I naturally am. I’ve learned to apologize, and not only apologize, but to actually mean it. You made me better in ways I didn’t think I needed to improve — and I carry this lesson with me now.
Unknowingly then, it would become apparently ironic to me, that you were also the person that would teach me another important lesson of life: how to forgive someone who never apologized, but that is another story for another universe.
You taught me many things; I hope you learned from me, too.
After making up, and promising each other more gentleness and patience, you asked what I had done in our time of silence.
Embarrassed, I recounted to you my journey of driving to the opposite side of my city, about a 30 minute drive in light traffic, just to sit at one of the only Greek restaurants at the time, to feel close to you — even drinking your favourite beer, knowing I hated the bitterness of it.
You laughed uncontrollably and my defense mechanism instantly flared up, and I felt annoyed, imploring you, well more demanding you, to tell me how you spent your time.
“My love, stop, I’m not laughing at you. I’m laughing at the fact that you found yourself at a Greek bar and I found myself at church.”
I was in disbelief, to say the least. At this point in my life, I was a very devout Christian.
And you well — your family Orthodox Christian — you didn’t much care for religion at all or pay any mind to it. You didn’t see the point in it, in having to believe in a greater good to be good. You didn’t like the rift religion caused between nations and men, and you could never find yourself to believe that someone’s belief system warranted the value of their heart. No, you simply believed that people should be judged based on the content of their character, and that organized religion was merely a tool to drive a wedge between people. It astounded me sometimes, how practical you could be.
yet — there you had been, at the church your family frequented, trying to bridge the gap between love and faith — the space between you and me.
I let you pick the movie that evening, after I had finished celebrating the holiday with my family, as the rule dictated we set aside time to do something together. It was already around 2am your time, but you stayed up anyway. How many hours of sleep did we lose for each other?
You decided on Avatar, one of my favourite movies to this day. We each opened up our skype window and started the movie after I counted down from, 3.. 2.. 1..
You were always making me do the countdown.. said you liked hearing my voice, if even for simple things. I should have known then how much it would hurt when we would finally, romantically, separate. But I cannot undo the past — and I don’t wish to, anymore.
There’s a line the indigenous people use in this movie. “I see you.” And it’s not in the physical sense, but in a spiritual meaning, along the lines of, “The god in me sees the god in you.” Very similar to the sentiment of “Namaste.” I see you for who you are, I accept you for who you are, my soul honours your soul, my heart loves your heart.
Before we fell asleep together that night, you whispered those words to me as your eyes struggled against the heaviness of exhaustion, “I see you.”
I stayed up for a few more minutes watching you sleep. You were so damn beautiful. A computer screen did you no justice.
Greek Orthodox Easter
May 2nd, 2013
I lay my hand against the old wooden blue door, and gave a slight push. It wasn’t as easy as I initially thought, and I had to muster a little more force to open it.
Holding it up for you, you smiled at me and kissed my cheek, before going in. The sweet scent of your hair whisked passed my nose, and I followed you inside. You intoxicated me.
Built right atop the cliffs that bordered the Aegean Sea, the church was small and quaint, but very much present. Much like your faith.
I enjoyed your mini tour and we admired the setting sun from a distance once we had gone back outside.
Enthralled with the sunset, I went on a rant about the circle of life and how fascinating I found the cycle of the sun, and it’s metaphorical significance and resemblance in our own life, the sun had distracted me and I had gotten lost in my own rambling, that when I finally looked at you — you were staring at me, grinning. I’ll never forget that look, you were in love with me, and I, you. I stopped mid sentence, mouth open half smiling, “what?”
“I just adore you,” you responded, “I would always light candles for you here at this church.”
Genuinely confused, I asked, “Why? You don’t believe in church, or God, or any of this.”
“But you do… and I believe in you.”
I was stunned and speechless. Your golden whiskey eyes bore into mine, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of you, I cupped your face between my hands overwhelmed with emotion at your words, you slightly trembled beneath my touch, and whispered quietly and intimately between us two, “I see you.”
You really knew how to get to me.
Not Easter Sunday
July 16th, 2016
Friday night, and I am sitting on the couch, wrapped in blanket, air conditioner on full blast — across my best friend. He asks what I want to watch, and per normal, I am indecisive.
“I’m gonna rent Avatar.. but you don’t like it huh?”
I shrug it off nonchalant, “It doesn’t matter to me.”
I’m about to move again and it has got me thinking a lot about the last time I moved across seas. How my intentions and my heart are just completely different this time around. Time really does heal everything.
When I’m abroad, I often get asked if I don’t have someone back home waiting for me, someone worth making me stay put in one city.
And romantically, I don’t — and that’s okay.
I haven’t experienced being in love with another person again — honestly, I haven’t come close to it at all — and that’s okay.
What I have experienced is better though — falling in love with myself; constantly working on a better me, for me.
But don’t get me wrong; I’m so glad for it, for what we had, for all the good and all the bad.
For all the ways it made me grow as a person, for everything you taught me.
There are many things to thank you for and maybe one day you and I will have coffee and I can tell you about it, how you had such a lasting impact on my life, you still do.
But tonight, what I’m most thankful for from you, is for letting me go.
I didn’t know it at the time, but losing you was the beginning of an exquisite journey to finding me.
But damn you, seventeen. Talk about a memory, damn girl, you put a few on me.