Purlieus of the heart

“And was it his destined part
Only one moment in his life
To be close to your heart?
Or was he fated from the start
to live for just one fleeting instant,
within the purlieus of your heart.”
-Ivan Turgenev

I can’t sleep. I always underestimate how these situations are going to impact me. My chest is tight. My throat wants to close. My nose swells. I swallow the lump in my throat.

Relationships. You invest so much into someone, just to watch them float on. It is absolutely devastating to think about. It’s easy enough to disengage your feelings, look at it as a spectator, but when you allow your heart to feel again and the person is no longer there, it’s a distressing feeling.

So we broke up. For what reason? Well. I’m not sure there needs to even be a reason. Sure, I mull over the past two or three weeks, try accessing my memory bank for signs, but I can’t come up with anything. I mean. There are always reasons. Being distant. Disconnected. Incompatible in age, experience, values, goals, lifestyles. Insecurities. Etc, etc. They never seem to be a good enough reasons for me. Giving up is the only reason.

These situations, the breakups, they always leave me feeling so detached. I want to stop it, I want to tell them that I’m sorry, that I’ll work on it, that I just haven’t been giving my all, but in the end I can’t bring myself to do anything. I just sit there and acquiesce.

Even now I think of calling her, of telling her that my love is deep and strong and she deserves it more than anyone. That I apologize for letting her find reasons to end it. To resent me. To come up with excuses that it won’t work. But how petty is that? I shouldn’t have to do that at all. Should I? If a genuine relationship is to work there should be no convincing. Communication should be open and flowing. Concerns should never be ignored.

So I sit there, breath bated, heart throbbing. I watch the tears form in her eyes. My expression is reserved and contemplative, maybe distant, but warm. She remarks how composed I am. I resent her.

So where did it go wrong? I shouldn’t be entertaining these questions.

I want to yell and explode with fiery passion. I want to tell her to snap out of it, that I won’t hurt her. She tells how me how we’re just different. My reaction is puzzled, as this difference was exactly what drew me to her. She explains that we’re in different places in our lives. But I tell myself, love knows no boundaries.

My mind tries to come up with something, somewhere, that will provide an answer. Perhaps she probed too deeply into my thoughts, into the archives of my life, and she didn’t like what she saw. Perhaps her insecurities mounted and she reacted in hasty retreat. How could I blame her?

My mind reflects on all the moments we were together: I held her. Her eyes moistened. She told me that she was afraid. I asked of what. She explained that she was afraid that she was giving too much of her self, that I wasn’t giving enough, that she may fall hard for me and doesn’t want to get hurt. I explained that I would never hurt her, that she was too important to me, that I cared too much.

So I’m devastated.  Heart broken. Confused mostly. Everything happened rather abruptly. Where did we go wrong? How long had she been feeling this way? Why did her feelings change so quickly?

There are no answers. All I know is this: I feel strongly for her. So deeply, so strongly. I never imagined not being with her. I never entertained the possibility that we’d not be together. Foolish, I know. But I love her. What love isn’t foolish?

Somewhere along the way something happened. I became an object to her. Expectations formed. I failed to meet expectations. I could kick myself, but my intention was nothing but wholesome. I never once thought of hurting her, of misleading her, of not giving her my all. If any of these things happened, it was not by any willingness of mine.

Then I ask myself if this is a test, a game to see how much I care, to stop her from pulling away. If this is a game than I want nothing of it. So I suppose I have just lost. Which is terrible.

I don’t ever expect love to be easy. With anyone. Will it hurt? Yes. Love hurts. What matters is how you handle to hurt. How much will I endure for love? I will go to the ends of the earth. But what is stopping you, Michael? What is stopping you here?

Well, I ask myself: what if we are different? What if I am unable to give the kind of love she desires? What if I am not right for her? I think these are silly sentiments, to be honest; they exist nevertheless. The last thing I want is to be with someone who doesn’t think we’re meant for each other. Chasing after the convictions of love doesn’t seem to be enough. I must be convinced that there is something wanting on their end. But then I think back to my parents, and countless other romances where one of the lovers declared the relationship to be no good. “We’re just too different. It’s not going to work out.” I laugh. One could easily accept their defeat, but how weak is that? A lover is committed to something that transcends reason and feeling. They are committed to the ideal, and these ideals are more spiritual than practical. So it comes down to a decision: how committed am I to this ideal? Did we share it? Did I ever possess it? Truly?

What we shared was true and genuine. Our personalities, however different, were complementary. She improved upon my experience. When I was with her, I felt good. I never allowed myself to dwell on all the things she wasn’t to me. There are always things lacking. Finding differences is for the cowards. I made sure I searched for the good, for the the things I valued and sought to attract in my life. I learned a great deal, and for that I am grateful.

Whatever the case, I mustn’t be cautious. If there was ever a form of caution most fatal to happiness, it is caution in love. What is love? The condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

I need to think on other things for awhile.

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