” Only unrequited love is romantic.”
~Vicky Christina Barcelona
We sat on the train in silence, attempting to absorb the news.
A malignant brain tumor. A three-month chemo cycle followed by surgery. No certain outcome. A dream deferred. We had almost made it out of the station before he collapsed from the weight of his future. I leaned into him as he sobbed into my chest and whispered, “I’m not going anywhere”. I was terrified. I had no idea what I was signing up for. I just knew my heart could not leave.
We had been seeing each other for only two months.
Don’t look at me like that. Trust me, loving a dying man is easier than you think. After all, you already know why at some point you won’t be together.
For as long as I can remember, I operated from a point of loss. I was born into an older family, and had been to more funerals by my fifth birthday than some will ever see in their lifetime. I had long grown accustomed to the concept that everything you love eventually goes away. There is a certain safety in knowing the end before it begins, and there was where I functioned best.
By this point, It had gotten to where I actively sought out the doomed. I didn’t notice it at first. I pegged myself a “hopeless romantic”, mused on how “you can’t help who you love”..except it seemed I always found myself in the most non-viable of situations. Men already in relationships. The emotionally unavailable. Shoot, the terminally ill. It was as if I could only fully feel when I knew deep down that the love would not be returned. Forever was not a language I spoke, and unrequited love is easy. You have the freedom to love as hard as you want without any of the day-to-day legwork that makes lasting love possible.
It wasn’t leaving I was afraid of. It was staying.
Photo Credit: DeviantArt