“You have got to understand the world will not stop from turning just because you will be gone, but your world will stop and die if you neglect yourself.” An old man sitting by her side on a bench spoke to her.
She sat down there just a second ago, she did not even notice the old man there. She felt so drained and exhausted, she had no energy or even interest to look around. Her head was too occupied with the thoughts of him – the one she craved love from and the one who was not willing to give it to her as if she was not deserving. Perhaps not in his eyes, who knows.
She lifted her head and her big blue eyes stared at the stranger in front of her: “Aah?”
“Look at yourself, it seems as if you haven’t had a good night sleep in a very long time. Your face is dull, your body frame is diminishing, you feel weak and powerless. You are losing yourself in the whirl of your own thoughts and self-proclaimed beliefs.”
“Ah?!” this time her voice seemed to wake up. She was shocked.
“Only unloved lover can look as miserable as you.” The old man said while shaking his head.
She stared at the old man sitting on the bench next to her for a moment and then pushed by curiosity asked: “How can you be sure if it is exactly what I am going through?”
He smiled: “I have lived longer than you and I have been through far more things in life than you, and so when I see a face like yours, I know what that pain means.”
A sad smile lit woman’s face for a second.
“What do you mean by saying if I was gone? I am not going anywhere,” the woman seemed puzzled.
The old man kept shaking his head(probably most likely due to his old age). He kept his silence for a moment as if pondering to himself whether to answer to woman’s question or not.
“Look at yourself,” he finally spoke, “you completely neglected yourself, your soul, your life due to the thoughts about a man you care about. You are wearing yourself out. Stop it! Because, you see, not much will change and the world will not stop turning whether you unnecessarily suffer or not. Stop it.”
He thought for a moment and then continued speaking: “What does make you believe that he is the only one for you? He does not want you, he does not see the wonders in you that I see, and that is good, because someone worthy of you is on his way. But first, you got to pick yourself up, dust yourself off of unnecessary heartache and move on with your life.”
She gently touched man’s hand in thankfulness. His unexpected support and compassion lifted her spirit up, she felt encouraged to come out of her daily misery. She suddenly felt worthy of goodness.
“I am the unloved lover,” she smiled modestly.
“The world is full of lonely loving hearts,” the old man gently reassured her.
She felt the need to tell him about her worries, she wanted to share her story, she was hungry for relief of some sort, she felt she could trust him.
“We have been together for some time and one day out of sudden I asked him if he loved me. This thought was bugging me for quite some time. He delayed answering but then eventually he said no. I thought I would get upset if I ever hear someone telling me this but I felt calm. I understood I was not needy. I understood he was entitled to feel what he felt and my world did not fall apart just because of that. Perhaps sometimes we need to give time for the love to blossom… So I gave that time.”
“He was honest with you.”
“Yes, he was.”
“Can you appreciate that?”
“Yes, I can.”
Then she paused for a moment waiting in case if the old man had any other questions. He didn’t, so she continued: “I continued loving and giving, I continued being there for him, for us, just this time slowly he stopped being my air and water. This time I breathed in a fresh air of my own life or at least I wanted to believe so. At times I would go out into the night looking for the answers.”
“Often the night is the only one that tells the truth to the one who searches for the answers to their heart’s wonders.” The old man said while nodding his head.
“And so I searched. It calmed me down, it told me not to despair, it encouraged me to love… I felt it was right to give. However, apparently even giving had its own limits.”
“Only if you believe so.”
She stopped talking and looked around as if checking that no stranger was hearing her story.
The old man waitedpatiently with just a little visible smile on his face.
“I feel confused and tired. I am procrastinating in uncertainty and fear. I don’t know what I feel or think or want any more. Everything seems so dull, so pointless, so lifeless.”
“You procrastinate because there is a deep seated belief in you telling that you might never find anyone as good as him and perhaps it would be good to just compromise and put up with whatever he is capable of giving. Perhaps, perhaps some day he will open his eyes and will see how wonderful you are and he will finally fall in-love with you. Is it not?
She nodded in agreement.
“The truth is that this is most likely not to happen. What might most likely to happen is him eventually leaving you. No man or woman will stay by the side of someone they do not love or desire no matter how wonderful that person may be.”
“But what if?”
The old man smiled and shook his head.
“I am not telling you to walk out on that person. I am encouraging you to remember yourself, your life, your soul, things that you used to do and who you used to be before you met him. Change your focus. Simply change it, and by doing so within time you will get your answers, but the most importantly you will regain yourself.”
“Easier said than done,” the woman replied.
“Only if you believe so.”
She looked at him wanting to say something but her words stuck half way in her throat. There was nothing for her to really say, perhaps because whether she liked it or not she knew the old man was right.
“You are driven by fear to be abandoned, and so you allow yourself to be limited by his own limitations. You got yourself to believe that this is all you deserve or all that will ever be available for you, but you see, you are free and you are greatly loved by many, just for some reason you gave this man the authority to decide your worth and that clipped your wings.” He spoke gently and very slowly.
Tears appeared in woman’s eyes.
“You are a free bird! Why do you stop yourself from flying, from loving and being loved in return? Truly loved! He doesn’t see it as your sacrifice because he doesn’t need it, hence no need to expect him to appreciate whatever that you give up in the name of love. Stop clipping your own wings, stop being an invalid of your own making, instead go and soar the skies of your life freely and joyfully.”
There was so much truth in those words! There was experience and understanding! She felt those words carried pain too. He told the truth she secretly longed to hear. She longed to live that truth. She wanted to feel free again. She compromised too much. She compromised her happiness for someone who did not need it. And why would he need it? He had his own life to live and he surely did it. Love was something she needed the most. Yes, she loved, she loved with all her heart, but also she longed to be loved in return.
“Every living and breathing being thirsts for love. Without love life has no meaning, it dies in darkness and misery. You made yourself miserable. You have to make a choice and go for it, but go from the place of love and love only,” the old man encouraged her. “My lady, listen to this old man with no name. Choose happiness. Choose love. Choose self-worth. You have nothing to lose by choosing to love life.”
The woman did not speak. Her mind went blank; her body stopped shivering; the chaos whirling inside of her started to calm down.
“It does not matter how much one loves you or how many people love you. Quantity has no meaning in the matters of love. How you love and how you are being loved in returnit is all that truly matters.”
“When I love, I love with my whole heart,” she replied.
“What do you want, my girl?” the old man pressed her for an answer.
She thought for a moment. She was not sure if she will be able to voice herself right but she chose to give it a try.
“I want to be loved. No, actually there it is more to it. I already love. I need to be loved in return. I cannot live without love, I cannot be without it. This is the only thing in life where I will never ever again compromise on. I love him from the day we met. I love him from the bottom of my heart. If he cannot reciprocate in the same way, it is ok. I cannot make him love me if he doesn’t, but at least I know I come from the place of love. And if eventually I will choose to step back and wait for the heart full of love to come my way, then so be it.”
The old man smiled hearing her speak her heart. He put his wrinkly hand on her hand and gently squeezed it.
Her realisation of what she truly wanted and being able to loudly voice it cheered her up. It felt as if a heavy stone lifted off her shoulders. Suddenly everything made so much sense. She felt peaceful. She felt happy.
The old man face lit up in a huge smile, then suddenly he started laughing, and he laughed and laughed and laughed. The woman followed in his steps. And they laughed. Their laughter was uncontrollable and overwhelming.
“Your happiness is contagious,” the old man mumbled with the tears in his eyes while catching his breath.
“Your love is infectious,” she replied.
She laughed and cried. She felt free. It seemed that all she needed was the old man with his wise words so as to turn her world around and make her feel again. She laughed and cried in gratitude.
“I will be your flower if you want if you just let me blossom.”
“I will be your water that will help you blossom.”
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