US

Was it love?

US
By Amna Rashid
Fri, 09, 21

If I write the number of times I couldn’t talk to you because I was afraid to anger you, baffle you or agitate you, it will fill pages more than you can read....

Was it love?

STORY

“If it doesn’t hurt, it isn’t love.” I read the book you gave me; it had this sentence highlighted that I’m not sure I clicked with. And there wasn’t enough room to talk to you about it, there has never been.

If I write the number of times I couldn’t talk to you because I was afraid to anger you, baffle you or agitate you, it will fill pages more than you can read.

We had love between us - if love means skipping a beat every time you see the other person smiling at you. If it means flashing lights and ballroom dancing, butterflies in your stomach when they wish you morning. Or when they make you coffee in the night to compensate for the last fight, telling you that everything about you is beautiful.

Yes, we did love each other.

You begged me to come back, saying that you love me, again and again, just like a child begging his mom for a shirt saying he loves it, only to throw it after it fulfilled his fantasies.

There were words but jammed somewhere in the way between my brain and tongue; they couldn’t escape.

I traced myself all the way back to when we first met. I saw a lot of things, the lights, the sand, the beach, the ring, the flowers, the champagne, and then tears, the scares, the silence.

You loved me, because I let you love the “me“ that was nowhere in existence before you came into my life. Your love was not warm, it was cold; a slow poison that inculcated in me shame, fear, regret and guilt - the emotions I tried to shake off only for them to come back stronger.

You loved the “me“ that was always there to suck your grief in, waiting at the doorstep to make up after our fights, because it did not want to lose what it felt with you.

You loved the ‘me’ that acted as punching bag for you to spew your anger out, the physicality of scars it produced was non-existent, which made it so hard to untangle myself from you. The anger didn’t show itself as bruises I could show myself in the mirror or to the world, but it cost me my peace and nights - my time I should have invested in myself.

You loved the ‘me’ you could always win over with sweet gestures as apologies. It would have felt great to sleep knowing that there was always a person beside you who you could manipulate, and make “yours”, and here, this idea of you being mine and I being yours became the foundation of the abusive roller-coaster, that I let myself ride for a very, very, long time.

If it gives you pain and makes you blame yourself a lot, always urges you to make the first move, snatches from you the right to refuse - it is not love. Here, I unleash the person in me who has the power to tell you that the concept of love you introduced me to made me suffer and I no longer want that. I’ll make sure that you are no longer in my life I can cherish so beautifully, because “If it hurts and keeps on hurting, it isn’t love”.