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Short Story-The tug a War

It was a very special evening, I was going to propose to the love of my life, we had been together for 3 years now, what started out as a budding friendship turned into love in no time, we both felt the magnetic pull, there was chemistry, physical attraction and a perfect understanding. We could joke, laugh and smile all day long. My heart was filled with love and eyes had a sparkle and a smile on my face that became my new look. We both had had a rough past & painful relationships but we had talked about them and they were in our pasts now. We both initially were carrying a lot of fears, insecurity and baggage from our past relationships but with 3 years of being together that was now in the past. So, I went out and bought a ring and I wanted to do this differently and make it a memorable moment. Not the old cliche dinner and champagne nor the going down on my knee that was not us. I booked a cottage for us on the beach front and decided to take a small vacation together. I had decided to propose to her at sunset at the beach, it had taken a lot of time for me to overcome my past and now I was sure that she is the one, I felt a soul connect and I knew she was different and was not like the others, I now firmly believed she would not betray me nor hurt me and I was going to start a life together with her. We landed at the airport and took a scenic drive to the resort. The place was romantic and there was love in the air, I could breathe it. I asked her if she would like to go out for a walk to the beach around sunset after resting up a bit and she said sure. I still remember she wore this angelic white linen dress and let her hair down and there we were at the beach and the sun was setting. I held her hand and pulled out the ring from my pocket and said, “I know I pushed you away in the past and I know I’ve been a jerk, I know we’ve both had our fears, apprehensions and dilemmas, I know I put you through a tough tug a war with me and I may not be the easiest person to be with but you still love me and I have taken some time to come around but today and from this day forward I would like for us to spend the rest of our lives together, will you marry me?”

To my disbelief She instantly withdrew her hand & had tears rolling down her eyes. I didn’t understand this behaviour, this is not what I expected. I thought those tears would be tears of joy and she would say “Yes” I never imagined she would withdraw her hand and walk away from my proposal. All she said was “I love you but I can’t.” My male ego kicked in and I felt stupid & rejected.

We both returned to the room and there was this uncomfortable silence between us with neither of us attempting to break it. My best friend, my lover, my soulmate,the love of my life had instantly become a stranger. We had dinner and slept facing the other side that night.

The next morning she fixed me coffee and we sat out on the porch, with the sea breeze brushing through her hair, she said, “ it took you 3 years to realise that you love me and that I won’t betray you & hurt you whereas when I met you & you came in my life, I was broken and shattered inside, I had gotten out of a painful relationship too and had as many fears and apprehensions as you did, but my connect with you healed me and I had let go of my past and started living in my present with you and my love for you but when I reached out to you to express my love for you, you withdrew telling me that you weren’t ready, you had trust issues, you had fears, you had scars from the past and needed more time, do you remember that?”She asked. “There was no ring that day but it was my heart I was giving to you and you shut me out. I realised that day that if you were so unsure then obviously my love for you wasn’t good enough to erase your past, fill your wounds and take away your fears, I felt rejected and I pulled my guards up & from that day forward as much as I love you my fears of you hurting me magnified multiple fold.”

◦ She poured me some more coffee and kissed my forehead and said,”I know you probably feel the same way today but I haven’t refused you because you turned me down 2 years back, this is not a comeback at you. I do love you but now I have scars with you from being in this relationship, because every time in the last 3 years that I tried to reach out to you and express my love to you, you withdrew. It’s pain that I felt every time you compared us with your past, Every time you distanced because of your fears of getting hurt and losing control, they all played a toll on me making me realise my love couldn’t heal you instantly like yours had healed me only to give me fresh new wounds replacing the scars & In the midsts of the tug a war somewhere it snapped.”

I was listening to her and could actually relate to how she may have felt then when she had said she was in love with me and I had turned around and said “I’m not sure I am ready as I’m fearful of betrayal and my past still haunts me.” I replied to her, “You knew I’ve always loved you and will until my grave but I truly was unable to let go of my past memories and pain.” She said,”I understand but now I have fears of betrayal and fears of getting hurt in our present relationship because when I was pulling you close,you where pushing me away and in the tug a war it snapped. I have my guards up now and I’m not sure if I’m ready to commit with these fears.” I replied “ok let’s give it some more time.” To which she said “our egos & self dignity won’t permit that, rejection hurts even though there’s love between us the timing was off.”

We spend the next 2 days as friends and parted ways but I still carry love for her in my heart and have one more painful memory added that will continue to block me from living in my present.

Moral of the Story-it’s the timing, we can’t live in our pasts, if you feel love and care for someone don’t let your egos crawl in, don’t let the past memories take the present away from you, live in the moment, be sensitive to the others feelings, you may end up hurting and pushing them away to a point of no return and it may be too late when you realise that.

-Shereen Shalz


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