Tennyson wrote how it was better to have loved and lost and all but I’m not sure I’ve got it in me to agree with his assertion. When I look back and think about you, which even after all this time is still way to damned often, I can see what I did wrong pretty clearly. The bitch of it is that I know me well enough to know I don’t think I could ever have really done things any differently.
For the longest time, I told myself my biggest mistake was just that I loved you too much. In my mind, I guess, I could rationalize that away as a venial sin at worst. In the grand scheme of things there are a lot worse things a man could do than that. The bad part is…those worse things…I was guilty of a lot more of them than I was willing to admit to. And it was in the doing of those things that I drove you to leave me. I know that now.
Loving you too much to the exclusion of living for myself was wrong. There were opportunities I should have taken, dreams I should have made realities and possibilities left unexplored in my bottomless desire to be with you and devote my all exclusively to you. When someone does that it doesn’t have the effect they expect it to. The hunger for what could have been but never was eats away at them in some deep, dark, hidden place inside. Eventually that hunger manifests as regret or resentment or reproaching. It creates not a bond but a chasm. And it was in my failure to do things that I drove you to leave me. I know that now.
There was so much going on in my head…in my heart…in my soul that I silenced and shoved to the back burner in the mistaken name of love. Whatever it may have been was cloaked and disguised. Sentiment became smothering. Hugs became strangleholds. Devotion became obsession. I know that now.
The finest wines need to breathe to achieve their sweetest bouquet. The birds that sing the most sweetly do not do so encaged but when they fly free. The most beautiful of roses are crushed and their petals bruised when they are clutched too closely and not left to live in their natural beauty. I know that now.
I imagined us together for all of our lives. I imagined us growing closer each day of our lives until we were inseparable and inconceivable as anything but a single presence. I imagined so very many things that never came to be…could never come to be…because in all of my imaginings I left too little of myself open to the infinite alternate possibilities Fate can bring to pass.
This story was written for the weekly Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction writing challenge and is loosely-based on the song How Was I to Know by Nil Lara.