"I love you."
My voice was but a whisper passing through the planted lilies and violets, amongst the soft wind that occasionally brushed through our skirts delighted to be swift through this devilish, hot weather that covered us in sweat and a helpless need of cold lemonade. She looked down at her white socks, now muddied with the colour of green from the freshly cut grass. It wasn't a look that I was unfamiliar with, especially these last few dark days. I didn't want to admit it in front of her, but I have been treating her with a rather positive tone these past few years. I hate lying. Not because I find it sinful or hurtful for the other person, but because I was never good at it. At least I thought I wasn't. She rolls her eyes at the sound of my words with a smile on her bright face. It was a sunny afternoon at the park; The flowers were blooming from the summer sun and the neighbourhood was suspiciously quiet. No cars, no people on the street, no loud music from the close-by gym. Just birds chirping away and the wind blowing on our red faces. My tank top was tight enough to reveal the shape of my black bra. My one bra strap was down from my shoulder, waving itself from the warm wind that was passing by every minute or so. I raise my hand in order to make a shadow for my green, almond-shaped eyes. She liked my eyes. I squint them a bit as I look towards the distance, avoiding her cat-like, bluebell eyes that were hidden behind her massive, golden sunglasses.
She is quick to reply as if the question was savored: "Do you really really really love me?"
"I really really really love you" I gave her a sideway grin and grabbed her smooth, delicate hand. "Well I like you even more", she whispered into my ear following that with a light kiss on my cheek. "Are you gonna finish that?" I point at the wrapped sweet on her lap. She looks at it with hesitation and slowly unwraps it. I look at her as she places the yellow sweet onto her tongue, she covers her mouth as she chews on the hard shell.
And you have finally taken a taste of my sourness. Just like those cheap chewing gums that start of as sweet, your tongue rolls against its hard shell, when you finally crack it open a sour mixture fills your mouth. The shell is unswallowable, the sourness is stronger than the sweetness. Till she finally gets sick of the gum and spits it out, then she buys another one, that's sweeter better, thinner, smarter and prettier than the older one that's now lying in the bin amongst the other ones. "Why did you bite into it if you knew the sourness was within its fake, cheap sweetness?" She turns as she chews the last of the gum, then spits it out on her hand. "Even if I would have bit into it, the sourness would still have revealed itself, wouldn't it?" I turn my head to the side and smiled frowning my eyebrows in confusion. She laughs, and my heart starts beating quicker when I hear her whisper: "besides who says I don't like bitter sweets?"
Just like the sweets flavour gets absorbed and is left with nothing, just like the light of a candle burns out after a cold night, just like the concerts soothing music finishes, our relationship had to end. I was thankful it did, because with a concert that goes on forever, how would the same excitement exist when the people are left with no more than endless love songs being played and no time for them to experience their own? How would dessert ever feel the same, if one does not sit through the patience and endurance to soon be greeted with the delightfulness sweet taste of soon-to-become, regretful calories?
"Do you even love me anymore; did you ever love me? Or was it the big void I momentarily filled in your heart, huh? I don't want to be part of this void anymore, it's cold and dark and..." her words were hesitant to come out but sharp. She pauses, her body tenses as she crosses her arms. She looks around with tears streaming down her pink cheeks as if the winters trees would whisper her the right words she wanted to express.
"Controlling, bossy, bitter, selfish, manipulative?" my voice was monotone, the words came out as smooth as the river's stream, almost as if they were scripted. Her body went momentarily slacked, hanging her head in disappointment as her words came out as a whisper. "That's the problem..." I avoid her eyes, turn my head to the side and close my eyes, almost as if I was aware of what she was about to say. "You don't believe in yourself." I look back at her almond-shaped, blue and now swollen eyes. I could see the disappointment on her face. I could hear it in her soft tone, almost as if she felt pity for me. My heart started to beat faster just by that thought, seeming weak. My eyes targeted hers for, what felt like an hour before my words finally came out of my dry mouth. "You're wrong," I say, louder and clearer than anything that has come out of my mouth before. She looks to the side.
"I wish you sounded that confident when you told me you loved me." Her voice sounded like she was in pain as if my hands were around her neck. I swallow and close my eyes; a tear ran down my cheek. I don't remember the last time a genuine tear had run down my cheek. She looked at me in awed, waiting patiently for my words to come out. She was always patient with me, not like the others. "You're wro-" I choke on my words. I take a deep breath in, close my eyes and cross my arms. I straighten my back and open my eyes. "You're wrong. I don't love myself." I look up at her taking a sharp breath in. "...that's the problem."
I looked far in the distance, amongst the parks untouched swings and unclimbed monkey bars that were now covered in spider webs and couldn't help but wonder: If my heart was on a shelf, would it also be covered in spider webs and dust? Why couldn't I give it to someone, was I scared of rejection, of the pain after separation, or was it a rare disorder that I hadn't known of? That's when the questions that were pilling in my head, since the age of six, were answered in less than a minute.
"I understand. You can't love me unless you learn to love yourself first." She turns her back to me and starts walking away with her arms still crossed tight around her. I felt a chill running down my spine as her petite silhouette drew further and further away from me. My head was telling me to run after her, stop her and kiss her, but my heart stayed silent. Maybe that's what loving someone meant, to want to follow that person, kiss and hold them because you want to, not because it seems like the appropriate thing to do.
Her words echoed in my mind once more. I wipe my nose "Learn it? Pf, they don't teach you that in school" I muttered. I felt like almost laughing hysterically. I lost her, but why wasn't I upset? Why wasn't I craving ice cream and break up songs, just like in the movies? This wasn't a matter of wondering, or gaining an answer, it was a matter of reflection. I walked in the opposite direction.
I wiped the swings wooden seat and sat down. I held the ropes that were attached to it and pushed my feet back lightly. I did it once more, I wanted to feel the air on my face. I closed my eyes and pushed again harder this time. And I cried. I cried like there was no tomorrow. I cried like a toddler being denied another piece of cake. I cried till my green eyes were swollen and my nose was wetter than my shirt from the rain that hit me. Nobody was going to love me like this, nobody was going to love me like her. I ran with that thought, I ran my way back because I needed to speak out. She deserved an explanation.
"It seems cheesy, and I am sorry that I couldn't say it without a stutter, without a pinch of lie wearing a fake grin. I am sorry for not looking at you in the eyes, I am sorry for weighing you down and hurting you and I know that my sorry means nothing for the years of isolation and abuse I projected onto you." I take a deep breath in and stare at her green, almond-shaped that I know learned to admire as well.
"I-uh God." I laughed lightly and rolled my eyes. "I love you." I reached out and wiped a smudge off the mirror, smiling.