It has been bugging me in the past few months. More so these last couple of days. Our interactions have a regular pattern: we set our eyes on each other. Enjoy each others’ company for a bit. Catch up on trivial stuff and… Talk about business. And then we start arguing. The silent treatment ensues. Either of us would try to fix things after a long period of silence; usually you fix, while I keep quiet. Is this how two years plus of relationship has to be?
2013 wasn’t my best year. I kicked it off with my Mom’s passing and family turmoil. Yes, I was emotionally unstable. Funny how I was able to admit that at the time. And yes, I was lonely. This time very much alone.
You sent the first message. Your sharp eye noticed my then new phone, the HTC Butterfly. You were charming and eloquent. And on April Fools, you gave me your number. A week later we met for dinner and then karaoke. (It is cute how months down the line, from one who refuses to karaoke, you have been arranging and initiating a few.)
Both sides of you drew me in: the matured side and the childish side. Your deep devotion to your studies and career was laudable. A stark contrast to my short-attention personality.
We did a lot of great stuff with each other. Picnics, walks down the waterfront. Well, the last one ended up with a freak encounter with a drunk. That was the last time either of us went to the waterfront after sundown.
The You of Back Then
Remember those times you used to work out at Pustaka? How you tried to bring me along. Well, I am amazed I went a few times; but that first jog started the wheels spinning. Your coordination was superb; and I was like an octopus on the aerobics floor. I don’t know how to express the awkwardness. Even in the gym, I still avoid going to classes because of the anxiety.
Speaking of gym, you left all those: the natural jog, the aerobics company and who knows what else. You try to come close. Slowly and steadily you did considering my state and my condition.
Your hair… Although it looks way better now, but back then that greasy hair and your batik reminds me of a retiring guru besar.
Month passed since we started seeing each other and still I never knew where you stayed. And I never asked. I didn’t want to. Because it was too personal and private. We both were still protecting each other. Yes, we were both scarred.
How times have changed! I am happy to see your organic growth. You were always the steady one when I was all over the place. In my deep insecurity and fear, you were there to allay it. To say, “Step by step”.
Too Little Giving, Too Much Taking
I do not blame you for the change. Even I have been wondering it myself. Don’t think for one moment I do not see how imbalance our relationship was.
You were there: always giving and supporting. In darkest of the nights, you held me. When I cannot see where I am going and about to fall into despair, you pulled me out.
But I could not do the same for you. When you were feeling, I was thinking.
When my car was in the workshop, no one wanted to bring me out. You drove all the way from your house and picked me up. We had dinner. We talked. We laughed. We teased. We bickered. One merajuk, the other pujuk. It was cute, but was it enough?
I never knew what the next level was, nor where it is. I thought I did.
What I do know is I want you to grow organically. To what I knew, I invited you in. I know it was not your world, it is not your thing. You persevere. I’d be lying to say I am not proud of your accomplishments. I see you against the person you were, not the person next to you.
I would not say you change, but you grew.
Unfortunately I know the lopsidedness of our relationship. Every day I think about it. Yes, even these few days. I told you before: all I wanted was to be able to make you laugh and smile.
I am truly sorry. I do not know how anymore.
Now everywhere I step is a land mine. You know how reactive I can be. I don’t want to explode and leave shards of glass every single time. Yes, when you remove the piece it is gone; the wounds heal, and a scar takes its place.
I know I caused all these to happen and I don’t blame you. We are adults. We know there are cause and effects, decisions and consequences.
Am I holding you back?
Am I being selfish? Am I in your way to achieve success? Worse: am I holding you back from becoming the person you could become?
Yes, “worse”. When you love someone, you must know when to let them go. Especially when you know you are not good for them.
Hey, I do not want to be a martyr here. I’m not saintly. You and I both know that very well.
Yes, in the last few months I withdrew into my world. You do not know how much I felt your absence. I won’t be doing all Celine Dion in All By Myself. I felt sad, yes. A few times I couldn’t take it and twice I said: “I need you”. And you came.
Business and entrepreneurship is my core. I’ve been failing and succeeding here and there since I started out when I was dismissed from Law School in 2006. I’m sorry if all I wanted to do was share; and only when you asked for my opinion.
You asked what I thought. I gave you the mp3. You’ve played your songs as you worked, but it never wasted your time. How is that 10 minutes recording wasting your time? Because I gave it to you. I intruded. I know. And I am backing off.
If only you listened to it: I wanted to validate your plans. If you listened to the audio, you would know you are going in the right track. I want to support you as you go. But there I go again, sounding all so innocent, with pretentious concern.
I do love you, but…
…Can you really take all these? You saw me in my weakest. I’ve found my footing and purpose once again. No, I still believe in laissez faire.
We had plenty of good times. I do want you by my death bed when my time is up. You are close. I do not want all those beautiful memories to be destroyed by our bickering.
It is Ramadan. In a few weeks time, it is your birthday. I earnestly want these events to be a happy one. I want to be able to celebrate it with you. Yes, I am conscious of all these things.
I will stay out of your way as much as I can. Let’s keep it to the small talks. You have a lot on your plate; I do not want you to spoil your mood. You are on a roll.
Do you really think there is a future between the two of us?