What do you do when the one you love is far from the love you envision?
I did not choose love. It did not choose me, but some part of me believes that I agreed to stay here long enough to feel like a choice, to look like a choice so that my beloved would finally look into my eyes and tell me “I love you.”
Three words. Eight letters. Four vowels. Three consonants.
I met Mark in a mall. Yes, I was making my way to a grocery store just like him, but one of us bumped into the other and it resulted into a conversation about which fruits to buy and how to make perfect smoothies. It was during the time I was having an “MCP”, a Middle-Class Phase, where I believed that making smoothies would surely propel me into healthy living, but I failed to work on my peace of mind. I was working long hours at a call center needing the healthy fix.
He had the Colgate smile, the kind that could start an estrogen war within a person and the universe at that moment had picked on me to be the bearer of this war. I remember thinking that ‘if he asks for my number, I will be sure to give him my email address too,’ and right there and then, he asked if we could sit down at a cafe within the mall and chat.
It was a Saturday. My laundry was done and I had no plans other than following a smoothie recipe and making one, successfully. We walked out of the grocery store and headed straight to the cafe.
He pulled out a seat for me, let me order first and before I could say another ‘thank you,’ he smiled at me again and said ‘Is it okay if I ask to know your name?”
“Oh, sure, sorry, I’m Christine but my friends call me Chrissy.”
“Christine is a beautiful name, well, it seems mine is not as far away from your name, since I was named after one of the people who followed the man you may or may not be named after.”
“And that name would be?”
“Four letter name…that’s easy to remember.”
“Yes, well, my parents made sure that I knew and read all about him, because he was a disciple of Christ.”
“So, you grew up in a Christian family?”
“Well, I don’t know if we are a Christian family but the old man was a Bishop and his wife, well, she did know a thing or two about the Bible.”
“Wow, that must have been something.”
“It was. Forget all that, tell me about you, other than bumping into strangers in grocery stores, what do you do?”
“I see where you are going with this, but I did not bump into you, ‘Mr. I am texting as I walk,’ so, I work in Customer service. You may have probably called in once in a while complaining about bundles or your airtime vanishing into air and called me a thief.”
“True, I may have. There’s nothing as bad as buying bundles and running out of them unexpectedly. Well, I am in the field of Medicine.”
“Wait, are you Doctor?”
“No, not a doctor but more along the lines of Pharmaceutical Investor.”
“What does that entail?”
“It’s more about ensuring that those who need urgent medical care get it, be it in form of connecting pharmaceutical companies to hospitals or simply making deals that prolong lives, so I am what you would call a modern day consultant, but not a doctor.”
“Okay, what did you study in campus?”
“I did Medicine and then went ahead and took up a Masters in Business Administration with focus on Finance. How about you? What did you study?”
“I studied Education and now I am a Customer Care Agent, talk of falling far from the tree.”
“You do what you can and it beats taking to the streets every two or so years demanding for what’s due to you, doesn’t it?”
“Yes, it does.”
Well, that’s as far as my mind can go in recollecting that first time we met. I remember wondering just how he could speak with such ease, ooze all that confidence and not worry about being turned down by me. It baffled me, but more than that, my reaction to him shook me.
I was not the kind of person who talked to strangers. I was also not the kind of person to talk of my life to someone who was not a close friend or family, so much so that my sisters and brothers often called me a ‘rock.’ They labeled me the girl who had no feelings. The one who was so focused that it was either her way or no way. It got me where I was but having Mark unravel a softer side of me shook me, not because I did not encourage him, but because I wanted to be softer and more vulnerable around him.
And when those feelings kept unraveling, a part of me shut down, and when I needed it the most, it eluded me.
I wonder, was this just a game to him? Was I simply prey and once he caught me, he couldn’t help but play with me for a few seconds before tearing me apart?
Is this love?