Some people connect to others through compassion. I’ve always done it through pain. It’s easy for me to tell when someone is hurting – the sadness around them is palpable. When you’ve been observing people for ages in your solitude, you become strangely familiar with their joys, sorrow, regrets, wishes, desires, disappointments and failures. People lie only when they talk. Take away that option and they become a fragile vase of truth. Nothing is more beautiful.
They were standing on the sidewalk. A man and a woman. I didn’t want to intrude on their aching relationship, it just happened. Maybe it’s become too much of a habit for me to pick up pain whenever it’s near me. I instantly knew what they were saying to each other, even though I was unable to hear a single word.
They were just standing there. People passing by.
She had tried walking away and he had stopped her.
Her arms, loosely handing by her body while he was holding her shoulders with his palms, gently caressing them, whispering something in her ear. That’s the way men hold a woman when they’re trying to calm her down, to get her to reconsider, to give in to his reasons and abandon her emotions.
He was talking to her, but she was avoiding eye contact. Her head was tilting to one side and she was staring at the ground (note: the grimmest sign – when a woman won’t look you in the eyes). She didn’t want to listen to what he had to say, she didn’t want to understand or accept it.
It didn’t matter what his reasons were – that he couldn’t get a divorce, stop seeing his ex, have a future with her – I was witnessing a scene when a woman had just understood just how unnecessary she was in his life. For a woman to understand this, means she will gradually come to terms with just how undesired she is [by that guy] too. Once she does she is free. It’s one of the longest and most painful paths to walk. Men enviously call it ‘moving on without regrets’ and think it resembles rebirth. Truth is – it’s a thousand deaths by your own hand – relentless, graphic and continuous.
I was strangely drawn to them and as I passed them by I kept looking back just to catch one last glimpse of their final moments together. People are either fixated on what they have or (more often) on what they don’t, so they rarely have the chance to stop for a while and witness the ending of something (and actually realize they are witnessing an end). They start fixating on it only after it’s long gone and has passed in the category of things they ‘don’t have’. I find that strangely mesmerizing.
Then I walked away.