I knew myself to be a hopeless romantic who believed in true love. Even if the world stopped spinning, I would never question the fact that true love does exist
The party was dying downstairs. The weird music that was honking like crazy till just about five minutes ago had stopped. I could see people, drunk and intoxicated, leaving the premises of my house.
It was already 12 am. Another day. I rubbed my eyes and yawned even though sleep just didn't come. I heard the polite goodbyes at the door, and thought, thank god they are all leaving, finally! May be if the house was once empty-except for my parents, that is-I could get some sleep. My thoughts drifted to the conversation that I had with Stuart while heading towards a friend's party earlier in the evening.
Stuart was my boyfriend-or should I say, my ex. Exactly six hours earlier he had come to pick me up. That was exactly when my house was starting to buzz with people-god knows, how much I hated all this-people, mostly my father's business partners with their spouses. Exactly five hours and forty-five minutes earlier, I was comfortably seated in Stuart's car. If I could trace back to the start of the beginning of an end, that was it.
The ride. Waving my parents goodbye as they got ready to start their own party filled with alcohol and gossips. Really, grownups weren't any different from teenagers. That was my thought as I slid into the familiar plush leather seat of Stuart's BMW. I had left one party to attend another but in the end, I attended neither. That was the evening, a chilly June evening, that Stuart broke up with me, without any logical reasoning to offer. He broke up with me while driving his BMW, and listening to Eminem's rap, loud and profane, on the stereo. Just like that.
It was thirty minutes past midnight and the air was getting chillier. I wrapped myself with a light blanket, blinking back tears as I thought about the fateful conversation I had in the evening. I should have taken a hint when he didn't open the passenger car for me, like he always did. At that specific time, it hadn't bothered me. I was 19. I had just graduated from high school and was accepted to the Maryland State College. I had a boyfriend whom I loved. I was young and carefree. I didn't realise then that the lines between happiness and sorrow were so precarious. One minute you totally own your life and the next, things start falling apart.
Exactly five hours and thirty minutes earlier, I was checking myself in my compact mirror and adjusting my lip gloss when Stuart, my boyfriend, cleared his throat as if he were about to announce something important. Every time he cleared his throat, a long, elaborate speech would follow. Mostly to do with politics that didn't interest me but I adored Stuart and his rants.
I would suggest him to express himself in social media but then he would raise his left eyebrow (it was always the left) and start a monologue on how social media was corrupting society. I usually zoned out during these conversations because I loved Facebook and in no way was I ever going to get off that addictive social media. But this time there was something ominous in the air.
I adjusted my dress which was a short, body-hugging black dress that screamed formal but not too formal. I looked over at him, at his tense face. I knew something terrible was about to happen and I could do nothing but brace myself for whatever that was coming.
Stuart cleared his throat again and said, "Alina, we gotta talk."
What he said next just shattered me. He said that since soon both of us would be going to college, it was best if we took some time apart. He said it gently but I felt a blow. I felt my head spinning. Stuart, my sweet Stuart. Stuart, who was extra sensitive to other people's feelings. What had happened to that Stuart? Did he not know that I loved him? Because we had been together for almost four years. He confessed his love to me on exactly the third month of dating.
I was prepared to hear that he was in love with someone else. Or that his love for me had died a slow death. But what he said next broke me to the core:
"My parents are divorcing, Alina. I know this will sound insensitive but I need some space to think about my life because if the love that I grew up is untrue, then what exactly is true love, you know? I always looked up to my parents as two human beings who were truly in love. But what now? They are going to separate… I can't wrap my head around to it… I think there is no such thing as true love and happily ever after. You know what? I don't think I believe in love anymore."
I was shocked but even in the shroud of confusion and shock I could feel my logic kicking in. "Just because your parents are divorcing doesn't mean that our love is less real or untrue. For god's sake Stuart, we love the same music, the same books and even have the same taste in movies. We have feelings for each other and what happened to your parents won't necessarily happen to us. We should give ourselves a chance and not back off. I know that you are upset about your parents but don't do this to me," I pleaded.
All because I did love Stuart, his crooked smile and nerdy glasses. I loved that he loved literature and would be willing to discuss the virtues of Henry James any time I broached the subject even though he was a science geek. We often drove over the town in his BMW (his parents were pretty wealthy) listening to the radio station.
We both loved hip-hop. And we had professed our love to each other. Did it mean nothing? Suddenly, one day you discovered your parents were separating and bam, you started to question your own values when it came to love. I wept silent tears as we headed back to my home; the night was ruined and I had no interest in attending any party. Part of me thought that some beer would buzz my system, make me less despondent but I rarely drank. It just wasn't me.
Stuart drove in a silent and sullen mood clutching the steering wheel nervously. Every now and then he would look over at me but he couldn't utter a word. I felt so shocked I couldn't argue and numbly went through the motions as I got off his car. I didn't bother saying goodbye since he had already done that for me.
Now I lay in my bed, helpless tears falling on the pillow. The problem was that I really loved Stuart. The way he said funny things with a poker face, with his strong political views that he liked to discuss with me which usually went over my head but I admired that he cared about deep ideas. As the clocks ticked by to welcome dawn, I tossed and turned thinking. Is there no such thing as true love?
What if my parents separated? Wouldn't I be devastated? But would that question my ability to love? Am I not an autonomous person? Surely I can rise above any terrible circumstances? I knew myself to be a hopeless romantic who believed in true love. Even if the world stopped spinning, I would never question the fact that true love does exist.
It was all quiet downstairs. At the end I neither attended my parent's party nor my friend's party, which we, I and Stuart, were supposed to. My eyes felt puffy and I knew it would take a lot to heal this heartache. I walked over to the window and as I looked over at the glow of lamp posts on the forlorn streets, I thought I still believe in true love, no matter what. There are heartbreaks but there is also unconditional love and happily ever after. I will remain true to myself and be open enough to welcome my happily ever after. Life exists because love exists, not the other way around.
Dixya Poudel is a freelance writer
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