It’s not true that I’ve never been in love.
I fell in love once. Her name was Sasha.
This is how it happened…..
It was a rainy night and it seemed like the heavens were particularly displeased with happenings here on earth, and so decided to ‘wash’ away our misdemeanors.
I was in Sasha’s apartment, and was there for one sole purpose: I was there to say goodbye.
We’d been going out for a while – maybe three months – and I thought it was about that time to let things go. I had a habit of ‘letting things go’ any time I felt the minutest bit of threat – real or imagined. It was something of a defense mechanism; something I picked up in my early days as a most effective response to my insecurities. The idea was to let go before the other person did it for you. It worked every time too…except on this occasion.
I walked towards the door after giving my ‘goodbye’ speech, which almost invariably constituted reasons why I was certain the relationship would not work.
“Wait, Ethan.”, she called softly.
I liked Sasha, quite a lot in fact. She always seemed to know how my mind worked, and I suppose that was probably one of the reasons I felt threatened by her. Up until Sasha, I considered myself quite able to mask my true thoughts or feelings, but Sasha displayed the uncanny ability to unmask me every time. For a while it amused me that she could read me so well. It didn’t take long for my overblown survival instincts to kick in however. The fear was that if she knew me too well, she would someday use that ability of hers against me; and I would be defenseless against it – against her. Not an entirely reasonable line of thought, granted, but it felt like the right way to think – the only way to think.
My hand was already on the door handle when she called out, and it lingered there as she came up behind me and touched my left shoulder.
I had my face set with an expression that indicated resolve incapable of vacillation. As I turned to face her, I hoped she would decipher what that expression meant and make my exit a lot easier.
At the worst I was prepared for pleading, in response to which I would simply feign compassion but maintaining my resolve, stating, kindly, that it was in her best interest.
When I turned to look at Sasha however, I saw only eyes full of love, and tears. And as I was just preparing for a most effective counter, she said these words:
“Don’t be afraid, Ethan. I’m never going to leave you…” Her voice was calm and soft; her eyes, still filled with tears, radiated a warmth that was unmistakable; comforting. I stared back at her in utter unbelief; but she wasn’t done yet.
“…because you see, I love you more than life itself.” At that moment she took my right hand in hers and placed it on her left breast. “This heart, this body, this soul, was made to love you….it is my sole purpose in life; one that I’ve readily accepted. So if you leave me now, Ethan, let it be because you feel nothing for me in return…not because you fear that I will let go someday…I cannot, will not, fail my purpose in life. I will love you as long as I live…even longer because you see, sometimes, love is stronger than death.”
And with those words came the utter and complete demolition of my protective castle. I was never to be the same again. She completely unraveled my essence in one fell swoop. It was incredibly amazing, and not in the least bit scary or remotely unsettling. It actually felt comforting.
I stared at Sasha, my expression that of pleasant resignation. The inner peace I suddenly felt must have radiated to the surface because Sasha’s face glowed with a happiness I’d never seen. I realized right there and then that I could never let her go.
Naturally, I stayed. But she didn’t.
Sasha died two years later – motor accident. She was making plans to come home from her trip abroad so we could get married when it happened. Her dad told me later that Sasha left home that morning, after talking to me on the phone, cheerful and full of life; he said she was always that way whenever we talked.
I never understood why Sasha was taken from me, but I do understand what she said about love sometimes being ‘stronger than death’, because all around me I still feel Sasha’s undying love. She was right about never letting go after all.