Last night I saw you standing on the train platform across from me. You were dressed in that white blouse I loved seeing you in. Your head was buried in your phone, your fingers busily typing, likely a worktext because you were always reading or sending a worktext. And in that work mode, you didn’t see me just like when we were together; I could never really compete with the job. You were driven, and you approached your work with a laser-like focus determined to be the best. That passion for succeeding at all costs played a part in us become distant. Ironically, it was that very same drive and desire to succeed that drew me to you in the first place. You looked up for a second but not in my direction, and even though we were separated by two set of train tracks at that moment, I felt like I was standing inches from you, looking into your eyes. The same eyes that I thought used to light up only for me, the eyes I used to tell you gave you an unfair advantage, the eyes that captured my heart the first time they looked my way. It was crazy, and even I found it hard to believe that the mere sight of you, after all, we went through, the ugly way it ended, I could feel the way I did. They say you don’t know love until love is gone, and I guess that’s true. What I do know is that going our separate ways was the best for both of us, but you can’t simply turn off how you feel about someone you loved, even when you know you shouldn’t be with them. After all, whoever said life and love were fair. It’s not it complicated; it’s difficult, it’s heartbreaking. But it’s worth it if only for that feeling you get when you look into the eyes of that someone special, even if it’s only a memory.
You may think you know me but do you?
Do you know that when no one is around, my smile turns to tears?
Do you know that sometimes in a crowded room, I feel completely alone?
Do you know that I lay awake wondering why no one ever loved me the way I loved them?
Do you know the hurt I never talk about because I don’t want to hurt others’ feelings?
Do you know the guilt I feel for feeling the way I do when so many others are suffering?
Do you know that sometimes I wish someone would see through all of it and say I get it?
Do you know telling me it could be worst doesn’t make it better?
Do you know that I wish you would understand that my pain is my pain and no one else’s, and I’m not trying to compare it to anyone’s else, not looking for anyone’s sympathy, not feel guilty about it, not bury it deep within myself?
Do you know that I’m just looking to work my way through it?
You think you know me but do you?
The aroma of french vanilla wafted from my coffee mug, and the sound of raindrops dancing on my window filled the air. It’s another lazy Saturday morning, and I have so much to be thankful for in these turbulent times. My health, job, home, and of course, my family and friends. Yet I feel something is missing—that special person to share my life with, the sound of children laughing. Having been blessed with so much, just the thought of feeling incomplete makes me uncomfortable. Who am I to feel incomplete when so many in the world today have so much less and are suffering? As a result, I keep the feeling of loneliness deep inside, never letting anyone know my true feelings. However, on mornings like this, keeping my emotions trapped inside me can prove to be incredibly difficult. As I sit sipping on my coffee and look forlornly out the window at the raindrops dancing on my windows, my mind pushes aside all I have been blessed with and focusses on my feelings of solitude. I am determined to see my glass as half full, but I cannot lie; it is often difficult. If only I had the strength to share my feelings, not be concerned with others’ judgment, to not be so guilt-ridden for feeling this way. If only I weren’t so good at hiding my emotions, perhaps someone would see the tears my smile hides and ask what’s wrong? I take the last sip of my coffee, sigh, and vow to myself not to let this get the best of me, to concentrate only on that which brings me happiness. So why do I feel so sad?
Oh, hi love, how are you doing today? Come on in and have a seat, you’re right on time. You know I’ve been wanting to talk to you for a while now. I’ve got a question that I really need you to clear up for me.
Now to be clear I’m not mad at you, in fact I’m one of your biggest fans, but I am just a little puzzled by one thing. You know I’ve always admired you, I mean from the second I was born I had a front row seat to one of your long running performances, the enduring love affair between my mother and father, so I am aware of how beautiful you can be. I also have seen the strongest man in a room openly weep when you abandon him, and the smallest woman tap into you for the strength of a thousand of those men to protect her child. So yes, I am aware of the power you possess as well.
But for the life of me I can’t figure out why you so often hurt those who believe in you? It’s as if you take joy blissfully dancing into their hearts only to walk away when they fully committed to you? Wait, don’t answer that, something tells me the reasons for this are best left unsaid and that even if you told me I probably wouldn’t understand. You know what, let’s just pretend this conversation never happened. Because no matter what the reasons may be I’m still going to have a lot of love for you love. Sure, you upset me, flip my world upside down and cause me to be bitter from time to time. But it always passes, and I always come back.
Do you know why? I’ll tell you.
I was reading the Bible and I came across the verse that said you never give up, never lose faith, that you’re always hopeful and that you endure through every circumstance. Wow that’s powerful and frankly doesn’t sound like something to quit but something worth believing in. So, I keep the faith because I’ve got a hunch you have something big planned for me.
So, thanks for dropping by today I hope my hunch is right and I see you again real soon.
You hesitated for a second then looked right in my eye and said: “To tell you the truth I don’t remember” and just like that you were gone.
In poker it’s called the art of the bluff. the best hand doesn’t always win. Play the hand right and you can force a player with a better hand to walk away simply by playing confidently. However, the risk is great. If the person sitting across from you doesn’t walk away, calls your bluff and pushes their chips to the center of the table… well cards don’t lie, and the best hand wins and you loses everything.
But you offered a completely different take on the bluff, didn’t you? You pretended to be all in and there was no risk at all. Because when I called your bluff and fell in love with you I lost everything. Because you really didn’t put anything in the middle, did you? Only I did, I put my heart in the middle and just like in poker the cards didn’t lie and in this game of love my heart flush lost.
Losing it all was devastating, after all you lied to you. Looked me right in the eyes and told me you loved me, that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with me and silly me I believed it Well played your bluff almost broke me, but it’s didn’t. It was simply one bad hand not the beginning of my end. Love is a gamble and I’m willing to take a chance again. Willing to put my heart back on the table again to someone who I will barely know and trust that they aren’t bluffing and are ready to give their heart back to me. I won’t play it safe, afraid to put to get back in the game. Because there’s an old poker that says you can’t lose what you don’t put in the middle, but you can’t win much either. Now unquestionably I would never get hurt again playing it safe. But I’ll also never know the feeling of waking up and looking over at the person next to me with a smile knowing that I’m going to grow old with them, that I would do anything for them and that they would do anything for me. So yeah, I called your bluff and lost, it’s ok a lot of people have done the same thing but like them I’ll lick my wounds, give my heart a moment to mend and then cash back into the game. Because after all I can’t win at the game of love if I don’t play the game of love
The final bows have been taken, the stage lights begin to dim, and the curtain comes down. It was just me alone in a quiet and empty room, and now with no need to pretend this mask I can remove.
The mask, my face to the world, hides my true feelings, my real emotions. Alone and without my mask, I can be who I am, if only just for a few fleeting seconds.
A single tear rolls down my face as I envision your smile, and while I know you’re not there, I still reach out for your hand to pull you close to me, to feel your touch, to look into your eyes and tell you that I love you one more time.
If only in my mind.
If only for these fleeting seconds.
I can hear them now, the crowd settling back in, and your hand begins to slip from mine. The stage lights flicker, and my mask is back in place; the curtain rises, the show must go on, and our seconds, well, our seconds were only fleeting, and now they are gone.
It’s been a minute, hasn’t it been, but there you were in my dreams again, tip-toeing into my subconscious when I thought I had forgotten all about you. I’m not going to lie; seeing you again brought a smile to my face, all the good memories we created together flooding my mind. It’s funny now to think there was a time that the thought of you and I, what we were, and how that is no more made me sad. But that time has passed, I’m so much stronger now. Aware now of all the love that had always been afforded me by so many. To finally understand that the love of the Lord is more vital than any love I could ever desire, to embrace myself, to love myself, so yes, now the memory of the happy times between us, and there were some damn good times, makes me smile for I accept now they were an essential part of the journey I’ve been on to be the person I am today. Goodbye, for now, it was nice seeing you again, and I hope you have found the happiness that you were a part of in me finding mine.
How do I know I love you?
I know because I would choose to walk through the raindrops with you by my side than bask in the sunshine with someone else.
That’s how I know I love you.
I close my eyes and listen for the silence. I have subconsciously transported my soul, my inner self, to another level. A level where I am all alone, where nothing or no one can touch me. It is here where I find my peace unburdened by expectations, free to speak, even if no one is listening, my feelings, unafraid of what obstacle a higher power has deemed I must jump over this time. Here I feel free a sense of calm. There is no show to put on for others, no feelings to hold on to so as not to offend others, no worries about the next setback. Here I can just be me. But I know I can not stay in this place. So I open my eyes and the light shines through, the noise is all around and I am transported back to reality. It is back to who I am or who I pretend to be. Others will live their lives unencumbered by who I’m really am. They will live with only a hint of the true me that slips out from time to time. I guess that is the way it must be for as Mr. Spock once said the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few and I am the few.
Two people, one for the outside world to see one for only me to know. The outside world sees the smile, the upbeat optimism that makes it seem nothing can ever bring me down. But inside I’m hurting, wondering what I did to deserve this lot in life. Feelings of loneliness flood over me even when I’m in a room full of family and friends. Thoughts of dread preoccupy my mind. The slightest mention of you don’t look good or the question what’s the matter with you is met with the response I’m fine or nothing. But the truth is the question itself is frightening and I don’t want to hear it or think about it. Often times I’ll snap at the person asking the question. I know they ask out of concern but I’m tired of thinking about the negative and those questions just flood my mind with the negative.
Alas in the times when I’m feeling good there is no family to share the good times with and by family I mean MY family, a wife, children, grandchildren. I missed out on that, stupid decisions and wrong choices on my part I guess. This is just one more thing I bury deep inside. Because when I express it to family members they don’t understand the hole it has left in my soul, they feel as if I am not valuing them. That of could not be further from the truth I know how much they love me and I love them but as close as we are they’re not MY family not my wife, my children, my grandchildren. It’s something I have always dreamed I would experience in my life but never have. Instead I look on with jealousy as others share stories of their child’s success or even failures. Their lives with their spouses good and bad. Especially the bad because they found a way to work through it while it seems it was always easier for people to walk away from me. Am I that hard to love? Is it not worth the effort to try and make it work with me? Has anyone ever really loved me?
I have always been a believer in a higher power if not religion itself, after all who needs a third party to talk to God. But lately that belief has been shaken. I always tried to do the right thing. I always tried to live right. They say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle but you know what I’m getting pretty close to all I can handle.
Many times I am thankful for that other person, the side the outside world sees. He is filled with high self esteem and boundless optimism. Truth be told if I didn’t have that side to pull from I don’t know where I would be. Work is my refuge. It’s there I pour my heart into. It gives me purpose, I know I’m respected there, I know I’m good at what I do there. I don’t really know what I would do without it besides the obvious loss of income I wonder how losing it would impact my self esteem. Without it would I just fall into a pit of self despair. Again not something I share with anybody most times all you’ll get is the cliche answers – it could be worst, at least you’ve got better than (insert name), be thankful for what you have. Guess what I am thankful, I know it could be worst, I know others have it tougher. That doesn’t make it any better for me because I’m looking at how it impacts me and only me not someone else.
Anyway I know this post has been kind of all over the place I guess I just needed to vent. In the meantime i will lean on the happy side of me and hope things turn around after all I’m Carl Cooke damn it and at the end of the day nothing can stop me…at least I hope.