Sunday, 12 March 2017


I don’t know where to start. I guess it doesn’t matter, really. Writing it all down won’t change my mind. But letting someone out there know, it just seems so important you know?
My parents always thought I was a perceptive child. In a way, I was, but just not the way they imagined.
My dad was the strong, silent type—slow to anger, and quick to hide it. But somehow I always knew when not to cross him. When to hug him. When to turn on my goofy smile and wait for him to ruffle my hair with that deep booming laugh of his.
My mother was an open book. The world knew when she was happy, and she made sure the world knew when she was not. They both loved me like crazy—I was the only child after all—but my dad and I shared a special bond. When he was upset, he would turn not to my mother but to me, giving me that confiding glance he gave to no one else.
I guess you know all about it, eh?
And all I had to do was nod. ’Cause I did know all about it.
But that was also how I knew they were going to get a divorce. I saw the boredom in my mother’s eyes when my dad talked to her. I saw how they lit up sometimes when she checked her phone. Worst of all, I saw the knowing in my dad’s eyes. The slow, crushing despair of the knowledge that the person you love more than anything in the world can’t wait to be rid of you.
And so he granted her what she wanted. He wanted custody of me, but my mother wasn’t going to let that happen. He went off, alone, but not before he hugged me tightly and gave me that look one last time.
I guess you know all about it, eh?
He ended his own life barely two months later. I told my mother I wished her dead and stomped out of the house, and her life.
I knew then that I would never, ever fall in love.
Don’t get me wrong, I had my share of girlfriends. But they never lasted long. Sooner or later I saw the ugliness of their minds, an ugliness that not even the most stunning figure or perfect features could compensate for.
The ugliness that exists in each and every one of us.
I grew lonelier as I grew older. My perspicacity only sharpened with the passage of the years. It’s hard to confide in someone when all you can notice is the glint of judgment in their eye. I could also see the good, mind you—like how the loyalty and love in my buddy Jake’s eyes tried to shove out the hint of disgust he felt when I told him that I had broken up with my fifth girlfriend in two years.
But I couldn’t help but latch on to the bad. The urge was impossibly compulsive.
Then I met Sam. She was the kindest, gentlest and loveliest girl I had ever seen. I thought the effect would wear off after a week or two at most, but after a year of obsessive vigilance I only grew deeper and deeper in love with her.
It wasn’t that she hadn’t any flaws. She had plenty. But her love and kindness outshone them all in a way I had never thought possible. In their blinding light, nothing else mattered.
I wanted to ask her to marry me. I got the ring, the flowers, and I dressed my best. But as I looked into the mirror, a terror I had never before felt darkened my soul. I saw my own foulness in my eyes. All the selfishness, the arrogance and the hatred for my fellow man. They had always been there, but somehow the flaws of others had always blinded me to my own. But now that I basked in my lover’s perfection, they stood out starkly, like deep, cruel scars.
And I knew right then it was impossible. I could never expect someone like her to love someone like me. What if—and I haven’t been able to get this blasted thought out of my head since—what if she too could see what I saw? What if every terrible aspect of my soul leered at her every time she looked me in the eye?
What if, one day, I saw the love fizzle out in her eyes, like my dad saw in my mother’s eyes many years ago?
Oh god. The last glance my dad ever gave me.
I guess you know all about it, eh?
I thought I had understood everything about that look of his, but there was something I had missed—the one thing in his glance I couldn’t have recognised until I had my own love to lose.
I understand now, Dad. I do. I’ll be seeing you real soon.