I read a story recently that broke my heart. A man yearns for his — friend? ex-lover? they never quite figured it out — paralyzed by the realization of his persisting fondness. His friend asks him what went wrong. ‘It wasn’t what he wanted. Or so I thought. Maybe it wasn’t what I wanted,’ man says, voice steady from hurt he’s learned to swallow down for years. ‘What did you want then?’ friend asks. ‘To prove myself? To not have my heart broken?’ man answers, question marks glaring at him in mockery. Friend wonders aloud if things are different now, that love exists still, that fear was the anchor dragging him down the sea. Man laughs, hollow and full of spite. ‘You know what? I don’t even know anymore.’
And it pained me — how could you not know? How could you not know? Surely love can’t be this sufferable? Maybe I was the foolish one, thinking that every story deserved a heartwarming reconciliation and forgiveness backlit by a dotted night sky or drenched in rain falling like loose diamonds tumbling off a chain. Maybe it should be — and the uncertainty scorches my skin. ‘Maybe?’ How could I not know?