I wanted to write a love story for you since it’s lovey, dovey hearts month, but I didn’t want it to be too sweet. So I settled for writing about that couple who almost doesn’t make it. I didn’t give them names because, well … they could be anyone really. Their struggle is a familiar one– two distinct hearts, with their own brokenness, finally seeing something in the other they’d missed for far too long. And seeing something in themselves they’d been ignoring. Hope you enjoy it!
He didn’t have an answer.
It was an easy enough question, but he didn’t have an answer.
“Why do you love me?” Her defiant chin went up as she repeated herself.
Did she think she had him? Would his silence be her cause to walk out and leave him for good this time?
His hands dropped from her shoulders, and he stepped back. A thousand possible replies rattled through his head, but her eyes said she wanted him to say the wrong thing. That’s all it would take. The cords binding them had frayed to the point of disrepair. The only thing holding them together was the quiet between them. Once he spoke, it would be over. No answer would be enough. Nothing he could say would change their course. Too many other times of not saying anything had already torn such a gash between them that it was only a matter of time now.
An argument rose in him. One that would rip her noble glint away. Who was she to bring him to the mat after the things she had done? Perhaps he should turn the question on her. But no, what would her answer be. “I don’t love you.” He could picture her face as she said it. Sure and settled. How deep would those words go?
Perhaps reminding her of better times, what they’d been through, how beautiful he thought she was. Maybe that would mean something.
He’d done this. He’d missed her. While he was working and expecting everything to go the way it ought to, he’d missed her crying in the dark and how she always deflected his compliments. Life had been so much about him and his hopes and dreams that he had forgotten about hers. In his sureness that the world would love and adore him, he hadn’t noticed just how hard it was for her to believe it could do the same for her. He had failed, and here she stood, the same question that had always been there. The one answer she had never been able to grasp. This fight wouldn’t be over for her if she left. She would always carry it—the feeling of not being enough—of being unlovable.
It broke him to know her pain would continue and that he’d played such a thorough part in reinforcing the lies.
“I’m sorry.” His voice cracked, and his gaze left her fiery eyes. “I’m sorry.” Still, no answer for her question. No perfect words to mend their mess. A long overdue apology. That was all. Tears rolled down his cheeks. Three times in his life he had cried. When his dog died, when his father died, and now. He knew there would be no right answer to her question—not one she would believe. In their brokenness they had danced together perfectly. Him receiving what there was to give and her giving, but never able to receive. Both broken. Both lost.
“I haven’t loved you,” he blurted out. His polished-self long gone now. “—not the way I should have. I didn’t see you when you needed me. I didn’t answer when you called. I left you alone. I didn’t watch out for you.”
Silence. Confusion and uncertainty drained the flush from her face.
He seized the moment. “I haven’t loved you, but I will. I will love you until the words feel like sunshine on your soul, until you know beyond a doubt that it’s true, until you are able to fully love yourself.”
She wept, and for the first time since he’d known her, he saw her. He saw her, and he saw the brilliance of love. How it brings beauty out of brokenness. How it keeps two damaged people together in the confidence of commitment to become completely who they can be.
It would take time. For now, he would give her space. Though his arms ached to hold her and wipe away the tears, he respected her heart and did not presume upon it. Besides, he had things of his own to examine—things he’d excused for far too long.
Thank you for reading all the way to the end! You ROCK!
Blessings and peace to you!