This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.
This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.
21st July 2020, England
Gideon and I are having a chat. We’ve been having calls every month because I had requested for us to be able to talk through our issues. I felt like he left the marriage very abruptly and I didn’t have any answers as to why he just gave up. I needed to know, if not the uneasiness would always eat me up inside. He’d been very generous to spend time and energy on me, taking time out to chat with me whenever he could.
Which is why, at this point, I still thought that he was the Gideon I knew. I thought that he was still the same person I fell in love with. I just needed to know – What changed??
“Do you blame me for suggesting we should date other people?” I asked him
“No, because then we wouldn’t have realized we don’t belong together.” He said
“Why don’t we belong together?” I asked, genuinely interested in his answer.
“Because like you said, we’re not compatible.”
“But many people who aren’t compatible stay together. Shouldn’t love be a choice? Don’t people choose to love each other?” I asked.
He kept quiet.
“Do you think we would have split up if not for her?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not.”
“How’s it going with her anyway?”
“You know. Ups and Downs. She has her crazy moments but it’s just because of her insecurities.”
“You like that she’s insecure, don’t you?” I ask.
“Yeah, I think I do.” He says.
“Why? Is it because you like that she goes crazy because she loves you so much?”
I hear him smile through the phone. “Yeah, I do.”
31st August, 2020 – Berat, Albania
” So I know that we have said that we’re incompatible. But I feel like you never really did try to work on the marriage with me. You never wanted to go for therapy, and you never told me about your financial difficulties. You never gave me a chance to help us.” I had told him
“Yeah, I know,” he said.
“What I’m struggling to understand…is how you could have given up everything we worked for. Everything I did for you. Just for someone you just met 3 weeks ago. That just doesn’t make sense to me.”
“It was just the easier way out. To be honest, I don’t even know if I did the right thing. But I already did it. And I don’t see a way to redo that, so it’s easier for us to just move on. For you to move on.” He told me.
Easier for who? was the question I never asked.
“But from what you’re telling me, she’s been giving you even more problems in the last 9 months compared to when you were with me. Right?”
“Yeah I mean, she’s just very insecure. And she always has this fear that we’re going to get back together.”
“But why is it that you would rather do all of these things – including hurting me knowingly to keep her than to even try to keep me? I have never put you through so much agony before. I never controlled you. I never went all psycho on you. So why didn’t you choose to try with me instead?” I asked.
“I….i don’t know. I think maybe it’s just because….I feel like she loves me more than you ever did.”
“So just because you thought she loved you more than I did, you immediately decided to shift your love to her instead? Even though you knew that your actions were hurting me badly?”
He pauses for a bit, and then says, “Yeah.”
The guilt must have been eating him up inside because he continued with –
“Anyway, I have already told the both of you that I can’t deal with this much longer. My only focus now is to finish this course. I cannot focus on anything else. I really don’t want to deal with either you or her all the time. Whenever I talk to you, I have to deal with all of the guilt. Whenever I talk to her, I have to deal with her insecurities. Whatever I do, I feel like it’s wrong. Sometimes I just feel like I should cut the both of you off.”
I start to panic.
I like our conversations. I like that we are still in contact. I didn’t want him to cut me off.
So I apologize.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you feel bad.”
I change the topic and we talk about something else.
I was hanging onto his affection for me because I was afraid to let go of it.
I now see that I had to learn from the hard way – that whatever he felt for me, was not real love. It was infatuation, it was envy, it was admiration, it was respect, it was expectation, it was perhaps sympathy. But it wasn’t love.
Love doesn’t look like this.