the story of his love
he smiled. It was the sort of smile that reminded you of a deep breath - the instant it slowly uncoiled across his face, you knew it was a harbinger. it would lead to something….she watched him, catching her breath in anticipation and wonder. what story would this be?
with a sigh like an opening quote, he started his story. it was to become His Story. The Story of His Life. and funnily enough, it was all about something he didn’t even have. he spoke long and lyrically of love that he had felt. of how he had martyred himself - sacrificed his career, his peace of mind, and generally strained every sinew of heart and mind to keep the love of his life happy. the listener heard his words with growing horror. a quiet shudder shook her and she crouched lower.
fortunately, he was too absorbed in His Story to notice the revulsion creeping into her face or the stiffening of her body. her unresponsive silence became the muted scream of the person that he had “loved”. she could identify with the suffocation of the object of his cloying affection.
he droned on about how he was finally betrayed by her – how she had jilted him and walked out of their relationship. the listener breathed easier and cheered her unmet sister – you had to feel relieved for anyone who had escaped such a loving, suffocating trap.
as she watched the woman leave his life with growing joy, he too slowly withdrew from the past and with ill grace limped into the present, glowering like a sulky child. “I did everything for her! What more could she expect of me?” he demanded querulously. a little spirit, fewer shackles, some breathing space? she wondered which her fellowmate would have chosen, the poor woman.
she supposed she should feel sorry for him – he did mean well…. and he certainly wasn’t the only one to reduce love from its powerful magnificence to a maudlin, snivelling sentiment that seeped into your body to weaken spine and spirit. but the concept horrified her too much right then for her to feel charitable. she removed herself to the opposite end of the crowded room as quickly as politeness would let her. and there, slowly recovering warmth and spirit, she saw another person go up to him and sit beside him.
turning to meet the newcomer, he smiled and sighed.