Happily Never After: A Refined Reactionary

October 28, 2013
Once upon a time, I fell in love. As every fairytale goes, a boy and a girl stumbled across those magical, encompassing, and often blinding emotions that seem to bond together every single being on this great sphere. And it is in love, that one is overcome, and one is dedicated, and one is kind. We share our lives with them, opening them up to every aspect of our past, our present, and our future. And somewhere, in that future, we try to see them. But the reality is, reality happens. People drift apart, feelings fall away, and love is left in the dust. Decaying and moldering, sighing into its earthly grave. For when love is not meant to be, as all of Hollywood says, it ends.

For so long I pined after boys, yearning for their attention and their affection, but never even scraping the surface of the meaning of this foreign adoration. It was all infatuation, mindless and foolish…impulsive and giddy. But then, the summer came, with its warm, reminiscent evenings, bathed in the light of the departing sun, the crickets harmonizing with the sound of the birds in the trees as they prepared for their nightly rest. And it was beneath that smoldering sky that we laid upon that hammock, hand in hand, gazing up at the retreating day through the intricate patterns of leaves, nearly touching the gleaming sky. I wanted nothing more in that moment than to spend the rest of my life with you, to have children and to grow old, sharing our most intimate thoughts, emotions and feelings. Idyllic. That’s the word they always use to describe teenage relationships. And I understand where they get that from. When you’re an adolescent, you’re invincible. No matter how good a head you have upon your shoulders, or even someone like me, who pretended to understand the immediacy of life, and inevitably of death, love is blinding. It entrances your senses, leaves you defenseless, and daring. While it is exhilarating, passionate, and utterly beautiful, it is fleeting.

I have always been a ponderer, ceaselessly thinking and analyzing, and always having an answer. Yet—love left me speechless. It made no sense to me, someone who always had the answer, who always knew how to fix somebody else’s problem, could be left undeniably fooled by the essence of yearning. But when a boy slips his hand into yours, and gazes upon you with a look of utter enchantment, I learned that I was just like all of the other teenage girls. My hopeless heart was reduced to nothing more than a mere memory and I began to believe that what I had always yearned for was finally coming true.

Yet, my heart remained troubled. Ever since I can truly make sense of my memories, I have always believed in God. Not with the sort of faith that one would think…not as a merely a religion, or a traditional ritual that I would abandon for every day except for Sunday. No—God has always been my best friend. Before I fell in love, He and I engaged in long, intimate discussions. Call me crazy, but He has always been there for me, and even when I became wrapped up in the petty little troubles of a fairly intelligent, white, privileged, middle class female, He was patient. And I never believed blindly either. I always questioned how He could possibly exist, in this world of science and logic, and for the longest time, I was utterly convinced that I possessed all of the answers to the atheistic refute. But then, the boy came along. And, I realized early on, that he did not believe. He was at one point a Catholic, and a devout one at that. But it is unfortunate that his intelligence, and inability to think past worldly logic eventually led to his “revelations” that Christianity is a mere scheme. He believed that it is blind, and ignorant, and people only believe for comfort.

This shook me to the core. Not out of outrage, or anger, but out of utter, complete hopelessness. And for some reason, this bothered me oh so greatly. I suppose I’m not like many other teenage girls, in the sense that I believe that love can only be shared between people of similar values and morals. And while, said boy appeared to have many of the intrinsic things that I would consider “good”, he did not possess the same love for God that I did in my heart. And it left me troubled. All of my Christian comrades begged me not to begin a relationship with him. They warned me that he would endanger my faith, and cause me to change.

This mildly upset me. I am not a person to believe that God called us to only associate with those of the same faith. What is evangelism then? Jesus was friendly with tax collector, prostitutes…He did not only remain with his disciples. It seemed so utterly ludicrous to me that I should not give him a chance when God had obviously put him into my life for a reason. I understood that my companions were trying to protect me, and I understand. But the reality was, I was (and still am) certain that I entered this boy’s life for a reason. I did deliberate for quite a long time over this conundrum, yet I did enter into courtship with him. And, as they had warned me, it was quite taxing. I felt myself constantly discussing theology with him, and he was hearing me, and expressed desire to believe, but nothing ever became of it. Not then.

Eventually, those initial weeks turned into two months, and our relationship was growing with each and every day. Temptation was a struggle, yet I persevered through and he was understanding of the challenge. I met his parents; who are lovely, good people that I became very fond of. We went dancing with his sister and her suitor, and had a delightful time. We climbed to the top of the King and Queen’s seat, and sang the Phantom of the Opera in his little red sports car. He showed me his talent for music, I showed him my diaries. We looked through the scrapbooks from my youth, and he shared stories from his past. We watched our favorite movies together, and walked through the endless woods behind my house. I even took him to my church, and I saw his eyes light up for the first time in a long time when my particularly charismatic preacher gave a sermon in regards to the story of the Prodigal son…in which the father welcomes home his child. I was in a state of complete and utter bliss.

A few weeks later, school began, and the romanticism of the summer fell victim to the stress and anxiety of the school year. While we were unable to see much of one and other, we managed to cope. I would get to school early, and wait for his little car to pull up, and we’d sit and talk for a few moments before the day began.

But it was then that I felt that growing distance. Our discussions became fewer and fewer, and the spark began to dwindle down from its flame. As we saw less and less of each other, I felt there were miles between us, and he sensed it to.

So, on the morn of September 11, I got into his car. And there was an aura between us, of discomfort and an aura of foreboding. I waited patiently for him to say something, and after a few tense moments he did. He expressed how he had been thinking (that phrase in itself was enough to strike fear into my already crumbling heart) that he felt a growing distance between us. I numbly nodded my head, and made a pathetic offer to try to fix it. But it was then that I knew we were reaching our turning point, that the downhill slope had already begun its slow decline. I remained apprehensive throughout the day, turning to my companions; half of which assured me that all would be well and that we would “work it out”. But a select few helped me to recall something. In the early stages of affection, I prayed to God that if there ever came a time that our relationship was becoming poisonous to us both, that He’d find a reason to end it, but not through the means of the religious conflict. For I did not want to do any more harm in the sense of the boy’s views in regards to the Lord. I felt that if I told him the only reason that we should end it had to do with the fact that he didn’t believe would push him even further away.

So, it is merely speculation, but I believe God was answering my prayer. Silly as it seems, I wonder if He planted a seed in the boy’s mind that we should end what we had begun. For, that evening, my suitor and I gathered for what would be our final time. We played tennis, and lightly chatted, but then began to speak of what we knew we had both come there for. We talked for nearly three hours upon that rotten tree stump, watching the sun disappear into the cloudy haze of the twilight. In a strange twist of irony, our the final resting place of “l’amour” occurred only a few feet from where it had begun. We discussed the possible outcomes and options for quite some time, but it was as the conversation progressed, that we both felt that what was once nearly imperceptible was nearly tangible. It was as if there was a great barrier between us, as if the ties had already been severed, despite our mindless, foolish desperation to alleviate the situation.

In our final moments, the words that had been building up inside my mind for so long were ushered out by a sense of urgency, of a deadline fast approaching. He babbled on endlessly about how his “logic” could not see a future for us. And then, all of the unresolved tension about his slowly depleting source of hope and trust hit me full force. Abruptly, I interrupted his train of thought: “Michael, has logic ever made you happy?”. He paused for a moment, and looked me directly in the eye, his gaze softening ever so slightly. “No,” he said quietly, “no, it hasn’t.” Then, with grim finality, he added “but I still don’t see how we will ever make this work.” And with that he stood up. I remained on the ground for a moment as he began to turn away, then rose. He hesitated for a brief second, then fell back to walk with me. We both began to walk back to the car, our footsteps dragging, our stomachs soured with dread. We returned to my vehicle, and I began to fumble in my bag for my keys. Then I stood, quivering in anticipation at his verdict. Again, he looked me in the eye, and ended it.

It was there in that moment that I dissolved, spiraled downward into a black, encompassing void with no ledge to grasp on to. Everything that had happened between us, every single cliché moment when magic sparked between our fingertips, every single memory whirled around me in a chaotic cloud of emotion. Gone. Meaningless. Never to have a future, only to live in the past. A distant, fleeting memory, one that will fade into what I once knew, as a dream trickles away in the light of morning. All of us is lost and dwindled down to me, no longer a togetherness, not plural as in “we”. I had already retreated, had pulled into my shell during our final, numb embrace. I stepped away from him, “I have to go”, I said hurriedly and numbly. Thrusting my keys in the ignition, I reversed the car and prepared to speed away. Then, as any song of heartbreak would say, I glanced up at my rearview mirror and saw him standing there, shell-shocked. The look upon his face was the epitome of grief. I shook my head, and sped away, sliding over the gravel and kicking up a substantial amount of dust. The tears came flowing like they never had before, raw, ragged sobs escaped from my throat with a haunting unfamiliarity that threw shivers down my spine.

So—here I am now. Still numb, still utterly befuddled. Drowning in surrealism, my head only just above the water. I cannot honestly say that I have any idea what to do. Already I miss him so very much. Part of me wants him to return, but another inkling of a notion says that it is indeed for the best. I was under the false impression that love was black and white…that it was either/or, wrong or right. But it was not until recently that I realized all of the shades in between, a graying rainbow of probabilities and outcomes. Ending on a dissonant chord, the sound rings out with ethereal melancholy, coaxing the mournful melodies out of my numb fingertips. And so it goes. We shall live in disorient, disassociate from the reality that we once knew, still living, yet not thriving, only barely surviving, until we find the love of someone new. My eloquence is stunted, and my syntax is weak. The chaos in my head overcomes all order that I seek.

Yet with the hindsight bias of only a few days past, I already see the light in the situation. For I realize that I was indeed put into his life for a reason. For on that fateful night, my prayer was answered. I asked the Lord that if there ever came a time for the relationship to end, that He would give us another reason other than the religious conflict to end it. And, Perhaps I am mildly disillusioned, but I could not help but wonder if the boy’s mysterious inkling that he had been feeling to end it was a message from the God that I have grown to love and trust like a best friend. As well as this realization, the boy also admitted begrudgingly to me that I had been right about the hope he was missing in his life…he admitted that he would be happier with God in his heart. And, truly? That is all that I had sought for. While my heart desired a forever, perhaps it was not a forever that he and I were meant to share. And that realization in itself is life changing.

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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

GuardianoftheStars This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 26, 2013 at 7:12 pm
This was a really enlightening read.  I was really into it the entire time. You wrote in such a way that I easlily understood your point of view.  It was written in a very refreshing way and I utterly enjoyed this very much.  I think it earns 5 stars. :)
PinkSecret said...
Nov. 1, 2013 at 6:04 pm
Wow! This was amazing! I read it over and over again!Good Job!♥ 
lily_sings replied...
Nov. 2, 2013 at 1:05 pm
Aw, thank you <3
ninjaballerina1234 replied...
Dec. 21, 2013 at 1:28 pm
Your story was absolutely beautiful and the extent of your vocabulary amazed me. Your story kept my attention and conveyed your emotions extremely well. The only thing I would have done differently is I would have enforced the fairy tale theme a little more. Overall it was fantastic!
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