“You always look so cool, like no matter what happens, it’s got nothing to do with you, but you’re not really like that. In your own way, you’re out there fighting as hard as you can, even if other people can’t tell by looking at you.”—Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (via bookmania)
Everyone deserves second chances. Some just need more “second chances” than others, but in the end who are we to say that those who ask and need it more are less worthy of the chance at happiness. Maybe after all is said and done, those who are given their second, third or even fourth “second chance” may turn up to be the best thing that happened to us.
The Pacific sunset was running through its entire palette when I asked her to go down to the shore. I had the velvet-lined box in my pocket. I couldn’t wait to see her reaction when she tries on the ring. When we reached the end, she held my hand and said, “There’s something I want to tell you.” She hesitated, and then continued, “I’ve never known anyone like you. I’ve loved other men before, but this morning I woke up before you, and while you were sleeping, for the first time, I could see in your face what I have failed to recognize all these months. I could see your tenderness, your peace, your kindness, and your pain. I finally realized how wonderful you are and how lucky I am to have you in my life. And that is why I love you.”
I looked out at the sea and could feel the tears in my eyes. Emotions flooded me. She’d opened herself up, shown me even more of who she was and what I meant to her. For a while, it was hard to talk. I didn’t know what to say – and then I did.
I thought, “I’ve never known anyone like you. I’ve loved other men before, but this morning, I woke up before you…….” Those words would have meant everything had I not heard her practicing them the week before, honing the inflections, the pacing, the emphasis, over and over until they were perfect for an audience of one. Standing out there in the jetty, I told her what I heard. I told her what I know. She did not argue, she did not cry, and I’m glad she left that night.
I’m like everyone else. Taken along on a ride none of us can plan or control. Unlike trust, love cannot be switched off. There was sweetness to those months, and now when I encounter a towel, a pillowcase, or an otherwise empty closet where the scent of her lingers, I do not mind. I do not hate her and I am not bitter, for I refuse to poison my soul.