Doing the right thing is very hard because, especially in interpersonal relationships, doing the right thing is so, so impossible to adequately define. Honesty ought to be the best policy, I hope it is, but as my son Alex tells me, “honest words are not enough, not even honest actions”. Sometimes it’s too easy for someone to misinterpret affection and kindness and caring and generosity for that qualitatively different and very rare emotion so impossible to accurately define and frequently even harder to find: love.
It sucks that love, the profound variant intimately tied to being in love, can’t really be earned; it’s intangible, fragile and apparently utterly without interest in what is or isn’t fair. When it’s not mutually shared, both parties, assuming both are decent people, suffer, and suffer profoundly. And when one tries to explain away its absence to someone who loves you, ….
Only pain exists, at least for a while. Hopefully only for a while; the inevitable scars fading away, hopefully without too much future impact, but all too often morphing into links on a chain of shared pain.
I’m there right now having honestly answered questions posed by someone who not only loves me but who may well be the best person I’ve ever met; someone who could not be more caring or giving where I’m concerned, but someone I can only love as a friend, or as a daughter, or as a sister; someone I admire and respect and deeply care for. But love is an intangible I can’t generate. Someone else took that away a long time ago.
How horribly sad.
I said and meant what are hopefully the right things although Alex might well tell me otherwise. “That I will always be there for her, that should she ever need a refuge, I will share what I can with her, that I will always help her in any way I can (other than the way she seems to need most).” But that is never enough under the circumstances and all too often creates more animosity, turning love to something bitter and ugly.
I was not in another relationship although the shadow of that one special person from long ago has always been present, her echoes never ending, it’s just that my heart has not been my own for longer than I’ve known her, something I always made clear. Still, as Alex would remind me (and almost certainly will), words just don’t work when your actions imply something else, and, as in the case of Hank Moody in Californiaction, no matter what, it’s always my fault (not that I in any way shared his extra-relationship exploits).
She asked me questions she apparently regrets having asked, and as I always have, I answered honestly, and for now, I find myself in that sad and strange but always depressing limbo, hoping for the best for all of us but with Murphy’s Law snickering in the background.
I do know that nothing is too good for her and that she deserves the very best from someone far better than I (or is it me).
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2018; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen). Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.