Building the Distance

There was a man who refused to feel the pain. The more he ran from it, the more the pain caught up with him.

He would endure sleepless nights trying to dull the noise coming from within, refusing to face his past yet carrying it like a burden. Was he punishing himself for the hurt he felt he was responsible for? Maybe, but for it, he was afflicting himself with a form of blindness, running in the dark and indulging in anything allowing him not to think for a bit.

It was not a tragedy and yet it made him impossible to love from up close as he could not stand to bare his soul. He had met a woman who was willing to try, but she was too entangled in his past – responsible for his sin – for him to let her help carry his burden and let go of the hurt. So, together, but emotionally crippled, they were destined to grow apart.

The truth was that the man had been there before, loving and drifting – falling into the open arms of a woman and then slowly building a distance neither of them knew how to travel across. He had hoped this time would be different. After all, he had found the One. But it was not long before he settled into his old ways, conjuring the demons that made him build walls and stand further and further back within himself.

The love of his life was tenacious, though, and repeatedly she climbed the walls and ran faster to close the distance. Foolishness it was. She knew that one day she would have to admit that it was neither her fight nor a way to love.

Some days she would wake up singing she could endure anything in the name of love; others, she woke up tired before the day could even start for she could not defeat demons that were not hers.

She tried standing patiently on the shore, while he was screaming at the top of his lungs they had never been so close, when in fact he was drifting further and further away at sea. Soon he would sail into the sunset and her eyes would burn from her tears and from staring at the descending light, incapable as she was to look away.

***

It was not a tragedy, really; yet, on the scale of their lost and hopeless hearts, it felt like one. One day the woman would have to settle for loving the man from afar, from the distance of his pain, or go about finding a path which would not burn a hole through her heart. In the meantime, she would keep on fighting to close the distance because even though it grew, to her, the man was not just any man – he was the one for whom she had become a better person, the one who paved the way to her better self.