If I knew how to listen, I would have loved better.

It was one of those relationships of nearly a decade, with multiple break-ups and make-ups. The love between us was wild, something like a creature in a forest. How did we even get there, from two separate worlds, now existing in a common space, unfamiliar to us both. Yet, we were curious, intrigued, infatuated, afraid, sometimes ashamed that we didn’t understand where we were, intimidated by the influence we somehow possessed on one another. During the moments of infatuation, we were blinded by the climactic feeling of love. During the moments of intimidation, we were scared, letting our pride guide our steps, influencing us to walk away from each other. Only, we didn’t realize we wouldn’t get very far without one another, because that wild creature of love would keep pulling us back together. How did we even get to the forest? We had individual lives. Our worlds were different before this place, and we couldn’t fathom where the other rooted from because we didn’t know how to explain our worlds. Therefore, we had difficulty connecting. Hard to believe, with years passing by, two people in love didn’t communicate effectively. Imagine the thoughts and feelings that were held inside, filling us to capacity. Such sentiments only creates room for one to deceive, and be deceived. We had so much truth bottled inside, all that was left were lies to live out. In some interesting way, we were led to the forest to experience the creature of love, because it’s where we belonged. Yet, the fact that we didn’t understand each other was the reason we strayed away looking for an opportunity to connect with people in places we were not meant to be. The fact that we didn’t understand each other is the reason we didn’t understand our love. We were supposed to be each other’s person. In some way, without actually saying it, we felt abandoned by one another. Why were we chosen to be drawn to this particular love? It’s something we never questioned. We just existed in that forest, sort of standing there, confused. At least there was some sense of loyalty. How did we get there? Why were we there? Who were we? How were we supposed to help one another? To exist in this forest with him, the lack of communication made us feel alone. Still, somehow, after so long, we got to a point of not knowing what to do with and without each other. It was wrecking our brains. We needed a mediator. We needed a God. If we knew better, we should have tried harder to understand each other’s thoughts. I would have listened closely to each word he said. I would have read between the lines. I would have hugged him when he needed it, and not only when I wanted to give it to him. I would have been there for him as an unselfish friend. His stress was different from my stress, and because I didn’t listen to understand, I pushed him away. Yet, simultaneously, as he felt misunderstood, he disrespected our relationship, carelessly lying and cheating. How did we get there?

After nearly a decade, with multiple break-ups and make-ups, I didn’t notice his mental health issues. I didn’t understand his suicidal tendencies. I didn’t read between the lines. I didn’t listen closely to his moments of silence. I didn’t recognize his cries for help. I was too caught up in the creature of love that kept pulling us into a relationship that neither of us understood. We never took the time to understand each other’s roots, or the roads traveled, or the forest we stood in…that place, and that feeling was foreign to us both. We didn’t just get dropped into that forest, we somehow journeyed there. We were supposed to talk about that. We were supposed to open up to each other about where we came from, and those conversations were supposed to unlock our understanding of the creature of love that kept calling us to one another. It’s a lonely world when you either don’t know how, or are afraid to express yourself. It’s even more lonely when you feel unheard, or misunderstood. Mentally, we felt alone. Only, his mental loneliness made him weak. It made him sick. It made him feel defeated. It made him want to give up, altogether. It made him pick up a gun, point it at himself, and use the last bit of strength he had to pull the trigger. We were together, in that forest, connected by a wild love, for a reason. We were supposed to be a team. We were supposed to be supportive of one another. Only, I didn’t know how to give him what he needed, because our communication and comprehension was poor. I didn’t understand his thoughts. I didn’t understand his rough life, so different from mine. How could I support something I didn’t understand. Now, as I reflect, it makes sense to me that all I needed to do was listen. All anyone needs sometimes is just for their words not to fall on deaf ears. If I knew better, I would have done better. I would be in a loving relationship with my soulmate, and not living a life quietly stuck in the trauma of his suicide. The trauma, of a love lost. The trauma of failing. The trauma of letting someone down. The trauma of being alone. If I knew how to listen, I would have loved better.