“So, is the cold war over?” asked he as he turned towards her with a twinkling in his eyes while she joined him in the leisurely evening walk. She looked at the sky, not immediately responding, waiting for him to say something more, then looked into his eyes -which were waiting for an answer to his question. She smiled, “there was no cold war”! He laughed out loud and retorted “Oh, so what has been happening between us for the last two days, is just normal”? She remained silent … not answering immediately, thinking to herself …”what was it that happened?”
She started talking slowly and deliberately, not wanting to create unpleasantness but also eager to reach him. She knew he had been hurting for the past two days, waiting for her to reach out to him, to touch, to love and to invite him into her world again. He made his attempts to reach her and was stopped by an angry, heavy but polite silence – he did not know what else was there to do, except to wait for her to emerge from her cave, her self imposed silent withdrawal.
They started talking as the evening crimson sky slowly turned to bluish grey and then assumed a dark slate colour, to finally retire for the day.
“So do tell me what are the unresolvable issues between us?” “They may not be solvable now, but perhaps some other time, they would seem different to us” He sounded eager and hopeful …. She nodded in agreement … “it was true” she thought “how does one know what to resolve and when?”
They slowly walked backed to their home as they talked …. time for evening tea. He walked into the kitchen to make tea, she stood by the door, watching him and waiting for… and then she realised that she did not know what to expect next? There was a surrealness about the conversation. On one hand they were discussing about issues of inequality, acceptance, judgements, opinions, respect and dignity in their relationship with one anther, and on the other, they were punctuated by threads of daily mundane statements like “the milk is on the first shelf of the refrigerator” or him saying “i dont like this strainer, I think we need to buy another” …….
She took the cup of tea that he offered to her … sat on her side of the dining table and continued the discussion. “I think what I am talking about is that perhaps we both don’t know how to love and more important than that, how to be loved” She said in a sad voice. He listened as he sipped his tea waiting for her to continue. She looked straight ahead but kept talking and checking for his reaction from time to time.
She said: “I can see that my sense of being worthy comes more often from my sense of achievement, than my being loved” — “It’s not that I don’t feel loved by you but the moment I pick up a discordant note, the ground slips from under my feet”. She was feeling quite heavy now: “As though I don’t even know how to love or to be loved …. perhaps never learning to forgive and accept the other has taught me to do the same to myself as well. And,and, I think I justify my not forgiving the other by a rational of staying true to my world view, my values and my opinions, while in fact I am waiting for the other to change to be the kind of person I believe he should be”.
She stopped for a while, not feeling quite sure of what she wanted to convey, but continued nonetheless: “The way I would like to love is to love the whole person, not half the person and wait for the other half to become what I wish him to be – that is not love, that is perhaps wishing the other person to turn into being me. This is the not the way I would want it to be” She thought for a while and added: “may be this whole idea of love is just a fantasy in my head”.
He was inspecting the table cloth with deep concentration all these while. He looked at her sideways, smiled and said softly:”May be it is not such a fantasy. May be we all love like that, we only love half the person”.
She said passionately but wistfully:”But I do want to love the full person, I want to love you with all your angularities and learn to forgive you”. She added: “But it is not just about forgiveness, it is about not expecting the other to be who you want him to be, to not turn the world into a shadow and an echo. I know that I have been waiting to learn from you how to forgive and love, and since neither you nor I can forgive each other very easily, we only wait for the other to begin”. She stopped and then thought to herself: “May be the day I learn to love like that, I will understand what spirituality mean to me”
He nodded and remained quiet joining her in silence. The conversation was over, for the time being.
What does loving between two individuals who are in love,mean? for some love may mean complete acceptance and merger, for some it may mean giving and receiving, for some other it may mean mutual understanding and companionship, and again for some other it may mean keeping the passion alive and for some others …. one can go on and on…
What does loving mean to you?