In junior school, my football coach always said, “Leave while you are still loved”.
I never understood why he said that, after all if you played well and if you were loved, then wouldn’t that be all the more reason to stay back?
Last night I was going through a dusty chest of drawers and I stumbled upon an old photograph of us, you know, the kind of thing they write about in books, the kind we’ve grown up romanticizing. Life is odd in sepia, you know, almost unrecognisable sometimes. It is strange how easily we fall in and out of love, how easily we decide that we need a change of adventure, if you like, a new scenery, a new hand to hold, to feel, to caress.
Life is a revolving door of the same mistakes, sometimes. We get knocked down by the same things that we vowed to never go back to again, the same people who broke us over and over till all that remained of us, was a body.
I wish that was enough, you know, being a robotic self without emotions because you can’t break what isn’t there.
At some point in your life, someone broke a piece of you and then on you move around from person to person, not knowing what you’re looking for because that is how it is and that is how you are and you try to find home here but there isn’t one and you’re losing yourself in a crowd of all these faces which mean nothing to you anymore and at parties and gatherings and your class reunion and your lover’s homecoming and your mother’s funeral you leave early, you always leave early, so you can’t be left.
Not again. Not again. No, not again.
You see, that’s the thing about the ones like us, the world isn’t fertile enough for our love to grow roots in. And make no mistake, we try. We talk about not trusting people again and not falling in love again but the fact of the matter is, we are the middle children of affection and sin and no one, no one taught us how to stop falling in love.
And so I love, too. I love like the edge of tomorrow has passed away yesterday, like the sun sets and rises in the iris of my lover’s eyes, like fire was discovered when we made love.
I love like that, no holds barred.
Bare. Carnal. Unflinching.
And when the love is at its prime, when the days and nights start revolving around my lover’s name, I leave. I leave because I can’t bear to be left. I leave because of all the things I have loved, I’ve always loved myself the most.
I leave because now, that is the way I have become.
At 9, I could never understand why my coach told me to leave when I was loved.
At 20, I guess I’m still quite far away from grasping the realities that filter our lives, through and through. But I am somewhere on the road to understanding what he meant.
Leave while you’re loved – or stay back long enough to find it fading away.
One always hurts more than the other.
And some day you realise, which.