More than we were ever able to prove
On a cold, sunny day, while sitting next to each other on a bench, you asked if I would ever marry someone like you.
I laughed. You were serious. We both went quiet.
Looking at you, I realised that yes, I would be lucky to marry someone like you; someone who I can talk to about anything under the sun, someone who can effortlessly make me laugh and someone who knows exactly what to say when I'm feeling down. Your values and my own aligned perfectly. Our temperaments and personality were so similar and yet so different that it was clear we'd make a wonderful pair. We already were.
I told you this much. You smiled, albeit sadly. We both knew that wasn't enough. Because a feeling, even one that might be love, was not enough for us.
I had strong religious beliefs, you didn't. Even though we had the same morals and values, you couldn't find it in you to embrace my faith. You were curious about it, yes, but curiosity wasn't enough for you to take that leap. While it's true that many couples survive with differing faiths, my religion was such a big part of who I am that I was determined to share my life with someone who feels the same way.
Even if you were to confess your love for me, would it even matter if you didn't love the God that I love most?
I was adamant. You were unsure. We were still hopeful.
You might learn to embrace my faith, you said. We can still give this a go and see where it leads.
But fate just wasn't on our side. I was a scholar, in a foreign country: your country. I was to return to my own to work for the company that had paid for my education. I signed a confract and sold my soul to them at the tender age of eighteen. Very soon, we'd be thousands of miles apart.
Would we be able to survive long distance? Maybe for a while but what happens afterwards? I'm bonded to stay at the same place for the next ten years. Would it be too much for me to ask you to move halfway across the world? I couldn't do that to you. Your life, your family and your future were all here. At this place I had only temporarily called home.
I felt guilty. You were still unsure. We were both hopeless.
If only we had met earlier, you said. We could have spent years with each other.
But we only had a few months. A few months left before graduation and a 13-hour flight to where my life would continue without you. If we had met 3 years before then maybe we could have had more time. Maybe more time together would have convinced you to get on that flight with me. Or at the very least maybe more time would have given this connection, given us, a chance to grow strong enough to be stretched across oceans.
Or maybe we met at just the right time in our lives, I said. University had changed us so much that 3 years ago we were completely different people. Maybe if we had met then we would probably end up hating each other.
I never liked how you breathe so loudly anyway. You laughed. We were comfortable again.
Maybe we'll meet again someday, you said.
In ten years, our fates may align again. Maybe then I wouldn't have a job that chained me down to one city. Maybe then you'd be more open to embrace my faith. Maybe then time would finally be on our side.
But for now, we both had dreams of our own that we needed to chase. Duties that we needed to carry out. Separate lives that would no longer include each other.
And suddenly, we were just two students sitting on a bench in the rare winter sun again.
We might have been happier together, but we were happy enough to have met each other. We might never fight for one another, but we would continue to cheer each other on. We might not have a future together, but we did have that moment.
And an understanding that we meant more to each other than we were ever able to prove.
I smiled. You smiled too. And that was enough.
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