When you forgive — you love.
I stumbled across that, somewhere in my reading.
Because I want to be a writer, you see. So, I read. A lot.
Sometimes I read for inspiration, other times — to put myself to sleep. But mostly, I read out of my habit for empathy. Secretly, I cradle my hope that someone else, equally or more insane than me, has once felt my agonies and thrills before. And perhaps, that someone has been able to find the words for it all. But then again, maybe I just want to get myself disappointed, frustrated enough to start looking for the words on my own.
“Lemme do that!” I would think, and I leave the book by someone else unfinished, on my dresser; then, I start weaving my own stories.
It’s a trip, I tell you: Reading. Which is why I size up my books carefully before committing to them, with my time and my empathy; and with all of my expectations: I need to make sure they are exactly what I need at that moment in life.
Kind of like: Love.
Except that in love, I continue to commit that same mistake and I wait for the story to fit me perfectly, at that time in life. It doesn’t. Ever. Because a love story always involves another person and I am never too careful in sizing him up.
With books, I eventually forget about my initial expectations, and I get on with the journey they offer — if the adventure is worth my wandering, of course. But in love, I seem to forget about my side of the story — and I lose myself in his. So, the empathy gets lopsided and it limps around like a polio survivor; never remembering where exactly I had started losing track of myself. Until the eventual departure by one of the parties returns me to my memories — of love.
When you forgive — you love.
I stumbled across that in my memory, yesterday, as I stretched in between my naps on a sandy sheet at the beach, next to a man guilty of loving me better than he loves himself, with his lopsided empathy. Every time I looked over, he seemed to be asleep. And right past the curvature of his upper back, I could see a family of tourists doing their slightly quirky things underneath a colorful umbrella.
The woman looked lovely, but not really my type: She was a blonde, model-esque, calm and seemingly obedient. The little boy looked like her, with her pretty features minimized to fit his Little Prince face. He sat by himself, quietly imitating the things he imagined in the sand; and, like his mother, he never fussed for attention.
The older child — a 7-year old girl, in a straw hat — resembled her father:
He was tall, dark, Mediterranean, but not at all intimidating in his physicality. As a matter of fact, his body belonged to someone with an athletic youth that eventually gave room to the contentment of a well-fed, well-routined family life. By the way he lounged in his beach chair, I could tell he had plenty of theories on homemaking and childbearing; and that those theories — were the main means of his participation. Still, he wrapped up the picture of a complete union, so I changed my mind and dismissed him with a kind thought. Then, I resumed studying the little girl.
She was tall, Mediterranean; dressed in a blue-and-white, sailor striped dress. Lost in her stories, she wandered around her family’s resting ground until the wind would knock off her straw hat and send her running after it. On her balletic legs, the child would skip for a bit, then resume walking, very lady-like. The wind would pick up again and roll the hat for a few more meters, and again, the girl would begin skipping.
I could tell she was either humming or talking to herself. She’d catch up to the hat, put it on, start walking toward her family’s resting ground while humming, weaving her stories; until the wind would send her skipping again, after the hat two sizes too big for her, in the first place.
I looked at the man next to me: He seemed to be asleep.
“When you forgive — you love,” I stumbled across that in my memory, felt my legs get heavy with sleep, snuggled against the man guilty of loving me better than he loves himself — and drifted off into yet another nap.
When I woke up, the Little Prince had gotten a hold of his sister’s hat and tried wandering off on his wobbly legs, in search of his own stories. But the instructions from the father’s chair, put an end to that adventure quite quickly; so the boy returned to resurrecting the things he imagined — in the sand. In the mean time, the little girl was already skipping through waves, on her balletic legs, but still talking or humming to herself, while weaving her own stories.
There is a forgiveness that must happen, with time, toward the insanities of our families, in order to continue living with them. That I had known for a while; and past the forgiveness, I’ve benefited with more stories.
Then, there is the forgiveness of those who have failed to love us, with or without their lopsided empathies. Still, it must be done in order to arrive to new loves, to new empathies, and again — to new stories.
But the forgiveness of ourselves — for the sake of weaving a better story out of our own lives — that seems to be a much harder task. And it takes time. It takes a light open-mindedness of a child continuously running after her straw hat, seemingly never learning the lesson because the adventure itself — is worth the wandering.
And when the lesson is learned — forgiveness equals love — the story-weaving gets lighter. And so does the loving.