“What on earth were you thinking?!” That was Lucas’s first reaction when I told him about what I have done to Phoebe. The goodbye message and my bouts of insecurity. His eyes widened in an unbelieved shock as he raised both his hands at me.
“Why would you…?!” He could not finish the sentence. I could tell that he was furious, perplexed. I have never seen Lucas so angry before. I guessed I never expected him to have such a huge reaction to this as well. His hands rubbed against his forehead, as he gave a really loud sigh. I twitched uncomfortably, trying to divert my sight away from him. A part of me wanted to just run away.
He shot me another exasperated look. “Everything was going so well, why did you went and sabotage yourself, for goodness sake?” I did not know how to respond. In fact, I could not answer the question myself too. I looked down instead, studying the number of cracks that I could find on the floor’s tilling, not knowing what to answer Lucas.
To be honest, I wished I knew the answer. A part of me was furious at myself too, just like how Lucas was scolding me now. Why? That was the question that I kept asking myself. Why was I so stupid? So impulsive? Why did I choose to give up before anything even happened? Everything was going well, at least in the eyes of every logical human being. But yet I convinced myself that something was amiss, and something was bound to go wrong sooner or later. I took the easy way out. Coward, was what Lucas called me.
We both just sat there in silence. “I wish I knew too,” was all I could answer. The air felt heavy. “I wish I knew too,” I repeated. Something tugged inside of me, as my emotions boiled inside of me. Before I knew it, tears were already gushing out from my eyes. It felt as if a switch was flipped inside of me. For the first time in years, I actually broke down and cried. Everything that I had pent up in me all these months were suddenly unleashed.
“I wish I knew…. I wish I knew too!” I repeated the sentence again and again, in between my sobs. I felt ashamed of myself that I had to crumble like this. But the feeling just poured out on itself, and overwhelmed every single bit of myself. Lucas stared dumbfounded at me, unsure of what to do. He must have not expected this to happen. I buried my face in my arms, as I continued to heave. I wanted to stop, I wanted to argue back, but my body seemed to have taken a life of its own. I did not even know where this feeling of grief came from.
In the end, Lucas just sat beside me, and put his arms across my shoulders. He pressed tightly against it and just kept quiet. We just sat there, on the curb of the street, under the orange glow of the street lamp.
“You still cannot forget about her, is it?” Lucas gave a knowing guess. I could only nod weakly. I missed her. Of what we used to have. I longed for the feeling where I could be myself, and still be loved. With Phoebe, I felt stressed. There was this constant need to put on my best front, because she just seemed too perfect. I felt that there was this constant need to match up to her standards, that I needed to be this successful person for her. There was this invisible bar that I strived to touch, I mould that I had to fill. In a way, everything that I said, every action that I made, I had to weigh the consequence of each of them. It felt tiring and energy sapping, and I could not really be myself. With Phoebe, it seemed as if my self-confidence was non-existent.
I missed the eight years relationship. Where we had grown so comfortable with each other that there was no more guard up, no more acting. We knew the most embarrassing side of each other, and loved ourselves equally as much. Being loved deeply gives you strength, someone once said, and when that love was gone, suddenly that pillar of strength was gone too. You are suddenly caught off guard, unsure of what to do. Life was suddenly unstable again. You had to find a way to love yourself again, to accept yourself for who you are.
But I was not able to do that yet. Somehow I never realize how important was the love that had supported me until I lost it. Without it, I was suddenly made aware of all my shortcomings and areas in which I lacked. Any self-confidence and self-respect that I once had were all blown away. And in the midst of my sudden insecurity, I panicked. I freaked out. I bailed. A pointless and stupid action. And in the process, I might have hurt a totally innocent party as well. Phoebe.
A ton of emotion swirled and twisted inside me. It made me feel terrible. Tears continued to pour out as I struggled to control my emotions. I hated every part of this love thing back there on the curb. Everything felt so pointless. Why do we need to constantly put up this show anyway? Why couldn’t we just love for being ourselves, but instead we have to put on this fake mask to make other love us? I grew angry at myself. I cursed at myself. And I bawled, letting all my emotions take control of me that night. Everything just flowed out, like a dam that broke.
We continued to sit there on the pavement, just the two of us. Cars and people passed us by, some throwing us strange looks, perhaps confused over why a grown man was weeping at the side of the road. But I did not care about anything.
Lucas sat beside me for the whole night. “Slowly take your time alright. We’ll start again.” He gently tapped on my shoulder. His voice sounded much calmer now. At least I still had him. Someone who understood. I nodded weakly, as I started to quiet down. There is still a long journey to ahead, I thought sadly.
P/s: Third update for the day! Don't forget to read #10 first!