Anyone who truly knows me knows that I reach out to people in need of help and friendship. I know, it’s a selfish and narcissistic way of gaining pride in myself, but I’m cool with it. The important part is that I mean no harm.
A little over ten years ago someone reached out to me for help, and I gave it. At first it was a mutual loneliness and need that brought us together in a romantic way but that ended pretty rapidly, but I refused to give up on the person who, I thought was worth fighting for.
When I was growing up, there were three words I never recall my parents or brothers ever saying. Those words became, at least for me, alien and undefinable. I never learned what saying “I Love You” meant.
I must admit here that there were other issues of my childhood that caused psychological trauma, which I acted out later in life, but never did I intentionally hurt anyone but myself.
In time, as I grew older, I learned how to say “I Love You” but I was never sure if I felt it because I honestly didn’t know what it was supposed to feel like. When someone said “I Love You” to me, I felt like an empty shell, not knowing what to say.
Now that I’m in my mid-seventies and perking along like an old freight train, I realize that throughout my life. I was actually showing people that I love them by caring for and about them. Which brings me back to my little friend.
Did I love this person? In my own way of caring, sharing and being there when someone was needed. I housed, fed, clothed and even tried to get this person started on an education at a two community college, but nothing worked to motivated. Shopping, for clothes at least worked, as did travel but education, nope, went to school everyday spending each one either in the cafeteria, library or off campus somewhere. Hell, I even bought a car just for this purpose, it got ruined. I learned that there’s nothing wrong with the oil in the car if there is no oil in the car, but of course it was checked regularly.
It was about this time that my parental instincts kicked in; I didn’t want this person to have the poor life I had, so I decided not to say good-by; my mistake, but an honest one.
Now, ten years later, after thousands of dollars, three cars, a wasted two years of education, numerous jobs, doctor bills, dentist bills, clothing, dealing with an alcohol and drug problem (neither of which are mine), treatment for an incurable STD, and other medical issues, (also not mine), I get dumped because I’m not affectionate, and don’t say I love you.
There is much more to this story I won’t go into but I will say that I have had my faults to, none of which compare, but faults none-the-less.
The problem being, I began to think that love, like the material things, was becoming a commodity. I want you to do this for me because you won’t say you love me. If you loved me, truly loved me, you’d hold me whenever I want and in whatever way I want. I’ll be nice and friendly if we can go eat at this expensive place tonight.
Although not all comments were so explicit, most did present themselves as terms of a negotiation rather than mere requests.
Now, I’m alone, my Christmas gift was the closing of the door. No thank you for everything; no sorry things didn’t work out and no Happy New Year and no goodbye, just the closing of the door. However, in retrospect, that was my Christmas gift but not from who one might imagine. The gift was from myself to myself; a gift of knowledge that love, true love is not a commodity.