The gift

She looked around her in the ocean of shining faces and bright eyes, all turned towards him, the lithe and gentle one, the one spreading love. He sang, and soothed, and made everyone happy. He gave and asked for nothing in return; he was content with seeing their smiles, stretched onto eternal bliss, and their hands, clasped into everlasting brotherhood. It was all he ever asked for, to be able to make them happy.

She saw he had everything. She understood that he was all that ever existed, pain and sorrow, anger and compassion, end and beginning. He needed nothing from anyone, as he was a never ebbing stream of life, a warm avalanche of emotions he was freely bestowing upon each and every one of them. He saw them all as one, he saw them all equal. He bowed to help them reach him, he smiled to dispel their sadness and ease their inborn fears. Life was weighing them down, the ghosts of their past and those of their never-to-come-true future and those of their empty-handed present. He made them all feel special, he made them all believe in themselves, in the little they were and the less they would become as age would infiltrate their whole existence.

He was all she ever needed to know, everything she ever dreamed of, all she had ever wished for. He was light, he was love, he was life. Nothing else mattered; good and bad intertwined, yet bliss and pain did not outweigh each other. Everything was there, looming above her, yet insignificant and eeriily softened by her reverie; a dream, a song, a speck of emotion in the ocean of it all. She did not feel her limbs, she never heard her heart beat; she stopped being that who was before, and became one whom she had always waited for, one she had always feared to be, one she would never stop believing. She tried to weep but couldn’t: her feelings hung heavy on her heart, tugging at her soul with the innocent hands of a child. She felt pure, and when she finally managed to breathe, she felt weightlessly soaring above everything superfluous, which was- well, it was her whole life. There was nothing in her life she could have ever needed after this.

She looked around once more; perfection and self-confidence was hustling towards him in obstinate waves, willed to reach him, meant to touch him and startle him. Pretentious objects and hypocritical smiles floated in the air, not malevolently though: she knew they all loved him, and most of them were not themselves. The sincere ones became crafty, modesty turned into vaingloriousness, depression and self-deprecation into contentment and self-respect. She saw and was amazed, and yet it all felt natural and obvious, like sunshine pushing through stormclouds after warm summer rain. She had forgotten what she used to be like before she had been touched by this immense bliss. But the one she was now knew she could never love him as she would have wished, not even tell him what she felt, not even show him who she was. The pain of realization stabbed her unexpectedly amidst all that endlessness she was feeling. She could not make him smile with a joke, she could not make him feel desire with her nonexistant beauty, she could not make him wonder at her capacity to create beauty. He would not see anything in her. He would not even see her, as there was nothing to see. She was no one, she was nothing.

The air had stopped and shaped itself into splinters of pain that stung the core of her being relentlessly. Her inability to be what he might have noticed, let alone wanted, hurt her more than anything she had ever had to endure, more than the veil of uncertainty hanging over a to be relationship or the throes of a heart broken. Her emotions had been turned down before, she had been neglected by many people before, she had felt useless before- but never before did she fully see herself so vividly as the embodiment of what she was not, would never be, a merciless reminder of her nothingness. She knew she was probably blowing it all up, making it larger than life, enjoying the pain, enjoying the fact that she was special simply because she knew no one around her was probably feeling so alone. Tears came, tears half earnest, half forced through the gates of proud pain he was making her feel. And when she realized she had turned into a phoney, she hung her head in shame and self-hatred. He should never see her. She was ugly, she was empty, she was not what she wanted to be. She hated herself.

She turned to leave, as she knew she was not even fit to set eyes on him. She could not appreciate his pure love. She felt drawn towards darkness by her lust for his perfect body; she never wanted to stop hearing and seeing him, she felt endless greed for more, more, and yet more of him, and as her certainty that she was not giving as much love as she would be capable of pulled her into the quagmires of sloth which kept her from changing, she felt wrath lash out from her own depths, wrath towards herself, towards everyone else. She was the personification of envy for all who were better than her, and felt stupidly proud of seeing her own weaknesses. Loathing herself more and more, her feet were taking her away from him, and she knew she was doing the right thing.

When she heard him call out to her she froze in her endeavour, not daring to face him, not wanting to show herself, knowing how little she was compared to his infinity. But she was strong for only as long as her breath dissolved her determination to punish herself. His love made her turn around and look at him, blinded by the shining that surrounded him. He was looking at her, smiling his acceptance towards her, his heart taking her in, his arms embracing her without the slightest touch. She stared incredulously, not yet able to have faith, knowing he could not possibly welcome her, trust her, love her. And yet, he extended his tenderness on the palm of his hand, and when she took it, she trembled with unshed tears that now gushed out from her withered soul. How, how could he bear to look at her, how did he have the power to love such a weakling as herself, who was unable to love him back, unable to give him anything? She did not deserve what he was giving her, she could never deserve it.

But then, out of the turmoil of her existence, clarity shone through: she saw his eyes, the endless depths of desired perfection, and they spoke to her.

You cannot give my love back, they said.

You cannot give anyone else’s love.

You can only give your love. And I need it more than you need mine.

She wept her gratitude onto his open hand, and he caressed her wet cheeks and doubting soul. She quivered as her heart let go of all the unnecessary frills of emotion, and withheld the one thing she had ever needed, and would ever need to face the eternities of angst and fear. He kept smiling, and she saw his eyes, and she knew that he loved her, that he needed her, and she opened the gates of her heart to bury him in a perfect stream of what she alone was able to give him: her love.

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