I remember being in the 12th standard when I asked a guy of my age to his face and in midst of an entire batch of students if he could love me. He was bewildered and then with sunken eyes voted for sex in bed. I smacked him hard with an umbrella on his lower abdomen and never went for chemistry tuition again. Love was dissolved and life seemed to be a parade of lesser complex equations.
It was most probably in November 2015 when the same question haunted me again. I met my boyfriend on a social networking site and he asked me with the same daunting straightforwardness if I could love him. I responded affirmatively and we hooked up. Life was easier, dreams ferried in small paper boats. The only thing that bound us together and most probably forever was poetry. We were genuine with our feelings. I found out he was not a usual guy and his life was in jeopardy because of clinical depression. I shared my experiences of being a schizophrenic. We decided to love like a burning hundred rupee note in the tattered pockets of life.
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We met in December. I was an introvert and Howrah station with its commotion and potpourri of emotions was our first meeting stage. His eyes were on mine and mine shifted as the fluffy clouds in the autumn sky. I felt his eyes touching mine in a smile and love bloomed in the moist glasses of my eyes. Life indeed was beautiful with soft pecks and hugs.
Ours is a long-distance relationship and we usually meet after three months. We chatted on telephone calls and life was smooth. Then gradually doubts, insecurities, trust issues crept in.
We didn’t fight like regular couples, but our relationship suffered. He wondered if I had Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and he thought that made me lie or manipulate things for my own comfort. I had a fear of losing him and thus I spent lonely nights wondering how to face life with a bull’s eye.
I never indulged in manipulation, but I was swayed by friends’ stories of how men can never be trusted and they are bound to cheat when the relationship has no anchor to it. I hated thinking that he would cheat me but their carefully crafted logic convinced me. I never lied, but it was next to impossible to make him understand that, because at some point of time my illogical text messages nailed his love.
Our love was taken over by our disease. He was impatient, irritated, scared that I had BPD. I could not see my love but only the pain of depression in his eyes. I sat with him and his life was consumed to the last drop of alcohol. The uncertainties ate away my heart.
I could not look into his eyes because his disease stood as an unbroken wall. I didn’t know how to help him. I got home and cried hysterically all through the nights. I never wanted depression to win and our love to be defeated by the disease.
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Our well-wishers asked us not to be in a relationship, but we stood by each other. We talked less. My PhD suffered and finally I gave up my research fellowship. The days seemed to be an endless race of voids. I wanted him to puke out his pain of the disease. He could not, because logically pain has no words. He gave up jobs because they made him claustrophobic. I always supported him. He drifted away from me and into himself. I could not read him but knew it all, the untold cries, and his relentless fight against alcoholism. I prayed day and night. Even during the unheard hours of night I cried to God to give him all my strength and power.
Dear readers, this is our love. Mine as intense as the burning magma and his as settled and cloistered as a snail’s. This is our fight, our endless strife against disease.
Love has taught me to give, to be as soft as the grass and to bear it all, for at the end of the day I cannot lose to a disease that is hungry to drive us apart.