Sometimes in the wake of trying to know each other we often find our own selves. Things we did not know about our own selves reveal themselves to us. As a part of all the energies radiated by every cell in this world, when our own is lighted, it glows crystal clear. Sometimes clear enough for others to see, but always clear enough for our eyes.
When Erica said she was sorry, that it was her mistake that she lied to me, things didn’t seem that way to me even though they held truth for her. For her, it was her mistake, she had wanted to hide her feelings for Enid from me thinking I wouldn’t think well of it.
Somehow even though we were good friends she lied to me about it, because she was afraid she might not remain in my good books after she told me the truth. And our friendship was important to her, as it had been demonstrated by the lie she had made herself say. So, Erica and Enid really liked each other, but Erica was already committed to Julian. It was this thought that made her lie in the first place. It wasn’t only about what anyone else or I would think about her, it was what kind of person this fact turned her into, that troubled her.
She was a woman with conscience. And she knew her new-found pull toward Enid had no place in a world where she was already committed to Julian. And if she couldn’t shake it from her conscience, she knew I would not support her in this either. And hence, it was this fear of losing the consent of a close friend and aide that made her lie. It would have been easy for her to go on lying, to Julian and to me and to everyone else. But soon after she said those words to me, the guilt of having lied to someone she cared about, a friend, someone who cared about her, took her over.
“Jen,” she called out just as I was about to walk out the door of her hospital room “I’m sorry.” She said with sorrowful eyes. Even before I looked at her I knew what she was going to say. It’s something about the way you connect to a person’s soul that sometimes tells you all that is to be said. And just like that, I knew the truth was coming finally. She had to. She could have hidden it from me had I not known. But she knew just as well, that I knew the truth, and then, how could she look into my eye everyday and lie to me.
I walked toward her bed, sad in her sadness, feeling her misfortune of not being able to understand one’s own heart and its reactions to certain things. How do you explain to others that which you don’t understand fully well? And so she took my hand in hers and said, “I’m sorry I lied to you. I have feelings for Enid, but how do I accept that after having spent three years with Julian? He is such a good man, he loves me. And I love him, I swear I do. But somehow the long distance between us since the past one year has started taking its toll. But does that justify any of my feelings for Enid? No. It doesn’t. What could I have possibly told you then?” Tears trickling down her watery blue eyes made her look so vulnerable in that moment, I could almost feel her dilemma and the broken pieces of her heart she was so desperately trying to hold together.
“Please don’t be sorry”, I said, holding her face in my hands, trying for some courage to flow from me into her as if by the means of physical touch. “In fact, I am sorry.” She looked at me waiting to understand. Yes I was sorry. I was sorry because when Erica lied to me, it maybe because of the guilt of her own conscience, but it wasn’t just that. It was me too. How had I somehow managed to make my friend feel that I wouldn’t understand what she was going through? Somehow I had created an image of myself in front of her that was intolerant to any wrong-doing, but was it also insensitive to my friends’ needs and agonies? Yes. Perhaps I had managed to make her feel lonely, even though I was right there, beside her. And who could I blame for that but myself.
Many great philosophers and minds have written insurmountable words of wisdom on happiness, and that it stems from giving to others what you would want for yourself. And it had been in the past few years, as I had delved deeper and deeper into the depths of these wise thoughts that I had slowly started incorporating these ideas into my own life. Or should I say, the beautiful scent of these powerful words passed on from generation to generation had slowly found its way into my existence to beautify it.
It was as an afterthought to this that made me question my own extended hand of friendship toward my friend. Where had I gone wrong? Had I not been true to her and to myself? Had I not tried to spread happiness in the lives of those around me just as I wanted it to spread into mine? I did. But sometimes things go wrong even if you are right all along. I could only look at it this way in that moment. But I would make things alright. I was an optimist. Always an optimist.
“I do not know how and when did I make you lose your faith in us. Is it not as a result of it that you had to lie to me today? It’s not just a lie, it’s a small failure of my friendship too. I say small because you saved it in the last moment by opening up your heart to me. You saved it from becoming a big one. In the course of saving your sacred conscience you have saved mine. So, I thank you, and I’m sorry I haven’t shown you the best there is to me, probably.” I smiled at her ruefully. She was almost touched, I could see that. Tears welling up in her eyes to see apology where she expected scorn.
“I know you love Julian, even a blind man could see that. But whoever said you could only love one person at one time. You can love many. Only, the way you love each one of them is different. Some love are stronger than the others, some are more profound. Now tell me dear, how can a flower shy away from sun-light? How can a Bee not be drawn to nectar?”
“Human heart as we know it is a Temple of love. Enid has always liked you. How long would it have been possible for you to stay away from the love of a good man like that? Loving him doesn’t turn you into a person worthy of anyone’s scorn. It only proves you are human. Your heart is open to love and that is a wonderful thing. A blessing. Don’t be afraid of it, don’t be ashamed.”
“The only thing not quite right is your denial of its presence in your life. Accept it and tell Julian about it. Of course he won’t be happy about it. For what was only his, will be shared with someone else from now on. But he will understand. He has known you for all these years, he knows you’re incapable of hurting him or anyone. He will fight for you if he wishes you back in his life, but it will be the fight of a gentleman, a man in love. And I swear God knows your love will go only to the one worthy of it.”
They say visiting a spiritual place fills within you a sense of hope, and relief. A sense of fulfillment and redemption. You return back a wiser and more content man. Isn’t it a blessing then to be able to feel all of that when you connect to another soul with the same reverence with which you connect to God? Happiness, after all, resides within, not without.