Friday, May 19, 2006

Schizoid Love

A lot of things frighten me, most of them inconsequential. But there are questions like “Am I a good enough writer? Will the World soon know me for the fraud that I am? Am I destined to be alone, always searching for the one person who will choose to be a witness to my life and allow me to be his?… But the questions don’t haunt me nearly as much as the possible answers do. Is this really as good as it gets? Blimey…

Let’s take a quick look at how this year has changed me. I met and fell in love with a man whom we shall call…Sam. Yes, Sam is a good name for more than the fact that it evokes a feeling of well-being. It’s a good name for my purpose because it can also be the name of a sociopath, and the fact that you attribute qualities of goodness to it is entirely your fault. Typical. So, I met Sam and fell in love with him over a cup of caramel flavored coffee. Ofcourse at that time I didn’t connect that warm gooey feeling that one would normally associate with having been shot, with any romantic notion. I thought it was because I was bidding a teary, over-dramatic goodbye to a man whom I had been saying goodbye to for the better part of 4 years.

But that’s another, way more amusing story, and hence not to be told here. But bear with me, it gets better.

So Sam and I fall in love. And things are great. And I mean really great. We laugh, and talk and kiss and touch and have some really good sex… for all of 3 days. And then, Mr Psychopathic Sam kicks in. Or in other words, our man has an embarrassing malfunction. Two weeks into a terrific relationship, and he starts to question everything. I should have known, because he even warned me, bless him. He told me clearly that the last time he had thought that he was in some kind of a serious relationship, he suffered a nervous breakdown. Ofcourse he was quick to point out that the fact that he was in the relationship didn’t lead to the breakdown. But hey, I wasn’t the only one adding two and two. But loving na├»ve idiot to the core, I thought, ‘It’ll be different this time. We’ll make it work.” I didn’t count on Psycho Sam making an even more determined effort to not let it work.

But to his credit, I believe Sam did give it his best shot. He was sweet and gentle, and oh so caring. He spent every waking minute thinking of me, of what I was doing, and where I was and if I was having fun, and if I loved him any more than I loved the other men whom I had left lying by the wayside. That last one in fact he thought about often. His thought process went something like this: I love her and this feels so terrific, I’ve never felt like this before, though I guess she has.. after all, she has had a number of boyfriends, guys she says that she loved. I never loved anyone before… Though I did sleep with quite a few – and hey, if they loved me, that’s not my fault is it? But I never loved anyone before, cuz if I loved someone I wouldn’t just be able to forget them… I bet she still thinks of them when she’s not with me.. or maybe even when she is with me, I bet she thinks of all the better sex she could have with them if she wasn’t with me…” You get the drift?

And then came the first blow. One month into a blossoming romance, Sam found out that I had applied for admission to NYU to study further. In the maelstrom of confusion that it released, Psycho Sam decided “You know, she means too much to me to lose in 6 months time, so let me just end it now.” Friends nodded sympathetically and a few agreed with his analysis of the situation. But few pointed out the obvious question – is she really going? The truth of the matter we shall never know because that choice was made by the panel of faceless judges of the admissions committee. I was secretly relieved as I was having too much of a blast here.

That one disaster averted, there came the time for strike two. A few months into the relationship, already fraught with huge philosophical questions, and we have Sam broaching the subject of ‘what next’. Now the ‘what next’ aspect of any relationship is a dicey one at best. It denotes a willingness of the proposer of the question to enter the ‘what next’ phase of the relationship whereas it pushes the proposee to accept that there is a ‘what next’ stage to be moving on to. Needless to say that the proposee isn’t always prepared for said shift of focus and frankly, I wasn’t an exception to that rule. Immediately Psycho Sam pounced on what I thought was absolutely valid hesitation (given the constant presence of Psycho Sam) and said, ‘She ain’t gonna commit. What are you being such a putst for?” Sam heard the words and noted the dire warning. Again, nobody pointed out the obvious thought – Does she hesitate about the ‘what next’ or does she hesitate about the ‘let’s go to next level now’?

Psycho Sam was winning the deal and it was pissing me off. Barely six months into a relationship that had seemed to start off with so much promise, we were staring at each other over another cup of coffee…afraid. I was afraid that whatever I said would be misinterpreted to mean that I didn’t love the bugger, and he was afraid of Psycho Sam. So both of us kept really quiet so we wouldn’t disturb the sleeping demon. But while he was sleeping, we had a blast. And oh, what a blast it was.

There was the incident of the bedsheet when, as he tried really hard to tell me while I was rolling on the floor laughing, he could have died. Now that would have been an ignominous death. And the time, when he tried to save his very well known face from disgrace, as he quietly gulped down a mouthful of chilly flakes, which he thought in his quick, panache-driven move, were chocolate flakes. Again a time he could have died, though this time the coroner’s verdict would have been ‘stupidity’. And ofcourse his well practised way of getting rid of owls as they screech without delivering letters – spit on them. Shower them with insults, literally… Ah, I guess you had to be there.

And when there weren’t the side-ripping laughs, there was the gentleness. And the tender loving. But all the time, we were careful to not laugh too loud, lest we wake up Psycho Sam. Until one day, when I thought we were being really quiet, and darling Sam was kissing me like no man has meant it before, Psycho stared out through the depths of his soul and said, “I just thought of all those men you have kissed before.” Talk about a splash of vinegar on an open cunt! As I blinked stupidly through the spots of pain that were dancing infront of my eyes, he leaned back and stared at the ceiling. Psycho was back, and this time he wasn’t going away too soon.

Predictably, Strike Three wasn’t too far. Psycho had rested and was ready to take me on. Even if he had to take Sam to New York for it. Supposedly to visit his sisters and nieces, and to calm his frazzled nerves, Sam traveled halfway across the world… and still didn’t show Psycho Sam his place. Ofcourse this time it was my fault (isn’t it always though?) – I had given access to my email account to Sam. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten the contents of that 3 year old e-junkbox, and being a closet collector of junk from around the world, all mails ever exchanged between my latest disastrous ex and I had been kept there. Sam read through them all, with Psycho Sam on a long distance call to me, gloating about how I had made it so damned easy. Sam never did recover from that one. And nor did I.
I had the choice to use the road so clearly marked ahead of me and opt out of this..entanglement. After all, he had violated sacred trust by invading my privacy. He accused me of still having feelings for my could he ever imagine I would, after I gave so much of myself to him…etc etc etc. But I didn’t want to play games, with Sam particularly. He was the man I was in love with, and I had to keep it honest. And honestly, I wanted us. But apparently, not as much as he didn’t.
Was I disappointed? Yes. Did I see the best and the most precious thing I had known in 27 years of existence being allowed to drift away? Yes. Could I do anything about it? Did I deliberately push him to an extreme that I knew he wouldn’t be able to take, but hoped he would? Those questions haunt me sometimes, but as I said earlier…it’s the answers that keep me awake.

Sam tried. He proposed marriage, and announced it to the world. It seemed the more he tried to make it permanent, the more unraveled he got. And I just watched as Psycho Sam had a blast. After that, it didn’t take long for things to break. On an idyllic vacation to a sun-soaked beach haven, Psycho Sam looked out of the eyes of the man I so adored and said, “I’m going to give us up.”

Just like that, Psycho Sam had won. Four months later, despite promises of having got Psycho under control, and of making my world beautiful again, Sam made the same call, this time not even bothering with eye-contact. Technology came to the aid of the cowardly, and Sam was just a memory – a memory that left me with a lot of questions. Did he ever love me? Maybe. Do I still love him? I think I’ll always be in love with him and all that he ever meant to me, but does the physical person of Sam still inspire me? No.

But one thing I agree with Sam about… the person I loved and adored and the person he thought he was… well, that Sam didn’t really ever exist. Maybe Psycho Sam was psycho because Sam and I tried really hard to pretend he was someone else. Maybe we were the villains of this story…?


Anonymous said...

I'd forgotten about the chilly flakes. and the vinegar reference was just not fair.

- Sam.

Anonymous said...

o-kay,what happened to you'r story about a schizoid.i mean,thats whats atop this thread isnt it?not psyco sam.schizoids are not spyco.sam maybe.but not schizoids.

Anonymous said...

So I had one of these. Lets call him psycho dan. Tender loving check, chocolate eyes and haunting smile check. But fours years of loving was no match for psycho dan. He won, we lost, he is gone and here I am ten years hence thinking of what could have been