Oliver didn’t know how to love

The sun emerges from the top half of the buildings, as if emanating from them. The angled light, though, exhibits the darkness of their bottom part and of the street. How can such a dark and heavy foundation support such a light and shiny top? How can such a sinister core bear such ripe fruits? How can love prevail on such a melancholic heart? With a mellow background music, gloomy thoughts arose. Can one’s core be broken and still give birth to such beautiful sentiments?

These questions bothered him as he sat in the local café and looked out the window. He was torn. Oliver knew himself, knew how broken he was. He knew. And yet, he thought, he could love. He could love like no one else could. As broken as it was, he could pick up the pieces, glue them together, and give his heart to someone, fully, as if he had a spare. But what, then, was he left with? Well, nothing, it seemed. Nothing. And in this nothingness he lived his days, not knowing what to do with himself. Not knowing how he got there, not knowing who he was. Only knowing that he loved. That much he knew well. But not your typical romance movie kind of love, no. Not that mellow shit. Not that throwing up rainbows kind of love. No. He loved more deeply than that, messier than that. He loved like the broken adult he was. He loved with all the quirks and paranoias of someone who’s had heartache.

Outside, he saw a couple kissing. How cliché. Their eyes crossed but didn’t meet in the middle. They kissed but didn’t exchange a part of their soul. They said love words that were empty. But how did Oliver know that? How did he? After all, Oliver didn’t know how to love. He just did it. Maybe that was the secret, just doing it without knowing. But that was just something he told himself. Oliver didn’t know how to love. He only knew how to be broken.

Oliver blushed. He looked around in the café to make sure no one saw it and hid behind his coffee cup. He was thinking about her. How every time they talked he smiled like a teenager. How they could go on and on for ages about every possible subject. How he missed her. How he couldn’t see her as often as he felt like it (which was every day). Oliver loved her. Yes, he loved her. This was the first time he noticed it. He loved her. He loved her silly humour, her silly smile, her silly crush. He loved her eyes. But he couldn’t have her every day. He couldn’t. He was broken.

Oliver was not the kind of broken people say they are, when they’re just not happy about an aspect of themselves. He was the real deal. The one they warn people about. He was really broken inside. How he knew? He just did. No one could have that much pain if they were whole. No one could have such a messy life, such a messy way of loving. No one that was whole could see the darkness within love. The darkness whole people try so hard not to see. The darkness of sacrifice. The darkness of jealousy. The darkness of truly giving yourself to someone else and forgetting who you are. Who was he? Who was he before he loved? What did Oliver become when he gave himself, so deeply, to the one he loved? And how come could they not just have each other? Truly possessing someone, in fact, only happens when you let them go. Another cliché, he thought. He was full of those these days.

Cliché. What a fucking cliché. Sitting in a bohemian café, thinking about how broken he was. What a fucking cliché. That doesn’t matter. She knew he was broken. She knew, deep down. That’s what she loved about him. He was a little bird she could tend to while she ignored her own shit. Her own shit. What was it? He didn’t know. She was secretive that way. Or maybe they just didn’t see each other enough for that to appear more clearly. Her own shit.

That same day, as Oliver walked back home, he saw a tree. In its glorious height, the tree didn’t know who it was. The tree didn’t know anything, it just was. It was there. It had always been there. But Oliver just noticed it that day. He noticed how that tree had been there probably his entire life. How that tree was like a living rock. A safe harbour in the middle of the storm. How that tree represented one of the containers of his heart. Yes, one of them. He had multiple. They tend to appear whenever he falls in love with something else. Every single time, he could feel it growing inside him uncontrollably, becoming another living part of him that would for ever stay there, a living rock. Just like that tree. And just like that tree, it has probably been there his entire life. Until one day he noticed it. Like today.

How many containers can a heart possess? How many things can a person love? How can you be broken yet have so much space to safeguard that love? Those questions would forever haunt him. Forever. Until he took his last breath.

When he went to bed, that day, Oliver took his last awaking breath for the day. He was enveloped with the dream world, where things are clearer than ever, yet so unattainable. During the last seconds of conscious unconsciousness, he thought of her. Of the love he gave her. Of the part of his broken self he so willingly gave her. How could she still want another life? How could he not want anything else? That was the last question he posed that day. Then, during his awakening that could only happen when he slept that deeply, when he dreamt that intensely, could he know the answer. The answer was that there was no other way. He could only give himself so deeply because he knew he had nothing to lose, broken that he was. He could only love so joyfully after having seen the darkness creeping up on him. He could only be himself when he was with her. With them. With all he loved. In this sweet contradiction, Oliver dreamt the night away. The next morning, though, like every morning before that and every morning after, he started questioning his love again. Why? Because that was his nature. Because that was the only way he knew how. Because that was him. And because of who he was, he loved her. But did she? Well, all we know is that Oliver didn’t know how to love.

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