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She stared into the face of the man that she had grown so accustomed to – the face she had been seeing almost every single day of the week for the past one year, perhaps slightly more. The face that had once made her heart skip several beats once upon a year ago when she initially started to develop feelings, which she suspected was no more than a crush, for him. However, over the next few months, seeing that face still brought a rush of emotion to her heart, but it transitioned from the lightheaded, walking-on-clouds sensation to something even deeper and more significant. This was the face of the man she had fallen head over heels in love with and always yearned to see whenever he was not with her.

They were practically strangers all their lives – she was 25, and he, 34 when they first met. She had spent almost a quarter of a century of her life never knowing that face even existed at all, and similarly he had, unknowingly squandered even more days of his life never knowing what it felt like to love her and be loved the way she loved him. But it did not matter anymore for they crossed paths in the end, and having spent just over a year of their lives intertwined in each other’s worlds, never felt more bliss and heartache at the same time.

It was not because their relationship was ever short of love – she loved him dearly with all her heart and he too, held her as the center of his universe. But often he did not quite know how to convey his sentiment into appropriate words and actions, causing doubt, like cancer, to slowly mold its way into her mind. Having her heart broken a fair amount of times by boys she met in school and college did not help either as she quickly learned how cruel some men could be. She grew up insecure – not realizing her own self-worth, at times not acknowledging the fact that she was, actually pretty and sought after by men looking for something more meaningful than just a fling. She also had a good head over her shoulders, but that very same head also tend to over process little details and made mountains out of molehills on more than just a few occasions with him. According to him, she was often quick to judge his actions and just would not let issues rest whenever he did something that displeased her. He accused her of having an immature mindset that subconsciously needed to get back at him for the distress he had caused her by grilling him for hours over his mistake until he could not take it anymore. Still, it would not be fair to say that he should be cleared of taking any responsibility for the way their relationship turned out because surely he also had a hand somewhere in causing the arguments that arose in the first place.

It became difficult for both parties to be entirely happy with each other. More often than not, he felt as though being with her was like walking on broken glass – he had to be cautious, as any wrong move he made could possibly send a shard of glass up his foot. She, on the other hand, felt more and more uneasy about the way he handled certain situations and had little faith that he could do things in a way that would be delightful and acceptable to her all on his own.

But the love they had for each other appeared to be stronger than all their disputes as it still managed to bind them together despite numerous attempts by both to end their fragile union. For, they had discovered in the most difficult way, although it may seem arduous to be with each other, it was even more so to be without. Several times, over the recent months when he ended things with her, they had both spent sleepless nights only to call each other up in the wee hours early the next morning, both sobbing over the phone, endlessly proclaiming their love for each other. He would always plead for her to come back, and she would feel relief about not having to have to try to get over him after all.

Today she looked at that same face, which gazed back at her apologetically for having lost control of his temper again the night before. That face was now full of love and remorse, but somehow she did not feel that surge of emotion she usually did. Perhaps she was tired of the way he kept questioning if the relationship would work out of late, and sometimes even initiating a break up whenever they get into big fights. Perhaps she was starting to think that maybe, this time, they should just end it once and for all because it had been looking for a while now as if it was just a matter of time before the inevitable happened. Perhaps she was beginning to feel that she would be better off alone instead of having to worry if she would be able to adjust to his lifestyle as she had been discovering more and more about the many differences between his habits and hers throughout their period together. Or maybe it was just the wound on her heart, fresh from the cut he made the night before when he, out of fury, repeatedly condemned their relationship and declared how much he wanted out of it despite her asking him to stop. She did not know, but maybe time will ignite the passion she once had for him again. She only knew that his hold on her was still too strong for her to walk away now.

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