By: Brandon Jamil
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It’s a warm summer Friday afternoon here in New York city, I decide I need to catch a train to Manhattan. My mind running in circles. I can’t believe I lost my job and my wife left me. The bitch couldn’t wait to run away. The moment I hit hard times her ass is out. They say love is real, they say love above all; somehow conquers all. I call it utter bullshit. I did everything in my life right. I went to college, I’ve traveled the world, purchased property, I help a lot of organizations. Love is the only thing in my life that seems to be completely illusive. All that positive thinking and chanting at the ashram make me fucking sick. I can’t call anyone to just talk. They all say “Marcus, everything will be okay.” I don’t want to hear that! I want to hear that my wife will get her karma. I want to hear that she will fall madly in love and that man leaves her for a younger, smarter, more beautiful woman. I want to hear that she lost everything, and all she has is regret. I want her to suffer and pay for everything. I waited two fucking years for her, and then she just ups and leaves. What a slap to my face.
I grab my phone from my pocket and check my social media. Another celebrity getting married. We all know it’s not real. What marriage is? We put photos of calculated happy moments, celebrations just to say: “look at me, I am winning at life.” Soon as the picture is taken, and once the event is over and we’ve reached the likes on Facebook, we’re reminded that it’s all a lie. What a fucking curse.
The train has come to complete stop. I take myself to city park. I figure I go grab a hot dog and maybe find some relief and inspiration. As I enter the park, I found a bench and I sit down to people watch. The people here in New York are odd. There’s always the drunk staggering around asking for money, the homeless people huddle off and talk amongst themselves, the mentally insane talking to themselves out loud; you’d think they’d at least be civilized and keep it to themselves, but that’d be asking way too much for these looney tunes.
Taking a sip of my water, I notice a blind man navigating his way to this bench. The blind man sits down and attempts to catch his breath. “Do you have enough room?” The blind man asks me. “What?” I asked. “Do you have enough room?” He asked again. “Yeah,” I said. “Another hot day in this city.” He said. “Sure is,” I said. “Hungry?” The blind man asked. “Guy, I don’t even know you.” I said. “So, what brings you here today?” The blind man asked. I said nothing with hopes he’d just stop talking. “Everyone comes here for some reason. Some come for mental clarity, some come here for closure, and others to just get away from everything. You never really know who you’re talking to in any given moment. This was Claire’s favorite bench in this park. After work we’d just come and talk. Thirty-two years of marriage. I give anything to just sit here with her one last time.” The blind man said while holding his walking stick.
“You never answered my question, what brings you here?” The blind man asked. “Look man, I don’t know what your problem is but I’m just sitting here, trying to enjoy some peace. I don’t know who Claire is, but I don’t care,” I replied. “Ah, I remember being young and angry. Believing the world is against me, life will pass you by and one day you’ll wake up trying to hold on to it. By that point it’ll be to late.” The blind man said. “What the hell are you talking about man?” I asked.
“About nine years ago, my wife was diagnosed with dementia, I had to put her in a nursing home. She couldn’t remember who I was, or my name. She could only recall moments of her child hood. A year after her diagnosis I became legally blind. Life as I knew it was over. I was truly happy with my marriage. Now if you were to ask Claire, she may have said that she doesn’t know how she handles my snoring. It’s the little things in life. I had done all the important things in life early on. I come here every night. I sit here and think about the many moments we shared on this bench.” The blind man said.
“So, your wife has dementia and you’re blind. Somehow you’re happy?” I asked. “When you get to my age, none of the small things matter. Mainly because you can’t remember all of them. Hell, it’s a miracle if I take my medicine or don’t double dose. I met Claire after my first marriage ended. My first marriage was horrible. You know the whole soul mate crap they sell you. She eventually left, and I swore I would never love again. I’d given my all repeatedly. When your young you think giving your all means saving another person or stopping them from becoming who their meant to be, because somehow that demonstrates just how much they love you. My ego was a beat up during that divorce. Anyway, I started to come here just to get away from the noise and try to understand how someone could just walk away. September 23rd, I met Claire here. She randomly sat down, and we began talking about our jobs. We both hated our jobs and our ex-lovers. Everyday we meet up and just talk and encourage each other. And we fell in love. You see, loving Claire was never about owning her, it wasn’t about jealously or control. It was simply listening and understanding the woman that held a light to my world. Love can only liberate. If someone suggests otherwise, they’re not loving- their fearing love. So, what if she leaves? If she falls in love with another man? God only knows how many women I’ve fallen in love with while being married. Love isn’t to be contained, it must be liberated, or it won’t survive. That’s what I call a life partnership. No matter what happened we never gave up on each-other.” The blind man said.
“Your wife could fuck any guy and you’d be okay with that?” I asked. “I’d be hurt, sad and feel betrayed. The thing is, Claire (just like any life partner) is accountable for themselves. If she made a choice she had to live with. She had to be the one to challenge her own character, her own mental state. That wasn’t my job. Soon as I got that lesson, and it took some time might I add. There wasn’t anything to fear. Just as If I betrayed her, she knew I had stopped fighting for my own life and character. It’s hardly ever about the other person. It’s about you holding yourself to the version you said you wanted to be. If that version wasn’t compatible with who one person was, then we could say goodbye. Saying goodbye to marriage doesn’t mean you’ve given up on them. It means you’ve allowed them to be free.” The old man responded.
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