L was my boyfriend for a good two years. How we met and how we got together I told you here before. How we developed as a couple was quite another story. I wasn’t mature when I started the relation but by the time it ended (had to end…which is another story altogether on “guru devotion in adversities”) I was a lot wiser about myself, and about life in general. L was my boyfriend and he was sweet and loving and above all caring but he was also very stern and sober. We enjoyed a great many things together but I was never to enjoy them if my room looked a certain way… read messy or unclean. After being with him for a while I became more disciplined and more sensitive to other peoples needs. In a way, I slowly started to wake up.
It’s not that my senses were very dull but somehow him taking care of me and him making me notice things by pointing them out created greater awareness. I guess each one of my relationships has greatly added to my becoming more aware even till date. It’s not that I can give the men in my life all the credit for that but somehow I am more wired towards male attention and in my younger years, I guess rewards and punishment worked very well for me. I mean it’s not that these guys had any ideas about it maybe themselves but I think I felt I either was being punished or rewarded or needed to work hard to avoid punishment and receive rewards. L maybe consciously didn’t know about this but at times he was like a father figure teaching me about life and society in the place I lived. About cleanliness and cooking and about staying at home. I mean I knew a great deal of course after all I was 19 already …..lol. But in fact, I felt clueless and I realize now a lot of what we do when we are younger is role-playing the way we want to be or we think is what we should be or portray. I don’t even know if to some degree we don’t indeed fake it till we make it and portray all sorts of behaviour till we make it our own.
L noticed through the week while visiting me how many times I had been wearing something. him being an army man he was good at doing house chores. So he introduced “laundry day” where he would come to my house with his”own laundry and made me do mine while he did his. Bought two dish-washing buckets for it as well and left them at my house. I was amused at the gift, less amused in winter when laundry day would also continue, of course, but the water was cold. But it taught me to look at my image, cleanliness, and routine.
I used to eat out all the time as I had lots of time and there as always someone who could keep you company with the many westerners living in Dharamsala. L living with the rest of the bodyguards (meaning eating, sleeping, training and working army barrack style) after a while got permission to eat dinner outside the grounds he was protecting. So he made sure I got a gas book (where you can get a new one once you empty one and only had to pay a nominal amount ) a gas stove for cooking and some pots and pans. That was a huge gift, the gas book was coveted and hard to get but he got me one in my name so I could cook, eat healthier and spend time with him as he, of course, started eating at my place. It actually was difficult to get permission to spend mealtimes outside the palace ground for him as a bodyguard, especially because we weren’t married but he somehow got it and made me cook almost on a daily basis. I somehow had to learn to be more organized, do shopping, learn some more Hindi to do the shopping, be back on time to cook and have it ready for us to eat. I had more money to spend after I started cooking for myself as it was cheaper than eating out and I always had his help. He shopped for groceries, got me recipes, helped to chop and prepare. He loved my cooking and he did the dishes without complaint which was a bonus as after dinner I mostly was tired of preparing, cooking and eating and the day in general.
The home cooking made sure we had friends coming over and my best friends Nestor and Usha came to my house a lot more to enjoy mealtimes. Especially around lunchtime whipping up an omelette or other and after we worked on the things we wanted to work on like our dharma and Tibetan studies etc.
L gave my life more direction. I adored him and he was my everything. I mostly was a content being in those two years especially when after a year he came and lived with me. Meaning he would come over after his duty finished unless he had a night shift and he would stay with his colleagues. I think he was the person I slept best next to in life, he made me feel safe and we would also sleep in separate beds but hold hands falling asleep. Never ever after that liked sleeping much next to someone closely as I did with him. I loved him more than anything. A real first love and the reciprocation was so strong. He loved me, wanted to spend time with me and though I had flaws never minded. He never categorized himself as a patient man but he was immensely patient with me. Teaching me Tibetan, teaching me Hindi. I never understood really what this accomplished fine man saw in me but I never made an effort to question him on that topic but I did question myself why he would like me at all, what kind of weak person I was without resolve and too attached and too afraid of him leaving me. My jealousy surfaced for the first time in life in relationships. He thought that was very funny and told me many a time I had nothing to worry about.
L was a very private person but I was bubbly and outgoing and needed to go out and do different things sometimes as well. So I introduced going to private parties and going to performances and movies. He didn’t appreciate me loitering around at night after 9 pm but we made a compromise that I could go to drinking nights on Fridays with my friends by myself and he would then take the night shift as he really didn’t like it but didn’t want to restrict me totally on all my drinking and loitering fun.
When I think about it, my mother back home in the Netherlands never was the restricting type so L was the first that actually told me to handle things differently. I didn’t always like it and I felt guilty a lot when I couldn’t live up to his expectations but he never got angry much or long. Looking back I think I brought much-needed spontaneity and new ideas and he brought structure and helped me look at things not only from my own perspective.
I have kept a diary and on and off I mostly wrote about my less happy periods and in the two years with L I have not written much. There were inserts especially for when he wasn’t around and didn’t contact me and I got worried if I had done something to displease him. My fear of losing him always fought with my tendencies to be free and not worry about what he or anyone thought. My fear of losing him would win always. You can image L appealed to my very traditional and even old-fashioned nature in some ways. But at the same time, he possessed an unconventional inner side that only I got to see. He was a person who didn’t need much in life. Was easily happy and content. I still had a big hang towards exciting things but he again gave me another perspective. I don’t remember my partying in detail anymore but I remember our quiet evenings and laughing and talking and making plans for our future together.
Right up and until L left back to his normal army duties and was placed for half a year in some border region where they could not be in contact over the phone we had a very nice life together. We made plans but never took serious steps thinking we had a lot of time together still. These 6 months apart were killing, and it really intensified my fear of losing him and my attachment towards him which was clearly visible. I couldn’t concentrate on my studies, couldn’t eat much, didn’t enjoy my own or others peoples company much and in general was a moping Myrtle. He did manage to phone me a few times and wrote letters weekly which were always full of longing and anticipation over his first leave to come see me and something he wanted and had to tell me when finally face to face.
This actually should have been the beginning of a life together. I felt so sure of my love for him and his love for me…and somewhere I still am. Life and some other things got in the way. But I never stopped loving him. I am not attached anymore and not jealous and of course, to a big degree I had to let go and it hurt for many years. Maybe even never gave the next relationship I had a chance. But I know I’ll always have his heart and he has mine. We still talk sometime. This warmth for one another has never left us, as well as great respect which is also still there between us. We will be “old” friends before we know it.
Soon I’ll tell you the story of how we broke up. it’s a relatively short story and took place in about 24 hours. It will read straight out of romantic drama and actually I never before or after felt my heart being torn apart that much. A truly broken heart and not understanding and knowing how to deal with it stayed with me a good many years. I used to have vivid dreams of a reunion and a new life together after which I sometimes woke up sobbing. Only after starting to write about it (not for this blog or for my book but just for me) I started to make sense of my unfulfilled desires and dreams of spending my life with him, so don’t feel sorry for me now, it has all been good for a while now.
L always accepted my bullshit but also always took the chance to correct my thinking from his Buddhist perspective. When we talked again for the first time I was afraid he would blame me for the way that I’d left him that he was very understanding. I imagine he must have dealt with his own immense pain and worries because of the way we broke up so suddenly and in such a dramatic setting. But he never mentioned it or blamed me for anything. His happiness of me trying to get in contact and actually managing to find and phone him overshadowed, he said, all his pain and if L says something you simply believe it. So we both healed and instead of mourning our lost relationship we continued the already present friendship.
Have you had such all-consuming feelings of love for another person? I am always interested to know about your stories. I feel quite vulnerable writing all these things but then again I can’t seem to stop writing and sharing.
Hope you enjoy this read and in two weeks time, I’ll see if I can manage to write about how it ended that is if not another story from my past takes antecedence overall stories from my far, middle an recent past.
Counting my blessings, feeling gratitude you are still reading my blog and seem to be enjoying it too and wishing you a very happy Sunday, Radia – The Unusual Yogini