It seems I have a power, a big power. I will, after a little while you’ve known me, come out with something that is just wrong. Wrong intonation, wrong timing, wrong on all counts. The look I get from the people on the receiving end is what tells me it’s MY power. I wish I were a painter so I could draw it for you. The look is one of surprise, mixed in with disgust and subdued fury. The surprise is because, as people will say “you seem to be so NICE, but with others only eh!?”. The disgust is… I don’t know, actually. There must be something in that wrong thing I say that is completely repellent. Maybe my face changes too? I don’t know. But that’s what happens. Occasionally (because I realise the moment I’ve said it, I just feel it, I’ve said that wrong thing, in the wrong tone, –wrong for short-) my outburst is followed by a loving smile, a normal response, no shock. That only happens to the best of people, my best people, and when I see it I feel like gushing to them and hugging them and saying thank you! thank you! You forgave me! Or You didn’t judge me through this!
The greatest gift some people think they do for me is ignore it. But I know when the feeling you receive from it is what it is and you ignore it. I feel everything.
What happens with this power, now that I’m 43 and I’ve had enough time to see it in retrospect, is that people little by little stop loving you. I’ve had it said to me quite plainly very recently. Every single time you do that wrong thing, they love you less and less. So all the talk, all the crying, all the soul searching and the suicidal mea culpa and all the truth seeking you do in an effort to understand it, dispel it, stop it, is for nothing. Because you have no time. In the meantime, you are corroding the other person’s love. Well, I have been corroding that person’s love. If anybody reading feels the same, I’d love to know.
Then something else happens, so long as they stick around, if you haven’t corroded all their love and they abandoned you, because their love is just… gone. If they do stick around, they feel entitled to mistreat you. They will say things to you that if they saw someone say them to some cute actress in a film they’d cringe and say “ooohhh that wasn’t nice!”. But it’s ok to say them to you, because you did wrong, their love has been corroded, so you deserve it. They no longer apologise about anything. But they will, graciously, allow you to remain near them if you are sweet to them, in return for what’s left of their love, in return for that warmth, that surface sheen of caring that is all you have left.
But there is a new element, or rather one that I seem to be born with: See, I am a survivor. And survivors are difficult to deal with because they are not afraid, they know they have survived in the past and they know they can survive again. They know they do have much to lose, but they survived that loss before, time and time again. So at one point a part of me yells that it’s not fair. It’s not fair to say “I will stop mistreating you, or I may continue to love you, as long as you stop that wrong thing”.
Because it’s like telling a dog you will love him to bits as long as he stops barking, wagging his tail unnecessarily, and being so needy.
I mean, it’s a dog.
Ok I’ll try lying here like a carpet for your pleasure, but sooner or later I might just say you know what? Better a stray dog than a stifled one.
And because now I feel better for writing this I will end with this wonderful story about a stray and a happy ending.
An adventurer who gave a meatball to a scruffy dog in Ecuador got more than he bargained for when the stray joined him and his teammates for the rest of their gruelling trek.
Little did Mikael Lindnord know, when he took pity on the canine during the 430-mile race with his four-strong team, that a week later he would be arranging for Arthur to come home to Sweden with him.