Summer Storm

the sun shines, but I don't
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2023-05-21 14:51:00 (UTC)

๐Ÿฅ€Forgiveness declined

Middle of July 2004

It had been almost 2 weeks since he had finally quit his night job and he was enjoying a few days off before starting work at Chronopost.
I was very happy for him - his job was exhausting and made it hard for him to get proper rest and keep up with family life when everyone around him had different schedules.

He, however, did not seem to be very enthusiastic. In fact, for the past two weeks, he was acting weird, evasive, and worried. I couldn't understand what was going on with him and why didn't he want to be intimate or initiate any romantic approach.

- Bye Princess, see you tomorrow. - he said one day, leaving me home way earlier than expected.
- Yeah, bye. But before that. I need to know what's going on. And don't even try to say "everything's fine" or "I'm just tired", because I'm not buying it anymore. It's been almost two fucking weeks that you are down, acting weird around me, barely even looking at me. Would you tell me once and for all what a fuck did I do!? I need to know, and I need to know it now.
He took a deep breath and looked away, thinking. Then he suddenly grabbed the wheel with both hands and pressed his head against it, hiding his face as he began to sob.
๐‘‚โ„Ž ๐‘›๐‘œ...
- It's not your fault... - he started. - It was me. I did something wrong.
- Ok... We all make mistakes.
- I will never forgive myself, Filipa..
๐‘‚โ„Ž ๐‘›๐‘œ...
- Calm down, I'm here for you. - I tried to comfort him, but it didn't seem to work, as he was getting more distressed.
- No, you don't understand... I did something to you... - he raised his head and I had never seen his eyes so red.
๐‘‚โ„Ž ๐‘›๐‘œ..., ๐‘œโ„Ž ๐‘›๐‘œ... ๐ผ ๐‘ โ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘™๐‘‘๐‘›'๐‘ก โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ฃ๐‘’ ๐‘Ž๐‘ ๐‘˜๐‘’๐‘‘...
I opened the window because I needed some air, but the hot breeze made it even harder to breathe.
Some crazy possibilities crossed my mind, but there was no way it could be anything like that.
So I kept waiting for him to continue, but God damnit, he was taking too long!
- Marco, whatever you did, I'm sure you had your reasons, and we can solve the problem.
- NO!! There was absolutely no reason for it, and nothing can fix this. I've been thinking day and night about what to do, but the more I think about it, the less I believe it is possible to lessen the consequences of my mistake.

- Marco, please just say it, I'm getting nervous. Say it!!
He looked me in the eye and said:
- I cheated on you.
His words were floating in my mind like alien ships - my perplexity wasn't allowing me to fully grasp the idea. This was surreal!

He kept crying and saying how stupid he was, how it didn't mean anything and how I was the last person on earth who deserved this, and how everything was now ruined and blah blah blah - I wasn't exactly listening. I was still processing the "I cheated on you." and everything else was background noise.

I asked for details and he provided them.
He was devastated and I was shocked.

As he recounted the events, he wept more and more, adding self-deprecating comments and stressing how unjustifiable his actions had been.
He was the face of regret, and his pain was visible, audible and perceptible in every syllable, in every tear and in every attempt to look away from my gaze. His shaking hands were sweating and his despair was contagious.
I knew I should be focusing on my own disappointment, but... It was impossible: his pain swallowed mine. I couldn't bear to see him like that.

He took a pause to recompose himself and I filled the brief silence:
- I forgive you.

- No, Filipa, I don't deserve forgiveness.
- It doesn't matter. I can't control that. I simply forgive you.
- How can you say that?!
- I don't know, it's just what I feel. In my heart you are forgiven and we'll get over this.
- Get over this? Filipa, do you understand what I have done ?
- Yes. Done. Past. What is done cannot be changed, but we can learn from it and move on, and that's what we're going to do.

He smiled at me with the saddest eyes I have ever seen - I will never forget the look on his face...
๐‘‚โ„Ž ๐‘›๐‘œ...
- I'm sorry Filipa, but I can't accept your forgiveness.
That sentence hit me like a meteor in my core.
"๐ผ ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘›๐‘œ๐‘ก ๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘๐‘’๐‘๐‘ก ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ ๐‘“๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘”๐‘–๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘›๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘ ..."
How could this be?
- ...
- Do you see now how obvious it is? I don't deserve you! Look at you! Forgiving me on the spot!! You should be mad! How can you be so pure to forgive me after this?
- Ok!!! You want me to be mad? I can be mad, I AM mad! Because you are very stupid! You risked ruining everything! You have been working on a strip club for years without that being a threat to us, resisting temptation - that you said was inexistent to begin with - and I always trusted you. And on your LAST day at the club, about to start a decent job at Chronopost, you decided to play along with your colleagues and at the decadent party they prepared for you, you got drunk and then - because why not? - you fucked a stripper! A stripper !!!That's so low and disgusting, I have no words! It's the colossal stupidity that this represents - it leaves me speechless, but believe me when I say I am mad. I am, rest assured.

He was quiet. He was looking at me like he was waiting for more. But I had no more fury to present. Of course I was hurt - terribly hurt! - but more than anything else, I was desperate for a solution.
To undo what he had done was out of my reach, so what could I do if not forgive? What could we do if not try to fix what was damaged ? What would be the alternative? To let that fucking whore destroy what we had?! No way!

- I'm so sorry - he kept saying, embarrassed.
- I know you are, but you need to stop looking at this like it's the end of the world. It doesn't have to be. Perhaps we were already in crisis and are only now recognizing it. It's the first step, so from now on things can only get better.

He was staring at me, disbelief in his face.
- What? - I asked. - Am I saying something wrong? After all we already endured, you don't believe we can go through this?!!
- Filipa, I think you're probably as confused as I am. Maybe we should both go home, to think in solitude.
- I don't need to think. It's all clear for me: ๐—œ ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ด๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚. - Couldn't he see I was offering us the only solution?! Why wasn't it working?
He started crying again, holding me tight. Holding me like it was the last time.
- I'm sorry... - he sobbed, his head buried on my neck. - I can't.
๐‘‚โ„Ž ๐‘›๐‘œ...
- I can't be with you, after this.

He had to stop this drama. He had to see beyond his regret and start thinking about our future.
So, with faith in him, and believing that he would not disappoint me.... I asked:
- Marco, are you breaking up with me?
He was taking too long to answer, it was a torture to feel my hope fading by the second.
- No. I don't think so, I don't know. I need time.
- Time..?? - Another hard concept for me to swallow. Was this really happening? - Why do you need time? How long do you need? And what for?!
- Filipa... It breaks my heart, but I need time to figure out if I really love you or not. I'm not sure anymore.
๐‘‚โ„Ž ๐‘›๐‘œ... I was not ready for this kind of destruction.
To cheat on me? We could work that out. People do that all the time.
To be reluctant to accept my forgiveness? He would eventually get used to it.
But to doubt his love??? No, no, that was not acceptable.
I was running out of strength to hold the shards of my heart, so I opened the door to leave.
- I love you Filipa, but...
- But. - I stressed the word.
- Exactly, - he continued - If there is a but, it means something is terribly wrong. I just think that if I loved you the way I thought I did, this would never had happened.
- Look Marco, spare me your reasons. You want time? I'll give you time. All the time you need and more. Enjoy it.

I left and went home.
For several months I had the feeling I was trapped inside a nightmare with no exit.
"๐‘–๐‘“ ๐ผ ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘™๐‘ฆ ๐‘™๐‘œ๐‘ฃ๐‘’ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข ๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ ๐‘›๐‘œ๐‘ก. ๐ผ'๐‘š ๐‘›๐‘œ๐‘ก ๐‘ ๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘ฆ๐‘š๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’"
I played it so many times in my head, his voice tattooed a scar on my heart. It's still here.