The Classic Tale Of Three Lovers

by Julia Alfred
Ontario, Canada
genre: Romance

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

It does not envy or boast.

It is neither proud nor rude.

It is not self-seeking and not easily angered.

It keeps no record of wrongs.

There I was, gripping the edges of the bus seat as my fingers grew numb. "It keeps no record of wrongs", I repeated as I failed to recall the remainder of the verse while watching cars whizz by on the street. I’ve always been fascinated with the unexplained. One being intuition. I couldn’t understand how it worked but I still believed it existed and as I sat there praying to a higher power, I asked that I see what I needed to in order to make the best decision for my life moving forward. I asked for strength and courage because the uneasiness that raced through me prompted me to call upon them.

I felt as if I were going crazy as we inched along, or so it felt, to my intended destination. I should have taken a cab but taking the bus meant I chose to believe that there was no cause for this feeling. Nothing was wrong and I was absolutely paranoid. He had accused me a few times before of this and it angered me, but as I sat there – heart racing with no significant proof to support this need to go out of my way to see him, I started wondering how much truth there probably was to that accusation.

I had not heard from him all day, which struck me as uncommon. After his night shift I usually got a call or at least by this time I would’ve been checked in on. But that day, no calls, no answers – just voicemails and unread texts.

I pulled the line to stop the bus because the next stop would be mine. As I got off and made my way down the street, my body grew heavy as my legs stiffened as if in an attempt to stop me. I hugged my arms around my shivering body as I could no longer feel the warmth of the afternoon Summer sun. I just needed to see for myself and to be fair, had he answered he would've been aware of my impromptu visit. I felt guilty as if I were imposing on him and again could not understand why. We had been dating seriously for 2 years, at that point, showing up unexpectedly at a significant other’s apartment is not uncommon. Especially since I had my own key and fob for access.

I approached the building, pushed pass the entry doors and beelined to the elevators. I realized the I was fully in the fright/flight mood as I struggled to control my breath. I couldn’t tell if the air was less or whether I was simply forgetting how to breathe. I pressed the Up button consistently as if that would make it arrive quicker. The doors opened, I got in and it began its slow climb to the 21st floor sounding a loud Ding! upon arrival. I inhaled deeply as I slowly made my way out and down the hall to the apartment door. As I approached, there seemed to be an air of silence coming from the other side. I released a breath I did not realize I was holding as I thanked the heavens that he was either asleep or not home. I inserted my key and turned the knob, but as I pushed the door open I was met with resistance. The door opened to the extent the chain lock allowed. Why was the chain lock on? He never uses it. I called out for him as I was now certain he was home but there was no answer.

As I stood there waiting, I was consumed with annoyance and I pushed harder on the door causing the chain lock to break. I tumbled forward quickly regaining my balance as I turned to look upon the damage I had done. I stared at the broken chain lock and winced in embarrassment making a promise to apologize profusely after confessing to what I had done. I closed the door and made my way to the living room to relieve myself of my jacket and bag.

The apartment was dark and the slow hum of the turtle’s tank sounded louder than it ever had. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I caught sight of another jacket. I walked over to pick it and upon examining it was clear that it was neither mine nor his. As a matter of fact, I have never seen this jacket on anyone in our circle of friends before. The apartment remained eerily silent and I stood there grasping the jacket. I turned to look away from it but was met with the accompanying bag and shoes that most likely belonged to the visitor that was clearly here - unless someone was walking around shoeless somewhere. I took two strong breaths and headed towards the bedroom.

I slowly opened the door as I peered into complete darkness again but in an instant my eyes caught the outlines of two people sitting on either side of the bed. With one hand tightly grasping the doorknob, I slowly raised the other to flick the light switch on. My heart dropped.

He quickly sprung to his feet and made his way toward me speaking words I could not hear. I stared at the woman still seated on the bed with her head bowed down, expressionless and refusing to look back at me. I could feel his hands on me shaking me and urging me to move as I turned to see his lips moving but still hearing no sound. I let go of the door knob and immediately regained my hearing.

“I can explain, it’s not what it looks like” he kept saying

“Is this why you couldn’t answer or return my calls today?” I said returning my stare to the woman who was now looking at us.

“My phone…it died..” he quickly replied.

“And you were clearly to busy to find a charger” I said as the words burned my throat.

Heat consumed my face and ears first before spreading down my body.

“Nothing happened” the woman piped up as I turned to look at her again.

“Get out!” I yelled

She sat there refusing to leave but he turned to tell her he thought it best she left. I stormed into the living room, him on my heel as I grabbed her coat and bag and chucked it into him.

“Get out!” I yelled again.

“Just don’t hurt her” he said softly.

I looked at him shocked and appalled.

“Hurt. Her? You think I want to hurt her? I want her gone! Now!” I yelled.

“Okay, I’m leaving.” She replied annoyed as she slipped her feet into her shoes and retrieved her jacket and bag from him.

I beelined to her as he grabbed my waist tugging me back.

“Karma is real, just remember I told you that” I said gritting my teeth.

“I’ll remember that” she replied smugly as she closed the door behind her.

I pushed him away from me and found the nearest chair to collapse in. He knelt before me saying how sorry he was and I sat there unable to cry. Unable to feel the right emotion. I couldn’t decide if I was angry or sad, I didn’t think my body could handle them both at the same time. I lost my words and just sat there staring at him. 

I would stay one more year in that relationship, moving into that God forsaken apartment after which he would come home one day to tell me he had lost all feelings for me because I had grown cold. That he didn’t want to break up but that he needed space to find his love for me again. He wrote this in a secret letter that he promised to let me read when his feelings for me returned and I believed.

It would be 3 years after that, that I would find strength to let go. After many more tears, an engagement proposal that I would deny because we were not healed but which would later be used against me to shame me for saying no to the one thing that would have given him reason to change; I forgave myself.

As for him, he moved on with the girl that fought me for him throughout the years, the one who sat on his bed, unaffected while I experienced the beginning of worst days of my life.

I can recall now the last bit of that verse.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

Love never fails…when you find it in yourself first.




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