Posted in Response to the Discover Challenge: Perspective
They sit on two intricately carved chairs, staring at each other’s laptop screens in pensive silence. Both are waiting for the other to say the first word. She was always the one who was impatient and in general not too bashful when it comes to expressing her views. He was always the more careful one, always speaking second. Besides, she was usually the one who had a problem to begin with and this naturally meant that she would be the first one to start the conversation.
She stared at the white walls and her eyes were drawn to a picture of the two of them, taken almost a year ago. The words swimming in her head started gaining stronger form and she started watching her usual “law and order” style arguments forming in her head. She was still slightly drunk from the previous night and wanted this to be done with as soon as possible. She started losing patience and decided to go first – after all, he ALWAYS made sure they talked every time they had a fight or a disagreement, a quality that had attracted her to him and continued to keep her in his charm for the past two years.
Her: So, I have been feeling that you have changed a lot over the past few months. In fact, the more time we spend together, the more I see how you have changed. I am not happy about this at all.
He swallowed the last remaining bite of his sandwich. As he chewed on, he started thinking about what a great week he was having till this happened. One of his creative endeavors was a huge success and he realized that he had met some wonderful people who he could now call his friends. She had undertaken the arduous 12 hour journey to come see him. Things couldn’t have been going better for him, for them. But what happened? He looked at her and he knew she was hurt. He had a faint idea what it was all about and just like her, he prepped his arsenal because he was convinced that he had done nothing wrong. After listening to her, he decided to go for the safest reply.
Him: What are you talking about?
Her: You see the photo we took there? Remember where we took it and under what circumstances?
Him: Yeah. We took it in Seattle.
Her: Why did we go to Seattle?
Him: Because we just wanted to get away from the Silicon Valley for a while. Your parents were home and we were not able to spend much time together.
Her: But weren’t we at work together then? Didn’t we see each other like everyday?
Him: Yeah! But we did not really have a chance to shower love to each other at work.
Her: We went on a couple of dates. Wasn’t that enough?
Him: No. I definitely wanted more. And I bet you did too. That is why we both were so excited about Seattle.
Her: I was. It was one of the best trips we’ve ever had!
Him: So what’s your point?
Her: Getting to it. How often do we see each other now?
Him: We meet once a month. That I think is the best we can do, considering the fact that we are both in school now and that it takes 12 hours for us to get to one another.
Her: I think so too. But my point here is, despite seeing each other only once in a month, you are not crazy about spending time with me. You can easily get distracted by the smallest of things, by the most insignificant events and people. Your constant need to please people around you kicks in and I am left unnoticed.
Him: I think you are exaggerating a bit here. I have literally not done any other school related work throughout the time that you were here. And I have not given a second thought to people around when you were with me. I have constantly had my arms wrapped around you, irrespective of where we were.
Her: Then what happened last night? You knew I was leaving. Why did you choose to not be with me at the exact same time? I had specifically told you that I was only gonna be with you for the next 3 hours and that I wanted to spend that time with you.
Him: I did spend time with you. In fact, you were the one pulling away. We were with a bunch of people and I was always around you.
Her: Yes, we were among a bunch of people. It was never just the two of us. You had the other people with you the entire day. When were you gonna be with me? It might sound petty to you, but being with you, having you exclusively to myself for some time, really matters to me.
Him: I still continue to believe that I did spend time with you. And I am not convinced by whatever you are saying.
The argument continued, with both parties pretty much revolving around their own ideas and no one really resolving any issues. She was annoyed that she was not being taken seriously and he was annoyed that such a trivial matter had evolved into something so complicated.
That is the problem with perceptions – they are limitless stretching all across the horizon and they are normally unbendable. There is no right or wrong; there are possibilities, millions of them. For example, my perception is built based on my experiences, upbringing and my general attitude towards life. It is a very similar situation with everyone else. Our perceptions are constructed on a sound foundation – us. Now think about changing your perception about something that is closely associated with you. Would you do it easily? No. It is because, changing your perception would mean that on a subconscious level, you are altering your persona and nobody likes that.
It would take a very long, very heated argument to bring about some results. But this argument would have started some other fires. Bridges would burn and feelings would be hurt. Perceptions do not normally change without putting up a tough fight where everybody loses.
The idea is to minimize losses while at the same time not lose your ground.
Her: When I wake up every morning here and realize you are not with me, I am washed away by a wave of sadness at how we distanced ourselves from each other. We were young, ambitious and foolish and we did not understand the consequences of what we were doing till the long distance started. But now, we have a chance to make amends. Try our best to stay together for as long as possible, where we have maximum amount of fun. Please stop drawing yourself away from me. The more you pull away, the lesser I will feel like holding on.
Him: I have never pulled away. I have always wanted to make sure that we were together too. I am making some big changes to my academic life just to ensure that we are together – not because you are asking for it, because I want to do it. I am done with staying away from you. I might not feel the things you do with such intensity – but that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel them at all. I am willing to go the extra mile for this relationship because it matters that much to me. You always quit on us, that is your go-to attitude towards this relationship. Yet, you don’t see me criticizing your level of commitment in the relationship.
What constantly baffles me though, is how can two people who are so clearly in love have such arguments? Do they not see it? They are fighting for love – the best cause there is. It doesn’t matter who is right and who is not, as long as they continue fighting for love. But, hey! That is my perception! What’s yours?