There were, it was real, once upon a rhyme, two people very much in love.
That love was short-lived; yet even so – for a long long time – it was remembered true.
True doesn’t mean happy, but it does mean what it means.
Prior to their meeting, one of the lovers had fallen into mental distress: a result, she felt, of her environment. The actual diagnosis was mental ill-health: a result – so her psychiatrist believed – of the woman’s own being and intrinsic self.
Some years after the lovers’ original meeting and posterior breaking off, the other lover was diagnosed with equally severe mental ill-health. The first lover only found about this fact five years later: the story which had reached the latter at the time about the former’s condition was that her beloved had fallen and seriously cracked his skull. Whilst the metaphor might have stood in the context of some weird poetic licence, in reality the first lover had clearly been lied to.
In truth, the decade passed with no further communication between the two.
Then via the actions of the first lover’s sister – a woman who incidentally had also briefly had an affair with her sister’s lover, before, that is, her sister had got the chance – the communication began all over again.
It was solely by email, never by phone; and it was only at that point that the reality of her beloved’s illness became obvious and clear to her for the very first time: not a physical injury at all did he have but a diagnosis as dark as her own.
And then the communication broke again, on the sending of an email where she strongly described an alternative narrative: that neither were intimately ill at all; that both had been driven the insane which they had been diagnosed with, by forces quite beyond their ken.
This idea, just its contemplation, was far too much for her dearest old flame: on reading the story and rereading it again he finally decided to make it absolutely plain that never again would they communicate further.
And so at similar time, she had a meeting quite separately with the son of her lover, a fine man indeed. This was set up via social-networked relations, and led to their physical encounter.
And such was his beauty, and such was his handsome, she was unable not to fall blindly once more in love.
The kindness he showed to her, the understanding he expressed, the feeling of gentle homeliness, the normality and brains … he was everything her lover from previous decade, in the passed, had shown her – but without the barriers of hold he had ultimately placed on her every told.
Or at least that’s what she initially thought.
But as luck would have it – or not, as the case might be – the patterns violently repeated, as a month or so later the son also stopped all kind of speaking or greeting, or messenging at all. And whilst connections were maintained technically (no blocking of exchanges), they appeared simply to be there as a facile facade: a way of showing her, quite equally as before, that son had the same quality as father in this; that, in this, she would similarly be hurt.
And then suddenly, all of a sudden, she discovered her future: thrust into and studying briskly at a nearby university, and – in doing so – achieving curious success; achieving results no one expected.
She began to see herself in such a different light that – almost immediately – the opportunity to return to the subject of her life, of what had happened to her all those years ago, became possible within the context of the studies she was learning: became possible and practical with the support of professional law.
And so for one particular assignment, she related (to a small and select gathering) the chronological tale which had ticked away her last fourteen years.
And to her surprise, she maintained her composure throughout.
And to her astonishment, she had the fulsome support and encouragement to carry forward some process: some process of some kind which might just possibly serve to rewire a justice, in that existence which had been hers for almost a decade and a half.
What she did begin to wonder, however, as she had generously wondered of her ex-lover the previous year, as in fact she had wondered for the entire fourteen years gone, was whether the man in question had been treated as badly as it would now appear she had been treated herself.
And if communication was no longer permitted, and if neither father nor son cared any more to say anything to her, where would her moral responsibility lie? Should she make every effort to contact the men who had made of her life such a multiple misery and joy? Or should she simply proceed – without ever telling them – to dig out the dark underbelly which had destroyed her ability to thrive for all those years?
For if you were the first lover, and you still wanted the best for both father and son, despite the rejections at their hands you’d undergone, would you actually be able to turn your back on those people who – clearly – had chosen to turn their backs on you?
Would it actually be fair?
Would it actually be right?
And would it actually be worth the fight?