By N. Mark Castro
Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are ‘It might have been.’
– Cat’s Cradle.
This just in.
Here’s a story if you’ve ever heard one. This was just shared to me by my friend, a guy, much like me, but not me. He’s hidden for the most part his innermost feelings, stood up to the plate and accepted whatever was delivered to him by fate.
Such is life. And so it goes.
My friend, whom we shall hide under the name, Leo, is a married man with 3 daughters. Such is life, and so it goes. He married into a relationship that was neither fantastic nor ecstatic. It was just the way all other marriages are. He stood by it. He loved his daughters. He loved his wife. But all throughout that time, he’s had one person with whom he’s shared some of his intimate thoughts, experiences, and all other girly stuff he wouldn’t have shared with another guy, much less me.
For several years, his female friend has been a witness to the rise and fall of his relationship with his wife, his family, the struggles he’s had to face, the challenges, fears and tears and all that dynamic crap of a life. Perhaps his female friend had nothing much better to do; or she, too, was just too focused on other things to be involved in annoying situations like, say, a family. I never did learn whether or not his female friend was hot or had big boobs. She was just a female friend, like so many other female friends that he has, the bastard.
Anyway, my friend’s female friend, it turned out, was dying.
And that’s when this story got pretty interesting.
In the hospital, as she lay dying, my friend, together with his family, came to her and gave her some words of encouragement. She was sick with life. Or, the planet. Who knows?
“I’m dying,” she said to my friend, “but before I leave, I thought you should now.”
My friend, just like any other guy, didn’t know what to say, didn’t know what to do.
In front of my friend’s wife and family, his dying female friend went on and said: “I love your family. I love your wife. But I thought, before I died, you should know, I have always loved you. I do love you. And even though it’s all but meaningless now, my only last request in life is … if you could love me too for the rest of my life … knowing how short it is.”
My friend’s wife was in shock. My friend’s daughters were in shock. My friend was stoic, as if he didn’t hear a thing.
What can I say, guys.
But as she lay there dying, with no make-up, in an almost lifeless state, all the memories came rushing back, all the emotions he must’ve denied came flooding in, and before she gasped for her last breathe, he finally said something he couldn’t have said in all those times they’ve spent together.
“No,” he said …
My friend’s dying female friend had that look of despair as she was about to die, denied of the one emotion she had kept in check, should’ve kept in check, reserved, repressed, the way all other girly emotions should have been.
“No,” he trailed … “I will love you for the rest of mine …”
End of story.
I did not learn this depressing story from my guy friend.
I learned it from his wife.
“I have been suspicious and jealous of my husband, true,” my friend’s wife said. “But I could’ve let go for her. They really loved each other they just didn’t know it. Or knowing it, didn’t want to admit it. But if there was one love story I thought needed to be shared, this was it. Maybe you could do something about it, to share it, to tell it.”
My friend’s wife was wrong.
I was the wrong person to share that story.
What a fucking idiot.