They say if you stumble upon romantic love, make sure you won’t come across to the worst form of it, the unrequited love. Why? It is because unrequited is a love or attraction that never returned or rewarded. If you fall in love with someone who doesn’t felt the same way, chances are you’re in a squad of people who fall into the depths of unreturned love.
One story stands out amongst the lilies of the pond. Kemberly was still in her elementary days when her parents decided to split up. Her father gave up her custody to her aunt, his youngest sister, who became her sole guardian for the last decade. Her aunt did not give the love of a parental figure Kemberly desired. When it came to chores around the house, she was more willing to comply than most of her cousins. Yet sadly with her aunt’s uncontrollable temper, she ended up getting scolded, being slapped and having bruises.
Growing up in that kind of family was quite the challenge. With no parents to cling to and showed her love, she started to become less dependent and spend more time to herself. She would read books about fantastic couples or tragic romantic stories and was often seen by the river banks looking into an abyss of nothingness. Sadly, it was the only way that she could cope her anxiety and stress. She sometimes saw herself as a damsel in distress being saved by her Prince Charming and believing that one day she will meet her knight in shining armor. It was not until she met a boy named Brandon that she started to realize something much deeper.
They become friends one day during the preparation for their Intramurals. She was one of the contestants in debate and he was also one of the contestants on the other divisions. They’ve become friends and since then their ties become much more than just that, labeling each other as close siblings.
They hang out mostly in each other’s houses letting the suspicious eyes raised into them by the students in their school. People saw them as a couple or M.U’s which stands for friends with “mutual understanding”, but Kemberly and Brandon kept denying the fact since they knew, there was no label in their friendship.
It wasn’t long after Kemberly realize her big mistakes. She was in love with her best friend. She caught herself looking at Brandon’s eyes with much more passion and devotion. She hides it hoping Brandon would show the same kind of interest on her, but it didn’t happen.
One day, a plethora of rumors about Brandon’s another woman had aroused and since then, people keep asking questions about their true relationship. People walked by and asked her if they already broke up and she would just be nice and told them, “There was no ‘us’. We’re just friends.”
She knows nothing more about the new woman. Though she knows it was a mortal sin to stalk her best friend, she did it anyway. There, she found the first evidence of her first heartache. The caption “I finally met the angel of my life.” broke her heart for millions and millions of shuttering pieces. Looking at the picture make her stomach release chemicals she never knew existed. Heartbroken and rejected, she finally stumble upon her desk and cried. The summer vacation Brandon brag on her during summer turns out to be much more than just that. During that vacation, he met Vanessa, a tall and beautiful young student model the same age as them. She was sweet and kind that the second he laid his eyes on her, it was an instant attraction. It was the first time Brandon felt love and it was all written in his profile.
For the first time, Kemberly felt betrayed by a person who never betrayed her at the first place. She told herself, ‘You need to move on now and find other else to focus on. Forget him, Kemberly…’ but moving on was not an easy word. She did everything she could but found herself running back to him, who holds the biggest part of her heart.
She found herself confronting him.
“Why you didn’t tell me?”
“I am planning to surprise you,” he said.
“But now the whole campus knows except me! I’m your best friend, Brand. Why you didn’t tell me this?”
“Well, you are still going to meet her since she will be transferring to our school. So I thought it would be nice to introduce the two of you in person.”
That would be the last thing Kemberly ever heard. She cannot recall the first nor the last thing he said after that. Her mind was full of confusion and rejection. All she could think was the pain she felt inside.
Love was the most complicated word ever existed and the only word that has no exact meaning. When and how could you tell you are in love with someone and when and how will it stop? The question was on Kemberly’s head for months. The question of when will be her unrequited love lasts. She respected that Brandon was giving her less and less of his time. She knows Vanessa was jealous of her and that would be the last thing to do since she was the main reason for their argument. She knows that being Brandon’s best friend was more than enough than losing him.
She adopted the motto, “It is better to feel love and pain than to feel nothing at all because it was a sign that we are human”. We fall in love, we feel pain, we feel happy and we feel sadness. All these things are balanced and were in place that makes the world equilibrium.
She continues to love Brandon in distance. She helped him during their anniversaries, preparing for food and shopping for teddy bears and chocolates he will give as a present. She was there during his ups and downs. She was there during their breakups and reassuring him that they will eventually go back together and they did.
Eventually, during their graduation day, Kemberly witnessed the most changing moments of her life. After he gave her a diamond necklace perfectly curved with letter “K”, he and Vanessa broke up without giving him any reason. After the graduation ball ended, he went straight to their home and pulled the trigger but she stopped him. With her teary eyes, she told him,
“One girl is not enough to pay for your life,”
“But I love her, Kemberly! You would never understand because you were never been in love!”
“Who told you I was never been in love?”
He looked at her with doubtful eyes and still holding the rifle in his hand. She was crying so hard that she can barely see him.
“Why? You never told me you were in love before,”
Kemberly made her composure and told her self ‘This is it,’ the end of their friendship and the last day of her secret. It didn’t matter any more than his life. This time he needs to know that she had enough pain that he actually has. This time she needed to tell him everything.
“I have been in love before,”
“To whom?” he spoke so confusedly that you can almost see the tiredness on his face.
A moment of silence feels within the space between them. It was not long before Brandon begins to laugh.
“Are you kidding me? We’re just friends!”
Yes, Friends. How many times will you slap me with the truth that you can never see me romantically? How many times will I attend your tantrums every single time she broke up with you? How many times will you made me cry? How many times will you kill me slowly? How long will I be able to be patient with you? I don’t think you even deserve my care and yet I am still here begging you not to kill yourself? Is everything I did not enough? Is my love for you not enough?
With all those silence bullets inside her heart, Kemberly responded the only thing she thought was right.
“I am serious Brandon. I didn’t come here to beg for you not to end your life just because you’re my friend and I care for you! I came here because of one simple reason−love. No, I didn’t come here to beg you to love me too. I came here to tell you that what you experienced isn’t as much as I have for these past three years. Seeing the man you were in love with into the arms of another woman is like living in a planet with no water. It’s slowly killing me and painfully tearing me apart.”
She step a little bit closer to the still-shocked Brandon. With each slowly painful step, she finally managed to get his trembling hand and point the rifle to her heart.
“If there would be one person that needs to die, it should be me. I already had enough, heard enough and experienced enough. The day of your first kiss, the day you lost your innocence, the day of your first heart ache… I’ve seen them all. I’ve seen how you’ve changed from a simple man to a man you are today, and I’m secretly wishing I was the reason behind it. I am secretly wishing that you will look at me with the same bright eyes you did on her. I am secretly wishing I was the first person to taste your lips. I am secretly wishing that you will look at me one day and you will realise I am different than anyone you’ve dated. No−I ended up in frustration because even the biggest changes like the new color of my hair or the way I dress never seem to affect you. I started to realise that maybe this love was not made to be returned at all. It was made to sacrifice.”
Brandon was silent all those times with his eyes bursting into tears as he looked into the deepest soul of Kemberly. All of these years he never realized how much sacrifice she made for him, and for his selfish wishes. All of these years, he just treated her like a shadow that can only be noticed when there’s a bright sun pointing towards his body. He made her feel worthless, unloved and uncared when she was the only one that loves him all along.
“Next time,” she continued with a whispering voice, “when you see yourself giving up on everything in the name of love−remember me. Love is not true when you don’t put sacrifices on it. Be glad you feel pain and don’t see it as the reason to kill yourself. Imagine it as a gift you gave to someone you love without asking any in return, and you will likely to feel the genuine happiness you never had when someone loves you back; contentment, peace, and pure love.”
Brandon lowered his rifle and began to feel ashamed about himself. He never realized how much pain he gave neither on Kemberly nor to his own self. He did not even consider the feelings of the other people around him. One girl is not enough to end his life.
Many years had passed since that fateful day. She went to Manila to pursue her career in medicine while he stayed to their town in hopes of blooming up their business. Eventually, he lost his contact on her. Their friendship was never been the same since that day she admitted the truth. Awkwardness was all around. Whenever they went on each other, he refused to speak on her making it more unpleasant and painful for her. Although, it’s been a long time since, rumors were still around. Others said she got married from a man on the other town, but others were still skeptical and believed that Kemberly never moved on from her hopeless love on him. Some spotted her by a window not far from Brandon’s new apartment. Others said she was in disguise.
Meanwhile, Brandon was celebrating his wedding night on a small cruise. They both rented with his wife, a woman named Audrey. While the party was going on, he and his wife went near the deck when she suddenly slipped over with her gown. She fell into the icy water.
Seeing this, he jumped off as fast as he could before a shark went near the distance closer to his wife. He managed to get her out of the water with the ship’s crew member’s help but unfortunately he slip back again. Wounded, he attracted two more sharks. On the midst of the chaos, a woman who was wearing a black leathered jacket came forward and saved him. He managed to hold her but as he did, the sharks bite off half of her body and tossed her into the mid air. The only remains in that woman was a necklace gorgeously carved in letter “K” and a greeting card dropped on the floor with a quote from Abraham Cowley,
“A mighty pain to love it is, and ‘tis a pain that pain to miss; But of all pains, the greatest pain, it is to love, but love in vain.”