Love and Innocence- by Juan M.S.

If I hadn’t met disillusion in your eyes,
if I hadn’t been abandoned in my hopes,
if I hadn’t lost my mind for you,
if I could always sleep at night,
I wouldn’t be writing a new story,
and I wouldn’t be alive.

Every real love story starts in innocence; that’s how it always should be. Then this innocence is tested, but it always prevails; otherwise, it wouldn’t be real love. Love that gives way to passion and basic instincts is not real love and does not deserve literary endorsement. Because in the literary world we can allow ourselves to be idealistic and to praise that which we can seldom achieve in real life. And nevertheless, if we lowered the standard of our ideals, what would become of our realities?

Once there was a girl, whose name was Innocence. And there also was a young man, whose name was Love. Innocence was an attentive, obedient and tender daughter, whose candidness was the joy of her parents. She was righteous and honest, and very considerate when making decisions. She was selfless in her goals; the most important thing in the world for her was not to disappoint her parents’ faith in her.

Love was a dreamer. He idealized women to the point of not daring to talk to the object of his desire. Just at the age of twenty he could have what may be called his first girlfriend, because he was so shy that he could not approach straightforwardly the girls he was in love with before. He didn’t know how to deal with sex; it was something that he desired, but which he found incompatible with his idealistic views on women. His romantic fantasies ended always in front of the bedroom door, and any thought that trespassed that threshold was considered pornographic, foul, contemptible. He dissociated these thoughts from the objects of his adoration, lest they become impure.

When Innocence met the first man she fell in love with, she barely foresaw the revolution that was taking place inside her. She had never been selfish, so she had never thought of the possibility of falling in love before. Whenever she did something, she did it dutifully rather than passionately, so she didn’t know how to react to the feelings that were stirring in her. She tried to rationalize the situation by creating duties towards the young man that had conquered her heart. The smallest gesture of kindness from him was an excuse for her dutiful adoration. In the end, when all the barriers of her modesty were overcome, there was nothing that she could not do for him. She advised his passion and tried to guide him towards righteous feelings, but she would not deny him the fulfillment of his wishes.

Love’s first breakup had cut deep in him. He was studying philosophy at that time and he found no more sense in his studies. Life lost all meaning for him and he quit what he was doing and decided to dedicate himself to the only source of consolation he had left: music. He tried to found back harmony with life, which he had evidently lost. After almost two years of full days of music playing, he recovered his sanity and could come back to reality again. He decided to start studying again, but this time something more productive: law. At university he met a beautiful girl, who happened to be interested in him. They had a couple of dates and, after a couple of months, she finally admitted to her feelings towards him. He thought of marriage and kids with her, of a big house and lazy Sundays, where his only concern was to make her happy.

It was gradual. No one can say that it was because of her economic circumstances, because Innocence never lacked anything at home. However, when she moved in with her boyfriend, everything changed for her. She felt useless and she was too young and inexperienced to be able to get a proper job. She tried odd jobs, which were compatible with her studies, but her boyfriend’s demands added an extra load that she could not bear. She took care of the house chores and let him take care of the money for rent and food, as he was older than her and better positioned in the professional market. But he started making implicit remarks that he resented the fact that she didn’t bring money to their home, and she was disheartened. The diminution of her self-love was gradual, but by the end of a process of psychological manipulation and emotional extortion, she found herself helpless and ready to transgress every moral law she knew to make him happy. That is why, one day, when he came accompanied by another young man and told her that this person would be sharing the bed with her for thirty minutes, she froze with horror and died inside, but she didn’t refuse. She did as ordered and entered the bedroom with the man the love of her life had brought home. This situation was repeated numerous times, and although she knew she’d lost the love of her life’s respect, she knew he was satisfied with her financial contribution to their home.

When she left him, Love was devastated. She alleged that she’d never pronounced the magic words, as if saying “I love you” was a sort of legal liability which, if not pronounced, makes you exempt from any responsibility. That’s why she left without any remorse when she found a robe that better suited her beauty and expectations. Love had overcome various disappointments and he believed he was strong enough to overcome this one too, but he wasn’t aware of a great weakness in his character. His instinct kicked in as soon as she left; his seed looked for urgent fertile ground where it would be saved from annihilation. He didn’t pay attention to the signs of his body, and he dulled himself with alcohol to avoid hearing this inner voice that prompted him to action. Until one night in which, to his disconcert, he found himself semi-drunk and in front of a brothel. There were girls of all size and color inside, like flowers ready to be plucked. He picked the one he fancied the most, unconsciously choosing the one that looked the purest, and he entered a private room with her. He repeated this action several times, picking different flowers each time, and in that way he managed to momentarily quieten the call of the wild resonating inside him.

She broke up with the man whom she’d unconditionally loved. She still loved him, so she didn’t wish him any bad. He tried to coerce her to keep working for him, but she decided to go on her own. There was nothing else she knew how to do and she was used to a life of expenditure. She was pleased with her comfortable, free life, until she met Love.

Love was looking at ads, as usual, selectively clicking on only the options that were worthwhile the drive, when he happened to pose his eyes on Innocence. Her face was covered, as usual in these ads, and her price was not exaggerated. He called. He got an immediate appointment and he went, exited to have a new dose of ephemeral intimacy. Innocence opened the door and he could not resist it, it had always been his flaw, he fell in love of a total stranger. Of course he felt that it would pass soon. How many times had he felt something similar after seeing a beautiful girl at a tram stop or on a bus? Their non-reaction, their lack of reciprocation had neutralized his emerging feelings and he’d lived normally ever after. But this time it was different; she was different. She was doing her job, but she was not deprived of feelings. At the beginning, she felt a strong preference towards him and she wished all her clients were like him. But when he was leaving, she wished he was her only client for ever after.

He didn’t search for new ads anymore; he came back to her every time. He was jealous, of course, but the situation wasn’t any different from that of a young man in love with a girl with a boyfriend. He knew she slept with someone else, and that ate at him, but he did the same, or at least he tried. However, he couldn’t refrain himself any longer and he grabbed her, while she was getting off him, and forced her to lay to his side. She didn’t startle but she stared at him expectantly. He told her that he could not bare the idea of her sleeping with other men and that she should please stop that or she’d drive him crazy. She didn’t expect such a petition and she didn’t know what to say so she said nothing. She laid with him and he didn’t budge either. When her phone rang, she didn’t answer. She nestled her head on his chest and closed her eyes. They slept. When they woke up it was morning already. A new day had dawned and they didn’t want to think of the previous night. And they never did. They built from that day on, and nothing else mattered anymore.

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