Mutually Assured Destruction

“Are you over me?”, you asked. I didn’t know how to answer your question. Being vulnerable with you scared me to my core because I knew I cared more for you than you could ever fathom. “What do you mean?”, I asked. You proceeded to tell me how you came to the realization that you loved me. I was stunned. You loved me.

For the past six months or so, I learned to carefully navigate you and your difficulties with love, but I drew out a map on the back of my heart just in case you needed directions. I was patient in my longing until it would turn to pain. You would always disarm my hurt and usher my soul back to safety.

I didn’t know how to process your words. Your declaration of love sounded foreign to my ears because all they became accustomed to was hearing defeat. All I knew how to do when it came to you was to swallow my feelings. My strategy was bulletproof, until it wasn’t.

I love you, ik hou van jou, waan ku jeclahay”. I made you say it in three different languages, just to be sure.

As easy as loving you came, my heart was always guarded. I think deep down I always knew that what me and you had wasn’t meant for this lifetime. I loved you with an intensity that I never experienced, and what scared me the most was that it was seemingly undeserving. The love I had for you was not one that you had to earn, it just was. As Pablo Neruda puts it: “I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this.”. You became the biggest threat to my heart even if yours finally found its way to mine.

I always found the military doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD for short) to be strangely romantic. It was theorized during the Cold War and in essence, it states that both the United States of America and the Soviet Union would be deterred to launch a full-scale attack on each other because each side had enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the other side. If attacked, any respective side would retaliate with equal or greater force. This was expected to lead to mutual, total, and assured destruction. I know, a very weird thing to romanticize but there is something about sealing your fate with the promise of mutual destruction in case of conflict that seems poetic to me.

I think this is the best analogy to explain our love. We might not be engaged in a fully-fledged war, but I know that you are as broken as I am right now. In the end, there is some reassurance in knowing that you loved me as much as I loved you.

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