The Dating Chronicles
Behind The Mask
Ann had been with Rick for four years and though she loved him, she had no real sense of what he felt. She knew he liked her, but he was a quiet man who was always there when the rains came and the sun came out. But he never spoke of what he felt.
On many occasions, she tested him in an attempt to arouse some emotional expression, but he never responded in the manner she hoped. She tried making him jealous of fake telephone calls from fake admirers, but nothing worked.
In the third year, she asked him to marry her and he told her bluntly, that he would never marry and that she should look elsewhere if that was what she wanted. But her passion for him would not release the fear of being without him. She never mentioned it again and he acted as if it had never been spoken.
She tried dating other men. But no one could measure up. Rick was mature and steady with a persona that exuded strength and a soft heart. Though he had never told her he loved her, she knew he was someone she could trust. So, she resigned herself to a life with him, as long as he wanted her or until someone came along who could qualify to distort his picture.
To Rick, Ann was the prize at the top of the mountain. He loved her, but he couldn’t tell her. To him, her presence helped to push him up the incline of life. When she wasn’t there, he ached for her. But when she was, he put on the act of indifference. He stared at her back with lights in his eyes and marveled secretly at her profile. But inside he struggled hard not to feel what he felt. And his mind would never allow his heart to divulge his secret because he was gripped privately by a fear that only his brother Bill understood.
He had been there when Bill, aka “Wild Bill” (because of his many adventures with women) had fallen in love. She too was a beautiful girl with ways similar to Ann. And he watched as Bill took to her in a way that was uncharacteristic of him. He expressed to Rick that his feelings for this girl took him by surprise. He became a devoted husband who changed his lifestyle completely to please her and in the end, she left him and moved in with his best friend.
Rick had been there when Bill almost lost his mind. He watched his friend go from a strong confident lawyer to a crying pathetic figure of a man. And for Rick, it was not the first time he’d seen a man lose his grip over the love of a woman. As a young boy, he had watched his father beg his mother not to leave him for the man down the block. To Rick, love and marriage were an enemy and he had vowed to himself that they would never destroy him, which was why he felt what he felt……in silence.