Reading time: 4min.

by Michael Lee

The society that killed love

We are desperately seeking validation and love in a society that forces us to be apart. In a world that validates your worth with a ‘like’ or a quick swipe to the right, has the idea of romance been lost in the oversubscribed cities and sea of nameless faces.

It’s 8:35am and my sleep-encrusted eyes fight the urge for one more 5-minute snooze on this trembling train. Barely able to stay awake while avoiding those awkward glares of other sleep deprived commuters as an elbow narrowly misses my face. The music blaring from my headphones fills the void of this eerily quiet train crammed full of strangers like sardines in a can. As the stench of BO and morning Costa coffee breath lingers in the air on this grey-clouded and drenched day.

Unfamiliar faces become a regular part of the commute as I stand huddled in the corner barely able to breathe, finding myself uncomfortably squashed in between a middle aged man in a sharp pin striped suit and an exhausted looking young woman scrolling tediously through her Facebook news-feed. I look through the rain dripped windows as the scenery of graffiti spewed council estates and sinister tall arching buildings sets the scene as I let out a melancholy sigh of despair. This mundane existence I am forced to exist in when all I want is for someone to say; “I love you”.

It’s 10:30am when minutes feel like hours and the feeling of fatigue slowly creeps in. Stuck in the confines of these four walls working 9 to 5 to merely exist and stay alive. As I blankly look at my computer screen, my weary reflection staring emotionless right back at me. The guy I’ve been talking to from Plenty of Fish pops up on my WhatsApp wishing me a ‘happy morning’, though I know deep down he’s talking to other men. Lost in the wonderment of illusion, fairy tales, flowers and candlelight I am an infatuated idealist, a sentimental poet, emotional thinker and a chaser of dreams, wearing rose tinted glasses amongst concrete streets void of rainbows and butterflies. I am hopelessly romantic in an unromantic world, even though the society I live in says I should not open my heart and hide behind my filtered profile picture.

A thousand thoughtful little ways to express my love for him as my dream of a beautifully magical happy ending seems more bleak and weary with each tediously passing day. He thinks I’m too intense and that I am too emotional, and as I weep my little heart out maybe his sentiments could hold some truth. In this cynical world of Tinder and Grinder I find myself unforgivably alone and unable to truly trust. I have become a misanthropic still chasing the dream of a happy ever after, in a barren landscape that does not appreciate the thrill of unconditional love and besotted romance.

I always feel I am not good enough and that my worth is measured against those that stood before me, left to feel inadequate and worthless as that familiar feeling of anxiety crushes my chest and leaves me breathless and gasping for air. Lust and love are both easily confused as the chemical reaction inside my brain excitedly announce that love has finally arrived. Fortunately, my heart still remains beating despite its lingering suicidal tendencies, as I weep a thousand sad tears and lick my blistered wounds.

12:00pm and I still have a long while to go before I can leave the suffocation of these walls. I may be fanciful, over-imaginative and sometimes unrealistic lost in the valley of pretentious monsters and narcissistic selfies. Unrealistic expectations and low self-esteem, as the guy from Plenty of Fish deletes me from his friends list. I guess I’m just another disposable heart in the society that killed love.