Johnny tried to live a life of few regrets. In his head he was a simple man who had simple pleasures. His happiness wasn’t contingent upon anyone or anything other than himself. If you asked him to list those things he could readily rattle off a list of five or six things
Unfortunately our dear Johnny was fooling himself. He was a more complex individual than he gave himself credit for and his needs exceeded that which he claimed. So you might ask yourself what Johnny fooled himself about and why he would do such a thing.
If you had the ability to look inside Johnny’s head, if you could explore the archives of his memories you’d see a time when he had been in love. In fact you could find a couple instances of love. Standing right alongside those moments were a couple of cases of heartbreak.
Johnny’s major problem stemmed from the scars left over from having his heart shredded into tiny pieces. In an effort to protect himself he had taken his feelings and stuffed them into a safety deposit box and then thrown it all into the ocean. Maybe it hadn’t been a conscious decision, but it really didn’t matter. The choice had been made and Johnny had given up on ever really feeling again.
Over time the garden that had once grown around his heart grew fallow and thick with weeds. Where there had been life and hope was a dusty ruin.
Time passed. Life continued and Johnny forgot about the things that had hurt him. Gradually his grip upon his feelings was loosened and a little sunlight was shed upon the dark. At first it was nothing more than a sliver and it might have remained that way for quite some time, were it not for June.
When June walked into Johnny’s life she forced open the door and made him incredibly happy. For lack of a better term it brought Johnny’s heart out of the catatonic state it had been in and nothing was the same.
While it would not be an exaggeration to say that June brought joy back into Johnny’s life she brought along an unintended and uninvited guest, fear. In spite of the overwhelming happiness he couldn’t help but remember the pain of the past and he feared its touch.
It wasn’t completely rational, or was it entirely irrational. He remembered the pain and the grief of past loss the same way a child remembers burning their finger on a hot stove.
Johnny tried to walk the line between the two feelings. He probably should have told June about his fear and had he really understood his feelings he might have.
But the thing about people is that sometimes they don’t really understand why they feel a certain way. Sometimes that lack of understanding is based upon a subconscious choice and sometimes it is something else.