OPINION: Emotional scars should not be played down, the pain caused can be harrowing

A relationship is bound to be visited by a quarrel.

Sometimes love hurts so much you wish to inflict physical pain, but you hold back because orange prison overalls are really not your style.

Then on rare occasions, nature intervenes on your behalf, and you need to just sit back and paint your nails.

One early morning, a lover's tiff escalated to near war during a drive to work, making me wet in the eyes and stuff.

I hardly ever cry, but this particular man seemed to have a special talent for bringing me to tears. I hate being seen as emotional, so I stormed out of the car and walked something like a hundred metres before remembering how my kitten heels aren't made for tar.

I returned to the car with my tail between my legs, and boy did he gloat! I had forgiven plenty transgressions before, but I knew I'd be angry about that particular issue for a while. We eventually resolved that we were breaking up and would each move on with our lives.

Then later that evening, while I was waiting for him to call and apologise, and spare me the nightmare of going on a first date again - I had to rush to his place because he had taken ill.

I took a good few minutes just watching him lying there grey like burnt out coal, sweating ice cubes and grunting in pain. The kind of pain that makes you pray in your home language.

He had vomited everything, including his pride and the lining of his stomach. I had a sparkling smug on my face as I tried not to be bothered by his self-diagnosis of "ulcers, acid, blood, esophagus, God, gut, death..." whatever. I was whistling Justin Timberlake's Cry Me A River and thinking "Look at God"!

See, ulcers had come to avenge me and restore order in the universe. And I would have the pleasure of watching Goliath curled in pain begging, and maybe even apologise.

He did call me "baby" about 13 times in a space of 10 minutes of trying to explain sickness. Yes, baby, God and please, all in one sentence - because gastric pain will humble you.

I had to contend with a call to nurse the very same person who had spoilt my day. I realised how emotional scars are paled into obscurity and we are expected to move on without any reparation from our lovers. There is a certain presumption that just because one's pain is not physical, then it is less harmful.

He had not apologised and I was still angry. I was not in a position to bring up the subject of the earlier break-up. I would have appeared as inconsiderate and careless at a time when he needed nurturing. But I was hurting too.

There was a selfish place in me that wanted closure. I knew my emotional state was not conducive for caring for this man adequately. At that moment, I hated him enough to enjoy watching him suffer, and loved him enough to know I could not just neglect him in that state.

So I made him Sorol water, with extra salt. I removed his slippers from near the bed, and didn't replace the tissue paper roll in the loo and switched off all the lights.

Yes, I was petty. It worked wonders.

As much as I needed him to recover, I also needed him to be reminded that he is not an island.

He woke up and rushed barefoot to the loo, in the dark and had to shout for me to bring him some tissue paper. It helped to sober him up from all that self-importance.

I am not quite sure how the universe operates. I have however benefited from Karma enough to want to nominate it for the next Nobel Peace Prize.

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