“I haven’t been in love in a long, long time,” she said to herself in the best Otis Redding impression she could muster up. Heightened emphasis on the first “long.” Eight ‘o’s’.
“I haven’t been in love in a loooooooong, long time,” she kept repeating just enough so the purpose behind the sentence meant nothing anymore.
“Hell, I’m not even sure I’ve ever been in love,” she laughs to herself. “I’ve been in infatuation and then something thereafter, I think?”
This prompts her to sing the Rod Stewart song of the same name, but it’s not as enjoyable as her made-up Otis song.
She takes a moment to think back on them all.
It started with Adam. He was the only one to run the course of infatuation, to post-infatuation, to end of the road.
Adam is married and lives in Kansas City and has a second baby on the way. Three weeks after he ended their four year relationship seven years ago, she stopped thinking about him. It scared her how quickly she got over him. It was then she realized how she had been trying to keep a dying connection alive for much too long.
She had moved to a new city and he stayed behind. Their relationship wasn’t important enough to outlast these two truths.
The reason she got over Adam so quickly, the person who helped her do this, will forever remain an important character in the story of her life. A novella could be written on just the Freudian undertones of the short, ugly, but inevitable liaison. However, for now, it will be labeled away as one of the few secrets a woman may have.
In the big city, she dated a handful of men and the little girl in her innocently believed it was all something more than it was. For as self-aware and intuitive she likened herself to be, the truth was, she was completely childlike in her dealing with the opposite sex. Her development arrested by the fact that she grew up with no male figure in her life, and a lack of examples on how a relationship works. What she knew best, what made her most comfortable, was to be inactive player, one who stood in the forefront with a smile and a twinkle, but completely motionless. Though it’s easy to look back and romanticize the histrionics of her dalliances, it was not an enjoyable time in her life. It was a time where she watched tiny chips of her heart float away in the wind.
She watched again and again as she gave a piece of herself to someone who didn’t really want it in the end.
The filmmaker who watched her from behind the camera for six weeks. Studying every nuance of her personality and deciding at some point that he really liked his subject. Or the poet, who lived in the woods, who could open his heart in words, who would hold her close every night, but couldn’t give anything else.
That’s not to say that she didn’t have boys who wanted to take care of her. To give her the world. The problem was, she didn’t want them. They scared her. It was combination of the game being too easy and the idea being completely lost upon her. To not have to grieve for a man, to not have to wait by the window for a father who may or may not show up just seemed… foreign.
She was aware of her actions, but only partially. Over time, she learned to be objective of her behavior in relationships, but not enough to release her.
Unbeknownst to her at the time, leaving the city would bring her closer to that freedom.
She’s 27 now. Years ago she would have been considered an old maid. Now, she’s still carrying the “kid pass”. She’s not really expected to be thinking about settling down or finding the one quite yet. And neither does she want to. She’s focused on her career and her goals. However on certain days, not on days like today, but on days like the one yesterday, where she watched a movie about love conquering all, she thinks, “That’s it! That’s what I want!”
Because at the end of the day, though she may believe love is a privilege, she looks forward to the day it could happen- to me.