So with my mother realizing that my dad wasn't going to live up to her overly idealistic expectations she'd spent the last 30 years creating, I've been thinking about love, long-lost love, and romanticism.
One of my favorite movies in the entire movie world is The Notebook. It's so well done and so back and forth and so everything I would dream about when it comes to that aching pull that makes it impossible to let go of that one person that must be your soul mate. You see? I'm a romantic at heart. I always have been. Hell, I'm a fiction writer. I live for imaginary worlds. For me, though, that romantic bent is tapered with my more realistic side. The side that's been exposed to things that leave it impossible to pretend the world is made up of pure, unending, unconditional love. I wasn't always that way. There was a time when I chose to live in unrealistic thought, believing that the world outside my home life was grand and built of everlasting love. And that's where this little tale originates.
I was in high school. Jr. year. I had a boyfriend that was way too old for me that moved all the way to Missouri from Arkansas when we moved because my parents were stupidly gracious enough to let him live with us. Unwise. I didn't want to be with him. I hated him in fact, but it was a sticky situation and I could hardly get out of quickly...what with him living with us and all. So I ignored him and pretended he didn't exist when I wasn't at home. Eventually, I made him leave and my parents told me what a horrible person I was for breaking his aged heart.
And then there was school. I had art class with this fabulous artist that I'll refer to as M. He was a little taller than me, but not by too much. He wore grungy clothes, which I was totally in to. His hair was so dark and so shaggy and so curly that I wanted to rub my fingers through it. His eyes were a deep, dark mocha brown. And his skin looked sun-kissed. He was like a walking, talking fantasy of hotness for me. He reminded me of Sonny on General Hospital, and I was so in love with that big, bad mafia dude on GH. Mmm....just thinking about it makes me smile.
Things started slowly. M helped me on one of our art projects and I happily watched him draw, soaking in every detail of his facial expressions as he created these wonderful things. We talked sometimes in class, but not much. I was still really, really shy. And one of my "new" friends, since this was a new school for me, had dated M for about a year before I was there, so there was some history there...even though she dumped him and broke his heart.
And then there was a Jr./Sr. trip. We couldn't go anywhere over night, so we went down to the lake to a resort. It was there that I felt a reciprocated connection. We fed fish. We played raquetball. We talked on the lake boat ride about the Earth, the Universe, Fire. It was so deep. It was so nice. I soaked up every single second, feeling like I had finally met someone who got me. He was so creative, so imaginative. He was so like me. I was smitten. And so we rode home together on the bus and then I sat in his car as I waited for my parents to come me up. And he gave his necklace. I was in love.
His ex, however, also chose to be "in love" with him and began a campaign that would ultimately do us in. Until then, though, I would go to his house on the weekends, and he would talk about how soft my hair was and beautiful my eyes were. No one ever said my brown eyes were beautiful. He made me feel special. We would kiss, and man, how he could kiss (I should say my knowledge was VERY limited at the time). For whatever reason, we never went further than that. And soon enough, little miss ex had convinced him that she was wrong to have left him and he went crawling back. And I suffered my first minor heartbreak. I had never felt so connected. I had never felt so comfortable speaking to the opposite sex as I did with M. He was on my wavelength. And he was a Pisces. We were two fish swimming in the same stream. We were just swimming in opposite directions.
See the thing with M was that he was swimming with the current, and he never turned around. I, on the other hand, was swimming against the current and refused to take the the easy way. I continued swimming against that current, which led me to college. It led me to my current job. But more than anything in the world, it led me to my husband. Because while I didn't realize it back in high school when I was so taken by this dark, brooding, like-minded man of mystery, up the river, there was another man that would steal my heart for good.
He was a philosopher and he loved literature. He was a thinker. He wasn't a deep romantic, but I needed him to temper my growing idealism which constantly begged me to turn around and swim with the current. That man is my husband. And while he no longer philosophizes, he's still my rock. And he still knocks me off my feet from time to time....totally by accident on his part, but I've come realize that's the best kind of fall. And so I'm forever thankful that my like-minded fish got away because it would've been so easy to fall in line with him and swim downstream.
Incidentally, I saw M a few years later. We talked, I still felt giddy around him, but I quickly realized we were on two different paths. He was going nowhere, and I was headed everywhere.