I often wonder what falling in love will be like. Will it be a sudden moment, a shared glance across the room with the man of my heart, an instant in which I know without question that he is my true love? Or will it be a long progression, a drawn out affair in the style of Russian novels, lengthy and gradual? Or maybe love is always there, lying in wait. Maybe it isn’t a matter of falling in love with someone, but rather choosing to recognize that love is there.
I’ve never been in love. I’ve been in like, deeply and passionately infatuated, but never in love. At least, I can’t believe it was love. I don’t want to imagine I would let something that precious slip through my fingers. Love is meant to be treasured and cultivated. It is beautiful and wonderful. Love is something I long for. One day it will be mine.
But not today it seems. And most likely not tomorrow. I can’t imagine falling in love next week either, or even in a month. Perhaps my heart isn’t ready for it. Perhaps I’m not sure I deserve it, not yet. Love is something so terribly grand. It seems as if it is beyond me. I honestly cannot imagine what it would feel like to be so consumed by such feeling and passion, and to have that directed at one person who returns it twice fold.
There was a time in my life when I thought myself to be unlovable in the romantic sense. I’ve never been a woman to invoke the passion of a man. I go unseen, passed over, ignored. Men simply don’t look at me, not like the novels say. As months roll into years, I can’t seem to find that elusive romance. I watch as it possesses those around me. Sometimes I come close; I see Romance and Love dancing about in front of me, taunting me almost with its lovely possibilities. It shows me glimpses of what could be, only to fade to nothing as I reach for it. Or maybe I don’t reach out. Perhaps I let it fall away into nothingness.
I wouldn’t know what to do with Romance if I were to catch it. If a man was to write me a love letter, give me a gorgeous flower, hold my hand with our fingers entwined, or pursue my heart, I would melt. But I’m not sure I would believe in it. I’ve never been given a reason to trust my heart. It usually ends up a bit battered, though never quite broken. I’m careful now not to get too close. I know my limits; what I can handle.
I’ve turned myself invisible. I fade into the shadows, away from the things I want most. It’s easier to save myself from a broken heart if I go unnoticed. I allow myself to admire from afar; one person in an audience, enamored by the star in front of me.
I’ve imagined myself into many relationships, testing them out in my imagination to see how they might fit in real life. I’ve dreamt of men I could come to love. In my dreams, I sometimes find myself married. My husband whispers words that fade into poetry in my ear. He holds me close, loves me desperately. He sees me, finally, as a beautiful woman worth loving. And then I wake, alone and cold, left wondering if it will ever be real. God, the emptiness undoes me.
Is it possible that not everyone is meant for love? Not that certain people are unlovable, but that they are meant to find happiness and contentment in other things?
Could it be that romance is not my story?
Or maybe I want it too much? Maybe I’ve built Love and Romance into something too fantastic for reality to ever live up to. Maybe love eludes me, because I can’t recognize it for what it is, imagining instead what I wish it could be.
Some days, I allow my romantic heart to be darkened by cynicism. It’s a coward’s way out, permitting yourself to demean the thing you crave most. But that’s what my life has become – convincing myself romance is overrated, because I can’t imagine experiencing it for myself. Though I never fully convince myself. The cynicism, though strong, never truly wins. There is always that secret part of my heart that will wait, patiently or impatiently, for the love it deserves. I will always and forever be the skeptical romantic, longing for what I can’t have but desperately seek.
Someday, I hope it will find me. One day, I will wake up and find my dreams have been made real. When I’m ready, I pray the right man will find his way to me.
Until then, I love myself. I revel in the aloneness. I wait amid the skepticism and romance, pulled in two, but never broken.
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