relationshipping

My kind of romantic

goes like this:

They don’t exchange wedding rings; they’re pretty damn poor.

There’s a wedding, a celebration with some family and great friends, the best music, tons of laughter and dancing and drinks and recreational drugs (it’s the 70’s and they’re very un-square).  It’s a fun time for all, through and through.  The honeymoon is a road trip via Harley Davidson.

She works.  So. Damn. Hard.
She is the superstrong magnet that draws everyone— especially troubled ones— and they feel safe unloading their woes; she’s their best ally.  Everyone who has at least one significant chat with her experience her wisdom and biting Southern wit, a memorable combination.  Chats are significant, not only because of content but in that moment, you believe that nothing is more important to her than spending that time with you.

He’s the life of the party.  He never holds back.  Ever.
With him, it’s a love-hate relationship.  His friends are the most loyal bunch and the hatred he inspires is equally longstanding.  Let’s just say that his fierce op-ed piece about a certain university’s racist subterfuge sure as hell has consequences along the lines of: anyone bearing his last name can forget about an acceptance letter.  He will always call you out on bullshit, which is mostly awesome but sometimes it’s exhausting but when it reaches that point, he’s the first to ask who’s got the joint: relaxed and cutting humor enters and stays for the night.  It’s a good time.

Over the years there are children, taking care of sick parents, looking after criminal and addicted siblings, building an incredibly successful business and meaningful births and deaths many times over.  They take many trips around their native United States and abroad, some are more challenging than others (Mexico with children, say) but all are memorable and what else matters as we age and reflect?

Twenty-five years of marriage pass.  They’re in France, enjoying Paris as only such devoted francophiles can.  They have incredible gastronomic adventures, study history, look at art and shop.  One night, they meet up after solo shopping and he’s sporting his big purchase, a classic Hermès leather bomber jacket— super cool and ruggedly handsome.  They exchange stories, laugh, drink.

Before the night ends, he produces a single jewelry box: Cartier.
She opens it: her wedding ring.

Absolutely perfect.
So romantic.

 

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random love

Ha.

You know that feeling when you see someone you think you know but it’s totally not them?

Here’s my version:
“You’re almost at 6th?  Ten minutes?  Alright.”

A familiar black Honda Accord pulls to a stop in front of me, Rasta cap and dreads behind the wheel.  I open the door and slide into the passenger seat, cheerfully “Hey ma— oh SHITshitshitshit…you’re not him.”

My eyes are supersaucers and my shocked mouth can’t connect word-thoughts with my frozen brain.

I’ve just walked into a stranger’s car.
Off the street.

fuckfuckfuckfuck.

While I’m mentally oh-shitting myself, Rastaman with the most dazzling smile and reassuring voice says to me, to the beat of the happy-peace-chill music in the background, “Wachu want, baby?  Relaaax…I got wachu want.”  And it really doesn’t sound as skeezy as that reads.

Reality snap: I inhale the tell-tale, weedy-incense drug scent that permeates the car and what are the odds?!

Do I go for it?  He’s not a narc, right?  I mean, he’s in the exact same make and model as my regular dude and the fucking dreads and hat, for chrissakes.  These eerie similarities make me think paranoid thoughts like:
This is a set-up.
Why on earth would I be set-up?
I don’t buy serious quantity.
I don’t sell the shit.
Is this really just a fucking weird coincidence?
I just smoke a lot of dope.
I’m wholesome, c’mon.

While I’m exercising neuroticism, Rastaman asks me what I was going to buy.  And he proceeds to show me the most green shit I’ve seen in a while.  Nice.  Hmm…time to negotiate while I wonder about the moral code of switching dealers.  I always need a back-up and his shit is better than my regular dude’s— for the same price.  Speaking of, where the fuck is my regular guy?!  He’s super late at this point.  This is a no-brainer.

The deal is done.
He gives me his card— 007.

I exit the car and my heart starts to beatbeatpound.  I hope really hard that no one stops me.  I want my trusting instincts to prove me right.  I’m anxious, walking quickly but not too suspiciously quickly, fighting the urge to look behind me.  Surely no one’s behind me.  As I reach my block, I finally breath sweet relief and smile huge.

Because I just ditched Bugs Bunny for James Bond.

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random love

Would I be a better person

if I had an imaginary child?

I never wanted children.
Except for a 45-day window with a boyfriend, before said boyfriend revealed he was transgender.

At age eight I remember announcing at the dinner table, “I don’t want kids and I don’t want to get married.”
No reaction from parents (duh); shit, I wouldn’t even be able to conceive for a few more years anyway.

Fast forward decades…I wander around my neighborhood on this flawlessly beautiful spring day.  I see single-digit school children in matching yellow caps (it’s a Japan thing) clambering over each other and playground slides, swingy things, geometric metal structures and hear their high-pitch screams.  Those screams make me smile as they are pure and unabashed joy.

Their happy human noises make me feel free, which is so counter to how I have often thought of life with children.

And I wonder: if I live my life wanting to lead by example whilst considering this person I have extreme influence over, how different would my choices be?  Or: could I cut through the bullshit 100 times faster because indecision is indulgent and/or a waste of time?  I reckon I’d make helluva better use of my time because— confession— there is nothing more indulgent than an alarm-less nothing-planned day for me.  I feel the indulgence because before the day is up, it never fails that my brain goes, “whywhywhy didn’t I X-Y-Z when I had so many hours?!”

Damn it.

Why?
Because peace tags along with a quiet, lazy day.
And American television is so supremely awesome right now.
That’s right, I’m witnessing cultural history.  (Ahem… The Voice and Game of Thrones).

I digress.
Kids.

This isn’t a bio-rhythmic pounding of my ovaries thing.
It’s a reaction to a tough week, one where I confront the limits of compromise without compromising myself.  It’s a combination of being a more chilled-out person (one who realizes the thought of having children will not impregnate me) and actively wanting to find a new way to pull my head out of my very emo ass.  There are always life goals and obstacles running concurrently and interference with each other but the overarching objective has and always will be evolution of the self without the self-absorption.  Children help that endeavor as with them comes unavoidable stretches of capacity of the physiological, mental and emotional variety.

Constant growth.
It’s important.
It’s my hope.

 

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relationshipping

Heady beginnings

are a weakness.

Loaded pauses, hypnotizing and consuming conversations— but about what, I don’t remember because what I’m left with is how I feel, which is simply great.

The newborn teenager that is potential love is a beautiful beast.  Its insistent and unignorable presence is such a flood of feel-good that all energies revolve around It.

I agree to help him out with an art project.  I’d said five? words over the course of a year to him before that night.  Project tasking goes well; the chat that follows, even better.  There’s something that we see and feel in the other; a significant something where four hours pass like twenty minutes.  Then the almost-nauseating nerves(!) that strike before I call him, just because I want to hear his voice.  I’m nervous because there’s no practical reason to call, nowhere to go after, “Hey…”

But he makes it so easy.
“Hey…I can hear the smile in his voice, which makes me smile.  I was wondering when you’d call…”

And the only awkwardness is the bit I created in my head.

When I next talk to him it’s in person and before I know it, we’re on the floor of a gallery, fucking.

It’s amazing the number of firsts that so quickly and effortlessly happen with this new, fascinating stranger.   Before two weeks pass, I realize how many ‘I would nevers’ have occurred.  It’s exciting and it’s so damn fun.

The ordinary becomes extraordinary and the hitherto unfamiliar, forever memorable.

A different beginning, another time: I’m so caught up in thoroughly romantic feelings that when I open a ring box, expecting jewelry and see instead, a single perfect-in-its-imperfection delicate coil shell, my heart immediately goes, “Aww…”  Then when I unwrap an even more delicate coil of paper with four simple words and a question mark, of course I whisper, “Yes.”

I’m young, naïve, and utterly in love.

Recently, a friend observes that I write a lot about endings.
Yes, I do.
I learn the most from endings as they’re so varied and often a mindfuck— but wow, do I learn my limits.
But I get his point.
Why not include the priceless, unique and intoxicating pure awesomeness that starts every good love story?
Without that heady start, we just don’t fall so hard.

And falling is…everything.

 

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relationshipping

I lose

my best friend every time a major relationship ends.

They’re kind-of annoying as shit to deal with— as am I— because we’re simultaneously trying to sort our own shit with our heads pretty far up our individual asses.
And those lingering details…

Who gets which car?
Joint purchases?
Debt?
Ha.

The shit overwhelms at moments and I deal by listening to band du jour on repeat and smoking dope until the banking day is over.  I procrastinate until I can’t, otherwise I’ll bust a vein in my pretty face from a massive panic attack threatening coronary.  I breathe, get my coffee and pull up the calculator.  Let’s go.  Okay, not so bad.  These digits aren’t too bad.  Oh fuck.  There’s another set of cards.  And loans.  And car payments.  And insurance.  And just…more shit.  Life costs.  Ten years of shared life is damn expensive.  Oh crap this is going to take— just add.  Keep adding.  Finally.  Moment of grand total truth.

So I suck at math.
I don’t really know what a budget is.
Whenever I’m at break up point, I have left the finances in the hands of the other so I have NO IDEA what debt situation awaits me.
My saving grace is I hate being ingratiated because that makes me breathe not so well, my brain gets spinny-cloudy and I’m incredibly impatient about getting my freedom back.

My real saving grace?
We didn’t buy a house together.
In America, getting divorced is so much easier than unjoining a house purchase.
We did one undeniably smart thing— yea!

You’d think I’d learn from the first time around.

I repeat my mantra, not only to myself but to him:
No cohabitating, no joining finances.
No cohabitating, no joining finances.

No cohabitating, no joining finances.

I maintain this.
For three months.

Then he falls on hard times and it’s easier to stay in the same house but more than anything, I can’t see past love, laughter, commitment, and an ever tightening vision of a permanent future.

I tell myself:
Even if it all goes to shit, I’ve done this before.  If I can untangle 10 years, I can work through however this may end.  But he’s also really kind and I know he won’t lie to me or screw me over financially so…what’s there to fear?

Not shit, really.
The headache and annoyance of separating seems like a disrespectful and shallow thing to consider when there’s true care, consideration and love present.

Years pass.

Then we break up.

When we’re young we hesitate to date our best friends because the potential double loss of best friend and lover is a big risk.
But I tell myself the greater the risk of hurt and loss, the greater the love.
So of course I run that risk.

Then I realize there’s even more to lose: we had become each other’s family.

The ending is damn hard.  And lonely.
But always worth the risk.

 

 

 

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