I’m a romantic but I’ve gone through long spells of having no romance in my own life. I’m not big on reading relationship do’s and don’ts. I’m not big on dating rules. I’m definitely not big on early morning conversations. The only valid question I can think of for early mornings is, “do you want coffee/tea?” In all my years, I’ve loved a lot, but only fallen in love twice. Fallen in love in the way that I let my existence be altered and was brave enough to allow for changes in my life plans. Both times brought me to a different place and there are no regrets.
The familiar to me is living life on my own, learning new things, making plans and having just enough room for family and friends. It allows me to keep my own space, a separate being responsible for just me. It allows me to play it safe.
So when people speak to me of romance and relationships, I often don’t know what to say.
Having someone else in your space is unfamiliar and scary. I must have known what having someone was like before, but it’s been so long that the memories feel like they’ve been wiped away from my DNA, and besides, you can’t use the same map when you’re exploring a new country.
And that’s what it is.
A new person coming into your life – unchartered territory ready to be explored, no maps, no GPS systems, just your intuition guiding you. Suddenly, you want to say things even when there is nothing to say. You want to share your day even if the most exciting thing is a new soap commercial. Things that were once without meaning now remind you of them and of bits of conversation that you shared. And you want to hear about their day even though you know what they did was no different from what they did the day before. It is just to speak to them, to hear their voice, to have them close.
Suddenly there’s a person who reminds you of nobody else that you know, but so much else reminds you of them. When they’re there sometimes you don’t know what to say, but when they’re not, you just want to speak of them, just for the sake of saying their name.
It’s an inexplicable alchemy but no matter how you question it, it just feels right.
You find common ground and places where you are different. Life hasn’t really been altered, but their presence in yours just makes it that tiny bit more. You didn’t even feel like anything was missing from your life before, yet if they were to walk out now, there would be this irreplaceable gap there. Something you would feel more than you would see.
It doesn’t matter if they are across the room and you don’t speak to them. All that matters is that they’re there, and if you look up, your eyes would meet even if for just an instant. You look at them when you think they’re not looking and perhaps it goes both ways. The two of you getting to know each other from a distance, even as you grow closer, like looking at the earth from far above, but also walking along the vast planes. To see, really see, but to also know the sense, the taste, the smell, the feel, letting them touch you in deliciously scary ways.
There are times when you second guess yourself – are you being too obvious? Or not obvious enough? Did you say too much? Or too little? Are you showing too much of yourself? Or not enough? Did you touch them too intimately? Or were you too cold? Did you scare them away? And then, you let it go because it’s been said, and it’s been done, and too much or too little, when you come back together again and smile at each other, all is right in the world.
Sometimes you wonder why they had to show up when your life was just right as it was. You were contented, minding your own business, then along they come and suddenly they are there with you even when they are not with you. You found a million reasons why you shouldn’t be thinking of them, but the minute you see them it all becomes invalid, as there standing before you are the two million reasons why you do think of them – their unbelievable kindness and amazing gentleness, the sound of their voice, the way their eyes crinkle when they smile, a laugh that just makes you laugh with them, the way that it just feels so right when they are there. It really leaves no space for the arguments you’ve been having in your head because something beyond that is winning out.
You’ve put so much effort into leading a simple straightforward life, but this could be the thing that alters it. Things will change. You know they will. Your plans will be modified and so will theirs, but perhaps it’s time for the unfamiliar. Not so much changing the route you’ve mapped out as allowing for another way to get to this destination.
It’s thrilling and it’s exciting.
It is the end of the life you know.
And you also know that it is just the beginning of something else.