Once, a man in a cafe’ asked me to read his poem.
It was five pages of how things dissipate but leave a residue after they’re gone.
It was beautiful.
His parents had funded him to write for 3 years and I’ve seen him almost everyday
in one coffee shop or another doing exactly that.
Part of me loved him for it,
part of me resented his privilege
and the worst part of me wondered if he’d mentioned me in any.
I can remember the first time it registered to me that a stranger might be aware of my existence without necessarily acknowledging it.
A high school girl winding down from work in a 24/7 Denny’s.
Writing in my journal at 2am- I watched the man across from me writing in his and much like a perfectly symmetrical Wes Anderson film we sat across from one another and I imagined that as I wrote about him he may be writing about me.
That very well could by my first real concept of romance.
Certainly, my more evolved 29 year old brain would happily inform that 17 year old that the love of our lives wasn’t hiding out in a 24-hour Denny’s creeping on 17 year old girls. She’d also say that the entire idea of a love of your life is much more complicated than she may ever really understand.
In fact, it’s just the nights like that and the multitude of little solo adventures that made me realize life isn’t so bad on your own. That choosing to share your life with anyone is simply a beautiful addition to an already complete life.
When you have a partner for several years it’s easy to give pieces of responsibility away to them. To blur the lines of leaning on one another and depending on each other. At the end of one it can feel foreign to begin putting your pieces back together.
Like learning to walk for the first time, except there’s no one there to clap for your first steps.
No one to cry with joy that you built a shelf by yourself or did your taxes online.
Your life becomes one long 2am solo-trip to Denny’s.
Except now the mystery man across the booth from you- the one whose eyes you’d like to get lost in.
That man, he’s the entire world.
Every corner, every moment of silence, it’s all an untapped opportunity to fall in love.
Existence begins to pulsate with the rippling chance to find magic around every corner.
And love, you realize, is less of something you fall into and more of which something you give richly and intentionally from a deep pool of self-care.
And that, my dears is romantic.