This evening was like looking into a window of someone else’s life. I was playing the part. I went with the events, and exaggerated my involvement. I baked homemade blueberry bread in the day, and bought ingredients to cook dinner for later. I deep cleaned my apartment and bought new candles. I even bought him a towel, to make him feel somewhat more welcomed in my home. He was finishing work in the evening and then coming straight to my place. I was playing the role of the dedicated house husband, something I’ve played before, and something I’ve dreamt of playing in the future. In the past I’ve experienced it both as being a fleeting moment like this one, a dreamscape, a fantasy of an evening with a cute boy I hardly know, and then also of living in a frustrating and suffocating relationship feeling trapped with no way out. Tonight was the former though. It was a night for me to escape. I should know by now that these bipolar expressions that I seek in my life of extreme highs in a sea of deep blues, are no good for me, but the buzz from them is somewhat addictive.
He walked through the door and the smell of food & candles mixed in the air. His smile lit up and I swooned. Time stopped for a moment. The table was set with a bottle of red I’d bought earlier, and he seemed bowled over. It was the reaction I wanted. Romance. Delivered and accepted. The sort of romance that only feels so romantic within the first few weeks of knowing someone, before the truth makes your faux reality start to crumble.
I felt overwhelmed. This night of simplicity, and humility was something I’d yearned for for months. Years even. I wanted a boyfriend who would come home to me, who I could cook for, express my love for, adore. Someone I could ‘set the mood’ for. I’d become so used to my single life. Eating junk food in bed watching Sex & The City on my laptop for the 165th time in a row. I can recite the lines of the show now along with each episode.
I wanted a taste of this movie moment romance that seemed to exist in everybody’s life but mine, and tonight delivered. It was near perfect. We ate, he liked my food. We drank good wine. We talked about a whole range of different things. We kissed, and mocked each other, and cuddled, and in a moment of darkness, I felt light and innocence. I felt relief.
I knew that this euphoric high of feeling happy for a moment meant that soon it would come crashing down around me. Like every good party, it has to come to an end. I’ve spent my life having to say goodbye to things I love. I moved school over and over, I left friends I made in television or theatre contracts as a child. I’ve spent my life falling in love with things and then losing them almost straight after. Why would tonight be any different? I kept thinking in my head, this is just a moment, enjoy it before it all ends. Before he gets bored, or you both realise you’re not compatible, or you fuck it up in some way or another. There’s always a reason why a good thing comes to end, and the reason doesn’t need to be predicted, but just preparing for it to come to an end can lessen the blow a bit.
Just one month ago I was on the floor crying about a guy I dated in late 2018. He pretty much broke my heart, or did he? Did I break my own heart? I’m starting to wonder if we get our heartbroken by them or by ourselves. If your instinct is telling you something is not right, it usually isn’t, so if you then choose to stick around, ignoring your gut, then aren’t you just setting yourself up for heartbreak? I was tired of heartbreak. Putting myself in impossible situations, with impossible boys, for the sake of feeling romance, or feeling wanted. Filling a huge void in my life that was empty of affection and love. I was definitely broken, but aren’t we all?
As I predicted, the following day my mood, self esteem, securities, all came crashing down like a house of cards. I’d stepped too deeply into a situation I was unsure about, and now I was open and vulnerable to being hurt. I’d let my guard down and shown him the sensitive person I am inside. The exterior had disappeared for a night, and I’d displayed to him who I could be as a partner. I’d opened my gates and let a stranger in, again. It was only a matter of time before I ended up on the floor crying again. I knew that, and thats why the panic button had been hit somewhere in my brain.
This boy had been delivered to me by the universe at the most inopportune time. I had recently been dating boy after boy after boy until I just collapsed in agony after the last one didn’t work out. I was giving out my feelings to people like free pamphlets. Here I am. Doors open. Just come in, use me a bit, then leave when you’re done.
When do we stop doing this? Does it continue to happen well into our midlife? Or do we just reach a point where we’ve had enough looking for this potential dream partner, that we give our life up to cleaning up dog shit from the animal that’s meant to fill that empty hole in our lives.
I’m not quite sure how I’m meant to fix what is clearly broken in my life. This disposition of allowing people to come into my life and sweep me off my feet, leaving me ungrounded and lost in yet another new place, needs to change, but I’ve become increasingly disillusioned. I feel like it’s never going to change. Always allowing myself to become someone’s shiny new toy. I don’t want to be someone’s Buzz Lightyear, I want to be someone’s Woody. But to allow that to happen, I need to embrace the journey and not the final product. I need to stop revelling in these one night wonders of romance and beauty, and start to enjoy life on a more plateaued level. I need to start living in a reality, and not a fiction.