A prince dies before he meets his princess...
I was in my car the other night picking up Chinese takeout. It was a cold, blustery night and I was thinking how tired I was after a grueling day at work, and how cool it would be to have someone special coming home to me. Someone who would sit in front of the fire with me, rub my feet, kiss my nose, mess up my hair. And then I hear Gerald Levert on the radio. It had been widely reported that before his November, 2006 death, Levert talked a lot about wanting to find his soulmate. He wanted a wife.
Now in this song, released posthumously, Gerald belted out his deepest feelings about how he was “tired of waking up all by myself…while everybody else is lovey-dovey.” He wanted to “finally find the love I sing about in my songs….walk down the aisle to my song…have our first dance to my song.” I wondered how a man as widely admired and desired as Gerald Levert had been, could have had a problem finding The One. He oozed sex appeal. His soulful ballads earned him a handsome fortune. And those close to him maintain how he was a true friend, a loving dad to his kids and a down-to-earth, just plain likeable guy. Couldn’t he have had any woman in the world? Maybe that was part of the problem.
At 40, he had probably grown tired of groupies, ta-ta bars and the whole nine, but perhaps he was ultimately afraid to make that move toward the altar. After all, how would he ever really know if the woman truly wanted Gerald the man, or Gerald the sexy millionaire celebrity? Maybe he already knew who he loved and wanted to marry, but for whatever reason, he just couldn’t get things worked out with her. I drove home, crying so hard I got the hiccups. It wasn’t fair that he went home empty-handed.
From time to time I think about it. I’m over 40. I am a single Black woman, and statistically, I’m more likely to win a $70 million lottery jackpot than I am to get married. I have wondered if I might die alone. The thought knocks the wind from my sails some days, but it does not terrify me. I have been alone long enough (divorced in 1990) to know that singleness is not fatal. I have actually come close to re-marrying a couple of times, but Divine Intervention came through for me. I am now eternally – and I do mean eternally grateful that I did not settle for some of the men in my past that almost got me to the altar. I have finally determined that I am worthy and deserving of the best. Being with a man who lies, cheats, hits, steals, sleeps around, plays mind games, etc., is infinitely worse than having no man at all.
I recently kicked a guy to the curb after only dating him for 2 or 3 months. He was mad sexy to look at, college educated and gainfully employed. But he kept trying to change me. “Why do you always do this?” “Why do you always say that?” I tried talking with him about this, but it went in one ear and out the other. Instead of getting to know me, he was too busy trying to mold me into one of the Young and Clueless. You know, those women who don’t care about anything except getting laid if the brother is fine, or getting paid if he’s not. Well this brother was fine, and apparently he believed that because of his looks and his – ahem – ‘other attributes’, I would be willing to try to be someone I’m not just to have him around. He found out differently, after blowing up my phone for 6 or 8 weeks and my refusing to answer.
I sometimes wish I had someone to share things with; after all, I have plenty to share. I can flirt in 3 or 4 different languages – international pillow talk if you will. I’m a music fiend – I’ve been known to get on a plane and leave the U.S. for a concert to see Al Jarreau, Alicia Keys or Cassandra Wilson. I am a very good cook (at times my friends and co-workers have actually fought each other over my oven-fried chicken, my grilled salmon and my peach cobbler). It would be nice to have someone to spoil with bubble baths for two. Or someone to enjoy getaways to the Caribbean with. Or just to run around doing errands with on Saturday morning.
But until he finds me…I will just enjoy the peace and quiet and autonomy I have right now. Right now, I can park my car in the middle of the garage – I don’t have to leave room for his SUV. I don’t have to cook if I don’t feel like it. Just because I’m good at it doesn’t mean I don’t need a break sometimes. I don’t have to clear it with anyone if I want to hop on a jet this weekend and hang with my sister in Las Vegas. I don’t have to have a house full of noisy, smelly guys in my living room during the NFL or NBA playoffs.
Someday I will have to bite my tongue, smile and be polite to people I may or may not want to be bothered with, because the man I love wants to have them around. But for now, if I’m not really feeling someone, they don’t get to know where I live.I’m not going to lie because lying doesn’t work for me. I very much want a really good Black man in my life – for keeps. But I’m not going to be out there searching desperately for him. It’s not my job to find him. The bible says “HE who findeth a wife finds a good thing.” I am the Good Thing somebody is looking for, and I am going to continue on about my business until he finds me. I hope he finds me soon, and more importantly, that he comes correct, ready to do right by me.
And if it turns out that I, like Gerald, wind up alone at the end, well for me, dying alone is better than living a lie... with someone who I know is definitely wrong for me.