"A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love." Stendhal
We are at The Venetian Festival, my son and I. There must be nearly 10,000 people milling around, from the bluff to the beach. Fathers of all ages push baby strollers like lawn mowers in the sweltering heat, walking ahead or lagging behind the child’s mother, many of whom drag malcontent siblings.
Not a single couple holds hands or walks harmoniously together.
Everywhere around us, couples grumble, scowl and quarrel.
I am a sex expert and a Romantic-Relationship mender, so while my son looks at the carnival games and thrilling rides, all the food booths and trade-selling cubicles, I observe the couples: the swarming miserable mass of couples of whom I unconditionally refuse...even if it means I go to my grave without ever having worn a wedding ring...to ever, ever, ever become a member of.
Directly in front of us, a man tries to reason with his unreasonable wife, who demands that he stand in line with her at the Elephant Ear booth.
“...but I want a Corn-On-The-Cob, you want an Elephant Ear, the lines are too long. I’ll go to mine, you go to yours and we’ll meet over by the Comcast Booth.” he suggests.
“You are a punk bitch!” His wife sneers maliciously to him, and almost everyone standing in four different food booth lines, overhear what she’s said to him. She shoves the infant she has been holding at him. “You take the kid and go stand in your line!” and off she stomps towards the Elephant Ear booth, “Asshole!” is her parting shot at him. Her husband, completely unfazed by her abhorrent words, moves the baby to his chest for protection as he wanders through the massive crowd to stand in-line at the Corn-On-The-Cob booth.
Not a single couple within earshot is taken aback at what this woman has just shrieked at her man. Most, immediately go back to their own personal arguments.
The crowd is kicking dust and sand onto my bare feet as they shuffle by, and my son is pulling my hand through the crowd toward the Pizza Hut booth. I feel my tummy tighten as within me, possibility is trampled.
I am utterly suffocated and surrounded in Realism; isolated from my romantic ideas and how I know I would behave, if I’d been a player in the previous situation. And I am struck violently by the conclusiveness that no one is, in actuality, truly In Love.
I am forced to acknowledge that a Romantic Relationship nowadays is nothing more-than a sequential run-of-the-mill circumstance: a common indenture in which a man and a woman work jobs neither really enjoys, live together, reproduce and possibly own joint-property in a ‘Romantic Relationship’ where there is no romance, and in which each are participants of complacency within a form of oblivion where they have completely lost visualization of themselves and of each other as sensitive individuals. Nowhere, does either companion give comfort to each other’s subjugated and earthbound soul, so that long after the emotive cord between them is severed, couples still fuck to perverse a connection that is inaccessible, and in that fucking, wear away until their own individuality is a ghost.
No one, is truly In Love.
In my personal email box at home, there’s an email from a college girl-friend who works as a correspondent for CNN: “J caught C using his corporate credit card to shop online...that’s one in many he’s caught her at; he’s swearing he should’ve listened to you when you warned him she wasn’t a ‘nice girl’, that she was bullshit. He moved out Friday; that’s nine months of his life he’ll never get back! And he admitted she quit blowing him after they moved-in together. He’s cussing you because: ‘Nan is always right, fuck her!’. Be kind when he emails you, try not to lecture, Nannette, stay off your soap-box. And you’ve heard by now, I’m sure: J and J filed for divorce...two years dating, and their marriage didn’t last 13-months. I owe you $20.00 for them calling it quits before your 16-month deadline. Just don’t get it.”
I don’t either.
I just, do not.
I WANT to be wrong.
I want, just once, just a single time, TO BE WRONG.
I want to hear: “Nannette, look at Us. YOU WERE WRONG. You were so fucking WRONG."
No one knows how desperately I want to hear those words.
Later that night, rain falls in a downpour and I release the picture window above my sunken bathtub so I can smell the rain mixing with the scented bubbles embellishing my bath. I light the candles and sink myself in, wishing the scented water of my bath and the pouring rain against my window will drown the wretched voices from the day.
I think of how I could be married, yet not a single day goes by where I doubt that I’d made the right choice to break-up with him. I needed much more-than to hear “I love you” from him: I needed to see it in his from-the-heart inconvenient efforts, not by his half-assed I-HAVE-too ‘romantic’ duty. I wanted Real Love.
I realize the odds in my finding Real.
That most marry whomever they can ‘get’ because Real is an improbability.
I acknowledge that Real is something habitually written about in fairytales and Romance Novels, but rarely experienced in Life.
I believe that I will have it.
I cling to my belief like a shipwrecked sailor who searches for land while holding tight to a raft surrounded by sharks: I will not let-go, I will not give-in, I will not give-up.
I think of how Shakespeare would pen me as part Katarina, Miranda, Rosalind, Ophelia.
And that somewhere out On-The-Range or in the Outback or on a crowded New York City street or at a Pacific beach...that there is a slightly-jaded imperfect prince wishing for me, with no aspiration other-than to bed me and wed me.
I believe I will find Him.
And that all of the waiting and none of the willingness to manufacture a meaningful Lifetime of Worship from a 'nothing' Romantic Relationship based-on bullshit, will have been worth the Never Settling.