Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My secret about love

"You've lost your faith in humanity," he says.

"Well, maybe it's your job to help me find it." I say.

He laughs.

I am in the passenger seat of his oversized SUV. He is such a small guy. I wonder if he is trying to overcompensate with his big wheels.

"I know this Brazilian guy that would be perfect for you but I'm not going to introduce you to him because I don't want you to ruin his life," he says.

"Thanks a lot!" I respond. We've been talking for hours about relationships and the few years I have on him put me miles ahead of him in cynicism. He's still thinks that he will meet the perfect girl, that she's out there somewhere. I think the whole world has been brainwashed into thinking that relationships are anything but a full-time job. He thinks that if I got 'out there' I would meet someone who could be my playmate, benefactor, travel buddy, best friend. I think he's crazy.

"The amount of energy it would take to get out of my comfort zone, go on all the horrible dates with guys who just want to fuck me and find someone I like for about 10% more happiness than I have right now is just not worth it...." I am waving my hands around while I talk -- the way my Italian grandmother does. "You have to do the cost benefit analysis," I say.

I don't really know anything about business, but I feel cool when I say things like that.

"I think you could be happier than you are now," he says.

I look down at the sky-diving video playing on the mini-screen in his dashboard. What does he know anyway? He'd rather be skydiving around world than having this conversation with me.

"I don't need a relationship to be happy. When I was a little kid, I used to tell my mom, 'I'm never getting married. I'm never having kids.' It was my mantra," I said.

I can see myself as a little girl, arms crossed, pouted lips, determined not to make the mistakes that 'grown-ups' make by getting entangled with each other. Why put yourself through all that pain and sufferring?

"I let myself fall for a guy once, my college boyfriend, but after we broke up it took me 10 years to get over him. It's just not worth it. Who wants to go through all that crap?" I say.

"I still think it's possible," he says.

"I know you do," I say.

I am secretly envious of his innocence, his 'faith in humanity' as he says. If I could buy it back, I probably would. I still cry during love scenes -- like that scene in Stranger than Fiction when Maggie Gyllenhaal jumps on Will Ferrell after he sings the love song on the guitar or the scene in Bridges of Madison Country when Meryl Streep has to watch Clint Eastwood drive off in the rain without her while she is stuck in the car with her loveless husband -- maybe that means there is still some hope for me. Maybe there is a true romantic hiding underneath my disbelief.

I do have a secret that I've never told anyone, a superstition that I have about love. I secretly believe that if I write my book, the book I've been trying to write for the past 10 years, then the man of my dreams will walk into a bookstore, pick up my book, read the first page and fall madly in love with me. He will seek me out at a book signing, wait in line patiently, walk up to me at the table and say, 'I knew when I read the first page of your book that you were meant for me.' And I'll know he's meant for me because I wrote it before it happened.

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