I have a question for you, she says. I look up from a daze and blink a few times at her. I scan her face and the sentiments behind her brown eyes. I can see a hint of doubt and uncertainty. I wonder what she sees in mine. Stop analyzing me, she interjects. I smile and shrug my shoulders and wait for her to ask the mystery question.
I have a question for you, she says. She has a tendency to repeat herself, like she didn’t hear herself the first time and needs the repetition to confirm that she used her voice. She lacks voice and assertiveness and I think and analyze too much – everyone has their shortcomings and these are ours I guess.
I have a question for you, she says a third time while taking a swig of Moscato. Do you think we’ll ever have what the others do? Do you think we’ll get happily ever after too?
This time I grab the Moscato from her and take a few sips. She’s not going to like my answer, not at first anyway.
No, I tell her. I am careful with my words because I don’t want to further the doubt in her eyes. There’s still a glimpse of optimism in there somewhere and I am not in the business of robbing people of their faith even if it’s miniscule. I’m cemented in my pessimism, a lost cause of sort but she isn’t. She’s still impressionable. There’s still hope for someone like her.
No, we won’t have what they have, not exactly. There are different types of happily ever after. What they have is the classic type you are referring to. It’s the one you see in stories, the cliché shit you know.
She nods her head and takes another sip of the wine, attentively listening to my remarks.
I scan her face once more. I can see how she is searching for a glimpse of hope in my words. But I am not in the business of giving out false hope either. I’ve been subjected to the perils of false hope enough to know its ramifications firsthand. I can take the hits but she and the others are too delicate for such truths. I choose my words carefully, weary of misleading her but also wanting to be honest.
That type of happily ever after needs to exist for girls like them. It’s the central narrative of their lives. Sure, there are other storylines in their lives. I am not saying that they don’t have other aspirations. It’s just that those aspirations come secondary to love for them. There’s no judgement in their choices, it’s just the way they are wired.
It’s my turn to now with the wine. I take a few extra sips and watch her take in my words. I can see the wheels in her head turning as she comes to term with my words.
So what type are we, she asks. I take a deep sigh before I reply. We’re the other type. We’ll get happily ever after too but not like theirs. Ours is defined more by our solo pursuits than anything else. The central narrative in our lives won’t be love, it will be something greater. Our calling is just different but it will still be a happy one.
She doesn’t know what to make of my words and looks at me confused. So I won’t ever get it, not even a taste of what they have? I am struggling with my words. I don’t want to ruin her with my jaded ways but I don’t want to lie. I decide on a middle ground.
You may still get it, of course the possibility exists. It just may not be the primary arc of your story.
I think what I have just said worked. My words seem to appease her uncertainty as she begins to nod her head in earnest. I don’t need it to be the primary arc, I just need the possibility you know. The possibility exists for us both. I don’t answer her. I just stare at the nearly empty wine bottle between us. I already know my fate. I came to terms with it years ago. I don’t relate to the hope I just rectified in her eyes but it suits her. Eyes like hers shouldn’t be tainted with doubt or uncertainty. Eyes like hers gleam in the presence of faith, just like they do at this very moment.