From the moment we met, I looked at him like I had known him for years. I swear I had. I’ve always heard stories about this universe-borne instant connection—falling endlessly into a fairytale whirlwind—but what happens if you’re not your soulmate’s soulmate? This had never crossed my mind, to be honest; an embarrassing naivety that I would have sworn myself too intellectual to possess. I had always been so able to separate circumstance from romanticism; I had always known how to suppress emotion and focus on fact; but, for some reason, this felt kinetic—bigger than him and bigger than me.
I’m a realist, but also a dreamer, meaning: I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help myself. The first night we slept together, I felt “safe.” As he closed his eyes, arms wrapped tightly around me, he sighed in a way that felt like a memory. Deja vu. But this was my interpretation. This is my story. Perhaps to him, I was as foreign as an alien: a buoy floating in, soon to be floating out.
I guess I’ll never really know, because I guess I never really knew him. I was quick to fall head over heels for a perception, a future I had single-handedly created, a comfort I couldn’t explain. Maybe he reminded me of someone distant, but I guess who, for certain, can really say?
I had spent 365 days going on date after date, never finding a match – always hesitating, always checking against a list and falling short. But with him, there seemed no reason to pause.
Well, except for the reasons I chose to ignore, of course: the time he told me he “didn’t understand mental illness,” and I cringed, wondering how he could ever handle my OCD and anxiety—my history riddled with depression, romantic abuse, and a life-threatening eating disorder that turned my world upside down in my early 20s. And every time I said, “I have anxiety,” he said, “Yeah, I do, too—sometimes,” in a way that made me feel like he didn’t really understand what he could be getting himself into. But that didn’t fit into my story. That wasn’t what I had created for us. I imagined him telling me he’d be there for the dark days, that he’d be OK to watch me stare into space because he knew I’d come back to him. I’d always come back to him.
He disappeared from my life as quickly as he had entered. Not an explanation given, nor one owed, for the sake of honesty. This isn’t a Taylor Swift song or a quirky romantic comedy. This is projection of perfection, a pit stop in the biography the universe is writing of me. What I felt, though fleeting, was beautiful. It is a reminder that sometimes we put our hands in the air and enjoy the ride.
But when it ends (and it will), dizzying and exhilarating as it was, we just have to remember to put our hands back up again.
He wasn’t my love story, because I wasn’t his. And that’s reason enough to keep reading.