You’re Not Quite The One

You’re not quite the one because nothing’s ever happened. You’re in the back of my mind somewhere but our lives have never lined up. We’ve never worked out, not because there isn’t interest — there’s interest, I think — but because the timing’s never been right or the location’s all wrong. You’re not quite the one because we’ve never had the chance to see if you are. Maybe we never will.

You’re not quite the one because you got away. I let you take off in your car or get on that airplane and I chose not to go after you. I put down my sword and beat it into a plowshare. I was not prepared to fight for you. You said, “This is it. I’m gone” and I said, “Good. Good riddance” whether I meant it or not. You’re not quite the one because you left or I left or we both took off like two cowboys walking with our backs to each other, spurs clanking with no intention of turning around to fire our guns. We both just kept walking off into opposite sunsets.

You’re not quite the one because you don’t feel permanent. You’re lovely. You’re here. You’re soft and comfortable and I can curl up beside you and hey, at least neither of us are alone. You don’t feel like the start of something, you feel like the continuation of nothing. You’re not quite the one because we’re not even thinking about crazy concepts like the “one.” No one is meeting anyone’s parents. No one is going to be a plus-one at anyone’s friend’s weddings. No one is holding hands on the subway train. You’re not quite the one because you’re not meant to be the one. You’re a bookmark, a beautiful pause, a blinking light on hold at an office desk.

You’re not quite the one because well, maybe there isn’t a one. Maybe the concept of a “one” is dated and imagined, created out of a need to sell romantic comedies and Valentine’s Day cards. Maybe there’s a series of “ones,” all right for their times and places, but that’s all. If I married the guy I’m sleeping with now, would he become the one? How then is it that if I moved to India tomorrow, my one would change? It’s a narrative. Two of my very good friends in college dated for a long time and when they broke up, the girl started dating another male friend of ours. Now they are getting married. When she tells their love story, she erases the first guy’s place in her heart — maintaining that all along, she knew the second guy was her soul mate.

We tell ourselves the love stories that make sense. There’s no fault in that.

We want that perfect story sans coincidence or choice. We’ve been fed the normalcy — nay, necessity — of love to be fated or destined. We feel better thinking it’s all been out of our hands. There was no choice involved. They were our “one.”

You’re not quite the one because who cares about “the one?” We change all the time. We grow. We learn. We move. We start. We quit. How about: I am the one. I am the one and when I run into the other one? I will know. I’ll stop forcing novels out of passing glances. I’ll stop trying to conjure a timeline where our love falls into place. I’ll stop dramatically declaring that things need to be perfect to meet some sort of arbitrary narrative we can summarize on our wedding website one day.

How about: “Things were messy and then they weren’t and two people decided to be together or they didn’t and there is no story here and there is no ending you can feel good about because love is so much more than this paragraph surrounded by flowers we paid some graphic design student to upload.”

It’s okay, It’s a choice. It feels great. There’s a series of “not the ones,” until maybe there’s one. It’s nothing to freak out about. There’s no rush.

You’re not quite the one. But then again, who will be? TC Mark

image – Gencay M. Emin

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