We’re all floating around in the shallow end of a pool in New Orleans and drinking and everything is perfect. Chrissy is doing handstands and Koty found a used bookstore and Sarah is doing backflips and Elida has the best style I’ve seen in a long time and is literally wearing a vintage hat in the pool. I keep making mental notes to take snapshots of this, to remember this, to pause and take it in, because it’s one of those trips that you never want to end and you know when it does it will hurt like a brutal breakup.
Somehow we end up talking to a bachelor party and the bachelor keeps saying, “I’m just signing the checks,” in regards to his wedding which is a line I didn’t think people actually said seriously but instead was just something that screenwriters use to make a male character in a romcom as unlikable as possible. When we ask him to say three things he loves about his finacée, he lists words that are all synonyms. He seems as unexcited as a person can be about getting married. I can’t stop thinking about it.
I’ve only wanted to get married to someone once in my life. I’ve always joked that I don’t want someone to be contractually obligated to love me back, but hearing this guy repeatedly refer to his impending September nuptials as something he’s just showing up for makes it substantially less funny when you think about it sober and not floating in a picture perfect pool. I wonder if you asked my exes what they loved about me if they too would get tongue-tied and only be able to think of one thing and repeat it in different ways. Once when someone was asked about me he said, “She fixed everything.” I hope he still says that.
I think about the things we “need” as human beings a lot for someone who pretends to be chill and nonchalant. We need homes, we need health care, we need conversation, we need food and water and sleep. But I don’t think we need to be loved. I used to think dying alone was the worst thing that could possibly happen to me, but I don’t think that’s what’s really scary anymore if you were to ask me what keeps me up at night.
What’s scary to me is the possibility of loving someone and not having it be reciprocal. Of giving and giving and never getting in return. Of calling someone your soulmate on Instagram, and having them not thinking you fixed everything when asked while you’re not around.
I don’t think anyone needs to love me. I think now that I’ve had to face my once greatest fear head-on for X amount of years it’s become less of a seemingly unbeatable monster. It is not something I need for survival. It is not something that will define me or be what I will be remembered for. My own lovability is not something that I need to worry about. At least not anymore.
We’re all floating around in the shallow end of a pool in New Orleans and I go to the bar and bring back shots of Jameson for everyone including the will-be groom. Two of his friends jump into the pool from the balcony above and even though I’m baffled by his mentality re: love and marriage, I hope that I have friendships like this for the rest of my life.
Nobody needs to love me, but as I take a mental snapshot of this trip that I never want to end, I remember that even though nobody needs to I’m glad that some people do.