So what do you do when you’ve grown up watching two people who came together after ten years of companionship, and camaraderie and romance, who came together finally- in the face of much opposition- in marriage? When you watched these people slowly fall apart over the years, first like slipping off a cliff, so surreal that you can’t believe that it’s happening, and then in slow motion, and then quick, all of a sudden, freefalling, and then a plateau of dullness. Two people suddenly realizing with dismay, how horribly irreconcilably different they really are. Realizing that you don’t really know someone till you live with them, and have to live with them and their quirks, and fancies, and their adorable absentmindedness day in and day out. You have to take the short temper, and the conventionality, and sink its roots down somewhere tangled up with the frivolousness and nature-loving.
What you do is this: In your own relationships with men, in relationships that appear to be terrifyingly real, you throw your worst self at them. Here, you retort, take my crazy, and my ugly, and my batshit insane and deal with it! When they do, you’re surprised, but not convinced. So you let go even more and let yourself unravel on them. You deliberately air out your morbidity, and your anxiety and the panic attacks, and cling on to them for air, drawing in deep lungfuls. You expect them to recoil, to want space, to slay you with a shrug of indifference. When they don’t, you’re a little bemused. Still you wait. Sooner or later, you’ll push it too far, and they’ll leave you. It’ll suck, and you’ll hurt and bleed, because this is the real-est it’s ever gotten, but deep down, you’ll be vindicated. You were expecting it, of course. You knew.
So you don’t make the common mistake that most people do in new relationships. You aren’t on your best behaviour, and you don’t pretend to like sports. You don’t faff around like you usually do when you’re trying to impress people and seem cool. You confess to not remembering much of ‘Pulp Fiction’, and express the desire to rewatch it, soon. You confess your feelings of inadequacy and struggle against the fact that you’re hopelessly besotted. You use the word “besotted” in front of them, about them, and feel them smile from halfway across the world. The good things about you slip out unconsciously, like you can’t control them, or restrain yourself. The texts in the middle of an evening (yours) saying “I love you, I love you, I love you. I’m so lucky we met”- that he will wake up to in the morning. The spontaneous squishing of someone that you cannot believe you want to squish, and are allowed to squish. The semi-sexy emails in the middle of the day. The actually worrying about a person, and buying them fruit and making a detour to their place to make sure they’re still breathing. These are the things that pour out of you- words that you cannot stuff back into your mouth, thoughts that translate into sentences before you have time to think, that terribly foolish thing where you include them in your plans for a year later. The good things are unplanned, but your ugly you will fling at them continuously.
“When will you show me?”, he asks one day when you’re talking about a piece you wrote about him. “When I’m convinced you’re not running away”, you say. “I’m not running away, babe.”
You don’t believe him entirely. Yet.