I thought it would be like Pete Townshend said when I learned to love again. That someone would come along and whisper, or sing to me at an embarrassing family gathering “Dan in Real Life” Style, “Let my love open the door to your heart.” But that’s not how it happened at all. And I’m not saying that I’m in love, or that I was even close, but the door’s open, and the fresh air can come through. It’s kind of a funny story really. . .
I know this guy; he’s pretty cool by normal standards. In an awkward kind of way he seems to shine in peculiar moments. We’re buddies, but now and then he pulls out the stops and makes me feel just like Goldie Locks, minus the three angry bears. Not too hot, not too cold, not too soft, not too hard, not too big, not too small, just right. It’s that “just right” feeling that eased me out of a seven year shell.
I know what you’re thinking. A shell? You?
Yes, me. See, I had been dreading a spring cleaning experience involving long stories and all sorts of dirty laundry, and so I avoided facing the ugly truth about my heart, it was closed for business, out of service, in disrepair. Not because of some endless heartbreak, but because of neglect. Almost like those terrible abused animal commercials with Sara Mclachlan music in the background. I would step out of the shower and look in the mirror and hear that stupid Angel song playing in my head.
But pathetic is simply not my style, so I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do next, I read a book about it.
I dug in deep and did some real research. Sources like “He’s Just Not That in to You” and the poetry of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning presented such opposite views on the subject as to leave me absolutely unresolved. I listened to some “Dashboard Confessional” and google searched several famous “lovers”. I looked for general authority talks and quotations about being a bitter, frigid, spinster. (not that I think of myself that way, but more because I wanted to avoid that end at all costs!) I wrote about a million pages in my journal about sorting out my fears and knowing what I want. It all amounted to just about nil. Nothing. Nada. Strange how introspection can often only clarify your desperate need for a pedicure and little else.
I moved out of my parent’s house, 25 years of Elizabeth packed into Daddy’s truck and about five trips in my jeep latter I took inventory. 146 books, 37 pairs of shoes, 8 strands of twinkle lights, 6 ruffled pillows, 1 painting of an apple, 1 hand-me-down guitar, 16 flavors of lip gloss, 1 mission, ¾ of an English degree, 2 nieces, 1 nephew, roughly 1,000 kisses, just as many photographs, 1 girl, out on her own in the great big old world with $286.00 in a jar that will take me to England someday.
I felt like I was getting somewhere, and at the time, anywhere was a step in the right direction. On a long drive one night my buddy gave me some excellent advice, I think it might have been an accident. He said, “Why not?”
I took him at his word.
A friend came over far a bit to work of some school stuff and when he asked if he could kiss me I thought, why not?
A couple days later I breached all limits of sanity and when asked the same question by a very old and absolutely “friend” friend I thought, why not?
I returned to my buddy for a refund, clearly, CLEARLY, “why not?” was not working for me.
In the jumble and hullabaloo that was our recovery conversation we walked in tandem down a road and I found that it required very little patience to listen to his long drawn out thoughts. They were architecturally sound, able to withstand the elements and the pressures of time. They were well orchestrated like the music that always seems to be running through his head. I wouldn’t realize it for a few more days, weeks maybe, but I was starting to think in the back of my mind, why not?
So the other night, after my buddy took me out for some sympathy ice cream and told me that his feelings didn’t match mine, that he didn’t want to be romantically involved, I expected the caves that hope had been tunneling through my stone cold heart to crumble, trapping several unsuspecting Chileans. They didn’t.
So here’s to the next 1,000 kisses. Cause really, why not?