Love is creating the most heartfelt poem for someone who will never see or read it.
The torrent or unbridled emotion that travels through your body, through the pen and onto the paper is love incarnate. Then again, I am the master of self-deprecation so unrequited love is the strongest form of love.
We met at my friend Anthony’s wedding. I was his best man and she was a single woman at the reception. We chatted and made plans to meet again when we both returned home to New York City.
Our relationship could be defined quite simply. I always felt slightly on edge, trying, to say and do the exact right thing. I hadn’t seen anyone before her for many years and at times, I felt desperate. I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself she was right for me: a nice Italian girl from Jersey, spoiled by a set of non-English speaking parents. We had fun in the beginning but our outlooks on life slowly separated us.
One time, I took her to an Italian food festival on Mulberry Street. We walked around, doing everything you do at those kind of things, eating food, having a drink, trying to avoid all the carnies trying to sucker us into playing board walk games. However, this day I wasn’t so lucky.
The game was simple enough; five dollars got you three shots to pop a balloon with a dart, I paid the man and missed them all. Meanwhile my “significant other” is eyeballing this cute stuffed gorilla she wants. The carnie senses my desperation and gives me another shot. I miss again. Everything occurs in a flash and instead of the cool gorilla, I end up with a bullshit red thing that may or may not be a banana wearing sunglasses.
I walked away feeling like a total loser, explaining to her that usually, I never get taken like that. About 30 feet away, the whole situation replaying itself over and over in my head, I went back to the carnie and told the guy to give me the fucking gorilla because I basically paid for it with all the money I’d spent. He gave it to me – almost in fear and I stormed back, practically throwing it at her. “Here!” I yelled and walked away.
The whole scene was the perfect microcosm of how obvious it was that we were cut from a different cloth, and whatever I did, I couldn’t impress her. Instead of laughing it off, she made me feel inadequate for not being able to win her a stupid toy.
It ended horribly for me. I was at this point in my life where my parents were getting old, and since I’m an only child, they wanted me to be married and have children. I was hopeful that this girl was the one.
The relationship basically ended by her first not calling me back. And when I pressed the issue she simply said she was getting back together with her old boyfriend, (whom all of her friends had told me in confidence was an asshole.) Anyhow, it ended and the most devastating moment was having to tell my folks, yet again, that another woman had fallen through – dashing their hopes. All that pressure caused me to crumble and weep whenever I was on the phone with them.
When it comes to love, I don’t believe in second chances. When emotions run high, one false move can tarnish things for a very long time, especially if you aren’t married. If you’re married, and a spouse makes a wrong turn you’re obligated to give them a second chance. But when dating, if things go wrong the first time, people rarely make it work the second time.
Until I met my wife, I always went after women who just weren’t right for me, women who never took an interest in the things I did. Yet, I showered them with gifts, trying too hard to make things work.
I found myself with a lot of women who wanted a typical, family lifestyle. I was trying to fool myself into thinking they were what was best for me, even when they weren’t.
-M Mararian; Brooklyn, New York