Last week I ran into my most recent ex-boyfriend. It was before 7 AM and in my own condo building of all places. The interaction took me by complete surprise and sent me down an Alice in Wonderland sized rabbit-hole of regret and angst. I might as well have just shit in the middle of my own kitchen because my decision to date someone I met in the same place I live was a poor one. The first time I encountered my ex was when he repelled from the rooftop onto my 12th story balcony to complete repairs to the building’s stucco.
His company has since been hired to complete repairs to my building’s windows, railings and parking garages. When we started dating, I neither anticipated our break-up nor that these repairs would be far from complete upon our demise. My daily sightings of his coworkers (many of whom I know more details about then I care to) and his obnoxious company logo have undoubtedly slowed my post-break up healing process.
And yet in a way his presence here last week felt a little like fate, the universe offering us a second chance to get it right. For the first few days he worked at my building, we texted awkwardly. Our conversations were strained and unnatural but neither of us wanted them to stop. When we finally talked, he said that he had acted immaturely and unfairly during our break-up. He said that he had been afraid of commitment but was not now. He said he had a better understanding of the kind of relationship I want and was confident he could make me happy. He said he wanted a partner in life and that he wanted this partner to be me.
I agreed to think about the possibility of rekindling our barely extinguished romance. Amid my pondering, I mentioned the love I have for him. His response put Charlie Brown’s unrequited love for the Little Red-Haired Girl to shame. He responded, “I am flattered but that is a scary word. I do not know how I feel except that I am overwhelmed. I like spending time with you and that is all I have to say.”
Then it hit me. I am sad for the loss of this relationship, of everything it was, everything it wasn’t, and everything it could have been. But I am sadder for my ex, for the fact that he thinks love is a “scary word” and runs away from it faster than an antelope riding a cheetah.
Love is a beautiful gift. Anyone can give love and anyone can receive love. Love is not at the core of our humanity. Love is our humanity. Love makes the world go ‘round.
I love love.
I love that I am brave enough to admit when and what and whom I love. I love that I am courageous enough to share my love. I love that I am confident enough to give love without the expectation of it being returned. I love that I was vulnerable, that I was honest and real and raw. I love that I stayed true to myself and that I spoke from my heart. I love that I loved.
Love transcends, connects and transforms. It is the bond shared among all people and all things in life. And even though nothing takes the taste out of wine quite like an unrequited love, I know that at least the love I have for myself will always be reciprocated.