So me and Flora “broke up”. I put the term in quotation marks because we’re still together, but not “together”. It all started when I asked her to marry me, mostly under the guise of getting permanent papers, but secretly probably more about the real thing than I’m willing to admit. In any case, she got shook up by the whole thing and needed to take a step back. I mean it got to the point where she began questioning on whether or not we should be together at all, just about the polar opposite of what I was hoping to come out of a marriage proposal.
But after a week of back and forth, cold silences on both fronts of communication, we’re still together, and in some strange way, closer than ever. She basically had to take the title away. She’s kind of the type that feels confinement in titles, and when I really think about it, so am I, only over the years, I understand why they’re there, and accept them when necessary. I thought that meant she’d start seeing other people. I guess that meant I could as well. But when we talked about it, both of us felt uncomfortable at the prospect of either one of us being with another person. She put it with me like this:
“But I’m not feeling the need to be with another person,” she started, “I just need to be alone. If I feel that need, then I’ll tell you. It means that something is missing between us.”
I thought about the scenario where I was with another person. What would be the motivation for that? To get back at her? To strike first so she feels it before I do? Would I really love her if I wanted to do it for that reason? Because the reason sure as hell isn’t because she doesn’t satisfy every single part of my being.
It’s hard. Part of me is not wanting to sit around like a chump while she goes out and dates other guys. On the other hand, if I’m to make the assumption that she is, then do the same, that could push her in the opposite direction of what I'm hoping for. I mean this could still happen even if we were "together", because at the end of the day, people are still independent actors inside of a relationship. It’s then I realize that none of this is about competing to see who hurts the other one first, or who is into this thing more. Relationships are never about competition. They’re about staying true to how you feel and knowing the consequences of your actions to those feelings.
These are all just titles, a label to put on things that were never meant to be labeled. I wanted her to be mine. I wanted a guarantee. But there are no guarantees in love. You don’t “own” anyone. You just have to let this thing breathe and navigate the feelings that come along the way. It was here that I realize that she was showing me what true love is and how that love is put to the test. When I'm able to put it all together in my head, I said the words aloud.
“This a test, “ I said to her. “This is a test to see how much I love you.” I sat there for a few seconds, and after finally accepting the terms of this agreement, was able to find some humor in the whole thing.
“It’s also a test to see how much I can still charm you,” I smiled. She smiled in return. We both shared a small laugh, though we knew it sat in a strange moment. A moment where neither of us knows what will happen, and both a bit afraid of that.
“Nobody knows what will happen in the future,” she finally said.
That’s true. The future holds things that we can never anticipate. But I’m up for the challenge. I try to view it like this: I just have to make myself the most appealing option available, stay fresh on my toes, because in some ways, this is what keeps people from taking things for granted. I guess this was what I meant when I said I’d be coming back here to take a chance on love. But I tell you, I’ve never been more scared in my life.