It’s a couple of hours past Saturday night and I’m lying alone in my dimly lit room. A set of twinkle lights stretch along the outline of my window and reflect off the glass. The faint sound of rain hits my window
*tink tink tink*
and, instantly, I am lulled into a dreamless sleep.
I’ve been here before. The clinking of glasses. The laughter. The ringing of the kitchen bell. The lack of acoustics in this place is deafening, I think to myself. I close my eyes and lay back on my feet. If only I could catch enough sleep in this split second to keep me a functional human for the rest of the evening.
Tonight was a night like any other. Large groups spilled into our understaffed, overstuffed restaurant looking for a way out of the cold. My coworkers and I laughed and rolled our eyes as two people walked past the “please wait to be seated sign” to a table meant for six covered in dishes and sopping wet napkins.
I catch myself looking out the window again and I laugh out loud. I’ve always got my head in the clouds. A young woman, about my age, gives me a weird look and shoves the debit machine into my hands. She says something to her friends and laughs. I don’t hear but I smile apologetically and pass the machine to her friend. Would it kill them to put on a smile?
I wait impatiently as the other friend goes through the motions. “Do you have enough money in your checking account for this overpriced hot chocolate?” “And how about the service? I know the restaurant has been packed since you got here and there are only three servers, but hey this young woman over here making less than minimum wage definitely does not deserve a tip.” – The indirect questions that the interac machine always asks.
I fumble again with the machine as I hand it to the third and final customer. She gently laughs under her breath and smiles at me as she proceeds to enter her pin. I smile back gratefully. I stand and wait for the night to be over, but it is 9:30pm and the night has barely begun.
“Were you ever scared?”
My ears perk up. I can’t help but hear a conversation behind me between a man and a woman. Both around the age of 45, I think. I had noticed them earlier in the night. The two of them proceeded to order drinks and nothing else – clearly with the intent for a long night of conversion. I let them be.
“I mean, when you were forty did you ever think, maybe I won’t meet someone to spend the rest of my life with? Were you worried you weren’t going to fall in love?”
From the way I’ve worded this I know it may sound like this woman was only curious, but I assure you she wasn’t. The woman asked it sadly, as if she had asked herself the question a hundred times before.
Search for a career that inspires you, or most likely one that you can tolerate. Settle down with someone that makes your insides feel like jelly, or if you can’t find that, maybe someone that you found on Tinder whose tattoo of his last name on his forearm is totally relatable. Buy a townhouse, get a dog, maybe a baby. I guess with aging comes these “obvious” goals, or so I’ve heard. According to typical romantic comedies, a fair few adults I’ve talked to and that one Nicholas Sparks book I read (okay I read 27 pages), these thoughts are routine in most adult’s mind. I hope to Nietzsche (he is my God – ironic because he proclaimed the famous quote “God is dead”) that I skip this state of mind.
I guess in most instances a woman her age would’ve thought this was a totally acceptable question to ask on a first/second/third date (number unknown????). I on the other hand was completely floored.
You’d think that I felt bad for the guy right? Well yeah, you’re kind of right. This soft spoken man was looking for some relaxing company on a Saturday evening… a cup of hot chocolate and maybe some heated but friendly banter about the U.S. election. Instead he was shoehorned into an awkward conversation by this woman which he clearly did not want to be a part of.
I keep going back to this moment in my head. As I mopped the floors this evening. As I walked home. As I stopped at a friend’s party and saw a couple snuggled up on the couch. Every time I think about it I cringe.
I hate feeling pity. It is not a feeling I would ever wish anyone to feel for me and I certainly did not want to feel it for her. But I did. This poor woman. To be worried, or scared to find someone to spend the rest of your life with. What an unthinkable idea, am I right? She was missing the whole point.
It is so easy to fall in love with people. To fall in love with everything around you. Someone’s talents, a laugh, a moment in time.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in love (ew) (I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOVE, JUST LISTEN TO THE RHYTHM OF MY HEART). BUT, there are so many ways to fall in love. What happened to platonic intimacy? To lying next to someone and holding their hand because they’re your best friend and you can’t help but want to share everything with them. To talking about your favourite book and realizing that you’re in love with everything that the author stands for. Listening to your favourite song and thinking, “Wow, I am really in love with the way this makes me feel.”
We are such lucky beings to have the ability to feel things the way we do. So deeply. And to have ability for rational thought about these feelings that we have, how friggin amazing!!!
To limit oneself to worry or sadness because you think you’re not going to find someone to love. How unbelievably absurd. Look around you. At those you spend every day with. At the things in life that inspire you. And I bet you, you fall in love at least ten times a day.
Embrace the things, the people and the actions that fill you up with love so big that it makes your heart hurt and want to burst open. Let it burst. Let the love you have drip down your arms, to your fingertips. And with your sticky, messy fingers touch everyone. Create connections with people, with nature, with yourself. If you do this, I promise you, you will never be lonely.
(Pictured are a couple of those *in love moments* that I’ve captured of people that I really care about).