Monday, January 26, 2009

The Red Curtains

I knew the moment I saw them. There, in the entrance of my yoga studio, was a cloud of dazzling red curtains, framing the doorway. I felt like I was walking into Aladdin's bedroom.

One look and I already knew they were mine.

It's funny how you can look at something and know that. Up until recently, I've only felt that way about drapery.

The day after I saw those curtains, I went right to Target to purchase some. I walked in the door with the full intention of leaving with the exact curtains I spotted. No other color, no other style, nothing. I also knew that I didn't want to pay $20 a panel.

After thumbing through several rows of fabric, I still hadn't found my curtains. But there, in the bottom of the pile, buried beneath fabric the color of cotton candy and lemons, I saw them. The 100% same curtains. On clearance for $6.48. For two of them!

I'm a big believer in fate and in the universe providing exactly what you ask for. The curtains seem such an obvious example of love. With love, you have to know exactly what you want. You can't take whatever is on top of the pile, or something that's on sale but is in a color you hate. That's not the point. The point is walking into the universe knowing precisely what you will and will not accept. And refusing to leave until you get exactly that. The universe is your fabric store.

When I saw Blondie, I knew he was my red curtain. I asked the universe for a funny, good looking, intelligent, well traveled foodie who doesn't want kids (and possibly marriage), and that's exactly what I got. And I got him on the tails of heartache, when the man I was falling head over heels for didn't want me because we didn't share the same dream. He was sort of like a burgundy curtain. Really close, but not right for my walls.

And here is Blondie, standing in front of me, the perfect shade of red. The same size, the same texture, the same everything. It's proof positive that sometimes, the very thing you're looking for may not always be visible. Sometimes, you have to dig through a lot to find it.

I haven't taken the curtains out of the package yet. They're lying on my floor, half of the bag opened. Same with Blondie. I'm not ready to open everything. Just one piece at a time. That's always been my mistake, anyway. I just grab a package, rip it open and take whatever is inside.

This time, I'm going to take my time displaying things. I can't wait, though. I know the room is going to look gorgeous.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fear: Let It In, Then Let It Go

It's like this: I'm terrified of love.

And yet, it's the one thing I want most. Makes sense, though. We're often the most afraid of that which we truly want. Why? Because sometimes just the idea of knowing you might actually get what you want is terrifying.

For 32 years, I never wanted love. I wanted nothing to do with commitment or being open or vulnerable. I didn't know until recently that it was all about fear.

It used to be about running away, but now it's all about staying put. I suppose I can thank the last man for that. He's the first man in 14 years who even came close to breaking down my walls. He was like some sort of spiritual glue. I was stuck. On him. On the feeling of joy. On freedom. On the idea of loving. On security. On trust.

He went away, not because he wanted to leave me, but because he didn't want to stay. He knew that we would probably fall in love and then one day wake up and realize we were still on completely different pages. We didn't want the same future.

I've felt an emptiness I couldn't quite place for the last few months. The pain was paralyzing. But now that the veil has lifted, I realize now what remains. It's the space in my heart that's now open and ready to be filled with love. The space that was once covered in cobwebs, is now filled with light.

And am I scared? You bet. But I'm working with the feeling of embracing that fear and then letting it go. And letting someone into that open space that's been waiting all along to be filled.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Another You

I look around me, on the street. My eyes stray from the produce in the grocery store. At the pump at the gas station, I am pumping my brain with questions. Could he be you? Could the next man I see be more wonderful than you?

My gut tells me no. The same way it told me when I was locked in the embrace of a tall, dark and handsome man who spoke a foreign language and wanted to take me to Costa Rica. He smelled of soap and cucumbers and he never wanted to leave. I tried hard to make him fit, to wrap my legs around his waist when he had me up on the counter, his hands gently stroking the bare skin on my back. When our tongues were dancing a quiet symphony and his hands dug into the flesh of my hips, I was praying for something that never happened. I prayed that he would turn into you.

After all, that's where you once stood, your body wrapped around mine like a scarf. I was making a cup of tea, and you were so delicately folded over my shoulders. I could feel your breath on my neck and I never wanted to stop making tea. I wanted to freeze time and just keep you there, next to me.

I've been running most of my life. Running from all the feelings and the closeness. Running from love and commitment and couplehood. Running from you. But there you were, next to me, and suddenly, the only thing I could think of was standing still.

The new man in my kitchen never made me think this. In fact, as he was probably dreaming of lifting me from the counter and dropping me onto my bed, I was worried that the whipped cream I'd just made would go flat. I wanted to slather it on the profiteroles I'd just made. I wanted something that was not him.

But if it had been you, I'd want to feed you a cream puff, then have you lick the whipped cream from my fingers. I'd purposely make some of it run down your mouth, so our mouths would taste the sweetness of the cream - and each other. I still taste you, even now.

And I wonder, as I look at the man in line in front of me at the DMV, if I would ever hold his taste in my memory. I'm 32 and I've never felt even half as lovely and full as I felt when I knew you. How can I expect another man to fill me that way? At this point, I'm not sure. I still date, but the hope isn't really there. It's just a way to pass the time.

But with you, time sped up. It was full of fireworks and rockets to the moon. We skipped through the moonlit streets, rolled around each other like cigars in the warmth of my bed, raced each other on the pier in front of Salmon Bay. We counted starfish the color of clementines and took trips through the country where the leaves looked like tiny pieces of the sun. I remember lying on the beach with you, our heads propped up by sweaters we didn't need. I asked you about your life, and you told me. You also told me you were growing attached to me. But...

It wasn't enough. You wanted something else. You wanted children and a house with a picket fence and PTA meetings and lollipops. That's not my dream. The only dream I ever had, and still do, is to keep running with you into the unknown. We may fall sometimes, but we could get up - together. I want to keep laughing and holding you there, under the moonlight.

The man next to me at the bank has your build. He turns to look at me, and smiles. I smile back, but inside, I feel nothing. Could he be you?


But I wish he was.