Love can break your heart, but loving someone who doesn’t love you back is a sure cause for a slow death. I learned this, especially, from a brokenhearted divorcée from the South of France some odd years ago. Most of what I’ve gathered from my observation of couples since then is that love can also be messy, inconvenient, and one of the most terrible involuntary decisions we could ever make as human beings. It has the potential to turn into a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, and yet we’re still willing to put ourselves through a spectrum of fire for it; whether it be soothing embers or seething flames. It scares me senseless, but I too want to feel a love that burns as intensely as the orange of the harvest moon. I want to be able to savor it, all the while being consumed by it– even if it means I’m at stake of being burned. For a life without risk is not worth living.
Even though I’ve never been in a relationship (or on a date for that matter), I feel like a serial monogamist. I fall in love with places the same way people fall in love with people. In that sense, Sicily was my first love, Barcelona was my soulmate, and I wholeheartedly believe that London is the love of my life. Between you and me, I am married to the world the same way Queen Elizabeth I was married to the Kingdom of England. Officially, however, I am single. Though I have to admit, the world does not keep me warm at night which is why I chase summer; the feeling of connecting with someone on an intellectual and physical level. As a sapiosexual, this doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but when it does, it feels as though the stars rearranged themselves just to ensure that we would meet.
This happened to me not too long ago actually. I had been sitting down in a near-empty café watching YouTube videos of planes crashing when a man walked in. I didn’t think much of him, but by the time I looked up from my screen again, he was sitting down across from me with an espresso.
I took one good look at him and knew we were destined to be exes. We started speaking and as it turned out, he was an air force pilot on vacation. Two hours into our fascinating conversation which involved a wide range of topics from the work of Sun Tzu, to the cello as his spirit instrument, and mine– a hybrid of the talking drum and the electric guitar which we imagined to be something similar to the shahi baaja, we received a warning from the barista that he was closing down the café in five minutes. We then moved the parade outside despite the sky appearing as though it was about to vomit.
I can’t tell you much about him because he couldn’t tell me much about himself due to the nature of his work. However, I can say that he enjoys dancing bachata in his free time. He even offered me lessons in the park we were passing through to which I foolishly agreed. Already, I found myself being irrational as I typically despise contact dancing. I was kind enough to let him take the lead as I didn’t think a power trip was his idea of a holiday. If not for his smile which made me lose control, I probably wouldn’t have given up my reign so easily. Moments later, it began to rain heavily. Everyone around us scattered in search of shelter but the two of us kept dancing. I know he wanted to kiss me and I wanted to kiss him too. In the end, I ignored his hints because missing someone I’ve known for less than 24 hours is the story of my life as a traveler, and I wasn’t about to do that to myself again with someone who was more of a mystery than me.
Like a modern-day fairy tale, he eventually ordered himself an Uber back to the Airbnb he was staying at with friends. I had distracted him long enough, as his only intent when he left the apartment hours ago was to ingest caffeine. I gave him my email address and after we hugged, he departed. For the next hour, I walked around the surrounding neighborhood with purposeful aimlessness. It was quite nice, actually. At one point, I found myself standing at crosswalk with my umbrella in hand for at least five minutes; my mind stuck somewhere between wanting to accelerate and wanting to slam on the breaks. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see him again and I was OK with that. I’ve learned to take pleasure in these delightfully ambiguous situations.
Our encounter struck a deep chord of thought within me about love and monogamy. I’ve come to realize that the first and last time I was in love was at 21. I was living in Barcelona at the time. The age… the confusion… the city… they all gave me an excuse to be on my worst behaviour. I was living unapologetically free and fell in love with my life in its entirety. I just happened so to meet someone as an added bonus. I won’t go into the details of who they were because quite frankly, they’re not worthy of being immortalized. However, I will say that I fell in love with their laugh lines and their deceptively-brilliant multicoloured eyes. Things didn’t work out between us which was expected for many reasons. The worst part about it, was that I hadn’t taken into consideration that the drop from cloud nine would be about 36, 000 feet. It all happened so fast, the fall from grace. It took a while for me to dust myself off and get back up again, but I did. In hindsight, I’m not sure if it was love or if it was all just a fallacy.
For the most part, I don’t equate being single to being lonely. Though it can be hard sometimes–especially because we’re indirectly conditioned to feel as though we are incomplete without a partner. It’s the little things, like love songs on the radio and the default number of guests displayed when booking travel plans. I know that there’s always Tinder, but Tinder and the quality of people I found on it reminds me of fast food and bad moods. Like when you’re so hangry you forget that digestion starts in the mouth and not the stomach. Speaking of food, love always looks the most unappetizing in restaurants where it becomes quite clear people would rather be lonely and in a relationship, than lonely and alone. I would never date because I’m bored or lonely, and I certainly wouldn’t date because I miss being in a relationship because I can’t miss what I never had in the first place.
I simply haven’t met anyone whose company I appreciate more than my own. Not to say that I haven’t had my fair share of trysts in the meantime. I could always write about the previous ones from celebrating NYE in Germany and Scotland for example, but I need to keep this page as PG-13 as possible. I also don’t see the point in reveling over men who can unclip my bra but can’t undress my mind. I do, however, have fond memories worth sharing of an Australian guy I met this past January in Peru. He had these beautiful soft-blue eyes that reflected introspection. Whenever I was with him, I felt a perpetual sense of déjà-vu. It was the strangest thing. While nothing happened between us, he reminded me that emotional intelligence is the sexiest thing a man can wear apart from good cologne.
I’ve also come to realize that “forever” is a very, very long time for someone like me who gets bored all too easily. The thought of it alone renders an error message in my brain. I think it’s because it creates an expectation, and I try to live my life as free from expectation as possible. I’m also starting to wonder if monogamy is a utopia considering Spain and all the other Mediterranean countries I traveled to, along with Latin America, exposed me to a new level of audacity I’m not sure I’ll ever recover from–so much as to question whether or not humans are biologically wired to be monogamous. I don’t know if it’s as unrealistic as I perceive it to be or if I’m just being pessimistic. If I am being pessimistic, I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t trust other people or if it’s because I don’t trust myself. If I am lucky enough to meet the right person, perhaps “forever” won’t feel long enough.
It is often assumed that I’m single because I’m too picky which couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t have any aesthetic requirements and I don’t want someone to give me the world. Actually, the saddest day of my life was the day I realized I had everything I thought I ever wanted and more, and still felt a void deep inside of me that was darker than the valley of the shadow of death. I had spent my entire life underestimating the importance of love because I was never really shown it. Since then, I’ve realized that what I need and what I want are two very different things. What I need, among other things that cannot be bought, is love in all its different forms. Romantic. Platonic. Catatonic (just kidding, that’s probably not healthy). There’s no point in being on top of the world if you have no one to share it with. When I die, I don’t want my life to be measured by all the different countries I traveled to. I want it to be measured in seasons of love and my relentless pursuit to make this world a little less shitty than how I found it.
I may be impatient but I’m in no rush. There’s no doubt in my mind that there is someone out there for me, and there ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough, to keep me from getting to them. I would go to the other end of the world to meet this person. They’re probably doing something outlandish as I write this, like cage diving with sharks off the coast of South Africa. Or completing research on something nerdy and important like coral reef depletion in the Great Barrier Reef. All I know for certain is that whomever I date will have to accept the fact that they are not my other half; for I am neither half full nor half empty. I am overflowing. After all, the expression is when two become one, not when two halves become one.
Until I meet this person, I’m going to carry on with my carry on. I live in my own galaxy so at the very least, I’m sure they’re out of this world. On that note, does anyone have a spaceship I can borrow?