Was it too much to ask for?
He wasn’t necessarily the prettiest boy in the bunch. He wasn’t someone people would generally consider to be irresistibly handsome. He wasn’t the type of person whose face would pop out from the crowd. To tell you the truth, I almost never would have noticed him during our first meeting had he not actually gone out of the way to grab my attention. At first, I thought he was just another customer at the caf who had no choice but to grab a seat at the communal table. But I would later find out that he designed for it to come out that way just so he could strike up a conversation with me.
He gave me attention. He actually made me feel like I was noticed.
This is a big deal because I don’t have the kind of face that stands out either. I’m not necessarily the kind of girl who commands the attention of the room. I don’t induce double-takes whenever I’m walking on the street or when I’m seated on the bus. I’m the kind of girl who spends most of her time in coffee shops, libraries, book stores, and classrooms. But again, there he was. This random man who picked my face out of the dozens who were in the coffee shop that day. There was this man who chose to sit across from me and strike up a conversation even when he didn’t have to. I was overwhelmed at first. I was disoriented. This never happens, I thought to myself. I tried my best to make the best out of the situation. I was never used to being noticed before but I’m sure that I loved it.
That was the very first mistake I made and it was a costly one. I didn’t even know if we had any kind of spark or connection. I wasn’t even really sure if he was my type or if I even had a type. All I knew was that he was interested in me and I relished in that fact. I knew that he wanted to get to know me better and this was an opportunity for a whole new experience for me. So I bit into it. I bit into it with all my might and I was thrust into a new world that I wasn’t ready for. I was dating.
I got into a relationship with him. It was my first real relationship. Well, at least, at the time, I thought that it was real. Hindsight is always 20/20 as they say, and I know now that what we had was indeed less than ideal. It was a relationship that failed to bring me the fulfilment that I was looking for. It failed to provide me the perspective that I terribly needed.
I was too caught up with the idea of just being with someone and having someone pay attention to me every day. I was invigorated by the thought of having someone there that I can rely on whenever I needed something. I had seen what love looked like on the movies. I had read about love in books and in poems. I had witnessed real relationships between my friends and other loved ones. But this time, I was actually living it. And I found myself just trying to emulate everything that I thought was part of having relationships based on my very limited knowledge about the whole thing. I tried to follow the rules the best way I could without regard for how the relationship made me feel. All I knew was that I was in a relationship and that this was something that never happens to people like me. I better not screw this up, I told myself repeatedly. I put so much pressure on myself to preserve whatever relationship that I had regardless of how I was feeling.
I thought I was living something magical. Someone was actually noticing me! But then, the magic of being given attention starts to lose its luster and then the relationship starts to rear its true face. There I was, on the precipice of a diminishing feeling. I found myself losing interest in him. I found myself realizing that there wasn’t much about him that interested me in the first place; other than the fact that he was interested in me. That’s when I understood the value of patience. We can’t all be so desperate for love and attention that we end up jumping at anyone who acknowledges our existence in the simplest manner.
Love isn’t supposed to be mediocre. It’s not supposed to be something that you force yourself into feeling. Love is something that grows and develops over time. But it’s also something that’s built on a feeling of strength and determination. There has to be a connection right at the start. There has to be a spark that ignites the flame. Otherwise, you will have only wasted your time on something that you thought could become something more; but never really did.