Monday, January 26, 2015

Unlucky in Love

I send men back to their ex-girlfriends, their former love-interests, their old flames.

A palm reader once told me that I am unlucky in love. She said that the men I want never stay and the men I don't want won't go away - but she could help me out with that for another $50. I declined.

So now I send men back to their old flames. I'm not being dramatic. This is statistically significant. I'm a scientist. I have the data. In the last six months there was the CrossFitter, and the Engineer, and the Lobbyist. And those are the ones I know about (some guys disappear without a Facebook-trace...).

I guess I could be offended by this. Take it to mean that I am so horrendous as a potential love-match that these fetching men have no choice but to seek the comfort of someone they had previously discarded, or previously lacked the courage or the space or the time to pursue.

But that's not really my style.

The way I see it, it could just as easily be my too much (rather than my not enough) that sends these men back down old roads. They come into my life looking for fun, looking for pretty, looking for amusement, and probably distraction. I provide all that. But I also have an inquisitive mind, an open heart, and a passion for the world. A vision. A direction. A life.

I am so much more than a one night stand.

And while it doesn't make logical sense that my too much would bring old embers and ashes back to life, I don't begrudge any of them. I might even understand.

I carried a flame for a man who was not my boyfriend for quite a bit of 2014. It was a shrinking flame - no bigger than a tea light or a birthday candle - by the time September rolled around. But it was a flame nonetheless. In September I also had a seemingly good - and different - man vying for my affection. Paying me attention. Taking me on adventures. Writing me poetry.

And I spent one frigid night in Alaska on the back deck of our wilderness lodge, bundled-up and worrying-out-loud to my travel-partner-soul-sister. Because you see, I was at that point: If I moved even one step closer to the Adventure-Poet, I would have to turn and blow the old flame out. No birthday wishes allowed.

Photo credit: the best photographer I know.

Things took a different turn with the Poet. So I didn't have to take that big breath in the end. But if I had, would it have worked? Or would that change in my gaze, that momentary increase in focus, have brought to mind all the reasons that I struck that match in the first place? How much I love birthdays?

Dim as it was, that flame was the only illumination for an imaginary ideal life. Would I have had the courage to snuff it out and make way for a bright but unknown reality? Or would I have rather poured on gasoline?

The harder question came after the Poet went away (long after, actually, but that's not the point): did I have the courage to extinguish that flame for myself? Without a well-read cowboy stoking a campfire somewhere nearby? Was I capable of making that wish and then sitting in the dark for a while?

If I had spent that $50, I might never have found out...

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