Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Paper Heart

I've never gotten to celebrate Valentine's day. Never had a date, never had presents, never had letters. Through the years, it's gotten so much easier to see through the next box in the calendar. But it never felt like I was missing something, it always just seemed like I was saving it for something better.

Last week, in front of the whole family, my mom dressed me down for being single. One by one, each one in the family gave their complimentary "You should really get a boyfriend now" litany. They said I was old enough. They said it was time.

Like love has a "time." You can be 10 years old and meet the love of your life at a playground, or 95 at your deathbed. You don't age and suddenly reach a stage where you are biologically required to fall in love. There's no telling when your heart needs it - when it needs it, it will have it. You don't go off running to fall into someone's trap; you just stand there, and you fall.

And the heart serves alternative functions meanwhile. You learn to love food, you learn to breathe to see the next Harry Potter film, you fall in love with the boy in your book, or the voice behind a favorite song, or an everyday routine at work, or a perfect picture of people you love. You learn to do all things in the meantime, as there is no harm in occupying all the space in your heart, because when the right person comes by, the heart is gonna know, and it's gonna give way.

That's why I've never understood the pressure of getting a boyfriend. You don't just wake up one day and decide to "get" a boy. People make it sound like a purchase. It's an emotional investment and I like quality, something my fortune's worth. Because if I'm really gonna spend, I'm really gonna spend. What is so wrong in making sure I get my fair end of the bargain.

I like being single, but I'm guessing it must feel a whole lot of nicer to find someone you can make a Beatles song reference to. Someone who you can put on speed dial. Someone who just proves to you the butterflies are real. I'd like to fall someday. And I even welcome the idea of one day maybe have my heart broken, and get my fair share of crashburn, cry-all-night, break up torture - I'm not scared of the pain, in the end, we all get hurt anyway. But if I cry, I want it to have been for something real, something totally monumental I wouldn't have minded losing it because having it once is already a gift in itself. If I love, and lose, I want it to have been a truthful experience. Not because I just wanted a boyfriend.

Relationships are so transitory nowadays. But I believe that when something is brewed just right, it'll end up just right. And that is something I am perfectly fine to be waiting - no matter how long - for.

Compared to finding the perfect piece of a half rigged heart that intricately fit the other half of yours, what is a bit of time?

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