Fiddling with a small lighter in his hand,
Sliding his fingers through his ghastly white hair.
His cigarette rests on a shiny red ring which graces
His harsh, red lips.
He is lost, struggling to find himself –
Brown eyes gazing upon the dark road,
He finds himself lighting his fifth cigarette.
Hand resting on the leather gear shift,
So begins the long drive down the highway.
Accompanied by her best friend Captain Morgan
And his favorite chemical –
Electric pumpkin hair blows in the breeze.
Down the 20 she drives,
In no search for a destination,
Chance encounters happen every day,
Opposites attract, as do similarities.
Clashing and meshing,
Like a puzzle piece.
That girl, that boy,
An opener on a bottle cap,
Cold ones drunk,
Injections into the veins,
Munchies and a craving for shitty Mexican food.
Telling stories of adventures
Thought to have happened,
But now never will.
Eyes redder than the blood
Flowing through their veins.
Bags under their eyes –
A lighter color than their lungs after the first pack.
They tried finding themselves,
But only found each other.
Their bodies unable to carry the weight of love,
Addiction setting in.
Destruction of themselves,
Their love for the substances
Tearing them apart from the inside and out.
Maybe if they had met,
They wouldn’t have turned to the poison for love.
Life at Mr. Addison’s is conventional. Having been here for almost a month now, I am learning the daily goings-on of the house. For the past week, I have looked through the kitchen and noted everything I will get today on my trip to the market. Zach only eats organic foods, and they have to be farmed within a 300-mile radius of our home. The intricacies of his diet do not bother me; I think of it as exciting. I always loved going to the marketplace with Mother Ester, whenever she decided to take children with her. My treks to buy groceries remind me of those times.
Zach had told me, “My servants always have the best,” as his tailor measured my chest a few weeks ago. I leave the house on my way to the marketplace in my new purple knee-high sundress, with a sweetheart neckline. I feel so out of place, almost like I do not own it. The more I ponder, the more I realize I don’t.
Getting to know my fellow servants over these few weeks has been interesting. Philip, the butler, has worked at the Addison residence the longest, a few years before Zach was born. Rouge oversees cleaning the dishes and washing clothes for the residents. John is the mastermind behind the upkeep of the home, and he organizes everything Zach plans. Philip mentioned once that there were only male servants, which is nothing particularly unusual. It seems the late Mr. Logan Addison slept with the female servants when his wife was attending business elsewhere. Mrs. Malinda Addison never minded his infidelity; rather she minded his choice location, in the room to the left of Zach’s.
Philip spoke of Mrs. Addison’s hospitality, how she extended it to anyone who strolled into her castle. His voice trailed off while an unmistakable gleam shined in his brown pupils. He articulated more with his eyes than I have ever heard from any mouth. He would marry her if he could.
John pulls out an old bike to take to the market. I enjoy bikes far more than any stuffy car. With the beautiful weather and three-mile journey, the fresh air will be lovely. List gripped between my fingers, I leave eagerly for the market. Shopping combines relaxation and work. I always see people I grew up with, peculiar only because of the distance.
The smell of fresh bread and strawberry tarts replace the unmistakable stench of the roadside when I arrive at the marketplace. Walking around, looking at the fish and fruits and deciding on their quality, I can’t shake my mind from those strawberry tarts. I think I’ll buy some before I leave. I find myself surrounded by the separated booths of small businesses and bored, single women with riches to spare. Regardless of the disproportion in wealth, I’ve never noticed a difference in taste.
I keep to myself, showing my status as a servant. Mama Ester told me that you should never show any human emotion – wealthy owners know each other, and it’s dangerous if you upset the wrong person.
I’m unenthusiastic about going back to the Addison home after my charming day at the market. The open space is a breathtaking contrast to the jail cell feel of a home.
After setting the bike in the storage unit, I carry the groceries into the door closest to the kitchen. The bags are heavy, but I don’t mind labor; I’m used to it. Usually, when my hair gets into my face or I slam my head into the door frame, I just keep walking.
Walking into the house, I hear laughing from the sitting room. I know quickly it is Zach’s, in harmony with the laughter of a woman. I fear that I will not be working for a bachelor much longer. At 25, he is probably enjoying his evening with a woman he will marry and have too many children with. Then he will bombard the home with more servants like me. I’ll continue to hide in this lonely castle, or perhaps he will sell me before that happens. Don’t feel, don’t react, and don’t get attached to the stories told to me as a young servant. I sigh lightly and put my groceries in cabinets, remembering this mantra.
I’ve never experienced an attachment to anyone, except Mother Ester. You will always be attached to the woman who raised you. I know Zach is trying to make this a home for me, but this is not my home. My life is not a fairy tale. So lost in my thoughts, I hadn’t noticed Zach standing next to me. He startles me when he says, “So, when did you get back?”
Looking over to him and placing a tomato on the counter, I reply, “A few minutes ago, sir. Not too long though.”
He nods his head and takes a seat on the counter, next to my groceries. He looks like a teenager waiting for advice from his mother.
In the unexpected silence, I continue to put away the food, his eyes following me as I travel along the spacious kitchen.
“You seem too comfortable doing this?” he says, breaking the silence with his curiosity.
I’m guessing by the sound of his voice he is confused why someone my age could be so comfortable shopping for a stranger, particularly after receiving nothing in return.
I retort with, “Well, I should. I’ve been doing this since I turned 15.” I don’t bother to look at his face; I already know it is one of absolute shock.
“But you were just a kid then, you couldn’t have possibly enjoyed your work?” Zach says.
I sigh and finish putting away the last of the groceries. One as affluent as Zach could never understand what I went through, just to end up someone’s servant. Taking this into consideration, I turn to Zach and say, “Look, I recognize you don’t understand. With no mom or dad to care for me, I was never a child. My life doesn’t seem perfect, because it’s not.” I place the grocery bags in a crate to be washed and used for the next market run.
“Please excuse me, Mr. Addison. I have much work to do,” I say to him and walk quickly to my room.
I collapse on my bed, realizing I had broken one of the rules.
If I told you once
I loved you–
I don’t think I foresaw
A life held back
Against a cold hard wall.
You suffocated me
With sparkling chains of words
I tried in vain to embrace.
I was grasping at an empty vessel
Of half-meant hopes and dreams,
And ‘almost like a dream’ meant
If I could not catch my breath
From running aimlessly to escape.
A young woman’s escape–
I leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind
As I run out of the monster’s howling lair.
You carried me away
From the truth of a thousand lies
And wounded me with blows.
The skin is thick on the scars
You dug into the mental flesh
Of my blood-stained heart.
The places you struck me
Will heal with the falling snow.
Ring off finger
And flung away.
My finger can bend again–
I was numbed to the bone
From hypothermic waste.
I flung open the bars
Of the prison in which
You held me.
Your heart’s key–
I never meant to unlock
I threw the key away
Somewhere in the garden,
As drifts of white
Danced in the solemn breeze.
You denied me life
And pushed me inch by inch
Into a living grave.
I was a foot deep in mud
Before I hitched myself up
And braced my feet against the wall.
I won’t say it was easy–
The grips at the bottom
Were hard to cling to
And you were there holding me down.
I made it anyway
Your smug face shuddered
And collapsed into itself
Before the smoke cleared.
That smile was a dream
I attempted foolishly to keep.
As the flames of your fire
Scorched the meat
You had me cook for you,
The bonds of female servility
Were already crumbling
At our feet.
As you held me down sweating
Against tear-streaked sheets,
I watched the window open
A crack to let the wind in.
As you pulled away and stood
At the door beckoning me to follow
Down the hall of portraits
Of faces smiling in false confidence,
I leaped at the chance
To fly out the window
And baptize myself in
Melting banks of snow.
You can swing at me again–
Your broken dagger was
Never too sharp anyway.
I won’t be hurt again
By untended wounds.
When spring comes,
I will run barefoot
Through the woods
With the sun beating down
And the wind following
And never back again.
Selina knows her tragic flaw. Aristotle’s the Poetics forces her to introspect. If characters in delicate and complex novels have a tragic flaw, what separates her from the likes of Hamlet with his ambition or Oedipus with his pride? Her flaw was never one of evil or ill-intent. Selina is kind to all who cross her. That’s it.
Meeting her coworkers after work is always the highlight of her long, dragging days. A diverse bunch, always down for a shot of Tequila. Selina takes her kindness to damaging heights, making her naïve. She is well-versed in the world; having a mother like Georgianna, you had to be.
Her coworkers fail to show after work at the usual bar, but she needs a drink. Sitting at the bar with a half empty glass filled with an amber poison, Selina isn’t thinking clearly. After calling an Uber, Selina dreads going to her empty, bohemian flat. The elevator ride is the worst part, second is the way her key decides when it will work. She fumbles with her key in her drunken stupor to unlock her door.
“Success!” she screams, slurring the ingenuous word.
Pouring herself into her 500-square foot apartment, she throws herself onto her silk sheets. Savannah, Georgia has treated her well, with its hometown vibes.
“Drunk, again? Guess the fucking apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” a woman says from across the room, raspy and hoarse.
Darkness conceals the voice, but Selina isn’t dumb. “You can’t smoke in here, I’m sorry,” Selina says with an indifferent sigh, eyes locked on her low-hanging ceiling.
“You’re not my mom,” the silhouette shrieks.
“Obviously. Why are you here? It’s been a while, no calls, texts, not even a letter. How have you been?”
“Tired, always,” the shape says. It steps forward, revealing a middle-aged woman, smoking a Marlboro Red special blend.
“Mom, I love you, but I’m wasted. Can we do this tomorrow? If you need a place to stay, please stay here. I can take the couch,” Selina tells Georgianna.
“Fine, we can talk about this tomorrow. Thanks for the place, babe.”
The two switch places and Selina is relieved she splurged for the more expensive couch. She has been taking care of Georgianna since she bought her flat. Serves her right, staying so close to the drug-riddled lady.
Morning rapes their eyes, jarring Selina awake. She is not shocked to see her mother on the bed, spread eagle, naked. She fixes breakfast for two and gently wakes her mother, thanking God it isn’t a weekday.
After eating their breakfast together quietly, Georgianna breaks the silence. “I need your help, baby girl.”
“With?” Selina replies, head lowered with half-moon eyes.
“I’m in trouble, bad. I need your help. I know I fucked up, but I need your help.”
“Mom, whatever you need, just tell me.”
“I need to get away from here.”
Selina knows what her mother means, a repeated trip across town, more vacation days wasted, just to escape whoever is looking for her. “Okay, where do you need to go?”
“This isn’t like last time. I fucked up bad,” Georgianna has an unfamiliar shame twinkling in her dilated pupils.
“How bad, Mom.”
“I need to be far away, for a long time.”
“I can get you as far away as Pittsburg,” Selina compromises. “I can’t take off more than a week.”
“Done. Thanks, babe. When can we leave?”
“In a few hours. It’s not that far of a drive.”
They get in the car, Georgianna carrying all she has in one hand. After driving 5 hours, Selina sees flashing blue lights in her rearview. Her dark complexion forces goosebumps to rise to the surface. She pulls over to the caution strip, calming herself with each bump. The car eases to a halt, and her mom dives out of the car.
The police officer drags Selina out of the car, slamming her to the ground.
The large, burly man with shiny shoes screams at dispatch, almost incoherently into his radio, “Backup requested, suspect in custody and one running. Location: Blacksburg, corner of 460 and Orchard Street. Fleeing suspect is wanted for suspected felony: murder and attempted murder.”
Selina feels her heart drop, examining her mistakes.
She has a personal, destructive beauty, one not many can fall for. He is the only one to see it. With her red eyes and ebony wings, Aria holds Lucifer’s heart. Her love for the devil is only outweighed by the corruption inside her.
Lucifer ignores it, for a time. He understands she wants the same sensation he felt when he fell from grace. Only until she became his personal Pandora’s box did he take notice. Heartbreak, disease, famine, death. Aria has control of them, and much worse.
“My love, you must stop this,” Lucifer tenderly whispers, grasping her by the biceps with pleading eyes.
Aria growls and shoves him away. “You don’t tell me what to do!” Eyes like rubies in sunlight, her anger stems from his need to control her.
Lucifer knows he can fix her, but only by using the hope lying at the bottom of the box. He grabs her arm with a jerk and takes her to her fallen meadow. Lucifer holds Aria close until their skin seems like it will fuse together.
He speaks the only words that will free Aria. “I free you from my hold and the hold of God.”
Aria is left limp in his embrace, eyes fluttered shut. All that is left of her wings is a handful of feathers at his feet. A blush returns to her cheeks, and her slate-colored nails are replaced with clean, uncolored ones. Aria’s hair turns to a light chestnut as Lucifer holds her in his lap. She is mortal, human. He strokes her cheek as her eyes open, revealing two eyes of sea green. The only words to have broken the devil were her first mortal words of freedom.
She never meant for anything to happen, for anyone to get hurt. Freedom was all she searched for, but she traded one master for another.
Aria’s usual dusty pink feathers are now laced with black coal. Her nails, once a familiar bright red, are stained with a dull, senseless gray. Her heart is beating for the evil that has taken over her body instead of for the compassion and honesty that used to devour her.
“My dear Aria, you should have listened to Gabriel when he warned you of the fall,” Lucifer whispers deviously as Aria changes from the angel of love to something… else.
As Aria sees Lucifer’s smirk, her vibrant green eyes turn to a fiery red, her bright blond hair to tresses of dark curls. Lucifer kneels and holds her head in his rough hands.
“My beautiful girl, you’ve come back for me, haven’t you?” Lucifer says with certainty.
Aria replies with a grin so devious her canines appear. “Of course my love, who would not want such a man at their side?”
Pulling her close to his body, he strokes her changed, pale cheek. He remembers the softness of her skin, even though it had been a millennium. Staring into Aria’s eyes for only a second before making up his mind, Lucifer takes his prize back down to hell with him. His first love has finally returned.
The demons inside her would never rest, forever cursing their love. The second time, no one would be safe from the fires of hell.
There are so many things that a Highlander can say they love about Radford. But to be honest, there are more things to complain about.
Now, I can handle bad food. But there is nothing worse than good food with a bad effect. I swear, every time I eat Dalton Dining, I have to run to the bathroom on the way out. But sometimes, I must brave the aftershock just to get the grilled chicken. The food also doesn’t cost a thousand dollars either, so that’s a plus.
There is a hill called the COBE Kyle Hill that will literally be the death of every college student. There have been multiple occasions in which I basically run out of air in my lungs by the time I make it to the top. Not to mention walking up that hill while it’s cold outside and then walking into that hot building is the absolute worst. The heat flashes I get are unreal.
The protesters on campus are known by every student. So, if you attend Radford University, you know which protesters I am talking about. They act like they are the best people on earth and that they have never sinned. This campus is one of the most diverse campuses in Virginia, and they decide to bash us?
But the internet is by far one of the biggest complaints made by the students. Radford is located in the mountains, but that is no excuse. The school website says that the whole campus has Wi-Fi. But if I have to keep logging in when I change buildings, then it’s useless. Also, I have stopped doing my homework on the Wi-Fi, because it randomly stops working and I lose all of my work.
Since we live in the mountains, I think that we can all say that we hate the random temperature changes. I can handle the occasional temperature spike, but something I can’t handle is cold wind. Radford wind is like someone is stabbing you with ice-soaked knives. By the time I get to class, I am basically crying my eyes out.
But when it all comes down to it, we all love Radford.
Sleep is a luxury to me, as it is frequently interrupted. As expected, Philip wakes me. Following him down the majestic wooden staircase, I see Mr. Addison waiting, tapping his foot on the beige carpet.
“What time did I fall asleep?” I ask Philip, trying to conjure a definite sense of time.
“Around nine,” he replies with certainty.
The large grandfather clock beside Mr. Addison reads 11:54. Judging by the lack of sun from the stained-glass windows overhead, I guess it’s nighttime. I suddenly remember why I could fall asleep. I grew bored, as I am not familiar with having nothing to attend. I take the valuable time to rest, physically and mentally.
The man waiting in his dining room appears no older than I. His dark hair looks to have never grown past his chin. His five o’clock shadow leaves me struggling to guess his age.
“Mr. Addison, this is Miss Richards, your new servant,” Philip introduces me, and Mr. Addison turns slightly, showing me his entire face.
I stare into his rainforest-green eyes and notice a scar sitting over his left eye.
“Ah, yes. Thank you, Philip, you can retire for the night.” Mr. Addison smiles.
Philip bows his head, walks to the back of the house, leaving Mr. Addison and me with only ourselves. As I try to avoid Mr. Addison’s gaze, I notice a flower pattern running along the room, stopping at each doorframe.
“My mother’s idea,” Mr. Addison noted. I blush because he notices my avoidance.
Mr. Addison must remember his mother by the framework; he stares at it reverently. “She adored flowers and convinced my father to have them all over. The only thing more dear to her heart were her children,” he says.
I nod my head slowly and clench my clasped hands.
“Please sit, Miss Richards,” he says while pointing to the chair behind me.
With a light chuckle, he grabs the plates nearest to him and walks toward me. “You are the first servant to have been close to my age since my parents were here,” he tells me as I watch for the subtle signs of permission to speak.
My eyes grow large as I notice him setting a full plate in front of him and me. I can’t help but salivate as I wait to be invited to eat.
“Hopefully you won’t find me a bad employer. I haven’t noticed any gossip from my servants,” he says playfully.
I nod my head in response and play with the hem of my shirt.
“Oh right… um, you may do as you please, Miss Richards. It’s only when there are others around that I will ask you to act appropriately,” he says matter-of-factly, like a schoolboy attempting to be the head-of-the-house.
I feel safer now, having been shown kindness, and I start to eat some of the food. For almost twenty minutes, we eat in silence, I having no desire to talk and he appreciating my company. I catch him sizing me up, playing guessing games with my history. I imagine him asking if I had been abused before and that’s why I do not speak. The less complex answer is I have nothing to say.
“I have one rule, Miss Richards,” he says, wiping his mouth with a cloth napkin. “Call me Zach, never Mr. Addison.”
I nod slightly, taking in the one rule. Zach sighs casually, sitting back to look me over. I see no point in looking back so I finish my meal. I eat until I can’t anymore; this is the largest meal I’ve eaten in the last year! My last home was beautiful until the master’s son took over, treating me like the servant I am. He refused me food but always stood behind his parent’s rule: never beat a female servant.
“Tell me something about you, Miss Richards,” Zach requests. He supports his chin with calmly fisted hands, resting his elbows on the marble table.
Tell me something about you….I haven’t the slightest clue of what to say. Nothing about myself could be as interesting as the man in front of me.
Playing copycat, I reply, “I like being called Cassie.”
He nods respectfully. “Okay, Cassie, what do I need to know about you?” Zach says, trying to dig deeper.
“I’m allergic to lemon juice and bees,” I say as I remember Mother Ester telling me that notifying owners of allergies is always a good idea if you have nothing else to mention.
He says, “Good thing I hate lemon juice and my gardener keeps bees away from the roses after spring.” He chuckles lightly.
“I also like to read.”
He leans forward, straightening his posture. “Maybe one night a week you can sit with me in my study and read before we go to bed,” he says with a smile.
My grin seems to overpower his as I reply, “I would like that, Mr. Zach.”
He pats my hand lightly and says, “Rogue will get these things for us, but I’ve had a long day. I assume you have too.” He stands and sets the dishes neatly atop one another.
He’s right. Leaving North Carolina that early in the morning after having served my previous home’s party, arriving at my new place, and meeting my master has drained me.
“Yes, Zach, you’re right,” I murmur and stand up, pushing my chair in.
“Good night Cassandra.”
I bow, returning the good night, and retire to my bedroom. I decide Mr. Addison is a sweet, gentle man. However, as a veteran servant, I know first impressions can be deceiving.
On a college campus, attitudes towards Valentine’s Day can range from gleeful to bitter and everything in between. The annual holiday, affectionately dubbed “Singles Awareness Day” by some, tends to harshly divide college students into two groups of people: those who have a significant other and those who do not. But romantic love isn’t the only type of love that exists; if you are spending the day without a significant other, that does not mean you are unloved in the world.
Unfortunately for us native English speakers, we only have one word for love which leads to its cheapening and overuse. The Ancient Greeks had many different words to describe the various types of love that can exist. One of these types that the Greeks valued most is philia, or the love that stems from a deep friendship. In the understanding of the Ancient Greeks, this word referred to the love shared between brothers in arms on the battlefield. While the majority of us have not experienced literal warfare, we still understand the importance of someone who is there for you when you need them the most.
By that definition, your best friend or friends can be your valentine. Your pet can be your valentine. Your favorite family member can be your valentine. You can be your own valentine. All of the above can be your valentines! And while romantic love can be an incredible experience, it is not the end-all achievement for the various types of love that life has to offer.
Regardless of how you spend it, I hope that you have a very Happy Valentine’s Day this Tuesday, and you know that you are loved.
“There are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice.”
“Remember, Cassie, don’t say anything out of line and keep your head up or you may just be pushed down.” I listened to Mother Esther as she packed up my new clothes in my suitcase. I don’t remember ever doing anything on my own until I turned thirteen and was taught how to serve the wealthy. I was sent to my first house at fifteen. They were a nice, old couple. They needed help with little things. They treated me well, somewhat like a daughter. Mother Esther told me this was not so unusual with older couples.
“Now tell me the five rules.”
I took a deep breath and messed with my heart locket. “One: Never talk back or when not spoken to. Two: always smile but never laugh; make yourself look gentle. Three: Always be prepared for anything, even if it’s a beating. Four: Do not allow the men to touch you like you’re a pay girl, not until twenty-one. And five is um…”
I nodded my head.
These are rules I’ve had to follow for the last seven years. I’m once again being sent to a new home in New York. Rule four will no longer apply and I will not be safe from men with wandering hands and lustful eyes. I must serve every need of my new ‘owner’ and tend to his every wish.
Watching as a tree goes by my car window, I remember reading about the trees constantly being cut down to make room for new housing. Most of the deforestation was for people who didn’t have homes. Everyone has a home now, but not everyone is free. I, like many others, must serve the wealthy and elegant. I eat two meals a day, if not less. We all evolve and adjust to survive.
Most servants are girls and are met with disrespect. The few boys who end up with a job like mine are treated as nothing but trash. We are treated this way because we are orphans, unloved and unwanted. Either our parents were rich people who didn’t want a child, or we were a mistake between two lonely servants, forbidden. I’ve learned the only children raised wealthy are those who have one or more affluent parents wanting a child. Otherwise, you end up… like me.
We were taught no differently than wealthy kids, with only a few extra things to learn. About twenty percent of servant girls end up as wives to the men that ‘own’ them, so it’s not that bad.
“Miss Richards, we’re here.” The driver speaks as I look up at the towering house. Climbing out of the car to grab my bag from the trunk, the driver removes my hand and says, “Allow me, miss.” I nod and admire the area around the house. Mr. Addison seems to enjoy all types of roses; I don’t think I’ve seen so many in one place. I grab my backpack and start walking, pulling my suitcase behind me.
Zachary Addison’s would be my third home in the last seven years, although he is my first young bachelor. As I shake, I remember to keep my head up and my feelings locked away, as always. I walk up to the door and ring the bell. The outside gives an impression that the home could hold a hundred or more people, all at once.
The door opens slowly. Eyes wide, I look at a man probably in his late 50’s. He has graying hair but gentle eyes. It’s normal for butlers to open doors when I arrive at new places.
“Miss Richards, I presume?”
Nodding my head, I step in when he moves out of the way. The enunciation of his vowels gave away his accent, almost Yorkshire-like. He is a foreigner, and that relaxes me. “Mr. Addison is away on business until later this evening, but he has requested for you to have dinner with him when he returns.”
“Of course,” I reply.
This is usual. Employers want to look over their new servants, confirm they are healthy and fit.
“May I know your name?” I direct my attention towards the butler.
The three servants of the home talk to each other. We all find ways to talk, release our anger, or help hide each other’s sadness. Showing either emotion is not okay.
“I am Philip, Miss. Now let me show you to your room.”
I follow him up the staircase, trailing my suitcase behind me. The house was clearly made for many servants or a big family. From what I see and hear, there are only three male servants; two were cleaning the house. “Now, you will be the cook and waitress when Mr. Addison has parties. How old are you?” Phillip inquires.
“I’m twenty-one,” I look away, careful to use only my eyes.
His eyes speak more than his mouth ever could. I will have more work than he mentioned if Mr. Addison wants to have his needs fulfilled. He opens a door but doesn’t step inside. The room looks designed for a wealthy daughter, not a servant. “This will be your room till Mr. Addison says otherwise.”
I nod, place my suitcase on the silk sheets, and look around the room.
With cream carpets and little designs running along the floor, up the wall to the edge of the ceiling, I feel out of place. One window sits opposite of the bed, to the right of the door. Looking back to ask Philip where Mr. Addison’s room is, I see I am all alone.
Closing the door, I sit on a small seat at the end of the bed. “New home, different rules.” Gripping my heart locket a little tighter, I close my eyes and breathe. I will be safe as I always am. I will not fall or break. I will not be human.
I’ve always been a huge hopeless romantic. I get butterflies in my stomach when I watch romantic comedies and dream of the day I look out my window and see the man of my dreams holding a boombox over his head, or the day when I wake up married for the first time to someone who’s my best friend.
Maybe I have a terribly unrealistic idea of what romance and true love are supposed to be like. Every relationship I’ve ever been in has had moments that Nicolas Sparks couldn’t even write up, but they definitely don’t fit into that perfect romance novel.
Someone like me, who dreams of romance and the idea of spoiling and being spoiled by someone I love, you’d think that romance would be my specialty. However, you couldn’t be more wrong. I’m actually terrible at relationships, or at least at getting them started and off the ground. Sometimes when I’m attracted to someone, I have a difficult time gauging their intentions. As a result, some guys are scared off by me because I’m more committal than they’re ready for.
I’ve been single for about a year now, and it’s been weird. I still miss having someone to text me in the morning and wish me a good day, I miss fun adventures and spontaneous kisses and affection in general. I miss having someone who knows me better than anyone and who I share my dreams and deepest, darkest secrets with. Relationships can be so fun and rewarding when they’re happy and healthy.
However, my inner hopeless romantic is still somewhere deep in me with flowers in her hand patiently waiting for someone else’s inner hopeless romantic to stop by and fulfill all she’s dreamed of. In the mean time, she’s going to have to be patient because being single doesn’t mean my life is on hold while I search for Mr. Right.
When you’re a single hopeless romantic it can be frustrating trying to date and shop around to find someone who fits you. From my experience, going out and actively looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right never works and it can affect the rest of your life. Being in a relationship isn’t the most important thing, even when that inner hopeless romantic is screaming for love and affection. The one great thing about being single is that you have a lot of extra time on your hands. If you’re fresh out of a relationship, it can feel odd not spending your time texting or communicating with your significant other. This may be depressing initially but once you start filling that time with things that make you happy, such as exercise or creating something amazing, you’ll fill the hole left by your ex-lover in no time.
I’ve found that many times, great relationships come when you least expect them. So rather than picking petals off of daisies and waiting around for someone who fits you, work on yourself. Flowers bloom when you water them, so keep taking care of yourself and enjoy the blossoms that come out of it. If someone happens to like them, they’ll come to you. If someone comes along and wants to change your blossoms, have enough strength and confidence to not change your “flowers” for someone else, or else you’ll never be happy with yourself or your relationships.
Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate your love for the people in your life. It’s a day, specifically for your significant other, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Valentine’s Day is a day that can either be fun or miserable and it’s up to you which road you want to take.
I know all of the single people out there get lectured by their friends in relationships about how it doesn’t have to be a sad day, how it can be cute and fun to hang out with your other single friends, but I know you’re thinking “well of course you can say that. You have a boyfriend/girlfriend. You have someone to love and be with on the most romantic day of the year.” But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be strictly romantic. It can be about showing your love for the people who stick by you through all of your ups and downs, who love you when you think no one else can. Those are the people who should be celebrated on this Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is the type of holiday that is simply made to get people to buy things. The consumer industry made this day up so people in relationships will buy the flowers and the chocolates and the giant stuffed teddy bears in order to show the one they love that they care. It’s designed to put a price on love, to show that if I buy you 12 dozen roses it means that you love your significant other more than the person who could only afford one.
But what happens when you love someone so much, more than you could even describe, but unfortunately, your wallet isn’t as big as your love is? You begin to feel inferior and insecure because you can’t buy the one you love all the things on Valentine’s Day that you think they deserve. Your significant other sees all of their friends whose boyfriends or girlfriends were able to buy them the big bouquets and giant stuffed animals while you’re left sitting at home feeling guilty for not being able to do those things for the person you love. That’s what Valentine’s Day does to people.
On this Valentine’s Day, don’t put a price on your love. You and your significant other deserve better than that. Spend quality time together, watch a movie. You can celebrate your love without spending money. Be happy. Be in love. Don’t worry about the rest of it.
What do you do when the person you love breaks up with you and then wants to get back together? Two very close friends of mine started dating senior year of high school. They were friends for a while before they took their relationship to the next level. I would say that they fell in love. They were basically the same person but in different gendered bodies. They were both hippies, had the same political views, same interests, and were both very free spirited. The problem came when, let’s say Fred, started realizing he didn’t really know who he was as a person. He started questioning everything he knew and everything he was, whether it came to sexuality or what all of his feelings meant in general. He lost sight of why he fell in love with, let’s say Velma, and started becoming very depressed. Long story short, Fred broke up with Velma, leaving Velma very confused and heart broken.
I think, in this situation, it all comes down to bad timing. In high school, everything is confusing and nothing make sense. It’s a time for discovering who you are, what you like and dislike, and what you look for in another person. Fred had no idea what he wanted and didn’t want to lead Velma on if she wasn’t it. Velma was very confused and just wanted to talk it out with Fred, but Fred just couldn’t do it. He wanted to be alone, to have time to think about everything he’s been questioning. After some time, Fred and Velma started talking again and started being friend.
Six months later, Fred realized that the thought of Velma being with someone else made him sick. He wanted to give their relationship another chance and be with Velma again. Velma, of course, agreed because she loves him and has always wanted to be with him. They were highschool sweethearts, so to speak. Would have you done the same? I know I would have, and I did. No one can say truly say they would have done this or that differently because when it comes to love, no one can honestly decide what best. Love overtakes all the senses and makes us crazy. I believe they should give it a shot because taking risks is what creates the most amazing outcomes. Life is too short to give up people who deserve second chances.