Warning: this is long. this is very personal. this needed to be written. it is without regard to style or grammar or audience. but i need to post it. on the very off chance that anyone out there has wondered why i haven’t written in ages, this will sum it up.
Once upon a time, there was a girl. The girl was young and idealistic. She was a “glass is half FULL” kind of girl, who always saw only the best in people. This also made her pretty naïve. She knew this, but because she was hopelessly optimistic, she didn’t care. The girl had bigger issues, but she was good at tossing them aside and trying only to see the good in herself as well, even if it meant she ignored important, but difficult problems. She preferred to cruise through life with rose-colored glasses. She knew things would always work out.
One day the girl met a boy. The boy was young and full of promise. He was intriguing to the girl, because he was clearly someone who was not like her at all. He seemed a bit rough around the edges, but he was the picture of confidence and self-assuredness—something the girl was not. Of course, the girl being the naïve romantic that she was saw him not as someone she should stay away from, but as someone who could be the yin to her yang so to speak. She was in love at first sight.
The boy seemed interested in the girl too. Perhaps there is truth to the saying that opposites attract. In this case, the sparks were sparkling, the pheromones were flying and love blossomed quickly. They may have been nothing alike, but their differences were like the opposing curves of two puzzle pieces—it made them a perfect fit.
The boy was kind and affectionate. He didn’t mind that the girl was a bit nerdy and awkward. She was pretty at least. And smart. The girl didn’t mind that the boy was more of a tough guy and a jock. He was handsome at least. And really smart. He taught her about ice hockey, and parties and letting loose and above all, romance. She taught him about romantic literature and art and seeing the world as an adventure waiting to happen. They truly enjoyed entering one another’s worlds and soon fit into them as if they’d always been a part of them. The girl could scream louder than any hockey fan and could party like the president of Animal House. The boy could dress up a bit and stroll through the Metropolitan Museum of Art like a seasoned art lover. They were passionate about each other. They were young, but knew that they would always be together.
And so it was. The smart, confidant boy graduated and began his life and the girl with the rose colored glasses followed. They were very happy together and made plans to be together forever. The girl encouraged him along the way, and always led the cheering section for the boy, whether it was in hockey or in life. When it came time for him to find a career, it was the girl who perused the newspaper ads and bulletin boards for the boy. The girl helped him type his resume and pushed him toward the interview for the job that would eventually grow to be a successful 10 year career. The girl wasn’t worried about herself. Those rose-colored glasses assured her that she would be happy whether she found something for herself or not. The girl was more interested in her guy’s happiness than her own. Besides, when the boy proposed marriage, she was assured that he would take care of her for the rest of her life anyway. What more did she need? She had decided that her job was to ensure the boy was happy. She felt she couldn’t be any happier herself.
For awhile, this plan worked out well. Both the boy and the girl were very happy indeed. Until one day when the boy decided he wanted something more. While the girl was content simply being a wife and now, a mother, the boy was yearning for greater fulfillment. To the boy, this meant no longer working for others. He wanted to work for himself. Of course, the girl was all for it. Naturally she encouraged his plans. In fact, she may have even planted the seed of his dream when she had suggested that their fair city could use just such an establishment that the boy would soon purchase and plan to run. So of course it only made sense that the girl would encourage the boy every step of the way. Before long, the dream was not only the boy’s, but the girl’s equally. While the boy invested time, money, and labor into this project, the girl invested her emotions. The boy was always so smart and clever, and accomplished much in a short period of time. But as with any business venture, it was fraught with setbacks and difficulties. Since the girl was ever an optimist, she kept cheering on the boy, assuring him that things would work out and the dream would eventually materialize. She didn’t want him to give up, even when it meant near financial ruin for their family. The girl thought the best way she could help was to stick by the boy, encourage him, and fight for him. She never considered ways to contribute in a more tangible fashion, like getting a job herself to help out. She could only see herself as the stay-at-home mom she was. Her children were very young and needed her. Besides, she didn’t believe she could find a job that would make enough money to be worth it. She was naïve, remember? She had also spent all her time cheering on the boy and raising the babies, and had been content to do so. Now that the boy was no longer content with things, well, it was only then that the girl questioned whether she needed to try something else to keep him happy. But the girl had never finished her advanced degree and had not worked outside the home for many years. They couldn’t afford college now. The girl was not qualified for any real salaried jobs. She would have to settle for hourly positions which certainly wouldn’t pay a babysitter if she needed one. The girl suddenly felt useless and dejected. The rose-colored glasses were becoming tarnished and scratched.
Nevertheless, the girl tried her best to keep that rosy outlook. She convinced herself and the boy that things were going to be ok. Yet sadly, after several years of setbacks, the boy’s business venture seemed to be at a dead end. Even the girl had to admit that perhaps it was time to give up the dream, especially since it was beginning to erode her already fulfilled dream of a happy family life.
Heartbroken, the boy decided it was finally time to move on. The girl was every bit as heartbroken as the boy. In fact she may have been even more so because she felt his pain as well as her own. It took many months, but it seemed that the boy was finally at peace with what was ultimately the death of a dream. Sadly however, and unnoticed at first by the girl, the boy also suffered the death of part of his soul. He would be unable to truly move on, which would prove all the more tragic when the girl was in fact able to move on without him.
Soon, the girl would finally have a new dream of her own. This didn’t mean she was through with being her boy’s biggest fan. She would never stop loving and encouraging him. However, she started to recognize a yearning within herself as well. That yearning was for stability. The girl found herself mentally and emotionally exhausted from the years of uncertainty and risk and worry that came from the boy’s state of affairs. She wanted to have a sense of security and hope for a better future. Again, she looked to the boy to provide this. In her naïveté, she didn’t see anything wrong with wanting it that way. So when the boy landed a terrific job, with a good salary and benefits, all while seemingly at peace with everything, the girl couldn’t have been happier.
That’s when those nearly tarnished rose-colored glasses essentially shattered. The boy suddenly found a way to reignite his business-ownership dream. What he had given up was now taken back, full-steam ahead. And shockingly, the girl who had once been unable to fathom anything but encouraging the boy, was now in the uncomfortable position of wishing this wasn’t happening. Her first response was not one of encouragement, but one of disbelief and anger. This surprised even herself.
Somehow though, the girl managed to pick up a rose-colored shard and used it. She sought that proverbial silver-lining and thought that perhaps this would somehow be a good thing. The boy could fulfill his dream, all while maintaining the girl’s dream that had seemingly come true—the stability. The girl decided to focus on that thought. She imagined the boy being able to truly do it all: keep the day job and the stability, all while pursuing his true dream of business ownership to the fullest. The boy was her superhero after all, why not??
Every superhero has his downfall however. Superman had kryptonite. The boy had tunnel vision and a broken heart. He continued to try and try to achieve his dream. He was determined to see his dream through, no matter what the cost. The girl remained understanding and did her best to fulfill her self-appointed role as cheerleader. This time however, the boy did not want it. He could not get past his broken heart. The boy felt his dream was not really his anymore. He did not feel fully part of it, since he was no longer there geographically and physically. He was not comfortable with the idea of running things long-distance. The girl understood. She didn’t know how to be the cheerleader anymore though, especially since the boy didn’t seem to want it. In fact, the boy didn’t seem to want anything from the girl anymore. He only wanted his business. He wanted only to be somewhere else. How could the girl be a fan of this? Now the girl was lost. Without someone to encourage and cheer for, she didn’t know what to do. She had always made it her job to keep others happy. In her naïveté, she thought she was doing just that through all the years she’d been with the boy. She didn’t know how to deal with the boy now that nothing could make him happy except for being away from her.
The girl was devastated. The boy was depressed and angry and stressed. The promise of stability was broken. The girl’s inability to make a difference was killing her. Adding insult to injury, the boy become insufferably antagonistic. If he couldn’t be happy then he was determined that no one else should be either. If the home was the girl’s place of employment, then she would be able to sue over a hostile work environment. It became unbearable. The boy was incapable of finding any joy in his family. The family, sensing this deeply, could only respond in kind.
The girl was giving up hope. She grew weary of hearing resentment in the boy’s every word. She grew incapable of optimism. The boy’s anger became vitriol directed at the girl and their children. The words he spoke grew uglier every day. On occasion it even became physical violence. It was at this point that the girl’s heart broke on its very own.
Where this story goes from here is undetermined. The conclusion cannot be written as it hasn’t yet happened. The girl, who had always been full of hope, if not determination, all these years, is struggling to find some. She wonders if she made it this far precisely because she’d always been so optimistic. If that is the case, then what will happen to her when hope is lost and optimism is gone? If the very things that carried the girl and boy through the tough times are absent, then what? Does it mean the boy and girl will lose each other? Or are they already lost? Without hope, one can’t imagine something better than that.
The only thing that is for sure is that the girl is indeed a broken spirit, like the boy. Yet she still cannot imagine doing anything to hurt the boy in spite of all the hurt he has caused her. The girl loves that boy. To her, that is still the only thing that matters. She just doesn’t know if the boy feels the same.
To be continued….hopefully.