Saturday, January 28, 2006

A Fairy Tale


Once upon a time there was a girl. She was a little neurotic, a little tough and a little wild - not so different from girls everywhere. Her whole life she believed that she would grow up, meet the man of her dreams in some incredibly romantic way and then live happily ever after. Like Cinderella she would get a gorgeous prince that came and rescued her from mean people and housework. Life had other plans.

Life threw distractions at her - tried to fake her out with every man but the right one. First, there was the one she was in love with the idea of being in love with. Then life sent her the one that she really wanted to love but just couldn't find the place in her heart for. He moved away only to reappear years later and propose marriage. She didn't have a place for him then either.

Next came the one she thought she loved and who ended up being a good friend instead. She spent almost 7 years with that one and learned what it meant to be loved and hated all at the same time. Somewhere in there came the one that reminded her she was sexy and beautiful - followed immediately by the one that was the definition of wrong place, wrong time and whose memory would forever remind her of what it felt like to be a cheater. Then came the one who broke her heart for the first time in her life - she could have done without that one.

At this point it seemed utterly ridiculous to even entertain the possibility that true, life-altering love was out there. Why did she care about some smelly boy loving her anyway? Aren't they from Mars? The inner feminist bellowed - "I don't need some beer swilling, boob ogling Martian to give me self-worth! Me and my self-worth are just fine on our own, thank you very much!" She settled in and decided that love was not all it was cracked up to be and besides, sex and the single life were a lot more fun anyway.

So off she went - to the personal ads, to the bars, on one notable occasion to the tattoo parlor, to anywhere guys congregated and she dragged a friend or two into the fray with her. Then came "the corner."

How bizarre to pass by a corner in the middle of the night and see him there. He was all that she imagined when she was younger and Lloyd Dobbler was the perfect man (OK so Lloyd Dobbler is still the perfect man, but that is beside the point). He was tall. He had dark hair and gorgeous eyes. He had broad shoulders and a nice ass. He must be homeless or schizophrenic. Setting her cynicism aside she thought, "If the picture in my head of what the perfect guy looks like can come to life and be standing here in front of me with no visible defects then maybe true love can exist, too." So, smart or not, she made her move. Granted - it wasn't the typical move, but at least there was still that part of her willing to put herself out there and attempt to snare her very own boob ogling Martian. That one-night-stand turned into many nights and eventually something else.

Flash forward a few years. The man of her dreams is now her husband and the world continues to turn. Some days things are all about just loving each other. Most days are about just living. Work, school, bills, kid...RESPONSIBILITIES. She never believed those Calgon commercials, but now she lives them - minus the giant bathtub full of bubbles. Hot baths are no longer about candles, bubbles and a glass of wine. Hot baths are now just an opportunity to to shave her legs without having to balance on one leg.

Sometimes another life winks at her from off in the distance and she wonders what it would be like to visit...and then he looks at her. He looks at her and she remembers what that first smile felt like. The way her whole body went weak the first time their lips touched. The night he gave her roses and told her he loved her for the first time. The way they got up one morning and got married. They way they sat up smoking and drinking wine while they made the scariest (and best) decision of their lives.

Everything she needs is in that look. It tells her that she is beautiful. That she is desired. That she is capable and smart. It reminds her that she would be just fine on her own, but is the luckiest woman in the world to have him standing beside her. That look tells her she is funny and friendly and amazing for her quirks.

She may not have had the prince take her away from mean people and housework, but she got strength and courage and fearlessness. She got beauty and passion and wonder. She got the daily reminder that the world hasn't gone crazy because love is out there - even if sometimes it is standing on a street corner in the middle of the night!