Some months ago I was reading an Author Spotlight on Eliza David’s page and it started off with what I thought was a fascinating bio about the author. It said something about her being unlucky in love, a hopeless romantic, but being unintentionally celibate because dudes, and my mind burst out all over the place, shouting like a fool, “Look, I’m not the only one who’s unlucky in love and celibate! There are others like me, too!” For the first time, I’d found someone who–
It was a book description, not the author’s bio.
She was describing a fictional character that does not exist in real life. And I was like, “No! Am I like a freaking fictional character?”
Does that mean the right dude is about to roll up the block? [He didn’t, though I’ll be on the lookout for him when I go running next, checking between stray hedgehogs and dog poop – you know, just in case.]
That got me to thinking how much my life has descended into a disastrous romance novel cliche. I can’t get over the ex-husband. I can’t get myself to date anyone else (going on seven years, which is ridiculous). The dude I might’ve liked nearly asphyxiated when he spent the night in my flat with my two cats (apparently he’s allergic).
Then look at my trip to a swing dance festival last weekend.
I arrived at the hotel to my single room to this lovely welcome:
Thank you, hotel, for making me feel so much better [sarcasm].
Then, of course, there’s the view onto the nice concrete roof that welcomes me to bash my head on it:
But I’m a good romance novel character, right, so heads up! Pep talk. Let’s do this.
I open my hotel room door, and who should walk by but my ex-husband.
“Ahoj, Sonyee,” he greets me in my pet name in his soft, smiling voice.
Then he unlocks the door right next to mine.
In a ten-story hotel, he has the room right beside mine.
I’m like WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
I shut my door. Good romance-novel heroine, I remind myself, and go dancing that evening at the intro party to the dance festival. Of course I make a cake of myself by offending people and dancing like crap. The only success of the evening was taking a picture of another girl having fun:
The next day, trudging up the stairs in the hotel in the afternoon, the romance-novel disaster case continues. I fall into step behind my ex-husband walking up the stairs with another woman.
They go into his hotel room together and shut the door.
I go into mine and I’m like, “Aren’t things like that only supposed to happen in movies?” I mean, what are the chances? At this precise moment, we both meet on the stairs, our rooms right beside one another’s…
Like a good heroine, I thought I should learn something. I dredged up some promising quotes I’d come across recently that stuck with me.
One went something like: “I’ve stopped asking the universe, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ and started asking, ‘What is it telling me to do?’ instead.”
And the other quote was, “Never give up. You never know who’s watching your journey and being inspired by it.”
I think, “I should come to some cosmic conclusion, turn my life around, or get rip-roaring drunk.”
My big realization is that I look at my feet and realize I only have one pair of socks for four days – that is, the same ones I arrived in and was wearing on the four-hour bus journey. And apparently, the only open place that sells socks on the weekend is across the city the festival was in.
I spend the rest of the weekend drenching my single pair of socks in perfume. Every night I’m dancing till 3am and getting to bed after 4:25am because my OCD screams, “You must not defile the bed with your unshowered self, minion! Get under that spray!” Then up again around 8am for breakfast.
Repeat four days.
One unpleasant conversation with the ex. One incident with the hotel involving paper falling where it had no business and a hotel employee having to fetch it out. Much bad dancing on my part. Some fun dancing, too.
Laughter. Depression. Loneliness.
Finally, the last night.
Most people have left. The ones that stay are the ones who really want to milk the weekend down to the last dance. The ex is lying down in the corner surrounded by his harem (seriously, he was just lying there stretched out full length with like four or five girls sitting around him).
I dance with this one guy. We do this move where the girl is supposed to rest her hand on the guy’s chest. My hand never touches. It hovers close and then pulls back, a tease, coy – unintentionally. I just don’t make contact because I’m an introvert and don’t feel comfortable pressing my palm to a dude’s heart.
But when I do the hand-hovering-over-the-heart-but-not-touching with this particular partner, he laughs and says, “Aw, that’s the best part! Guys love that!”
So the next time we did the dance move, I made a point of actually making chest contact and resting my palm on his heart for a moment. The heavenly expression he made when I did sent me into uncontrollable giggles. And every time we did that move, I made a point of chest contact and he made a point of grinning, and it was so freeing just to laugh at something plain fun and simple.
Then came the trip home and I called my mom. [Let’s not forget that every romance-novel heroine has the mother figure there to offer sage advice.]
I’m hoping for some upbeat news. My mom tells me this story about these kids from our church who went on a mission trip to Puerto Rico and were swimming in the ocean where you could see clear through to the bottom. One of the girls saw something white on the sea bed and rubbed her foot over it, and it was soft.
What was it?
She and this dude pulled it up, and it was a decapitated goat’s head.
“What was a goat head doing in the ocean?” my mom asks.
I don’t know, Mom, but it makes about as much sense as my staying celibate for seven years.
I guess that means I’ve got the disastrous romance-heroine back-story down pat.
Now where’s my man?
Thanks for reading! I wish I could tell you the meaning of life, but I can’t even figure out the meaning of the goat head.
Anyway, off I go to write more books with heroines who actually have a significant other to speak of.
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