The story of my romance is a fairly recent one. When I say romance, I don’t mean my current relationship, either. I mean my interest (at all) in romance and relationships. In fact, I didn’t court (or even want to court) my first (and only) fair lady until I was almost 18 years old. Prior to that, I was a functional, if somewhat perturbed, misogynist and more or less a prick, caught in this perpetual languor of human functions. I didn’t want to love anyone, I didn’t want to socialise with anyone, and I didn’t want to waste my time with anyone. I was short on patience, short on tact, and long on vitriol.
Part of this has to do with my childhood, which, let us say, was a happy one. I certainly wasn’t on the receiving end of abuse, poverty, or misfortune. I grew up with both parents, two siblings, pets, snow days, good grades, dorky school photos, and a tendency to poop my pants (at a young age, mind you!). So, naturally, I became a dispassionate, cynical teenager, not quite a full-blown rebel with a cause but angsty enough to be a pain in the ass and concern the poor folks who cared for me.
I suppose much of said personality has to do with the amount of stuff I read as a child. You can imagine the horror of the kindly old librarians when I would check out books mostly concerning teen pregnancy, drug abuse, sexual abuse, dangerous creatures, atomic theory, and law, sometimes at the same time. I read cynical humorists such as Dave Barry, listened to Rush Limbaugh sometimes (I’m so ashamed….), and mostly just clung to the things people bitched about.
So, understandably, love was somewhat of a nonfactor for me growing up. I would declare loudly to anyone who would listen that I wouldn’t go to a dance with the hottest woman in the world, and would never marry in a million years. Probably, I would deadpan, I’d never bother having sex. Who the hell cares, anyway?
This served me pretty well, actually. I don’t regret missing the dating scene in junior high, a carnival creation of such vomitous nature that it was conceptual ipecac. I used to have a hobby wherein I would collect “notes” that I found on the ground (or occasionally in wastebaskets) and laugh at the pathetic banter therein. It was, without fail, either two girls blathering on about some insignificant crush, or a girl shamelessly courting a dumb brick of a guy, and always with spelling and grammar that would make an inner city youth cringe. “Hey wat [up arrow]? N2mh.” It was the precursor to internet shorthand, before such a contrivance was even commonplace.
But I digress.
My prickly panoply served me rather well, even throughout the first three years of high school, where relationships still seemed rather vacuous, but now scarily physical! No longer was it “Hey, I think ur cute, wanna go out?” but rather “I’ve had enough beers to find you attractive. Let’s fuck.” Here was a scene that did not interest me at all (still doesn’t, in that sense), and in response, my outlook grew even more candidly morbid.
What happened near the end of my junior year is something that I will quite understand, but which will always puzzle me. I began writing a novel, a rather bizarre affair with Joycean style. It told the story of a young high school boy named Adelon who was bitterly cynical, feeling out of touch with his surroundings, living each day quietly observing and criticising the world around him (sound familiar?). I will post the 9 chapters that I have at some point. Anyway, several chapters in, I introduce a young, dark-haired girl named Catalina, who is deceptively intelligent, but also a bit alienated (not socially) from her peers, and who is tremendously affected, emotionally.
Limned as art, she was the self-sustaining but wholly cryptic ambiguity of a portrait denounced by some as the filthy tenet of modernism and known to others as the kind of brilliance unable to be seen by mortal eyes.
The oddity was, she could no longer distinguish between the modes of her mind: it is wholly possible that she waxed as analytical as mathematicians, but you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference. That any frame of a girl could be wracked by such pathos is as tragic as it is wonderful.
She glanced up, composed, briefly catching the eye of a rather scrawny boy who looked at her with a savage curiosity. Lust? It was hard to tell, and she was not one to poke at hidden motives, the kind only humans can have. She did not know him, or his name, but felt the hope of kinship. Immediately, she thought herself silly and sat down, ears and cheeks flushed with blood.
And between them was silence: there can be no dialogue yet.
During the summer of my junior year, I plunged headfirst into sociality, spending the bulk of my time with friends (who I’d had, but rarely associated with), and suddenly forfeited my 7-year streak of vegetarianism (which as another blog altogether), and made an entry on my then-blog saying that “i feel as though i riding the crest of some wave, whose influence exponentiates in my eyes until i seem on the very shoulders of god.”
This was before I met Allison. “i feel as if this somehow precipitates a change in my character…”
I was smitten the first time I saw her. And the more I learned about her, the worse it got. I was so conflicted that I got terrible indigestion and headaches. Then one day, I heard through the grapevine that she was aware of my affections, and my whole world was thrown upside down. When a mutual friend (thank you, Nick!) convinced her to talk to me, my life changed forever. I won’t bore you with the rest of the story, except to say that we will be at 16 months at the end of February, and are very much in love.
Therein is my Valentine’s Day story: rather oddly, my life mimicked my art, like Charlie Kaufman’s Adaptation, to a frightening degree. I have wondered, perhaps, if I was have always longed to be in love, but afraid to place myself in harm’s way to become so enamoured. It has occurred to me that I ended up writing more of myself into young Adelon than I had originally intended. Such is life. I regret nothing.