November 4, 2014 by Melanie L.
I never owned a crystal ball. Even if I did, I can assure you that I would have seen nothing in it but a reflection of the other side of the room. I did own a Ouija board once, but the only thing that manifested was an argument over who pushed the planchette.
Yet, despite this mystic handicap, at age sixteen, I knew something. I knew that my romantic love would tarry. I don’t mean that I twirled my hair around my finger and fretted about love the way teens are wont to do. Nor do I mean that I calculated the data of unhappy pairs plus the number of spinsters and realized that statistics favor loneliness. I mean I knew. I knew the same way I know how to breathe. It was instinctual. The knowledge came from some celestial stone etching and branded itself onto my soul at birth.
And I rebelled.
I met my first raven-haired crush at a sweet 16 party. About a month or so later, when my new crush and I found ourselves on an empty golf course lit only by the fading summer twilight, I wished for a first kiss and hoped my knowledge was the product of teen angst, nothing more. I even penned a letter to my crush declaring him to be my soul mate. But, putting it in writing didn’t hasten love.
New beaus came and went, and I revolted each time against this thing I knew. I dated and dated and dated, desperate to prove I could avoid the loneliness I knew was coming for me. With each successive relationship, I yanked our lives together ever tighter. I feverishly called and instant messaged needing to prove wrong this thing I knew. Before long, I measured the length of my relationships by the moon rather than by the season.
Then the weddings started. I served as bridesmaid, first to my cousin, then to my little sister. My three best friends followed suit in close succession. I started to close in on 30 and found only strength enough to fight back tears and none left over to circumvent that thing I knew. Loneliness closed in amid overstuffed couch cushions and discarded ramen noodle cups.
Until one day, I’d had enough. I shouted to my ethereal Brandisher, “Just give me children and I’ll love their father!”
Eighteen months later, by way of reply, I found myself walking down the aisle, this time as the bride. We shared a house, cared for two pets, created two lives. But every night, just as sleep nipped at my consciousness, I imagined the bed expanding, each side rocketing away from the other at light speed. Though the bed never actually moved, the sensation was so potent it caused me to have motion sickness. I popped a Dramamine but to no avail. In truth, I was lonelier in marriage than I had ever been on my own.
Six long years after I shouted to the ceiling for children and six short weeks after I moved out of my marital home, I found myself running a few minutes late to meet a new date.
“Sorry I’m late.” I offered as I breezed through the door to my local wine bar. Our eyes met; his raven waves drew me in. And then I knew I was right on time.