There are many stories in here, so forgive the multiple parentheticals – recognizing of course, that really talented writers don’t use them often. Ah well, I’ve never claimed to be a really talented writer.
Anyway, I was speaking with my builder last week. A few years ago, her birthday gift from her husband was a girls’ weekend at an exclusive hotel. These women have been friends for years; there are no secrets. Well, with an abundance of alcohol there are no secrets. And they imbibed – a lot. One of her friends has been happily married for many years. Great guy – sweet, attentive, doting – the kind of guy everyone else in the group holds up as the example when they’re arguing with their spouses.
After many drinks, her friend acknowledged that as much as she loved him, he wasn’t her ‘Stewart’. Stewart was the one who got away. Her college sweetheart – part dog, part romantic fool. She was besotted, he was hormonal. But she held out a fantasy, wondering for years, ‘what if’.
To abbreviate the tale, over the years her feelings for her husband have replaced that wonder. She adores him – even though he wasn’t her ‘Stewart’.
I’ve never had a Stewart. Perhaps it’s because I married often enough that by the time I hit 30, the prospect of a fantasy romance would have just enervated me. I was a single mom with two boys under the age of five. And honestly, being a mom was pretty much the only fantasy I ever really had that I insisted on making a reality (but that’s another story).
So let’s move on.
Have I told you that my sister is flippin’ brilliant? On so many levels, this woman amazes me constantly (Debbie, I know you are shaking your head, telling me that this is same-sex, birth order bullshit – and even if you’re right, so what? It is what it is. Truth for sure – and some residual younger-sister-will-never-be-as-good neurosis for good measure). She is beautiful, scary smart, talented beyond measure – and she is a writer – the legitimate kind. In one of her recent stories she wrote “you fall in love with the way someone falls in love with you”. Brilliant.
I fell in love with the way Andy fell in love with me. He made himself fit into my life with such an abundance of heart, romance, delight – he introduced me to his magic and I was ultimately mesmerized. He is my Stewart, but he isn’t the one who got away. He’s the one who stayed.
We may fall in love with the vision of love that we see, but we stay in love with the person who orchestrated the imagery. The person who may not be who we first saw (and are we the person they first saw?), but who’s in it with you. The person who can be your best friend and some weird extra-terrestrial at the same time and still be cute. The one who drives you crazy in every conceivable way. I’m a kite; Andy is an anchor. He’s judgmental; I’m not (but for my expectations of sub-contractors working on our house, but they’re not reading this). We are opposite sides of the same coin – and that is the kind of love that can’t be fabricated by fantasy.
We fall in love with the way someone falls in love with us. True enough. We love the person who knew how to make that happen. Perhaps I never had a Stewart because I have an Andy. And even though this has absolutely nothing to do with what I intended to pen today, it is what’s been on my mind all morning. So, I guess therein is another story.