More on that in a minute, First, a look back at the ramblings of a half-crazed man from one year ago today:
MAN SEEKS SOMEONE who doesn't suck. There: a six-word personal ad that says everything I want on this Valentine's Day 2012. And spare me the snarky heh-heh and blow-job innuendos. This isn't about sex — if it was, I'd have hired a hooker and paid her to leave.
This is about Romance, kids. An old photographer friend used to say he loved first dates — the anticipation and anxiety, butterflies in the stomach, the first scent of her perfume in your nose. After that it's all downhill for the realists of the world, but it's the lifeblood of Romantics, the intoxicant that never grows old. In my perfect world I date the same woman one time, over and over again, and she's always a stranger at the start of lunch — questions waiting to be asked and answered, a mystery waiting to be revealed. Nervous energy, flutters of flirtation, a kiss on the back of her hand. Groundhog Day for Romantics.
It doesn't work that way, of course. She gets to know me, she discovers things she can't stand, she stops returning my texts and calls. In a way it's a perfect circle; the woman who was a stranger goes back to being a stranger. If it's timed out just right she leaves before the Big 3 holidays — Christmas, Valentine's Day, my birthday — and she doesn't have to shell out a dime for presents. That's the case this year.
I've shuffled through the online dating forums, looked at dozens of photos of women who say they're looking for That Special Someone, the Man of their Dreams. Some have winked at me; I send back digital winks while wincing. So this is what pitiful people do.
Truth: Being without someone this Valentine's Day is excruciating. Being with someone you don't like is preferable to being alone and lonely on the day of red hearts and flowers; at least you get chocolate and a card, even if the sentiment comes from Hallmark and the sender is someone who's tired of your ass. It's the thought that counts, amirite?
So instead of dinner and flowers and the air of kind (or kinda) love in the air, VD 2012 is a decidedly different affair at the southside Apartment de Davis: a shot or four of vodka or tequila (or both!), a toast to the cat as he crawls across my chest and meows in my face. Maybe a brief flare of agony, but only after I'm good and drunk and willing to let my guard slip. Even when it's just the cat here, I try to maintain some sense of decorum. I might let him see me shed a dozen tears, but he'd better not try to console me. Bastard knows better. He's the only one who's going to bitch about me being a morose asshole on Feb. 14, and because he's an indoor cat he won't be able to go out and peddle my sorry-ass story for catnip. He'll just clamor for tuna and I'll feed him and pretend it's dinner for two. Maybe I'll light a candle and put out placemats.
J'ai une âme solitaire. I am a lonely soul. My brave face says I like it this way.
One year later, and while so much has changed, the core remains.
In that time I have written a lot about love in this space. Whining, puling, pleading, wailing: I keep trying to push away the emotion that refuses to die. Each time it comes back and I embrace it with a fervor that frightens.
That's because I believe in Love — not candy-heart LUV, not infatuation, lower-case love: I'm talking the real deal, the shit that comes like a bolt out of nowhere and smacks me between the eyes. Real Love, the once-in-a-lifetime experience that forgives all slights and hurts.
I have experienced plenty of love in my life, but Love — that burning eluded me, then captured me, then betrayed me, and even as I shun it now I long for the serenity it brought to my soul. It changed me for the better. It marked me for life.
Valentine's Day 2013: no drinking myself into a stupor, no searching for the euphoric depressant that once seemed the only antidote to the blackness. Those days are past; those supposed solutions solved nothing and only made matters worse. They only complicated life and clouded my vision.
All I need is Love. Fucking Beatles and their simple, enigmatic truths. It's easy. It was always that easy. Why did I make it so difficult?