Creative Writing

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Solitare is My Favorite Game



In October of 2003 I turned seventeen. I had a great boyfriend, I was a starter on the Varsity Field Hockey team and eventually was voted Most Humorous in my senior class. I had never experienced any other lifestyle besides the one I was living everyday from 8:00am to 1:30pm on the corner of Foothill and Valley Center Boulevard. Being so sheltered, I thought of my life as ideal and never anticipated change. The only thing I was truly focused on was my relationship with Alex and where it was going. In my mind, we were going to get married and live a long happy life together. In my mind, everything was perfect.
Jump to today and I’m not with Alex. He is now a Marine at Camp Pendleton. I haven’t talked to him in a while. I haven’t had any other boyfriends since Alex. It’s not that I never wanted one again, but when you start to truly grow up you realize what you really want in a significant other. I do not consider settling a form of true love. I know what I have in mind and I’m waiting for it.
Alex and I were together throughout our first year of college. He went to Long Beach State, which isn’t too far away, but the transition from seeing each other everyday to being limited to only weekend visits was trying on both of us. Alex would commit long weekends to spending them with me, cruising over in his Navy blue Bronco and unloading his black duffle bag into my friend Kenny’s room so he could stay the night. Sometimes he would be standing at my door holding white daisies with an illuminating smile. Other times, he would walk in, tired and tense from a long drive in southern California traffic. Our relationship seemed promising when summer finally came and nothing seemed wrong. Most of our summer days and nights were spent together at his apartment, sitting on the deep green couches, doing nothing at all. In all actuality, our relationship became boring.
“What movie should we watch tonight?” I would ask routinely, as if I was a nurse asking for the previous medical history of a random patient. The only thing moving faster than us were the images on the screen, lighting our unenthusiastic faces up with each click, click of the remote.
“I don’t care. Pick one.” He would reply, flipping between ESPN and Fox Sports, gripping the remote with bored fingers. Click, click.
“I can’t decide. What do you want to watch?”
“I dunno.” Click, click.
“Well, what do you want to do then?” At this point I would find more enjoyment
in playing with a small piece of fuzz with my toes while lying on the shaggy tan carpet. All Alex would say back was click, click.
That’s why I stayed in it. That never-changing arm to hold onto while going up stairways, that familiar smell of his truck, that consistent phone call every morning, all parts of the routine I thought I needed to be happy. I needed to feel like I would never be lonely again.
And now, I’m single. Of course I get lonely sometimes and get jealous when my friends find someone, but I can’t control it. Of course I want to throw up when I see cute, love-drunk couples holding hands and giggling at their own enviable adoration for each other. There is a lot of pressure at this age to find someone and be secure. At this moment I know of nine different couples who are engaged to be married. I also went to the wedding of two nineteen-year olds fresh out of high school, while preparing for my cousins wedding in November. Within two weeks I discovered that three girls from my graduating class have since been united in matrimony with good looking men whom they have been with for less than two years. How can I not roll my eyes, sigh dramatically and cross my arms in a five-year-old fashion every time something like this is brought to my attention?
However, these reactions are rare. Most of the time, I am overjoyed by the news of an engagement. I try my best to bare my teeth with great magnitude each time I am told that a new ring has been placed on a young woman’s finger. I take a small step back, realize it isn’t their fault I am single, and shower them in congratulations only because I know that one day, I will be just as giddy and overly happy as they are.
Alex and I broke up in an extremely immature manner. He decided to end things with me five minutes before he left for work. While I sat on his bed, not believing any words coming out of his mouth, he grabbed the brown leather belt I gave him from Christmas and brushed his teeth.
“Listen,” he said, “you can stay here if you want. You’re kind of emotional. I don’t want you driving like this. I’ll be back at nine if you want to talk or something. Bye.” He turned and opened the door.
“Wait, uh, Alex…” I tried to make a complete sentence before he was gone. It didn’t work. He left and after about thirty minutes, I did too. I thought I was going to die. The pain in my chest was worse than anything I had felt before. It even beat out the shin splints I had acquired during Field Hockey season. There is no athletic tape for a broken heart.
My friends told me the obligatory reassurances:
“You’ll find someone else.”
“There are plenty of fish in the sea.”
“He just wasn’t the one for you.”
“You’re better off!”
Normally, people don’t listen to these cliché statements which are routinely made to the freshly brokenhearted. Their words are void compared to the aching pain in their chest. If only I had known how true those words would be only months later.
Being in college for the first time as a single woman has really changed my lifestyle. I am able to confidently explore my options for my future without having to add in the relationship factor. Even though my phone is not ringing off the hook with gentleman wanting my undisturbed attention, I’m secure with the fact that it will ring eventually and someone important will be on the other end. I like being able to hang out in my grungy pajamas and lime green facial masks with my friends without worrying about surprise significant other visits. I like to try new things with new people whenever possible.
Presently, I am at ease with being single. There is nothing about my life that I would change at the moment. I live with three amazing friends whom I am more myself with than anyone in the world. I have made more changes with my major, my future, and my goals than ever before and I feel good about each decision I’ve made. Everyday I wake up, anxious for the future. I know won’t be single forever, but for now, I am and that isn’t a tragedy, it’s an opportunity.

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