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No Plus One

Confessions from a photographer who sees everyone else find their person.

By Rilee AreyPublished 27 days ago Updated 24 days ago 4 min read
Top Story - May 2024

It's nearly one AM and I just got back from my third wedding of the four in this last month alone, and I have always been alone. I hide behind my camera to pretend to be useful, hide behind a safety net of skill set. So I do not have to confront the loneliness that is sleeping alone when everyone else seems to have a partner to crawl into bed with. I love the time spent with those who decided I was worth the 30-plus dollars per plate they decided to spend on me, and I do not need to have a partner on these occasions, but it would be nice to have someone notice, me. See when I am in the corner because they know I need time to recharge and to kiss me on the head until the time has come to leave. Maybe that's the problem about being a professional storyteller, I dream of something that isn't meant for me.

Everyone makes jokes about how you will find someone when you least expect it, but the problem is I am always expecting it, no matter if it's meant to be part of my plot or not. I romanticize stories with people that I have only ever shared a glance with, someone passing by, or if I happen to sit next to a possibility in a train or plane seat, even though my travel wear resembles a hermit usually. I am someone who anticipates the new character in the plot before the storyline has been written.

I love being surrounded by love, it fills the room, shared laughter, untold stories, sweets and alcohol usually represent a good story and time shared. But after visiting my brother and his wife who have been each other's other half since grade eleven, it's hard not to envy their shared life a little bit. They are doing their white picket fence life, filled with Sunday city league slow-pitch softball games and weekly dinners with my grandparents. Their life is filled with a goofy doodle, twelve years of memories of growing up together, and the connection of having another consistent person in their life. I would be lying if I said, their happiness didn't make me a little sad for the life I will not live. My heart is so full of them and the blocks to their foundation of love and life together, I just miss that for myself too.

It hits hard when I visit my 85-year-old grandma who is a large part of my world, and she may not ever see me get married, or find someone who I love before she is no longer in my life. It is hard knowing what it was like to have someone want to be close to you, to be disheveled with, to acknowledge what a night you just had and lay in the same bed quiet, but next to each other. Marriage is definitely not all rainbows, but at least it's commitment. At least it is two people deciding that legally their life would be better with their partner and to make a legal and costly binding.

I am a photographer, I capture the story of your day, and I wouldn't have it any other way, but I wish I had someone to marvel over my messy ending shots and hold me up when I am too tired to stand. That last one might be a stretch, but I miss the act of fully leaning against someone who will hold you. On a wedding day, love is often palpable. Everyone attempts to be on their best behavior, dressed to the nines and fuelled with liquid conversational courage. It's a physical representation of those who will show up for you in your life and the romance is in the air. Their personalizations add to their personality and our job is to capture and make it be a day you want to look at and remember.

Everyone is around the table talking, and I sit in the corner eating cake, not to be a loner, but to hold solace in the feelings of the moment. To sit here knowing I am okay being alone, but how it's just another night where you feel that absence a little more. I hate using the word lonely, as I feel like those who feel lonely, seek someone to fill and fix not build on. But after this last year of being on my own, I feel like I am building up my love to give to someone while still understanding who I am. I don't believe I am ready for marriage, despite the dream romantic plots I have imagined about this mystery-faced man in my head, but I think I am heading towards being ready for the latter.

But for now, I will lay in this bed with a full face of smeared and aged makeup, dressy clothes that have overstayed their welcome, and the soft reminder that if they can find that person, maybe so will I.

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About the Creator

Rilee Arey

I am a professional life romantizer, with a heart that feels everything deeply. I am a moment collector through words and the ways around us.

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Comments (11)

  • Krysta Dawn12 days ago

    As someone who's loved and lost, it's definitely not all rainbows and unicorns. For me, there's something nice about that solitude. But, I've always been happier as a loner, even when I'm with someone. Romantic love will find you, especially when you're able to be this heartfelt with people you've never met. Excellent insights.

  • Andrea Corwin 18 days ago

    Awww..congrats on TS, well deserved!! Someday.... and just remember, those who profess all if lovey-dovey and oh so wonderful 99% of the time are making it up for appearances, LOL. Loved your story and confession.

  • Hasan20 days ago

    Your content writing services have exceeded my expectations. The articles were insightful, well-organized, and free of any errors. I appreciate your attention to detail and creativity.

  • shanmuga priya22 days ago

    Congratulations 🎉

  • The Dani Writer24 days ago

    Heartfelt sharing is a brave thing in today's world. Thank you for letting the walls down to let us peek inside. I think there, we can all find at least one or two remnants of resonance. Congratulations on being top-storied!

  • angela hepworth24 days ago

    This was such a unique perspective on love and relationships! Super powerful stuff, Rilee.

  • Tabby London24 days ago

    I enjoyed reading your article. Keep loving yourself without compromising. Good luck.

  • A well said piece. Congratulations.

  • Caroline Craven25 days ago

    This was so good Rilee. I really love the expression goofy doodle. Wishing you all the very best.

  • Erin Shea25 days ago

    "Maybe that's the problem about being a professional storyteller, I dream of something that isn't meant for me." Whew! That hit me like a ton of bricks! I adore this confessional (and related to a lot of what you said). Congrats on Top Story, Rilee!

Rilee AreyWritten by Rilee Arey

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