By: Claire Bassetti
She’s 59 years old. She sits on the porch of her 1950 vintage farm house in Virginia. She sits on a rocking chair on the porch. She looks out at the corn stalks surrounding her. She has a cigarette in hand, and she is alone. She doesn’t have any neighbors for miles of her. She is not afraid, she has become accustomed to the lonely. She prefers it. She is divorced. Her ex-husband a bum who she didn’t have time for. Misjudgment by her. She married him for trivial reasons. He really did have a lot of potential, but overall, she didn’t love him. She has one daughter whom she adores. The one thing in life she believes she did perfectly. She created a beautiful strong daughter who is independently living her life. She could never be prouder of anything. She sits on the rocking chair and thinks. She begins to think about life, and lost love.
As a teen she was “happy.” Her parents supported her dreams. She was satisfied. She depicted the athletic, knowledgeable flirty teen. She was amazing runner, and she became a killer lacrosse player. Boys loved her and often wanted her. She paid no attention. She partied on the weekends and then scored big in games during the week. She was popular, in the fact that she knew a lot of people. She craved more though. She doesn’t remember when her unhappiness started, but she remembers it always being there. She went though the days trying to please her father as best as she could in her athletics. She went through the days trying to please her mother as best as she could in her academics. She barely got through the weekends, so unhappy with how her life was turning out. Early into her junior year of high school she remembers she began drinking herself to blackout every weekend. Her friends throwing her behind couches or letting her fall asleep early into the party, so they wouldn’t need to worry about her. She was always found hooking up with some random boy in a closet if the alcohol hadn’t knocked her out yet. She was spiraling. Until she met her first love. She referred to him as her breath of fresh air. He pulled her out of her darkness. He changed her for the better. They fell head over heels for each other. Both athletes with a cocky, flirty attitude. They often played one on one basketball against each other. He never went easy on her, and she loved him for it. They would Facetime till crazy hours of the night. They left class to see each other and talk in the hallways. He created playlists that made him think of her. They adored each other, but when they fought, they were killer. He had no boundaries. He belittled her. He turned her against her friends. He manipulated her. She did not know how to be mean. She was a kind-hearted person. She cried a lot when they fought and looking back this was the most she cried in her life, ever. She did outrageous things when they fought. Things she never imagined herself doing in years. They were together on and off all through her junior and senior years of high school. They fought and made up. That was the continual pattern until one day they fought badly. He was mad at her for talking to another guy in class. He thought it was too flirty and she should know better than to talk to other guys. She was just asking him for the homework questions she had missed the day before. He told her he never wanted to see her again. He didn’t love her. She was going to be nothing without him. She was crushed and believed every word he said. She still remembers the heartbreaking feelings. She went out that night and got drunk. She drowned it all out. She woke up cuddled up to some other boy. She checked her phone. She had tried to call him so many times. He never answered. She became so depressed. This type of love showed her how beautiful the act of love can be. It also showed her how evil it can be. Ripped from you in seconds. The once breath of fresh air, turned to cold darkness in a matter of seconds.
She remembers these memories and begins to cry. She questioned why she ever let a man, a boy even, determine her feelings about herself. He ruined her she remembers. It took her years to rebuild herself. She never saw him again after they walked away from each other after high school. She never wanted to see him again, she thought. She does remember being infatuated with him at one point and how silly that seemed now. That amazing love feeling wasted on a worthless scum. She craved the feeling for as long as she could remember. Growing up with separated parents meant she never knew true love. Love between a man and a woman. Love that grew into a family and happiness. That the word love and the word forever could be associated with each other. That love which made you feel crazy when it was over. Grasping to see him one more time. Looking for his face everywhere you go. Calling him to hear his voice one more time. She laughs thinking she never wants a man like that again. It’s draining.
Her second love she met a year after she walked away from the first. She had just found herself again. She was happy. She was recruited to run track and field at a university far in Virginia. She loved that she could escape her hometown. After college she knew she would be unstoppable. The boys wanted her, but she paid no attention. She wasn’t looking to be heartbroken again. She liked the no strings attached guys. The ones she could use and then get rid of. She didn’t want them to stay. It was too risky. Too emotional. She knew she would love again, but she didn’t think it would be anytime soon. Then she met him. She called him the not her type lover. She never believed in love at first sight, but that’s what it was. He was nothing like her first love. He was different in every way, except for the love they felt for each other. Infatuation took over her once again.
You could see it radiating from them. When they were together it was nothing but happiness. The way he looked at her was incredible. The only problem was that he had a girlfriend. He didn’t look at his girlfriend the way he looked at her. She felt bad. She wanted him. She knew she was falling in love with him, it was inevitable. He broke up with his girlfriend shortly after meeting her. She was shocked and grateful that he did. She thought boys only broke up with their girlfriends for other girls in movies or TV drama. She was scared though. She could feel it every time she walked away from him. There love was so magnetic though. They were so attracted to each other. It was almost like the universe wanted them to be together. They studied together. They went on dates. She sang while he played the piano. It was magical. She told him she loved him after they had spent everyday together for two weeks. He was happy but scared, too. He didn’t want to hurt her. He knew he loved her, but this also meant he had the power to hurt her and she the power to hurt him. They both knew the ugliness of love, and they didn’t want to believe it would happen to them.
Two weeks later in the library he told her he loved her too. The days became months, months became years. They rarely fought. They had so much fun together. Respected each other’s boundaries. They were a normal couple. She knew something this perfect was too good to be true. After two years of being together, he was falling out of love with her, he had said. She was crushed. She became depressed again. They broke up a little while after. She couldn’t forget his words. The hurt of her heart became so heavy after that day. She left Virginia that summer and went to Greece. Greece cured her of all her love sickness. She went back to college with the Greek heart and a full stomach. Back at school she saw him often. They tried to be friends, but it was too hard. They both loved each other still but were too hurt to fix it. That year they both graduated and went their separate ways. There were many boys after him, but nothing could compare. She never saw him again.
She sits back with her memories and takes a deep breath. She takes a deep swig of her cigarette. She still loves them, but she doesn’t miss them. She misses the feelings they made her feel. She wondered if she could box that feeling up and drink it every day. She would be satisfied with life then. She wondered where in the world they even were. She believed the one thing in her life she missed out on was love. It was something she wanted since she was a little girl. A man who was made for her. It just never came true. She wondered why. She was always so loving. She did everything full hearted and with no regrets. She was a catch. She wondered if it just wasn’t in her cards, that a career was, or supporting her daughter every step of the way was supposed to be enough for her. Whatever it was she was content, but curious. She wanted an answer that she could be complete with, rather then just fate. She didn’t believe in just fate. She was raised catholic, but did God not want her to have a love? 40 was the year she gave up. Love she came to terms with was for some people and wasn’t for others. It was that simple. She did everything for herself and her daughter. She had lots of friends but was usually by herself. She went on dates but was tired of looking for something she couldn’t find. She didn’t mind being alone, she preferred it.
Life was easier for her that way.
And that’s the way it would be.