I loved once.
I loved twice.
Three time’s the charm?
My first love was with my husband, the father of my children.
When I met him everything felt so right. All those flashing red lights and blatant uncertainties were not important because every time he phoned, the cliches of love were calling too. When I heard his voice my heart stopped and my breath caught in my throat. When we were together, nothing else mattered. I would walk along the street smiling to myself thinking of something he said to me, that was meant for ME and only me. When getting ready for a date I took the time and care in my own personal appearance just to have the chance to hear him say how pretty I looked (only to brush it off with a polite smile and a thank you, of course). Only then could I rest easy with a feeling of personal satisfaction knowing that the time and effort that I put into my personal care was worth it in the end.
It was just so right and just so wrong. But who the hell cares if it was tainted love? We were young and it just felt so f*&^ing great!
Until it didn’t.
After my first love I wondered if I would ever feel that feeling of love again. You become a black belt killer assassin in charge of guarding your heart against any intruders, for better or for worse. Anyone who wants to get past the crocodile filled moat around your heart needs to first plead his case and then, more often than not, be cast aside to meet his fate.
The men appeared before me like fish in the sea. I was the fisherman, tossing my reel out there, sometimes with vigor and sometimes with apathy, reeling the line back time after time, wondering if my catch would be an old used boot or a beautiful glistening salmon. Could it be that the waters have just become too polluted from all of the waste and refuse swimming around out there that even as a skilled fisherman with experience, there was very little chance of reeling in a winner? If I would succeed in reeling in a beauty it was with the utmost caution because even the “beauty” has been swimming around in the tainted waters, exposed to those around him and can’t help but be affected too.
Maybe I was trying too hard.
That’s what one of the men told me after he failed to conquer my heart. Good point. I would stop trying. I decided to no longer respond or pay attention to the men who were vying for my attention. Stop emailing me. Stop calling me, stop SMSing me, stop asking my friends about me and stop visiting me because I am done! D-O-N-E.
And then I met him. It was like a Hollywood kitsch film. I looked up and from across the room, there he was. He never left my side that night and despite much of the jealousy and protest around our connection we felt content to be together.
And even though we are no longer together, I am grateful to the man who made me realize that my heart can still love and be loved. Grateful to him for showing me that it hasn’t been too damaged to be able to do the thing we as humans most naturally are inclined to do, to love. Yes, that heart stopping, breath catching, hot flush causing feeling of love that anyone who has experienced knows all too well.
Today is a day of love in the Jewish calendar. There are many people who are alone today and who feel a wistfulness towards those who are seemingly so in love and so, well….together. The marketing for Tu B’av doesn’t compare to the levels of Valentine’s day but it still cries out to all those in the male gender who care not to sleep on the couch for the rest of their lives, to pick up a bouquet of flowers on their way home. And although we may not promote the Victoria’s Secret red lace lingerie which wedgies up your ass, never sits flat and never ever looks as good as on the cover model, we do know that we want to pamper and pleasure the man whom we hold close to our hearts.
For me on the third time around, my approach to love has changed. I have learned that love in our lives doesn’t come from one person. My family and friends, my kids, my readers, my stalkers, my exes, and that guy who is for sure tapping my smart phone….to all of you who make my life oh so colorful, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Because if one thing is for sure, the love in my life is much more colorful today than it even has been before.
If I were a pack of crayola crayons I would have to say that I upgraded from using the basic 8 pack to the deluxe 24 one.
Because isn’t mauve so much cooler than purple?