As we sat on a park bench, a friend and I, a beautiful young woman walked by and gave me a glance. I didn’t noticed.
“Hey man, you had an obvious opening there,” he said.
I looked up from my newspaper. “Not my type,” I said, continuing scrutiny over the newspaper’s crossword. “Besides, you’d have to use Kryptonite before seeing my heart thaw for a woman.”
“DONE,” he said with a voice banging like a gavel. “What’s your Kryptonite cus’ I’m gettin’ you a date my dude.”
“You really want to know my weakness,” I asked.
“Yeah man,” he assured, looking a bit concerned. “Belt it.”
“She would be my weakness, that girl that walked by,” I said, motioning my eyes onward up the winding path. “But, I don’t know if she would be real or not.”
“Dude,” he said appalled, “She’s real, I can promise you that. I saw her, too.”
“Just because she exists doesn’t mean she’s real,” I said, looking back at my paper.
“Here we go,” he said.
“No, not ‘here we go’,” I said, straightening the paper like a cracked whip.
“I was just kidding, man, really. If something’s up, you can talk. I’m right here. Wait, am I here, man? Am I real to you,” He asked jokingly, beckoning a smile.
I gave a small curl of the mouth, but he settled for it and continued, “Agh, see, there it is.” I showed my teeth now and he gave a smug expression. “What’s eatin’ ya, man?”
“The whole ‘girl’ thing is just starting to get to me sometimes, that’s all. I don’t normally think about it, but when I do I just feel more and more upset. I’m usually good at things like that, handling issues that would bother most, but instead of handling it, I just brush it to the side a when someone asks.”
“What are you holding out for,” he asked. “You shouldn’t expect much. I’m tellin’ ya, women are crazy. I mean, just look at my wife.”
“I’m not trying to sound like an asshole when I say this, but I just want the right girl,” I said.
“What do you mean the right girl,” he asked. “Like the perfect ten who falls madly in love with you and obeys your every desire, because I can tell you, they don’t exist.”
“No, of course not. She’s a human being, not a dog,” I said.
“I know, I’m just giving an example. All I’m saying is that the ‘perfect woman’ doesn’t exist.
“What if I don’t want just the ‘perfect woman’,” I asked. “What if I want the perfect woman for me?”
He looked as if he was about to answer but couldn’t. The look I held on my face said ‘think before you speak.’
“Okay,” he said. “So, you want to wait until you find the perfect girl for you?”
“And what does this perfect woman consist of,” he asked.
“I can’t answer that,” I replied.
“How can you be so dense to say you want the perfect woman for you and not even have an idea of what she’ll be like,” he asked.
“I’ll know when I see her, meet her, talk to her, all the good stuff,” I said with confidence.
“That’s some fairy-tale bullshit right there, my man. Might want to back off the expectations just a bit,” he said.
“Is it such bullshit to pace yourself when trying to form a good relationship, shying away from toxicity of bad ones,” I asked. “I don’t think it is. In fact, I think it’s probably the most reasonable thing I can do for someone who’s only twenty-one. Do I want a family, kids, a good wife, and a great life? Of course I would! I’d be crazy not to want that, but thinking about all the people who are in this mad pursuit of love, the ones that end up throwing themselves through hell and back because they rushed or felt rushed into something they didn’t really want in the first place, and not having the to guts to tell their ‘significant’ other, just seems like a horrible waste.”
“Okay, okay, calm down Cujo,” he said nearing a whisper with his hands motioning downward. “It’s just a question.”
“I know,” I said. “It’s just that I look around and see so many people who could be happier if they just learned to get to know themselves a little better before plunging into something that ruins their life.”
“Look man, everything has its ups and downs. This world isn’t sunshine and rainbows.”
“That’s obvious, but What I really want to know is why everyone thinks it’s such a taboo to wait for something pure, something you can hold in your hand. This something, this beautiful, messy, ugly at times, always chaotic, never-ending, romantic, from kissing her on the forehead in the rain to making love to her, and swimming within each other is what I want. If I have to wait decades to find it, I will, and if I never do, then I will have at least lived my life in the pursuit of love rather than wasting it on pointless infatuation,” I said, cracking my newspaper again.
“Not gonna lie,” he said, pretending to tear up, “that was beautiful man.”
“But no, seriously, that sounded gay as shit.”
“Big words for you, huh,” I said, raising an eye to see what he’d say.
“Look man, I get it. You want something, someone in your life that’s important. Just know that you may never find it,” he said sincerely.
“You wanted to know, so here goes: true love is my kryptonite,” I said, “and I’ll know it when it finds me. Until then, what’s a nine letter word that relates to bliss,” I asked.
“Happiness– wait, is that a nine letter word,” he asked.
I chuckled. “Yeah it is, but that isn’t the answer.”
“What is,” he asked curiously.