Why are beginnings so hard?
Middles, that comfy popcorn-spilling-as-we-ignore-yet-another-movie-entwined-on-the-couch, seem so simple and inevitable. That so-perfect-we-can-just-let-it-happen practice at foreverness. Why don’t they give up on beginnings and just start relationships in the middle? I’m really good at middles, if I can only get past the beginnings.
Usually Zen and relaxed in the presence of other women, all it takes is an unexpected smile or a mysterious look from the right eyes and suddenly I find myself walking into the last interview of my dream job missing a shoe.
In the moments that follow, something goes clank under the hood: my speech centers misfire and stall, or wind up to a fever pitch with no direction to go. My eyes, once trusted to navigate the depths of a friend’s angst-ridden soul and plot a course to comfort, now seem out-of-balance gyros verging on gimbal-lock. And although I can’t see it from where I’m standing, I sense my body language has switched to an ancient form of semaphore, signaling to this lovely woman:
“The runway is open. The tower is aflame! Make your takeoff roll now!!”
Soon her enchanting smile dims to uncertainty, conversation veers from the fast lane to the pedestrian crosswalk, and then so does she. If only she could have seen who I really was.
If only we carried resumes, crisp off-white pages confirming the years of romantic service and exemplary skills in the face of love, detailed accounts of rendered kisses, massaged shoulders and feet, seemingly endless cuddles, misplaced Saturday mornings, laundry and dishes and meals joyfully created, giggling to tears and overlooked mistakes, races to say I’m sorry first, sunset walks holding hands, high fidelity and low maintenance and promises kept regardless, tallies of unexpected embraces, and turning to listen when she talks.
My resume is missing. Once more I’m ON …and no words can say what I’m wanting to say that won’t sound cheesy or crude, or perhaps even creepy. The First Impression monster has crept in, already checking off the destruction on a clipboard, shaking its head over the lost opportunity, another moment of life left unlived. Crime scene tape is unfurled as two souls part, wondering why life had no rewind button.
It’s not always this way. Strangers traipse into my life every day. But when the chemistry is missing my shyness lays sleeping, relaxed that nothing of importance is happening here. My true self wanders out and says hello, smiling and chatty and happy for the connection. The First Impression monster is observed daydreaming over coffee.
If ever I do see Love again, I’m sure it will have to sneak up on me, like in the movies, in the guise of someone so totally wrong for me that Shyness and First Impression run off to the beach together for the duration, giggling as they splash in the waves. And in moments of disinterested mundanity we let slip random anecdotes from our romantic resumes …
And it dawns on us: We can truly see each other—and the view is amazing!
Is it any wonder I’m majoring in making movies? I’m the perfectly hopeless protagonist of my own romantic comedy of errors. Or perhaps I’m just the pratfalling comedy sidekick.