“So what happened to Len anyway? You guys were like the perfect couple,” Seth said.
I shrugged. “I don’t know. You guys keep telling me how great we were together, but things just didn’t work out.”
“Shame. I doubt you’d ever find someone like that again.”
I had to agree. Len and I got along so well we’d probably have been one of those couples that killed at a game of Taboo. And that’s before we even got together. We were completing each other’s sentences and coming up with inside jokes on the fly before our first kiss. It was like playing a jazz improv with someone who knew all your licks and solos.
Then we got together. It was so effortless that we didn’t even know when we actually did. We never had an anniversary date, and throughout the fifteen (estimated) or so months that we’ve been together, we’ve only argued once.
Len marked one of the best relationships I’ve ever had, and naturally, I took her for granted. She just packed up and left one day, ending our relationship as easily as it began.
Some time back, Len and I bumped into each other, and we reminisced the times we had.
“You really were an asshole sometimes” she said. “And I hate to admit it, but I’ve never met someone I had such a connection with. I can’t believe I’m still talking to you after all that crap.”
“Sorry,” I said. “To be fair, I don’t think I’ll ever find that connection with anyone else either. I guess I screwed up.”
Len sighed. “My mom said that you’ll never end up with the person you love the most.”
“Your mom’s a wise person.”
“Do you think it’s true?”
“I sure as hell hope not.”
We sat in silence, Len swinging her legs back and forth in her chair, her girlish traits still apparent, an innocent charm that drew guys to her like ants to a sugar mound.
“What happened to us?” she asked. “Sometimes, people ask me that question, and I have no idea how to reply.”
“Neither do I. I guess you’re the one that got away.”
“Was great while it lasted, wasn’t it?” I asked.
Len stopped swinging her legs. She looked off into the distance, and smiled. “It was magic.”
“It was indeed.”
“So don’t you ever want to settle down?” Seth asked.
“I am, but—”
“You’re not getting any younger man. What’s your requirement list like? Non-smoker? Non-skinny? Don’t tell me you’re looking for someone like Len.”
“Obviously I’ll want to be with someone I connect with.”
Seth touched each of his fingertips with his thumb. “It’s all calculations, bro. You’re never going to settle down with ‘the one’. Don’t waste your time looking for her. Marry the next girl that comes your way. Don’t ask for so much. Besides, no one ever ends up with the person they love the most.”
“What. Are you serious right now. Because—”
“Calculations, man. It’s planning for your future. You don’t want to grow old alone right?”
“I don’t, but I really don’t mind being single forever.”
Seth looked at me as though I said I killed kittens for a living.
“I say,” I said. “Not everyone has to get married, especially if they don’t find that special someone.”
“That’s wrong man. What about kids? Don’t you want kids?”
“I do, but it’s not something I think you should rush. If it happens, it happens.”
“You’ve been single for too long, I tell you,” Seth said. “You’ve turned crazy! What about Sara? She keeps asking after you.”
“It’s not going to happen. Are you my matchmaker now?”
“But Sara’s a good girl! You’re comparing girls to your exes, is that it? Because it’s unfair if you—”
“Dude I’m not. If it happens, it happens. It’s that simple. I don’t get why you’re more worried about me getting hitched than I am.”
“Because,” Seth said. “I don’t want you to die alone.”
“I’ll be fine,” I said.
Despite all the machismo, I was still aware of the downsides to being alone. At the end of the day, when all my friends have their wives and kids to return to, all I’ll have is a six-pack (beer, not abs, unfortunately) and a book, on a good day.
Being alone gets especially tough when cool things happen in your day-to-day—like getting a promotion, finally nailing that one thing you’ve been practising for months, or escaping death—and you have no one to share them with.
I used to think that relationships ran on nothing more than mutual feelings for each other, that everything could be solved with love. No one told me that girls would leave me because I didn’t make enough money, or because they liked another person, or that they’d run off threatening to sleep with other guys because I’d pissed them off.
Then of course, the perfect girl comes along, and I screwed that up. If Len ever owned a blog, I’d probably be in one of her stories titled Dickhead. But to be fair, she’s mistreated other guys too, so the circle never ends, does it?
This isn’t a story about crying over spilt milk. It’s about making the best of my mistakes, and treasuring new opportunities as they come. I’m not terribly gifted in height, looks, or money, so my next awesome gig in the dating game might not even resurface in this lifetime. And if that means being single for the rest of my life waiting for ‘the one’, then so be it.
Because when it comes to love, give me magic, or give me nothing at all.