Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bleeding Hearts

Ah - Valentine's Day - the most romantic day of the year, right? Maybe if you're a Beta. Us Alphas understand that this is the day for regret, remorse, disgust, anger, fear and derision. Oh, no? Really? Let's see . . .

That guy you really liked and eventually loved - what happened there? Bet there were plenty of tender words as he walked out the door, huh. It's good he left you because then you met Mr. X, who made you laugh . . . sure. he wasn't built like a porn star, but he had a decent job and decent values. You had the requisite two kids and both you and he worked longer and longer hours until . . . until you could care less if he lived or died. And, guess what? He felt the same way. So, you split. It was amicable and vague and there was anger but you let it go, or thought you did, for the "sake of the kids." The older, a pretty girl, mid-teen and fully hormonal, lied to both of you at every turn and created crisis after crisis, leaving your younger boy neglected and alone in a household of chaos. "You have to talk to her," you would plead with your overworked ex who was himself teetering on the brink of alcoholism because there was no way he could make ends meet between support and alimony which, let's face it, you don't really need but you can't manage to live within your means and you neither can make your household work, can you. And he would say, brimming with anxiety and aching for a beer, "What can I say to her that hasn't already been said?" And you would blame each other and nothing would be resolved. She got pregnant, not once, but twice in less than fifteen months and your son? You don't want to know what he's huffing just to make it all go away. Lots of love, there, huh.

Okay, okay - that's pretty dark. How about this? You're divorced a few years and you've been realizing lately that it's not so much fun after all to do everything on your own. It wouldn't be such a bad thing to have a shopping partner and someone to rub your cold toesies while you both laugh at Conan. Go to B&N together, have a movie night on Fridays and get Italian at Macaroni Grill or Olive Garden on Saturdays after shopping. So, you put an advert into a dating website and you get quite a few responses . . . and when the dust settles, the wheat emerges from the chaff. He's pretty good looking for his age, reasonably fit, makes a middle income as an engineer, divorced a few years, lonely, and like cats, just like you. And he's a Gemini!

You write to each other for a month or so and talk on the telephone for hours. When you're not talking to him, you're thinking about him. Finally, you take the plunge and meet at the Macaroni Grill at the new Mall. He's funny, has a better haircut than in his on-line photo, is a total gentleman and listens with the same intensity as he does when you're talking on the phone but now, that intensity has eyes. You feel yourself falling, falling . . .

After what could only be called a "date," you take the time to write him an e-mail, as you do almost every day now, and you hint to him that your feeling for him are getting stronger than you had expected. You enumerate what you have in common and how your goals are so similar and how you both loved Seinfeld. You sign your e-mail, "Love . . ." And then, you wait for him to wittily tell you that he's feeling exactly the same way . . .

And you wait. And wait. And no reply. No answer to the voice mails you left. Finally, you leave him what you swear is the last voice mail, begging him to tell you what you did wrong.

That Friday, you get a phone call. It's his wife. He died of a heart attack late one night after working last-minute - last Saturday, in fact - the same night you two were yucking it up at the pasta joint. Like a jolt, you realize that you were only a fantasy and then you feel the suction of the truth of his death, this fine man for whom you had fallen hard and now you can hear his wife saying in a ghostly, rasping, tear-damaged voice, "So, did you know him from work? . . . " as you disappear into the vortex of drama and despair.

Cupid's not real, or this kind of sh*t wouldn't happen. Personally, I think romance is overrated. I mean, how many sunset-wine-sipping-bareback-horse-beach-rides can you have before dissolving from boredom. In my view, all's well that ends, period. Believe me, you don't want this all to drag out.