Out of curiosity I went on an internet dating site to discover the new world of dating.
As I filled in the personality questionnaire, I wondered how genuine the results were. Would it really link me to a person who would be in sync with my personality?
I must admit, I was skeptical.
I wondered how many of my matches actually had their own teeth and how many held criminal convictions. Because, let’s be honest, there is a lot that one can hide on a dating profile! There is much more to a person than what they do for a job, if they are divorced and have children, drink alcohol or like to wander along the beach at sunset.
But, here I was, flicking through profiles of potential matches. None of them looked like serial killers I mused. But then again, you can never be too sure. I pondered if it was impolite to ask a date if they could possibly have a police background check before meeting for coffee. Or how soon before I could ask if they had a previous or current drug addiction. Ah, the unknown world of internet dating etiquette.
And there you were. A blurry photo, with a profile that made me curious about the person who lay behind the words and experiences you shared. Who was this person who lived with the northern red dust sprinkled in his hair? You didn’t seem afraid of change, nor shy of adventure. So, out of curiosity, I sent you an email.
It was like being in a crowded cafe, ordering a coffee whilst being focused on counting out the correct amount of money for the cashier. I glanced up, and you were there. Our eyes met and you smiled. The noise of the café continued and I smiled back. It was that simple. Somehow you were just there, in my life, from that moment on. We may not have met each other in person until months later, after that initial email. But you just appeared, in my life, with a smile.
The first time we spoke on the phone I was sitting in the lobby at the mechanic’s. I was pondering (noticing) how the faded carpet and posters of cars looked like they had been purchased in the same decade, which was obviously 30 years earlier, when your number flashed across my phone screen. Nervously I answered and one of the first things you said to me was that you were relieved my voice didn’t sound like Julia Gillard. I couldn’t help but laugh. You had a humour that drew me in and a sarcasm that saturated our conversations.
Although you brushed your teeth and showered while we talked on the phone and you constantly fell asleep while we were in mid conversation on Skype, you were the first real gentleman that I had met in years. You didn’t buy me roses, or surprise me with gifts. But your spirit was soft. You treated me with respect and care.
And the unsettled side of you—I wanted to touch the broken parts. Kiss tenderly and sooth the inner parts that were tangled. Softly hold your pain until love did her gentle work of healing.
I never told you that the bright yellow border of the front covers caught my attention the first time I walked into your home. The National Geographic magazine was my childhood friend. I can still recall, as a child, my wide eyes as I stared at the photo that graced the front covers. It always captured my attention and led me to wander the pages, gazing upon the photos of foreign lands and their people. I loved these magazines. And there they were, stacked haphazardly on the bookshelf in your lounge room, the corners bent and tattered.
I never told you that as you watched the news on TV, it somehow felt warm. As a child, my parents discussed the political unrest in foreign countries that my young mind couldn’t comprehend. And here you were, intensely captivated with the news and somehow, I couldn’t help but feel at home.
I never told you that the first time I opened the utensils drawer in your kitchen, I discovered it was the largest junk drawer I had ever seen in a person’s home. Later, I pulled my brother aside into the kitchen and showed him. “It’s full of crap,” I giggled, pulling the drawer asunder. “This is a bachelor’s home, Juliet,” he whispered back. I never told you that I found it endearing that there was a part of your life that was not driven—even if it was only the kitchen drawer.
I never told you that on the nights when I dreamed of curling up within your body’s embrace, I would slip into the dark blue Fireys t-shirt that you gave me. I would climb into bed, imagining the warmth of your body wrapped around mine. Hands entwined and your breath upon my neck.
I never told you that the first time you kissed me was the moment I knew I was falling in love. We stood in the humidity, looking at each other awkwardly, unsure of how to say goodbye. I stretched my green shirt past the waist of my shorts, nervously sticking one hand into my denim pocket and smiling into your eyes. It was in that moment you reached out and pulled me toward you. Your arms and body engulfed me. Your lips tentative, nervously seeking mine. I could feel the unsureness in those lips. Yet my heart was drowning.
And then one day, I looked up and you were gone. It was that simple. Just as quickly as you appeared in my life, just as quickly you disappeared. Twelve months and the moment that passed between us finished. Abruptly, it was over. We walked out of the café in opposite directions, amidst the noise and traffic of life. My vision blurry and the pain in my chest, pounding.
Maybe the universe allowed our paths to cross for a reason. To teach me that a woman can expect respect in a relationship. That a woman’s voice is valid. That her desires, dreams, passions and fears are all to be heard and valued. Your words were like soothing, warm oil poured into my soul. A balm that healed the scars of old wounds. But maybe, you were never mine to keep. And maybe, you were mine only for a season. To awaken within me a desire to feel again. To breathe again. To peek out from beneath the veil of my beliefs and question the confines of my life.
Sometimes life breaks your heart. We can try to give it a name, we can say it was timing, incompatibility, or loss of feeling, when a relationship ends. But sometimes there are no reasons that make sense and all you have left is the residue of who that person was to you. And yes, there will be pain attached to what is left. But sometimes you need to purge the negativity from your soul, so you can hold onto what was good, lovely and true. I met a person who made my heart say yes. Yes, to life, yes to dreams, yes to the future, yes to hope. And that is a good thing.
So take what is good in life and dwell on that. Remember the beautiful moments, but let go of the relationships not meant for you. Keep on your journey, because one day, all the things that don’t make sense will fall into place. You will be surrounded by beautiful people and the person who is meant to share your journey, will bump into your world. Until that time, take a deep breath and steady your feet, because the future is calling your name, with a tender whisper, to let go and be free.
Author: Juliet Gorrie
Editors: Travis May; Catherine Monkman