I was dating Oliver, who believed Coldplay’s "The Scientist" was actually about a scientist.
"Have you not listened to the lyrics?" I asked as I swigged down the last of our wine.
"Yes, baby, and it’s very sad. No more sad music for my baby."
I opened another bottle of wine, not realizing that it was dessert wine. Instead, I was sure it was just a fancy half-bottle–all I could afford.
Nope. It was Eiswein. I winced, took a beat to assess, then nodded. Good stuff. It made Oliver more palatable. I liked him drunk. I liked him even more when he was depressed.
It’s not a very nice thing to say, that you enjoy someone more when they’re miserable than when they’re happy, but it’s honest. I didn’t like his incisors; he looked like a vampire. It was genetic, actually. His younger brother was born just the same, long in the tooth, so he had his teeth filed down. But Oliver refused, saw his vampire fangs as a differentiating factor among men. This is why I made him listen to sad chick music. I preferred him quiet and blue. He looked kinda hot when he frowned.
"It’s a breakup song," I said as I poured him another glass.
"No it’s not."
"Uh, yeah, it so is." I refreshed the iTunes and began at the start. "Just listen."
He played along. Told me he loved me, made dumb jokes about chasing my tail, then asked if I was trying to getting him drunk and take advantage of him. I rolled my eyes in that exaggerated way that says, "You’re not my uncle, so stop embarrassing me… and yourself. For both our sake." I can be an asshole.
On the bed beside him, my glass still in hand, I stared up at the ceiling, the lights of the city around us filtering in through my windows. As alone as I felt in that moment, in bed riding on lyrics beside a man I didn’t love, I knew it wouldn’t always be like that. I knew we were temporary.
I must’ve stayed with him months after that moment. Stayed because it was easier than dealing. Stayed because it was easier than being in that bed alone listening to those same lyrics. Because, in truth, hearing "nobody said it was easy" when you’re alone, makes you feel like a fool. I couldn’t help but ask myself what the fuck I was doing, why was I wasting everyone’s time? But it was worse, the idea of alone, because, on some level, alone was some kind of declaration in my mind. It was like saying, "No, it IS supposed to be easy. So I’m going to remain alone until I find someone where it’s not so hard." Being alone felt like a statement. I’d hold out as long as it took… and what if it never took? What if "as long as" turned into "how’d I go this long? What was I thinking?"
"Nobody said it was easy," means that it’s going to suck. That it will always be easier at the start, when you have answers to the easy questions, the way a scientist does before they get too involved. And that it will get hard with anyone. The only difference is the kind of hard you’ll face. Pick the safe dude with the Cujo incisors you can’t stand, and yeah, you’ll get your way, the bedding you want, the vacation, the parenting style, the radio station, the temperature of the room… and your hard will be knowing that you settled. Your hard will be believing that there was probably someone out there better suited for you, someone whose laugh you liked, someone you liked to see happy.
Pick the guy who knows how to turn you on, can crank up your burner to that secret special position most people don’t even know about… the guy who you’re crazy about, not so sure how he’s feeling exactly, but you suspect he’s into you… time will tell. And it always tells you, "no." It won’t do it in words. Instead "no" will come in what’s not said between you. And that’s your hard, knowing you want him more than he wants you.
Or pick the guy who’ll never give you your way but who’ll always think he does. Pick the guy where everything is a fight, where you disagree on it all, where you can’t agree on the shape of a goddamn plate or the proper weight of a spoon. Pick him, and you’ve got a different hard. You’re never bored, and you’re with a man who you love most when he’s surrounded by his friends, telling his stories, the ones you know by heart now, and give him that look across that bar… shaking your head, raising your glass, thinking, "this is my life. He is my life." And you smile because you love his smile, and love him most when he’s at his best.
It’s not easy. But it feels like it did at the start. And that’s something.