My Unrequited Love for Unrequited Love
I am a sucker for unrequited love.
Okay, wait. Let me rephrase that. I get suckered in by unrequited love.
Scarlett for Ashley.
Meggie for Ralph.
Gus for Clara.
Rhett for Scarlett.
Severus for Lily.
Lucy for Shroeder.
Francesca for her life.
Unrequited love. Spending your entire life in love with someone who will not or cannot return that love. And you can’t “just get over it and move on” because the emotions run too deep.
Why on earth does this get me so?
I hear you, trust me, I know these are books and films. Yes, yes, yes, but you see, all works of fiction have their embryonic stage in real life. Right? For every “The Notebook,” there is a world full of people with slightly watered down love stories. For every “Captain America,” there is a real life hero. For every bitchy woman out there, there is but one Scarlett O’Hara to represent us all.
Which then goes to follow that yes, there are some loves that are so deep and powerful, that they last a lifetime. And to have that love unfulfilled, that just blows me away.
I’m a practical pig. I didn’t used to be. But I had my own mini-unrequited love when I was a teen (didn’t we all, though…and I’m not talking about Jason Bateman either). Then I fell in love hard and fast into a the-rest-of-the-world-doesn’t-exist relationship. The intensity of that love was a good chapter of a cheesy romance novel. But when that love crashed, I was left to raise a baby by myself, almost completely on my own. And the scar from that blinding love made me go “nope, never again.”
And thus, Practical Jill was born. I had to be practical, to be a single parent back in the day before it was hip to be 16 and pregnant (I was 19 so much, much older). I had to pay bills, I had to make her eat, I had to find money to clothe her, I had to keep another human being alive. I had to be practical. My “romance” was Saturday nights watching Dr. Quinn and Sully.
When I met my husband, that practicality didn’t go away. I’m not in the mood today to go into our “courtship,” as the grandparents might say, but suffice it to say that the practical part of me allowed a small romantic part of me to fall in love. But make no mistake, I married my husband for more practical reasons like friendship and security. Blinding love? Hells no. Practical Jill would never allow that to happen because Practical Jill was never cleaning up that mess again.
There’s a part of me that wants to have that deep, insane, obsessive love for someone again. Because to have those kind of intense emotions must be amazing, compared to the jaded, dull person I am these days (go read my other stuff, I’m not a well-adjusted adult). I have vague memories of that can’t-breathe-without-him feeling. It sits below the surface, flying low because Practical Jill will kick its ass if it shows its face. But sometimes, I think about it.
Another part of me wishes someone would have that kind of lifelong love, with all the intensity, for me. And sometimes I imagine, I let my mind daydream that someone could fall for me completely and wants to love me without hesitation or concerns. Someone who could say “I can’t live without you” and mean it, not because he doesn’t want to be alone, but because he means it.
And YET another part fully believes that I am incapable of being on either end of that kind of emotion. Because Practical Jill has spent her entire adult life being practical. And practical people don’t fall head over heels in love. And let’s be real…people don’t fall head over heels in love with practical (read: guarded) people. If some man did tell me he couldn’t live without me, Practical Jill would roll her eyes and tell him to keep on moving, buddy.
Obviously, I have a problem. Maybe that should be plural. I want the Grand Love of a Lifetime, even unrequited, and yet, I’d probably shoot it the middle finger if it showed up.
What’s interesting is that I can read fluff romance novels and watch the cute RomComs without getting mushy and emotional. I don’t finish a movie, look at my husband and huff “you’ve never held a boombox up over your head for me, you must not love me.” I enjoy these things immensely; I am constantly reading the ChickLit genre. Maybe because it’s fluffy, that’s why it doesn’t grab my soul.
Another still another part (I’m so multi-faceted), a tiny part that tries to stay hidden deep inside, screams in its tinny voice that maybe I’m afraid I’ll be the anti-Golden Girl. Looking back on life and sighing that I never experienced a sweeping love for anything, person or otherwise. Maybe I misunderstood “Bridges of Madison County” but my takeaway was that Francesca had just plodded through her unremarkable life until the NatGeo dude showed up for four days and then, deciding to not run away with him, continued plodding through an unremarkable life to death. I don’t want that, and yet, I’m fairly certain that’s Practical Jill to a tee. Instead of “Picture this, Sicily…” it’ll be some version of “get off my lawn, you people are always on my lawn.”
And no, there’s not a NatGeo dude in my real life. Not even close.
I’d like to close with this….given the opportunity, I would totally punch Cardinal Ralph in the balls for Meggie’s tormented life.