There's a girl sitting in a coffee shop, drinking a latte and reading a book. She does this every Saturday at 11am, hoping he'll come back. He (let's call him Josh, she likes that name) is her soul mate... he just doesn't know it yet.
She met him three weeks ago. OK, met might be the wrong word. She was waiting for her sister to finish work and pretending she was at ease sitting alone in the coffee shop. She played on her phone and fidgeted in her seat like an impatient child - why couldn't she just relax? Then Josh walked in. He was her type and he smiled at her. She smiled back. As he walked away with his grande Americano, he looked her way again and said, "have a good day." she blushed and said "thanks, you too".
Since then she had written their love story in her head. He would come back to the coffee shop, see her sitting there reading his (probably) favourite book and feel compelled to say something. He wouldn't know why, but he would have the feeling he had met her somewhere before. They would talk, she would charm him with her quick wit and self-deprecation and he would say "we should do this again sometime". She would say "Il'd like that" and they would exchange numbers.
They would then start dating. Every date would cement their future as they felt more alive than they ever had before. They would go back to the coffee shop every year on their anniversary, smiling at the serendipity of their meeting.
She could see it so clearly.
Looking down at her watch she realised it was 2pm. Josh was nowhere to be seen and she had to go meet her sister. Another week would have to pass by without her soul mate. She sighed heavily and left the coffee shop.
How often have you done this? Dreamt up a romantic scenario about someone you don't know? Or perhaps you do know them, but not very well. Do you fantasise that they have all the same tastes as you, that you love the same films, the same music and have the same outlook on life? I used to do it a lot at university. I fell in love on a weekly basis.
There was this one guy who looked a little like Alex Zane and while we never said a single word to each other, we caught each others eye a lot. Then there was the friend from my course who I didn't know I liked until it was too late - I would imagine us meeting years later and me telling him I was sorry for being a pretentious bitch. Hell, I still think about the date I 'rain checked' on now when I see pictures of him looking happy with his girlfriend.
I think at university I struggled with being alone. Probably more than I realised at the time. I think that's why I would lose myself in these scenarios, it was my way of coping with being lonely. After uni I wasn't single for long. And after that relationship I only had three months of being alone before I got into my next relationship. So I think now is the longest time I've been single since I was at university.
And I'm realising that while I am certainly more comfortable being alone now, I still have a pretty active imagination when it comes to love. A quote that always comes to mind when I catch myself in these daydreams is:
"Why do I fall in love with every woman I see who shows me the slightest bit of attention?" - Joel, Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind.
It resonates.... which, I'll admit, is slightly depressing. But I'm working on it. I'm trying not to let my mind become overrun with 'what if's' about the past. I'm trying not to think about an alternate timeline where I made a different decision, and we lived happily ever after. I'm trying not to dream up scenarios about the people throwing me compliments like scraps of food to a dog. I'm trying not to over-think situations and create drama in my head, because - quite frankly, it's exhausting.
I'm sitting with myself and trying to let that be enough. Because it should be.
I'll end on another quote on love,
"We accept the love we think we deserve." Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Now this quote is supposed to be about how people fall into bad relationships because they don't believe they deserve real love. What's ironic is that I didn't think I deserved my last love. I didn't think I was worthy of it for a long time. And even though it didn't work out between us in the end, it taught me that there is hope and that I do deserve it. There are good people out there, and I don't have to dream them up in my head.